How Can I Get My Dog to Stop Ruining My Lawn?

Give your destructive doggy something to do—besides wreaking havoc on your grass—with these fun activities.

dog-holes-digging-yard
Photo by Peter Oumanski

“My new puppy digs holes in the yard!”

Lori McGovern, via Facebook

The fix: First, understand that “puppies are like toddlers. They shouldn't be left to their own devices,” says Victoria Schade, the author of Bonding With Your Dog ($17, amazon.com). When they are, they come up with their own games (digging is a favorite) to help them burn off energy. So rather than leave your dog outside unsupervised, take him for a walk, arrange for puppy playdates, or drop him off at doggy day care, says veterinarian Nicholas Dodman, the author of The Dog Who Loved Too Much ($16, amazon.com). There’s also a chance that your pooch tears up turf because the behavior comes naturally to his breed, which means that he won’t outgrow it. (Digging is common with dachshunds and terriers, says Schade.) If this is the case, give him a sanctioned place near the house to dig. Bury treats and scatter toys in the area to make it appealing, then bring him to the spot every few days. With luck, digging there—and only there—should become a habit after a month or two.