What Smell Do Dogs Hate To Stop Digging?

Using dogs’ strong sense of smell to control their digging may change our efforts. We deter them by delivering foul scents. Smell-based methods prevent digging while fostering a friendly relationship with dogs. Explore the best methods and tools to solve digging-related issue and find what smell do dogs hate to stop digging?

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Why Do Dogs Dislike Certain Smells?

Dogs' aversion to specific smells
Dogs’ aversion to specific smells

Dogs possess a special sense of smell, brimming with abundant olfactory receptors that surpass those of humans. Their keen sense of smell allows them to perceive and interact with the world profoundly. 

While dogs may not “hate” smells per se, certain scents can overwhelm or repel them due to heightened olfactory sensitivity.

Their nasal receptors detect diverse scents far more effectively than humans. Smells we find pleasant might overpower dogs due to their acute sense of smell. Like humans, dogs exhibit unique sensitivities and preferences for different smells.

Notably, robust citrus or vinegar scents can prove repugnant to dogs. Such odors affect their sensitive noses, deterring them from areas associated with these smells. Leveraging this trait, we can train dogs to avoid digging by introducing unpleasant scents. However, it is essential to recognize that different dogs react differently to smells – what repels one may not faze another at all.

Moreover, dogs’ aversion to specific smells stems from their innate survival instincts and prior encounters. Certain scents become intertwined with peril or hazards, sparking adverse reactions in dogs. Also, because of their genes, dogs can be attracted to or turned off by certain smells.

What Smell Do Dogs Hate To Stop Digging?

Dogs have individual preferences, but several smells are generally disliked and can help stop them from digging.


Citrus can be used against dog digging
Citrus can be used against dog digging

Citrus can be used against dog digging, owing to its potent scent, which typically repels canines. The powerful aroma of oranges, lemons, or grapefruits is a natural deterrent. 

Using sprays made from citrus or putting peels and slices of citrus in trouble spots creates an unpleasant smell that stops dogs from digging.  


Vinegar develops as a dig deterrent for dogs
Vinegar develops as a dig deterrent for dogs

Vinegar develops as a dig deterrent for dogs, thanks to its solid and aromatic scent, which canines commonly find unpleasant. The overpowering and repulsive nature of vinegar’s smell prompts dogs to shun or evade vinegar-treated areas. To employ vinegar as a deterrent, dilute it and spray the solution on targeted spots. Alternatively, soak cotton balls in vinegar strategically in problem areas. 

Menthol or Mint

Menthol or mint against dog digging
Menthol or mint against dog digging

Menthol or mint emerges as a formidable ally against dog digging, courtesy of their potent and distinct aroma. Canines commonly disdain the intense scent of these minty delights, making them an ideal natural deterrent. 

When sprays or cotton balls with menthol or mint oil are used in certain areas, they give off a smell that dogs find repulsive. This makes them avoid those areas. 


Herbs scents make dogs feel distasteful
Herbs scents make dogs feel distasteful

Specific herbs, like rosemary, lavender, or rue, boast robust scents that dogs commonly find distasteful. When these plants are used in sprays, dried leaves, or essential oils in places where dogs are likely to dig, they give off a smell that scares dogs away.

 The strong smell of the herbs overwhelms dogs, making them stop digging and keeping your yard or garden in the way you want it. 

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper stop dogs from digging
Cayenne pepper stop dogs from digging

Cayenne pepper is sometimes suggested as a home remedy to stop dogs from digging because dogs dislike the strong scent and spicy flavor. However, care must be taken when using this method, as it could irritate your dog’s nose, eyes, or skin, causing discomfort or even harm.

If you decide to use cayenne pepper as a deterrent, here’s how to do it:

  1. Sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper in the areas where your dog frequently digs. You should just lightly dust the area, not cover it completely.
  1. Observe your dog’s reaction from a distance. If your dog sniffs the peppered area, it will likely sneeze and decide to leave the area alone.

It’s important to note that while dogs generally dislike these smells, each dog may have unique preferences. So it may require some experimentation to find the most effective scent deterrent for your furry friend.

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How Can Smell Be Used To Stop Dogs From Digging?

To thwart canine digging via olfactory stimuli presents an effective course. Below, the method is broken down into a sequence of steps for easy adoption:

  1. The odors. It’s important to isolate scents that generate disdain in dogs.
  1. Zoning. Pinpoint the regions in your space where you wish to curb digging.
  1. Moving on to the application. Introduce the chosen smell into the target area, not creating an overpowering effect. Even distribution is key, whether it’s a citrus spray, diluted vinegar, or a commercially available, dog-friendly repellent.
  1. Recall that consistency is of utmost importance. Dogs, by nature, are creatures of habit. As they inch towards the forbidden digging zone, steer their interest elsewhere, rewarding them for following your lead.
  1. The role of positive reinforcement is pivotal in this strategy. Each time your dog avoids digging in the identified areas, offer them a treat or a word of praise

Lastly, altering dog behavior isn’t an overnight affair. Continually employing smell deterrents and giving treats for good behavior will help your dog learn that the smell is bad and digging is bad. It will avoid the places that are not allowed to dig.

Rosy Jocasta
Rosy Jocasta

Rosy Jocasta is one of our extraordinary members. At 28 years old, she has already established herself as an accomplished professional.