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How Do I Stop My Dog From Digging Holes – Help!

Dog Digging HoleAt first you may think that you’ve got to do whatever you can to stop your dog from digging holes in the yard. But as it turns out, the dog may be doing this for an important reason. Instead of getting upset at your pup, consider why he or she might be making a mine field out of your back yard. Here are some common reasons your dog might dig holes in your yard.

Reasons Dogs Dig Holes in Your Yard

  • In classic “dig your way out of prison” fashion, they are attempting to escape the yard.
  • They may be escaping something they fear – neighborhood dogs or natural events such as thunderstorms.
  • Anxiety and separation issues that arouse from their general lifestyle, not necessarily from the condition of the back yard.
  • They might hear the sounds of underground creatures and bugs, or smell something buried in the ground, and dig holes to attempt find them. This will often cause random placement of holes around your yard.
  • To escape the summer heat – if you live in a hot area, your dog may try to dig himself a cool hole to rest in.
  • They could be lacking certain minerals in their diet, and dig holes in the hope of finding them in the soil in your yard.
  • Terrier breeds are natural hunting dogs, and will instinctively dig in the ground for prey or food. There’s no point trying to deny their instincts.
  • Your dog may be digging a hole to stash away food or items of shelter. This is a natural preservation instinct.
  • Female dogs may dig holes as part of their natural mating behavior.

How Do I Find Out Why my Dog is Digging Holes in Our Yard?

Rhodesian Ridgeback Digging Hole in YardThe best way to discourage digging behavior is to first explore the reasons, listed above, that may induce your dog to dig holes. But most importantly, you should realize that digging is a normal doggie trait. According to a national survey, more than 83% of American dog owners have dogs that dig holes. Furthermore, canine experts affirm that digging is a natural adaptive behavior seen in the wild as well.  In other words, dogs are going to dig holes, for one reason or another, and you shouldn’t put too much effort into stopping them. Hindering dogs from carrying out their natural, predisposed functions is not good for their health and well-being.

How Do I Stop my Dog from Digging Holes?

Depending on the reason above, you need to take different approaches to get your dog to stop digging holes in your yard. If your dog is digging random holes throughout the yard, he or she is most likely smelling or hearing something underground and trying to get to it. In this case, you could try digging a larger hole for them in an acceptable location in the yard, and try and motivate them to dig only there by burying treats for them to find.

As far as the other reasons are concerned, in most cases digging is a natural behavior. The most important thing to confirm is that your dog is well taken care of. Make sure they are getting enough food, but not too much (or they may dig a hole to hide the left-overs ;), and make sure they are kept in an appropriately climate-adjusted environment. They should have a place to sleep, be kept up to date with their veterinary appointments, etc. etc. These are all things you need to check off your list as a responsible dog owner before attempting to find fault in your dog’s behavior. Even then, a dog’s behavior often has a natural source. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have the will to be ill-intentioned, and in the case of digging holes in your back yard they are following a natural instinct or learned behavior that, while annoying to you, is out of survival or need for them.

Training Your Dogs to Not Eat Poop, Roll In Poop, or Eat Dirt

Updated on September 14, 2012

In addition to digging holes, our canine friends have many more habits that are somewhat curious and maybe even a little gross to us humans. There are some simple ways to combat these habits as well.

You know the feeling: Someone ‘forgot’ to scoop after his dog left a little present on the lawn, and the next thing you realize, you have turned around to your own dog sniffing and eating it! Making matters worse, he then wants to come up and lick you, proud of his accomplishments. What to do?

Why Dogs Eat Poop

Dogs not only eat poop from other dogs, they eat their own feces as well. In fact, this behavior is relatively common, especially among puppies. One of the reasons scientists postulate for this is that animal poop contains nutrients and essential vitamins that the dog lacks in his or her diet. Dogs may also lick poop to smell and taste it so as to get information about either themselves or another dog. Some further believe that eating the poop after the assessment may be a way to remove the evidence that either the dog himself or the other dog were ever in the area. If you react negatively to the dog eating poop, there is also some behavioral evidence that a dog in want for attention will continue to eat it out of boredom, anxiety, or the simple desire to catch your eye.

What Can You Do About It?

Puppies generally are thought to out-grow this behavior. The most common piece of advice that veterinarians give for owners of all ages of dog, however, is to simply bring a bag with you and scoop up poop before the dog has a chance to sniff around it. This is a good habit to get into anyway, as most cities require you to scoop your dog’s poop on public property. Although there is little else you can do about your dog eating another dog’s feces, you can take a few precautions to help your dog kick the habit:

  • Do not over-react when you see the dog eating poop. This only gives her anxiety and/or attention.
  • Redirect a dog who is interested in feces to do something else, and reward her for engaging in the new activity. The new activity could be, for example, a jog, a frisbee, a toy, or a treat. Offer this alternate activity and reward with treats or petting, and the dog will learn to ignore the poop and go straight for the other, more rewarding activity.
  • Feed your dog a balanced diet, even supplementing with vet-approved vitamin pills if you need to.
  • Make your dog’s own fecal matter unappealing by adding canned pumpkin, meat tenderizer, or canned pineapple to his food.

Why Dogs Roll In Poop

Another common dog behavior, dogs rolling in poop can give them a terrible odor, and pieces will stick into the dog’s fur making it very hard, and very distasteful, to have to get out. Unfortunately, most of this behavior is instinct. Dogs make pheromones from glands near their anal opening, and this can give feces a very alluring odor that a dog might want to coat himself in. Dogs also seem to enjoy the activity and it feels good to them. Some also speculate that dogs roll in the feces of another dog or animal to disguise their own smells.

What Can You Do About It?

Unfortunately, not a whole lot in this case. Re-directing and rewarding is a good choice. Also keep your dog away from poop entirely by keeping him on a leash when walking and moving him away from the poop with commands followed by reward, placing a fence around the perimeter of your yard to prevent him from going into the woods and rolling in wild manure, and quickly scooping up any poop in your dog’s path are all good alternatives.

Why Dogs Eat Dirt

There are many reasons why dogs may eat dirt. Some dogs, just as humans, like eating dirt because of an oral fixation. Dirt is around to be chewed on, so dogs will chew it. Same thing goes for dogs who eat dirt out of boredom: Oftentimes, it is something that is simply there for them to do. Some dogs eat dirt searching for nutrients they lack in their diets, or a dog may simply be underfed and ravenous. Finally, some dogs do it because they are anxious, do not receive enough attention, or are doing it intentionally to misbehave. No matter what the cause, eating dirt can actually have some negative consequences on your dog’s health. Dirt may contain too many nutrients, harmful organisms, fertilizers, and pesticides, all of which can make your dog sick. Seeing your veterinarian is advised if your dog is eating dirt.

What Can You Do About It?

It may take some detective work to figure out the root cause of your dog’s behavior, but chances are that you can weed out some possibilities immediately. After that, have your vet help you with the issue. Some common solution to the dirt eating problem:

  • Make sure your dog is eating a healthy, balanced diet. If your dog is overweight, feed her low-calorie food rather than feeding her less of her regular food, since feeding less might be leaving her hungry and desperate to eat something, even if that something is dirt.
  • Play with your dog and give him lots of attention. Pet him, play with him, walk him, feed him, give him treats, sit with him. You do not need to spoil your dog with attention, but just be sure he gets as much as he needs to not feel lonely.
  • Entertain your dog with games and toys to prevent boredom. You can even teach him new tricks, even if he’s old!
  • Provide your dog with chew toys and chewy treats.
  • Keep your dog indoors during the daytime while you are away.
  • If you have tried all of the above and nothing seems to help, see your veterinarian immediately! Your dog may have a digestive disease or a medical disorder that requires professional treatment.

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About Alex Schenker

Alex's first dog was a dalmatian named Domino, who at the time belonged to his girlfriend (now wife) Michelle. Alex first met Domino in Redondo Beach, California and they quickly became best pals. In North Carolina, a black lab mix, Storm, was added to the family. Domino lived to be 14 years old, and Storm 9, and Alex looks back fondly at all the love and happiness these pups added to his life over the years. Alex now lives happily in Winston-Salem, NC with his wife Michelle and their two dogs Bella (yellow lab mix) and Lily (Brown Carolina dog), and he doesn't take for granted for a second how much meaning canines add to his life, and how many lessons he learns from their love, happiness, and eagerness to live life to the fullest.
  • JoeB

    Our German Shepherd pounds the ground, looking like a Polar Bear trying to break through the ice in the hunt for a Seal. He listens first then pounds and digs over and over. He leaves holes only a few inches deep and will sometimes bite at the earth. Even if we are playing fetch he will get distracted by something in the earth and away he goes again. I’ve thought about insects and rodents but I don’t know as I’ve never seen any creatures except for spiders in the summer and worms. There is an underground waterway approximately 200 feet down that is our well source. Maybe he listens to the flowing sound of water. One wonders though as our planet has a lot going on in it; affirmed recently by a news report I watched on sink holes in Florida and other places. I suppose one shouldn’t get too paranoid as digging is part of what dogs do. Maybe someone out there could shed more light on the subject. Thanks all!

  • Tanya P.

    I have a Winnie dog that is always digging to get the neighbors chickens. How do we stop that? She has already gotten one. She is well fed, played with, what do I do?

  • Ginny

    When a dog digs a hole to escape its not always because he's unhappy. Some dogs love to dig and love to have a little adventure. I have 3/4 acre lot in a woodsy area. My yard is completely fenced and our 3 dogs have the run of the place. The Border Collie mix and JRT mix just love to get out and see what the neighbors are up to!  For every hole we patch another appears. 

    The Border Collie has a serious digging problem (for me anyhow). He can easily dig 12 craters a day after his regular 4-10 mile hike in the morning. In his case he's trying to dig up every root and irrigation hose.  He and the JRT bring me a root to admire every couple hours

  • Michael

    I respect eveyones feelings in the comments and the thoughts of the author. However, I don't think that a dog digging holes is a healthy practice. To me it means the dog has a lot of pent up energy and frustration. If a dog is getting the proper amount of exercise, which means a nice long daily walk at the minimum, he should not be engaging in this destructive activity. Granted, it is a dogs natural instinct to dig. However, so is running free and jumping up on people when they are excited. These are two traits that everyone tries to train out of their dogs because the behaviour is destructive and can be dangerous. I would love to hear some conflicting thoughts.

  • My 2 Digger Pups

    I have two chihuahua / dachschand mix pups. They are more chi than dox. But the first time I let them loose in the dirt at about 3 months, the littlest of the two instantly took to paddling his little paws into the dirt. After a few occasions of doing it, he would then first get a little sprig of grass, leaf or twig in his mouth and then start digging. Never putting the item into the hole, but he'd work at it with focused diligence. Super cute. 

    I'm redoing my backyard (which isn't fenced) so when I'm out there, I rope them up in the dirt to hang out with me. And they both are now expert little diggers. They go straight to their existing excavation sites and start working on them, with their little rear ends poking up and their bodies going deeper. lol

    It never occurred to me to stop this behavior, which to me seems:

    A) good upper body exercise,

    B) to keep them mentally/physically occupied,

    C) harmless, and

    D) very natural (little twigs and leaves held in the mouth while digging? That's obviously instinct).

    In fact, I added in my plans to put grass back there, to leave a strip of just dirt for them to dig in. I read the comment in this section that someone's neighbor didn't want the dog digging the grass and saw no compromise, just chaining up. How sad. Compromise was the first thing I thought of.

  • Anonymous

    My yard has been the site of many a hole dug since we adopted our puppy, and most of the time this was no big deal to us. Recently, when we got into gardening, however, it started to become a nuisance to constantly re-plant our vegetables or flowers that had been dug up, or in some cases replace them entirely only to have them torn out again. I searched out the internet for taser and electric shock collars out of desperation to keep my dog from sabotaging our gardening efforts, but I never could commit to purchasing one of these because it seemed cruel to me. After reading this article, I can say that I am pleased that I did not go to that extreme. Our home is a loving one and the dog gets everything she could ask for. When I read that terriers were natural hunting dogs, it all clicked! Of course she liked to dig, and as the article said, there is no particular need to try and stop the dog from following natural instinct. Instead, after taking this to heart, we decided the best solution is simply to install a wire fence around the garden.

  • Anonymous

    I can see how this would be frustrating to some owners, but we must remember that some traits are in the breed. This is why people should spend more time researching the breed they buy. Another thing to remember is to consider the reason. Is your dog bored? Is there something they are trying to get away from, such as thunderstorms? Before getting angry at your dog, consider how to calm them or how to give them a way to exert the energy.

    If the dog is digging and ruining your furniture, there are things you can do to help. First of all, create a sleeping space for your pet to bed down in. Give them plenty of covers to dig in and also provide a crate for them to get into, when you're away and they get scared. This will help prevent your dog from scratching up your furniture.

    Remember, dogs will be dogs. That means that you may have to learn to put up with some habits. If your dog is a breed that was once bred to dig for rodents or foxes, it's going to be hard to break the habit. Be patient and try the best you can.

  • Anonymous

    I find it amazing that even inside dogs try to dig holes. It might be while they're burrowing down for a nap or while they're playing. Either way, it's incredibly cute to watch. I've never had an outdoor dog, so I didn't think a lot about dogs digging holes until I read this article. However, all of these reasons make perfect sense.

    I always thought that dogs might dig holes simply to escape or because it was in their nature. However, dogs can also be quite destructive when they're bored. This might lead to certain breeds digging a number of holes in the yard. I would think a great way to combat this is to make sure to play with your dog as much as possible and to provide them with a number of toys to play with while you're gone. You might even want to consider getting your dog a playmate.

    I would stress that dog owners not get too frustrated with this behavior. With the right amount of stimulus and training, this is a behavior that can be corrected. The worst thing you could do is get rid of your dog because of this bad habit. Take the time to properly train your dog or to hire someone that can.

  • Anonymous

    I consider myself to be someone who knows a pretty great deal about how dogs operate and their instinctual natures and so forth.  However, the instinct to dig is not something that came naturally to my thought process.  Now I know the several reasons why they may be doing it and one in particular jumped out at me.

    The point about dogs digging holes in yards because they do not have adequate cover to keep cool and escape from the sun.   I have seen yards with dogs that look like it is pock marked like the moon.  It is evident generally that the dogs live in the yard and are not allowed to go in doors.  Now I understand the plight that these dogs are enduring, even more so than it appeared before.
     
    I think it is terrible that some dogs get treated this way and the next time I see a yard like this I will be more apt to look at the conditions they are surviving in.  If I suspect serious neglect and abuse, I will be certain to call the authorities.

  • Anonymous

    My six year old Labrador Retriever used to be quite the digger in my back yard.  I swear every time I would let him out, he would excavate a few cubic yards of earth using only is forelegs.  As the one responsible for mowing the yard, you can understand why I tired of this behavior quickly.  It was like trying to navigate a mine field on my riding lawnmower and if you have ever dropped the wheel of a tractor into a foot-deep hole while the blades are spinning, you know this is something you never want to do again.

    So I started going out with my dog on a regular basis and observing him as he did his “business”.  At the very first sight of him starting to do a little digging, I would reprimand him thoroughly and send him back in the house without a treat.  If he did not make any attempt to move some earth, I would praise him to the point of excess and reward him with a snack from the kitchen pantry upon going in.  Within a few weeks, we were golden.

  • Anonymous

    I am glad to read this article. Dogs digging holes is almost something I take for granted, like the sky being blue and summer being hot. I never even really questioned why this happened until now. But it is really interesting. The first possibility of the dog trying to escape a presumably bad situation is a nearly heartbreaking explanation, and I sincerely hope that my dog does not feel that way.

    Although we definitely dote on our little pet, so it does not seem likely that that is why he digs, according what the article said. I have some anxiety about it now though! Anyway, since I never questioned my dog’s behavior of digging, I never did try to stop him from it, but I did send this article to my neighbor.

    My neighbor tried several things, including a collar with shocks, to try and stop the digging in the flower beds. The electric shocks themselves were a little disturbing to me, but now that I read that digging is not a bad behavior to be stopped, I think it is doubly harmful to the dog to do that. Hopefully they will take the article’s advice to heart!

  • Anonymous

    I had a dog once that would dig holes all over my yard.  Every time I turned around it seemed he had dug up another crater not more than a few feet from the first.  I thought he did it just for the fun of it as he spent most of his time indoors and we really didn’t have any shortage of other entertainment for him. 

    But, I knew that as a dog, he would respond to some training so rather than punish him for digging altogether, I simply designated an area for him to dig in.  If he dug elsewhere in the yard, I would punish him with a swat on the nose and a good scolding.  He was a good dog so this was usually enough to really bother him and he loved to please.

    If he dug in his “area” that I designated, he would get a treat and pat on the head.  Within a couple of weeks, he was good to go.  He had his excavation area and I had the majority of my yard back.

  • Anonymous

    My dog started digging holes this summer. I really didn't pay that much attention to it until I almost broke my ankle stepping into one of the holes. I did try some of the techniques listed here so that my dog still big but not be a danger to me or my family in the way of having holes that we might step in all over the yard. He actually did pretty well with it right up until we got pool.

    When the kids are outside, the dog wants to be outside. When the kids are in the pool, he wants to be right there near them, but that means being out in the sun. We have a soft sided pool, and he would dig a hole right next to the pool so that you could feel it from the inside of the pool. My original plan when we got the pool was to simply let grass grow around it. I ended up having to put landscaping blocks around the pool to prevent any damage from his digging. I'm actually thankful to the dog because it occurred to me that I had no way to mow the grass right up to the pool without potentially damaging it. Now I just have to try to keep him from digging up blocks.

  • Anonymous

    I really never considered the fact that dogs could be digging in their owner’s back yards for reasons of trying to get away, get to some kind of shelter, or find nutrients they are lacking in their diet.  It really bothers me that some dogs are kept in environs that are unsuitable for them to live in and they are expected to survive in spite of the people who are supposed to be acting as their guardians.

    My friend had a dog (female) that used to dig quite a bit but that was only in the woods behind our house and usually if not exclusively to bury bones.  We never really needed to curb that behavior because it was natural and off in a place where it didn’t disturb anything.  In fact, we liked that she did it because it kept her toenails worn down.

    At any rate, if I see a neighbor or anyone who has a dog in their back yard and there is an excessive amount of canine excavation going on, I will totally think differently than I did before about the safety of the animal.

  • Anonymous

    This is something I've thankfully never had to deal with. I have always had inside dogs and they have never tried to dig in the yard when they go outside. However, I have seen my chihuahua try to dig a hole in the chair and in her dog bed. I have always found it strange, but this article shed light on why she might be doing it.

    While it wasn't listed as a reason, I think my dog is very high-strung and sometimes digs to exert some of that energy. She will also go on running sprees around the coffee table for several minutes. In other words, she's an extremely energetic dog.

    One reason I found interesting was to obtain nutrients that the pet may be missing. It breaks my heart when people do not feed their pets the proper diet, but I had never considered that a dog may be able to gain nutrients from the dirt. I had always just assumed that dogs dug holes in order to escape their yard. I never knew there were so many different reasons. Of course, it does make sense that certain breeds, such as terriers, would dig due to their genetics.

  • Anonymous

    There is always a Reason for Strange Behavior like Digging Holes

    With both dogs and people, it's important to realize that all behavior, whether bad or good is stemming from something.  It could be stemming from an experience in the past, or a current condition.  I think it's so easy to just say something is bad or good, without considering the conditions the animal or the person was exposed to that led them to this behavior. 

    There's one thing that I have to say though, sometimes I honestly think that cats do things for no reason.  I don't mean to discriminate against cats, but I did have some as pets, and they did do things for what seemed like no reason, and I looked for it extensively but, I guess that is another article. 

    Cats are just not the pets for me I guess. 

    I mean sometimes I would see them do things because of a reason, but other times it's like they were just…well, actually, there was a reason now that I think about it.  It's like they were asserting dominance or superiority, so they did things that were deliberately "bad," or maybe disruptive is a better word?

  • Anonymous

    You know, it's funny.  Many of us humans assume that the dog is just burying a bone.  Some people just think that dogs are stupid.  Others just think that they like dirt.  

    The funny part is that none of these reasons are reasons that they are digging holes, lol.  Well, they might want to bury something, but other than that, they have perfectly valid, (practically human) reasons for their hole digging. 

    I mean who doesn't want a cool, shady spot in the summer?  Who doesn't try to hide from fearful situations?  It's also interesting that it can be part of mating as well.  I never heard of this and wonder why it's part of their mating ritual.  The seeking out minerals thing in the earth makes me smile because I remember when I was pregnant that the doctors were always asking me if I craved paper, dirt or coins and stuff because some pregnant girls are lacking minerals and seek to find it elsewhere. 

    Dogs are so much like us sometimes.  I think the hearing stuff underground thing is interesting too.  Dogs hear much more than us.

  • Anonymous

    One of the things that a lot of dog owners find curious about their pets (among many others) is how they seem to always want to dig holes. Is this behavior natural or instinctive and is it something that a dog owner should really worry about and actively try to discourage?

    The bottom line is that many vets say this behavior is fairly normal. Dogs have been known to dig holes for a number of reasons. They could be digging to try to get away from something they fear. Maybe they heard a loud noise or the arrival of a neighbor that they do not like? Sometimes a dog will dig because they hear noises under the ground. In this case they are simply curious and want to see what is under there.

    I do not think that this behavior is something to be worried a whole lot about. Of course, the exception would be if the dog is digging holes everywhere and just destroying the yard. In that case, you may want to try and take steps to help curb this behavior.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes a new dog owner may see their little pup digging holes all over the back yard and wonder what is going on. Most people just assume that the main reason a dog would dig a hole is to bury a bone (or to find it again). However, there are a number of reasons why your dog might be digging holes. All of these are natural, or at least instinctive and probably not anything that you should really be worried about…unless it is destroying your yard!

    One of the funny reasons is that the dog may be hearing or smelling something interesting in the ground. Digging is an attempt to get at whatever that might be. If the weather is hot, your dog might be digging a hole in order to escape the heat (creating a nice cool place where they can rest).

    It is also possible that they could be hungry. Not really hungry, but their body is telling them that they need more nutrients or minerals. Then they dig in the hope of finding these items in the ground.

  • Anonymous

    I was just at a relative's house when I saw something that made me mad enough to spit. The temperature here this week is somewhere between a kiln on full blast and the bowels of hell. When I stepped out on the back porch to have some nicotine to go with the humidity, I saw the neighbor dog. It was laying in a hole it had dug, but that was not the bad part. He was chained out there. As far as I am concerned, if you are going to own a dog it should not have to live on a chain.

    Naturally, I mentioned this to the neighbor, who was apparently admiring his lawn. I asked if the dog ever got to run loose. He pointed to the hole the dog was laying in and said that he would not let the dog loose because it digs holes like that and he did not want his lawn messed up. I mentioned some suggestions to keep the dog from digging or to at least have a specific place to dig, but it was a no go. Look, dogs dig. And they are not prisoners. Please let a dog be a dog or get yourself a stuffed animal.

  • Anonymous

    I was reading this article to see if there was a way I could at least limit the time my dog spends digging and instead, I got some information that was new to me. For instance, I had no idea that female dogs dig as part of their mating habits. Is this supposed to be a sort of "nesting" thing that they do in preparation for birth?

    I know that there are times when my dog digs because he is trying to cool himself off. Heck, when the power went out and I didn't have air conditioning, it even crossed my mind to go dig a hole and sit in it! But I also have noticed that he must be digging when he thinks there is something underground. And, considering that I almost broke my ankle stepping into some little critter's tunnel, I was actually kind of proud of my dog for trying to dig it up. I guess if you have a manicured lawn this might be a big deal. I am a country girl, so for me this is just a minor inconvenience. Let dogs be dogs if you can.

  • Anonymous

    One of the most common questions that dog owners seem to have is why do their dogs seem to dig holes for no apparent reason. Sometimes a dog will even try to dig a hole on a bed or on the floor or in another area where it is physically impossible.

    According to the author, there are a number of reasons for this behavior. It could be something as simple as they are trying to create a way to escape the yard. Maybe they are having separation or anxiety issues and this is how they are attempting to deal with them. Possibly, they could hear or smell bugs or other things that are underground and the hole digging is an attempt to find them.

    Many dog owners would like some simple steps to prevent this behavior. While there are things which may be done to discourage the behavior, owners should understand that this is a natural trait; even wild dogs exhibit this. The main things that can be done is just to simply ensure that your dog is well taken care of and healthy, with good food, updated shots, etc.

  • Anonymous

    The article does list some great ways to potentially stop digging behavior by changing diet or environment, but it also mentions that most digging is instinctual in nature. This is true. In the end, you may have to accept that digging will keep on happening no matter what you do. Sometimes, you can only limit where your dog digs, and not stop your dog altogether. However, it is always worth it to get an expert opinion. Consult with professional trainers and your vet if your dog has a digging problem. Many other owners have experienced similar problems, and there may be unique solutions based on your climate and breed. Sometimes you may just be able to reinforce your fence and hope. Sometimes there are other ways to control your dog via leashes, dog houses, and other traditional methods. If you are in the market for a dog, just keep in mind that habits that some breed have and try to pick a breed or mix that will not have digging problems…if you value your backyard. A little bit of forethought can go a long way.

  • Anonymous

    I give up. I am just going to resign myself to the fact that my Jack Russell Terrier is going to dig up the yard. I guess it's a good thing we have not had much rain because otherwise he might actually be digging up grass as well instead of this brown crunchy stuff that has taken over my yard. Do I sound frustrated? I certainly am.

    I mean, how exactly do you tell your insurance company to go ahead an up the rates because you know you are going to have to replace the lawnmower axle once or twice a year and you are pretty sure that somewhere along the line there is going to be a broken ankle or two..or three? He just won't quit doing it.

    I moved the picnic table to a shaded area even though I like sitting in the sun. He gets under the table and digs to cool off and be near me. I thought moving it to the shade would encourage him to lay beside it. I even buried treats in an area where he likes to go once in a while thinking he would dig them up over there. Am I really going to have to put concrete down so I can sit at the table without worrying about it?

  • Anonymous

    My dog is driving me nuts with his digging. I go outside to sit and enjoy the nice weather and the next thing I know my leg and feet are getting pelted with dirt as my dog digs like he is trying to break out of prison or something. It doesn't matter what I say to him, he just happily digs along then looks at me as if I am supposed to praise him. And, in truth, if it wasn't my yard being torn up or my feet being covered in dirt, I might be impressed with his skills.

    We have 5 acres in the country. That is more than enough room for him to find a place to dig. But no, he has to do it right by my feet. It's especially nice when I have company over and they too can have a pedi-dirt bath. Then again, it is good for discouraging those pesky guests that always want to stop by at the worst of times.

    I found somewhat of a cure for him. I recognize that he has a natural urge to dig and I don't want to suppress that. He is a good dog and I like letting him have the run of the place. So I just bought my son a shovel and pointed to an area where he can dig all he wants. Now the dog thinks he has a digging buddy and I have the potential to keep my legs clean.

  • Anonymous

    Digging holes is one of the worst kinds of habits for your dog to develop when you have to keep your pet in your yard. Often dogs can be discriminatory in their digging, so it is difficult to pinpoint a particular place and protect. Digging can be very destructive for your lawn, flower beds, sprinkler systems, plants, and many other landscaping features if it gets out of control. If worse comes to worse, your dog may dig underneath your fence and escape, too, leading to additional difficulties. And, as the article states, many types of digging are instinctual and very difficult to prevent altogether. This is one reason that using a separate dog pen or fenced off area can be so useful. You can keep this area clear of landscaping and can accept a certain amount of digging in it so both you and your dog can compromise. This is one reason why a dog pen should be put in an area where it is not easily seen from the street and does not interfere with your landscaping plans. If you do not have a dog pen, consider that it may be necessary if you get a digger.

  • Anonymous

    I love the part about dogs not being ill-intentioned. No, lol I never imagined my pup to be secretly to break the axle on my lawnmower.

    My dog constantly digs and judging from the smaller holes in my yard, I'd say he is probably seeking out the animals that made those. I know he isn't trying to escape because he has the run of the land. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    My problem with him digging is that when it's hot, he likes to do it under the picnic table I am sitting at. This usually results in my guests and me having our feet covered in dirt, not really the st conducive method for repeat visitors. However, I don't really yell at him or anything for digging unless he's under the table.

    I never thought of digging him a hole laced with buried treats. With all the wok I have to do around here, that just really sounds like more of the same..but a great idea. Since my son loves to dig holes though, this is a great project for him to work on. I think I'll save it for a day when he is upset and uses digging for relief.

  • Anonymous

    As we can see…dog like to dig, and of course, they dig a lot…but they need to be controlled and that can be done. Yes, they need to be trained to follow the owners command. The training process can be good if it starts from the early period of puppy. But, it’s never too late for training for the dog. Many of my friends, including me, found helpful tips on puppy training on making our dog obedient and playful.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for posting this article. I have been trying to get my dog to stop digging holes for a while now. Can you suggest some guidelines about how to take care of your pet dogs in the summer?

  • Anonymous

    Bailey digs and digs in the same spot and when she does the holes are deep. Now I’m clumsy as it is and I always step in the dang holes. I breed Boxers so maybe it is the mating reason listed since she is going into heat, but she’s never done this before. I tried rubbing her nose in it a little and she went right back and did it again. I need some help here. Why won’t she stop?

    • domino

      It could very well be because Bailey is in heat. You may have to just wait it out. You might also want to check to see if there’s anything in the hole she might by trying to dig out. If it’s an annoying place in the yard, try digging a hole somewhere else, and using treats to lure Bailey into digging there instead. Finally, if she continues this after giving birth to her puppies, you may want to look into her diet, etc. as mentioned in our article.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t stop jack from digging and chewing. Now I have him chained up good and tight. Is this the best way to handle this situation? Help me please.

    Thomas

    • domino

      Puppies are going to play, chew, dig and explore the new world they’re in. Inhibiting this behavior via negative reinforcement (ie. chaining him up) isn’t doing Jack any good, nor is it going to solve the problem.

      The key to dog training is positive reinforcement. Give them a reward or “good word” when they do something good. See the article above for suggestions as far as digging and chewing go.

      As a pet owner, you need to realize that dogs are going to dig and chew every now and then – it’s in their nature. You can buy Jack a chew toy and reward him when he uses that instead of chewing on things you’d rather he not chew on. The same goes for digging – give him alternative activity.

      As Jack grows older he may change his behavior. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to treat Jack with respect, especially if you adopt a puppy, even if you’re not entirely happy with the behavior pattern.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks to whomever wrote this article. It has helped me understand why my dog likes to dig!

  • Anonymous

    I’m on the opposite side. I wish my dog could dig holes around the yard, bite some shoes or something like that. She only lays on the bed all the day, and only gets outside to make piss and eat.

  • Anonymous

    There are many reasons why dog they may do so. It is in their nature and for the most part does not mean they need to stop. However, we know the value of yard, furniture, etc. Therefore, you should consider having your pet undergo puppy training at a young age.

    Dogs can learn quite a lot through social interaction and learning to be obedient. With a little help from the experts, they can also restrict her access to the garden. Unless you plan on actively supervising them. To compensate for the dog’s new, restricted life, take your pup outside and play with her lots of times during the day.

  • Anonymous

    Use dog poop! Place some of his own poop in the hole. For some reason, dogs will not dig where they have pooped. Be sure to use fresh poop.

    Lay chicken wire over the hole.

    Blow up balloons, put them in the holes then cover them back up with dirt. When the dog digs one up, POP! Hopefully this stops the digging once and for all

    Sprinkle Cayenne pepper or chili powder in the spots where your dogs likes to dig. Then when he/she tries to dig/sniff it gets a big nose full of it, very discouraging!

    If you catch your dog in the act of digging reprimand him!

    Some people suggest using mothballs in the holes but I wouldn’t recommend this as mothballs are poisonous. Naphthalene is the active ingredient found in mothballs. The most common signs of mothball ingestion include vomiting, anaemia, lethargy and seizures.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that dogs like to dig is no surprise, and there are many reasons why they may do so. It is in their nature and for the most part does not mean they need to stop. However, if you do value your yard, furniture, etc, then you should consider having your pet undergo puppy training at a young age. Dogs can learn quite a lot through the social interaction and learn to be obedient, with a little help from the experts.

  • Anonymous

    who ever wrote this has a good point.

  • Anonymous

    If your dog can’t access the yard, he can’t dig. Simple as that. If all else fails, and you REALLY don’t want your dog to dig, you can restrict his access to the garden unless he’s actively being supervised. To compensate for his new, restricted life, you’ll need to take him outside and play with him lots of times during the day.