How To Stop A Dog From Digging Holes Under Fences, In Bed, In Yard & More – Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

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Two Rhodesian ridgebacks in a park, playing and digging a hole in the ground

Why do dogs dig holes? Is your yard starting to look like a minefield? It’s important to know that your dog isn’t intentionally trying to be malicious and ruin your landscaping. Instead of getting upset with your dog, consider why your dog may be digging holes in your backyard. Is it bad for dogs to dig holes? Here are some common reasons your dog might dig holes in your yard and how to stop a dog from digging.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

Digging can be a normal dog trait, just like barking and sniffing. However, there could be more purpose behind your dog’s digging. Below are some reasons why your dog is digging holes in your yard.

  • Out of boredom
  • Lacking adequate exercise (find out how much exercise dogs need)
  • Attempting to escape the yard because they’re scared (perhaps from a thunderstorm) or they’re trying to get to something outside of the yard
  • Anxiety and separation issues arose from their general lifestyle, not necessarily from the condition of the backyard
  • Hearing the sounds of underground creatures and bugs
  • Smelling something buried in the ground
  • Escaping the summer heat
  • Lacking minerals in their diet
  • Stashing away food or items of shelter
  • Natural mating behavior for females
  • It’s in their breed (e.g., Terriers have had digging bred into them to help catch prey)
  • Creating a comfortable place to rest

How To Stop A Dog From Digging Holes

Depending on the reason, you need to take different approaches to get your dog to stop digging holes in your yard. Consider trying some of these methods to get your dog to stop digging holes in your yard.

  • Designate a “dig spot” and bury treats and toys underground and loosen the soil to entice your dog to only dig in that area
  • Give your dog adequate exercise by going for walks/runs and playing with toys
  • Introduce brain training games to keep them mentally stimulated
  • Ensure your dog is eating a well-balanced diet (find the best dog food for your pup)
  • Bring your dog inside when it’s too hot or cold outside
  • Try to avoid letting your dog outside during thunderstorms, fireworks, or other times when your dog may be more likely to get scared (if your dog needs to go out, consider putting the leash on)

And remember, digging is in your dog’s behavior, so there may not be an underlying cause for it besides “your dog is a dog.”

Tips From A Trainer On How To Stop Dogs From Digging (Video)

This quick three-minute video has more tips about why dogs dig and how to get a dog to stop digging. One of the tips mentioned is to use deer-repellent crystals.

How To Keep Dogs From Digging Under Fences

Here are some ideas to keep your dog in your yard and how to stop a dog digging under the fence specifically.

  • Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence and cover it with mulch or river rock
  • Partially bury larger rocks along the bottom of the fence line
  • Anchor the bottom of a chain-link fence with landscape staples
  • Use a wireless fence to prevent your dog from being interested in approaching the fence line

Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Beds?

Wondering why dogs scratch their beds? Dogs like to dig in their beds and do circles to chase away any unwanted pests. Before dogs were domesticated, they’d lie down in the tall grass and stomp around to create safety and comfort. This meant they wanted to scare off any rodents, snakes, etc., to ensure the space was only theirs.

Digging and circling is also a way for them to mark their area with their paws’ scent. A dog’s paws have sweat glands that help mark their resting place with their scent.

This natural burrowing dog bed provides a great way for your dog to “dig” the perfect space in its bed without wrecking it. Our dogs have tried this product out and truly adore it.

If your dog’s bed is destroyed from all the digging, consider one of these dog beds or an elevated dog bed as a replacement.

Why Do Dogs Dig In Carpets?

Similar to the answer above, dogs dig in carpets to find a comfortable place to lie down. They’re trying to create a safe place to rest and don’t care too much about the integrity of your home’s flooring.

Other Odd Dog Behaviors

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. These habits can range from dogs eating poop, dogs rolling in poop, and dogs eating dirt.

If you’re struggling to prevent unwanted behavior in your dog, consider getting help from a professional dog trainer or speaking with your vet about your dog’s actions. Your dog may have a digestive disease or a medical disorder that requires prompt, professional treatment.

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