How to Stop your Dog from Digging

Filed in Dog Training on September 29, 2019

Two dogs digging in the sandAre you researching how to stop your dog from digging?  If so, read this article.

Occasional digging through soil, for example, is not the end of the world.

However, continuous, destructive digging can be harmful to your property and should be discouraged early on to prevent further harm.

The longer you allow it to continue, the harder it will be to train your dog to stop this troublesome habit, so the time to take action is now! I even wrote a blog post on toys specifically for diggers to give them alternatives to digging up your garden.

But where to start? Well, the best idea is to pinpoint WHY your dog is feeling the need to dig in the first place.

Once you have figured this out, it will be far easier to find a remedy and get your garden back to normal and your stress levels down.

Dogs simply love to be outside, but owners can’t be there all the time to supervise.

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It’s often these alone times where your dog will start digging and the reasons can include:

Boredom or Anxiety

This is a common reason for all types of destructive behavior, including digging.

It’s a simple way for a bored dog to amuse himself and relieve some built up stress or anxiety.

It provides both mental and physical stimulation to fill gaps in their day.

Many dogs also suffer from separation anxiety, which is a common cause of destructive habits.

If they had it their way, they would be at our side most of the time since dogs love interaction.

Unfortunately we simply can’t be there every minute of every day, but we can do our best to make time apart more comfortable and fulfilling, so that they don’t resort to frantic digging.

Escape Attempts

If your dog digs near fences, walls or boundaries, they may be trying to escape and explore the surrounding areas.

Dogs can be very determined creatures when they want something, so digging for freedom could be the cause.

Also, is there another animal living nearby that  they are trying to get to?

A local cat or dog might be enough to encourage them to escape.


Is your dog too hot?

Dogs instinctively will dig when overheated, in order to create a nice cool spot to relax and lower their temperature.

The soil underneath is cooler and feels nice on a hot day if there isn’t an alternative spot for them to relax.

If you live in a country that is known for warmer weather, then this could certainly be a potential reason for your dogs digging habit.

Although too much heat is most common, don’t discount the cold.

Dogs also instinctively dig holes for shelter to protect from wind and cold breezes.

Many Northern breeds of dogs including Siberian Huskies, for example, are known for digging due to their genetic need to build dens for safety and comfort.

Burying Things

It’s natural for many dogs to bury their belongings to keep them safe.

Things like toys and chews are the main culprits, so it’s possible that your dog is simply digging holes to hide their precious stuff.


Has your dog picked up the scent of a potential prey?

Many gardens and yards are frequented by a number of different critters including squirrels, rabbits and mice.

If your dog is from a breed normally bred for hunting (such as Terriers), then the urge to hunt will be very strong as it’s literally in their DNA to do so.

Dogs also often believe they are doing you a favor by trying to rid your property of such visitors.

Excess Energy

Dogs are intelligent creatures and many were bred to perform specific jobs, tasks and duties.

Terriers and Dachshunds, for example, are bred to dig and burrow and are built perfectly to do just that.

However, without much physical activity, they will simply build up excess energy, which must be released one way or the other and digging is a great way for them to do this.

Puppies are also more likely to dig, due to their age and abundance of energy and enthusiasm.

Luckily though with dedication and perseverance, most dogs can be trained to stop digging.

Remedies On How To Stop Your Dog from Digging

We’ve looked at some potential reasons why your dog might be digging, so now let’s look at some potential remedies on how to stop your dog from digging.

By determining the reasons for your dog’s digging. it can help you develop a strategy on how to stop your dog from digging permanently.

1. Spend More Quality Time With Your Dog

Dogs simply love attention and it’s often a simple way to stop the digging.

Spending quality time together will drastically relieve boredom and provide a great time to bond.

Try and dedicate some special time each day where your dog can focus on you and not digging up the garden.

You can schedule this time at home, but another idea is to take them with you when you run errands such as picking up the kids, posting some letters, grabbing food for dinner or anything
else you can think of.

Routine chores for us are like mini adventures for them.

Weekends are a great time to plan outdoor activities like hiking, long walks, bike riding or a family trip to the park.

Sometimes all a dog needs is his human, a ball and some space to run.

2. Routine Exercise

If you have a high energy dog or puppy, then routine exercise is an absolute must to get rid of that pent up energy that leads excessive digging.

Your flower beds will thank you for it.

Take some time each day for a nice walk or jog with your dog to burn off some energy, keep them (and you) fit and help your dog stay healthy.

Most behavioral problems occur in dogs who are not releasing their energy and then engage in other less positive activities like barking, chewing and digging.

Make daily exercise a priority for you and your dog and watch many behavioral issues quickly start fading away.

3. Doggy Entertainment

Make sure your dog is too busy to dig.

Provide your dog with a selection of brain teasing toys that will keep them occupied while you are away.

There are many to choose from. For example, some toys incorporate hidden treats to keep them focused and dedicated to their task.

There are even more interactive type dog toys that throw balls automatically or respond to your dog’s actions.

Mental stimulation is very important (just as important as physical stimulation), but is an area often overlooked by dog owners.

Purchase a few of these toys and see which type your dog responds positively towards.

4. Create Some Shade

As discussed earlier, if your dog spends a lot of time outside, their digging could be due to feeling too hot.

If you suspect this is the cause, then create a shady part of your garden for your dog to relax and cool off.

This will eliminate the reason to dig up your garden and provide them with a comfortable space to enjoy during the warmer hours.

You could put up a small awning or tarp, along with a blanket and water bowl for added comfort.

Dog houses are also an option to keep them out of the direct sun or you can even purchase a specific pop up elevated doggy sunshade bed.

A dog house can also protect against the cold and rain if this is more the issue for you.

In that case, you can provide a cozy blanket and some water, so that your dog will enjoy retreating there for some shelter.

5. A Dedicated Digging Area

You can create a dedicated digging area where your dog can dig until his hearts content such as a sandbox.

A specific dog sandbox might be just what your dog needs to get the digging out of their system.

You might need to spend some time training them with positive reinforcement to dig only there, but it’ll be worth it.

The sand box could be a freestanding one or a simple pit in the corner of the garden.

6. Add Some Obstacles

If you are concerned about your dog digging under a fence, wall or boundary, then one option (while you’re working on a remedy for the digging) is to bury some rocks around the edges to make it difficult for them to dig there.

This might bring you some peace of mind, while you determine the reasons why your dog is so obsessed with digging.

It’s also worth ensuring that fences are dug down at least one to two feet to lower the risk of your dog burrowing underneath them.

Sometimes some simple plastic chicken wire can be incorporated at the base of the fence (use plastic to avoid your dog injuring themselves) as added protection from them escaping.


Once you determine why your dog is digging, try implementing the appropriate strategy and dedicate time each day to working towards solving the problem.

Many of these remedies will benefit both of you so stay positive, be consistent and enjoy the process.

I hope this article gave you a better understanding on how to stop your dog from digging.

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