Why Do Dogs Dig?

Why Do Dogs Dig
Photo by Chewy

As a dog owner, you may often experience the problem of your dog wreaking havoc on your yard, consequently making you curious as to why this happens.

However, you should not worry as you are not the only one experiencing this conundrum; most dog owners do face this problem.

Before discussing what to do to stop your dog from digging, let us first understand why your dog digs.

Reason Dogs Dig


Most dogs dig their way in the yard purely for entertainment reasons. It is particularly so if the dog is left for lengthy periods in the yard with no human interaction, other dogs to socialise with, and toys to play around with around the yard.

Therefore, if you are leaving with little or no choices of activity to do, they tend to channel their energies to other activities such as whining, barking, and digging for fun.

Doing What They See

It is a widespread occurrence, especially for dog owners who often tend to the garden with their hands.

If you love digging around the garden with your hands, your dog notices this and consequently imitates your digging action.

Hunting Prey

Dogs dig around the yard in search of burrowing insects or animals, with this being the most common reason as to why they dig around the yard.

Furthermore, the possibility your dog is digging particularly, for this reason, increases significantly when you notice your dog concentrating in just one specific section of your garden, digs in a systematic way, digs at tree roots, or digging at shrubs.

Valuable Belongings

Most of the time, dogs dig and bury possessions valuable to them such as toys, bones, and food to hide them before they later come to attend to them.

Moreover, dogs are known to bury something precious to them in one specific place before then coming up and digging it up to hide it in some other location.

Safe Haven

In some instances, dogs dig to create themselves a haven in situations whereby they feel it is necessary for them to do so.

For instance, during the scorching days in the summer, your dog might opt to dig a hole where they might lie on the cool dirt and escape from the intensely hot weather conditions.

Also, dogs dig to shield themselves from extreme cold weather frequently dominated by rainy and windy conditions.

Searching for Water

In the event your dog does not get enough water to quench its thirst, believe it or not, it will result in digging in an aim to search for water to satisfy its needs.


Instances, whereby your dog starts digging under or beside the fence of your property, is an indication that your dog is trying to find an escape route.

Digging with the aim to escape is very common if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, with the dog digging hoping to find an escape route that will lead it to its owner. Usually, this happens because your dog panics after being left alone.


Dogs often result in doing certain things to draw your attention. Therefore, when your dog starts digging when they know you are around and watching them, it is a perfect sign it is screaming out for attention.

Nevertheless, if your dog does the digging when you are not around, it may be due to something else.

Things You Should Not Do If Your Dog is Digging

After noticing your dog digging and you want to stop them from doing so, below are the things you must never do.


Either physically punishing or scolding your dog after finding them digging holes is one thing you must never do since it does not solve anything. Instead, all it does is make the dog fearful and develop anxiety, thus not helping in amending the dog’s behaviour.


The majority of dog owners make the mistake of taking revenge on their dogs after they are found digging holes, usually because of not knowing any better.

One of the most common kinds of punishments involves you having the dog sit next to the dog which they have dug for extended periods, an action that will not solve anything.

Filling the Holes with Water

Whenever the subject of dogs digging holes is talked about, one of the most disgusting methods some individuals deal with their dogs for digging holes in their yards comes to mind.

It involves these individuals taking the dogs to the dug holes, filling them with water followed by holding the head of the dog under the water for some time.

These people think by doing so, the dog will learn the digging holes is bad and is unwanted behaviour, thereby should stop.

However, the reality is your dog will not be able to comprehend the link between them digging the hole and you drowning them in the water.

Thus, all you will be doing is passing your dog through inhumane and sickening procedures, which only worsens the dog’s behavioural problems instead of solving them.

How to Stop Dogs from Digging


To prevent your dog from developing behaviour problems, which includes digging, you should ensure you give your dog an adequate amount of exercise daily.

Therefore, you must engage your dog in daily physical activities such as daily walks as well as mental stimulation which.

Subsequently, this leaves your dog with much fewer reasons to channel their energy into digging the yard since a tired dog will not even think about unnecessarily around the garden.

Moreover, if your dog still digs even after the daily exercises, you might not be giving the dog adequate amount of exercise as well as exercises that are challenging enough for the dog to be tired afterwards.

Carrying out daily exercises which are not challenging enough for the dog to tire eventually will result in the dog doing things like whining, barking, jumping, digging, and chewing.

All this will be to channel their extra energy into something else.


At all times, you must ensure your dog is seldom left alone and without something entertaining to engage it.

Therefore, when leaving your dog alone for some duration of time, provide you avail them with adequate toys for them to play around with and keep themselves entertained.


Always engage your dogs on a daily basis as well as spending enough time with your dog so that they still feel treasured, which consequently leaves the dog with no reason of digging around the yard trying to attract your attention.

Excellent ways to spend quality time together with your dog include mental games, exercise, training sessions, and physical games.

Repel Burrowing Insects and Animals

In case you suspect your yard has burrowing insects and animals, you should commence the use of products to repel them from your yard.

Nevertheless, you must be careful when using products that depend on poison and toxins to repel these burrowing insects and animals since these products can be just as harmful to your dog if they come in close contact with them.

Proper Shelter

You should provide your dog with appropriate shelter and hence prevent them from going digging around the yard trying to build themselves an ideal shelter on the yard.

Thus, always guarantee your dog has a proper doghouse that offers the dog protection from extreme weather conditions.

Additionally, contemplate on not always keeping your dog outside but instead regularly bringing them into the house if you have time.

Provide Water

You must ensure your dog easily has access to an adequate amount of water, be it in a bowl from which they drink or whatever. It prevents your dog from going digging around the yard in search of water whenever they feel thirsty, and water is not easily accessible to them.

Establish a Digging Spot

In case you cannot successfully stop your dog from digging, you should consider as a last resort setting aside a spot specific spot on the yard for the dog to dig, for instance, using a sandbox which is designed just for this.

For this method to work, you should continuously monitor your dog, checking if they are digging at that precise spot if so, giving them praise and treat.

However, if your dog digs a wrong place, you should intervene by saying a command such as “wrong spot” and immediately moving them to the site which is acceptable to dig.

Training Class

To stop your dog from carrying out certain behaviours, such as digging and amend them for the better, you should consider signing up your dog in an obedience training class offered by a certified professional dog trainer.

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