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Stop Your Dog from Digging Under the Fence

Updated on January 16, 2015

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The two key reasons for a dog digging are that he is too hot or too cold. When your dog digs a hole and lies in it, his temperature can be self-regulated. As dogs are unable to remove or add layers, they have to find other methods to give them relief from the weather conditions.

Boredom may be another reason for your dog digging. Dogs can become very bored and restless when their owner is away for an extended period of time. A dog that is left alone will find ways to entertain himself. Unfortunately, this may be digging!

In order to stop dogs digging, it will be necessary to channel their behavior in other directions. Sometimes all you need to do is provide him with a safe digging area where there will be no repercussions. Certain dog breeds are inherently prone to digging. These breeds will require extra patience from you in order to stop their digging behavior.

The following tips should help to stop dogs from digging up your yard:

  1. Put an unpleasant "present" in the hole dug by your dog. Dogs often start to dig, leave the hole for a while, then return later to resume the digging. Once your dog has left the hole, you should place the "surprise" in the hole. Water sprayed with bitter apple is one suggestion (this is available at pet stores).

  2. Another way to discourage your dog from digging is by putting garden waste in the holes. Dogs prefer to dig in "clean" dirt. Add dead leaves, sticks, rocks, and mulch to the hole and cover it with a thin layer of soil. When your dog resumes his digging and discovers these undesirables in his hole, it is likely that he will stop digging. If you find that this doesn't work, try filling the hole and spraying it with bitter apple. Most dogs will cease to dig in that spot as they dislike the smell.

  3. Provide your dog with a special area where he can safely dig without repercussions. Digging is natural for dogs. It may take some time to train your dog to restrict his digging to that spot but it can be done. Stop your dog from digging in your back yard by giving him his own spot where he is free to dig holes.

    This could be a sandbox or you could cordon off an area that is not landscaped. If you bury a few dog treats that your dog can find, this will teach him that he is free to dig in that spot. Your dog may need to be given additional encouragement if you have already reprimanded him for digging. As soon as he understands that digging in that area is permitted, he will be an overjoyed dog.

  4. When your dog has been provided with his own designated spot for digging, you will still need to keep things interesting for him. Every so often, you should bury a toy or treat for him to find. Once a dog becomes bored with digging up the same spot, he may feel that a different part of your garden seems more enticing.

    Periodically, the dirt or sand in your dog's designated digging spot should be replaced. Dogs like fresh soil better than hard earth. As well, your dog will sometimes like to dig under the fence rather than in his own digging patch. Sprinkle your flowerbeds with animal essence, which is used by hunters to attract animals. Dogs may stop digging when they smell other animals.

This will stop your dog from digging anywhere other than his own digging patch. Dogs are not being mean when they dig under your fence as this is instinctive behavior for them.

For more information on how to stop your dog from digging, I recommend that you check out: Stop Dogs from Digging.

Sample Lesson


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    • patrickgreene27 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great tips! Luckily, there's plenty of areas for my dog to dig since he has over a 10 acre area to roam. I didn't think I could get a dog containment system for a huge area until Havahart came out with their Radial-Shape Wireless Dog Fence.

      Here's the wireless fence I'm talking about:


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