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Three Ways To Teach a Dog to Stop Digging

Updated on February 12, 2018
No Digging!
No Digging! | Source

Many dogs start this digging activity because this they are bored, and this is a way of keeping themselves entertained. A dog owner should not be worried about always entertaining their dog so that holes are not in the yard. Here are several tips to keep a dog from digging.

Watch then Scold

The best time to correct animal behavior is when the behavior is happening. So the best solution may be to watch your dog outside and correct them the instant they start to dig. Being consistent in this correction is crucial. This consistency is the hardest part of owning a dog, especially when you don't want to spend all your time watching your new pup. Once your dog understands this activity is not allowed, they should begin to ease up on this destructive behavior. (Though they need reminders from time to time)

Chicken Wire

Some areas are more prone than others for doggy digging. For these areas, it may serve to plant chicken wire an inch below the surface. This wire prevents the dog from digging down deeper as the digging sensation changes once they hit the wire. Instead of each paw being a shovel, the nails then get caught in the chicken wire. The paw is not hurt, but it serves to show that this is not a place to be digging. The chicken wire doesn't need to be secured to anything, as dirt will keep it in place. However, if you have little children this may not be the best solution. (Some children like to dig more than dogs!)

Bricks and Rocks

If the dog keeps digging holes underneath a fence, the best solution may be to outline the property with bricks or large rocks to prevent digging. The last thing a pet owner wants is an escaped animal that has been gone for several hours before the owner notices. Preventing an escape through digging is essential to keeping a pet safe. (I also put an extra latch on my gate, just in case) Some areas are not prone to chicken wire, so putting rocks and other materials may help prevent this.

Dog Poop

I have heard of putting a piece of poop where they were digging. This may work, though I have yet to try it. I like to keep the yard as free of dog poop as possible and the idea of keeping dog poop on a spot indefinitely is not something I want to do. Furthermore, that may require putting dog poop there regularly? No thank you. Or perhaps putting dog poop in a flower bed or other sensitive spot. Nope. However, this particular trick may work for your situation.


There are but a few simple methods to prevent the dog from digging in the yard. The best way to control a dog would be to make sure they get the exercise and mental stimulation needed every day. A worn out dog will be remarkably well behaved.

Puppy Having Fun Outside

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What do you believe the best method to be?

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Reasons a dog may dig under a fence to escape:

  • Social isolation (no one to play with)

Being bored is probably the biggest cause of all dog bad behavior. If a dog is well entertained and fed, they are normally a great delight to be around.

  • Sexual Roaming

I have heard of dogs in heat breaking out to mate. Furthermore, if a neighbor dog is in heat, a male dog may be driven crazy.

  • Fears to things like loud noises

Major holidays like the 4th of July can really scare a dog. When a dog is scared, their fight or flight instinct kicks in and they just want to get away. If a major event is about to happen, make sure to anticipate your dogs feelings and put them in a safe spot for the evening.

  • Separation Anxiety

This is much like boredom, but a shade different. Instead of being bored, they want to reunite with their pack members. Being in a pack means strength, being alone means that they could be easily picked off. This separation anxiety is a way of self preservation.

Learn more on the Human Society's website.

© 2014 James Livingood

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    • daxamite profile imageAUTHOR

      James Livingood 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Wow! I am surprised the dog digs the rocks out of the way. I know it's also possible to go to Home Depot and just buy a few stones to place around the fence line. Perhaps placing those stones a couple inches under the ground so that they are harder to dig up?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      6 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      One of the dogs I train digs whenever the owners leave her out at night, mostly from boredom. They are pouring concrete along the wall where she digs, as this is the only way to keep her from going under the fence. Big rocks and bricks would have been easier, but she manages to get these out of the way.

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