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Why Do Dogs Dig? How to Stop a Dog from Digging

Updated on May 15, 2011

Why Do Dogs Dig & How Do I Stop a Dog from Digging?

Dogs dig for a number of reasons, and digging is for many dogs, just a natural instinct and behavior. The problem is many dogs might have fun digging, but their owners surely do not like holes in their yards by any means. In some instances dog digging can become a very serious issue that must be addressed. Now the question is of how do I stop my dog from digging? Stopping a dog from digging doesn't necessarily have to be that difficult of a task to tackle. You just need to know how to train a dog not to dig in the correct fashion, but before you can do that, you have to understand why dogs dig in the first place.

tired dog pic
tired dog pic

Okay, So Why Does My Dog Dig Again?

- Dogs Dig to Bury

A common case to why dogs dig is simply to bury food or to hide bones or dog treats.

- Why Dogs Dig

Some dogs dig in order to hide items that are of importance to them.

Bedding & Shelter for Sleeping

A dog could actually dig a hole in the ground as a way of creating bedding or shelter for sleeping purposes.

- Boredom Dog Digging

Canine companions may occasionally find themselves digging from time to time because they have nothing else better to do, and the dog is just attempting to cure themselves from boredom with the solution of digging holes in the ground.

- The Smell of Something Magnificent

Since some dogs have incredible senses of smells, in particularly hounds, they're prone to digging because they smell something buried underground. Sometimes it's a legitimate item or perhaps even a dead animal. Other times what the dog is digging for could really just be nothing of any real true importance.

Sometimes canines will dig because they're trying to get to an animal underground. It's important to pay attention to what your dog is digging for incase it's an animal. This is such a vital rule to remember because a snake could end up hurting or killing your dog, as well as rodents that carry disease could end up hurting a canine.

- To Keep Cool

Sometimes dogs dig holes in the ground instinctively so that they can place themselves in it outside in order to cool their bodies down.

- Oh How the Terriers Dig and Boy Do They Dig a Lot!

When it comes to dogs digging, Terriers are probably the worst about this doggie behavior. This is because of the fact that many Terriers have been bred for a number of years as digging to be one of their prized qualities. Naturally, this has resulted in unnecessary canine digging habits.

- When Female Dogs Whelp

If I'm to use the correct term, right before bitches begin to whelp, they build nesting like shelters in the ground by digging up holes to place themselves in.


American Foxhound
American Foxhound

How Do I Stop a Dog From Digging?

There are a few ways to stop a dog from digging, but whatever dog training technique that you decide on using make sure that it applies to the reason why your pet is digging in the first place, whether it be out of boredom or instinct.

How to Stop a Dog from Digging - Boredom

If your dog is digging out of boredom, you'll need to find another activity that will keep your dog's attention while you're not able to provide the mental stimulation for the dog yourself. Sometimes just having your dog a strong bone can help keep your pooch occupied. Of course dog toys, balls, and things of that nature are helpful as well, but this depends on a canine's overall intelligence level. If your dog is on the very high level of dog intelligence, like Border Collies for example, will be far more difficult to keep occupied over long periods of time.

Sometimes learning how to distract your dog from digging in your yard or perhaps even neighbors yard isn't always the easiest thing to figure out how to fix. More times than not how to train a dog to stop digging requires tests of trial and error for what activities and combination of activities will keep your dog's mind and even body up to its breed or mix breed requirements.

-- How to Keep a Dog from Digging out of Instinct

If your dog digs instinctively then your best option will more than likely just be to set aside a small section or area of your yard for your dog's burying or digging habits and needs. Perhaps behind a tree towards the back of your yard will be the best place.

How you get your dog to learn to bury and dig in that section of the land is by either placing a treat or dog toy that your dog loves back in the same place for a period of time in your yard. Eventually, your dog will realize that, that area is the most "action packed" and best area for digging around the yard. Periodically you'll still maybe need to bury items or leave items for your dog to stay occupied in that land section, but he or she should learn that this area you set aside is where your dog should dig. Even praising your dog for digging in areas that you let it is a fantastic way to let your dog learn where it's acceptable to dig where you let it.

- You've Tried Everything, but You Just Can't Seem to Train a Dog to Stop Digging

If your yard is incredibly small or you have literally just nowhere that you can sacrifice for your dog digging around, it's probably going to be best for you to hire or find an experienced dog behavioral trainer whom can professionally deal with such issues, in usually a short and efficient period of time.

- Shelter Dog Digging - Stop Dogs from Digging

If your dog is digging bed and shelter like holes, you should perhaps supply your dog with bedding in a cooler shaded area in your yard if possible. Eventually your dog will realize that there's no need for her or him to dig any longer in order to make himself a shelter.


dog digging pic
dog digging pic


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    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      One of my dogs from long ago used to dig craters in the yard that were like sink holes. She seemed to really enjoy it.

    • Moms-Secret profile image


      7 years ago from Central Florida

      One of my little monsters has a digging issue. I am hoping that these tips help me. Thank you.

    • dog-breeding profile image


      7 years ago

      my dog is 9 years old and just recently started eating her pooh.bordem could be part of the probleme.i home cook her food.i put chicken hearts,carottes,peas,corn,greenbeans,potatoes and i missing something important,when i run out of fresh food i give ceasar and she does not eat her pooh,what to do what to do

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Will come in useful as we have a Husky and they seem to have a digging instinct.


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