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Why Your Dog Digs

Updated on December 27, 2007

Dogs dig for a variety of reasons, but for whatever reason your dog is digging up your yard, it's a problem. Yes?

Here's a few questions that you should ask yourself in order to figure out why your dog is digging. This will help you figure out how to fix the problem...

  1. Where is he digging? Is your dog digging all over, in the shade, in the flower bed, by the fence, etc?
  2. When is he digging? When you're outside, left alone, after you've been outside, etc?


Is you rdog digging throughout the yard, in no particular place?

In this case, your dog could be bored, which could be supplemented with extra toys, more exercise, more affection, etc. Try running or walking with your dog around the block or at the park. This will help relieve some of his tension when he's in the yard. More exercise will cause him to tire out and not dig. You could play more games with him. Give him more overall affection.

You may, also, have a rodent problem. In this case, you would need to call an exterminator to get rid of the unwanted rodent(s).

Is your dog digging in the shade?

If so, then he is trying to find a cool spot to lay. You can provide him with a dog house, or even a shallow kiddy pool filled half way with water.

Is your dog digging by the fence?

In this case, if the dog is unneutered, he could be experiencing hormonal changes. He could have a whiff of a female dog in heat. In this case, you may want to invest in having the dog altered.

Otherwise, the dog could have the 'run-away' urge. You could try walking him around the block for a half an hour, minimum.

Is your dog digging in the flower bed?

If so, he's mimicing you. Did he see you plant a flower or digg up an existing flower? In this case, you can put the dog in the house or on the other side of the house while you are gardening. This way, he cannot see you. He will have less urge to dig in the garden, if he does not see you do so.

You can, also, provide the dog with a digging box of his own. You can do this in two ways. (1)You can purchase a child's sand box, fill it with play sand, and burry the dog's favorite toys, bones, and treats. This will show the dog this is where he's allowed to dig. (2) You can take some wood and block off a corner of the yard for him to dig, fill the blocked area with playsand, and again burry his favorite things. By providing the dog with an area to dig, he will be able to fulfill his digging urges, while not ruining the garden.


If your dog is digging when he's alone in the yard for long periods of time, then he's more than likely bored. You should provide him with toys. You should, also, provide him with plenty of exercise. Walking him at least a half and hour once a day, the optimum would be closer to an hour once a day, or even twice.

You may even want to get another dog, to provide the one company. In this case, just because you get another dog, DOES NOT mean that you can minimize the amount of time you spend with the dog(s). You still need to spend time with the dog(s), walking and exercising him.

Pictures can be found at


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      Oscar Jones 9 years ago

      Hi Whitney,

      All too often owners buy a dog and expect it to do their own thing. If only we can all educate them in to understanding how a dog's mind works we would see a lot more happy dogs in society and consequently much better behavior.

      Keep on educating, love the puppy picture by the way.