How to Stop Dogs from Digging

How to Stop Dogs from Digging

Dog digging can be a bothersome behavior for many pet owners around us. Digging can be very troublesome for you because it can turn a well-manicured garden into a lunar landscape overnight. If you are a dog owner then you know that dog digging is a natural instinct for dogs, however it often poses a challenge for those looking to maintain their yard immaculate.

In this article, we will be exploring numerous methods on how to stop dogs from digging holes in your garden. We will also shed light on the root causes of digging and explore practical and humane ways to curb this behavior.

What Pet Owners think

a woman thinking ways to prevent

Some pet owners are trying to get to know the strange and random behavior of their dogs. Others are desperately trying to save their clean and fresh garden from digging. While there are many reasons why your dog might be digging, getting to know the basics of why dog dig is the first step in managing the habit.

Determining the factors behind your dog`s digging habit and putting effective strategies in place to redirect this behavior can be the key to preserving your outdoor space while keeping your pet happy and comfortable.

Related Article: How to Stop Dogs from Licking Paws

Why Dogs Do Digging

In this section, we will explore why our dog is digging your clean and fresh yard. If you want to stop the dog from digging then it is important to know why your dog is digging. This is the first step in understanding this behavior and only then can you manage this behavior.

1. Digging by Dogs to Avoid Boredom

In many modern homes around us, when everyone is busy in their jobs dogs are left with nothing to do. When your dog is alone in home with no one on the site, they often get bored and thus always seek an activity to relieve their boredom and burn extra calorie. When dogs are left unattended at home, digging become their favorite past time. They will also start to dig when they find something new.

a bored dog

When some guests arrive or if you get something for your dog then they start running and start digging. This occurs when they are just passionate about anything to do. If you are a dog owner then you should know that some dogs have real problems with boredom. They always need to do something. Therefore, when there is nothing to do, they start digging to get away with boredom.

2. Digging to Cool Off

You must have noticed that during summer season we try to furnish our homes and manicure our gardens. We try to make our yards fresh and clean. Unfortunately, in warm conditions your dog resort to natural cooling mechanism. When the days become warm, dogs naturally seek out cool places to rest to cope with the warm environment. Dogs do not sweat to cool itself like humans do.

Instead they start panting. But panting during hot weather might not be enough for your dog. Therefore, they go out and start digging as a natural cooling mechanism. In warm climate, dogs resort to digging as a natural cooling phenomenon to seek solace in the coolness under the earth surface.

3. Digging by Dogs to Escape

If you are a dog owner then it is important to understand whether your dog have a high prey drive or not. Some dogs tries to escape and get the freedom. Just like humans they are also curious in finding ways to get freedom and explore the world. Digging underneath a fence is an easy way for dog to get freedom from your yard. Some dogs are very quick to figure out how to escape the fence. It is also possible that your dog is curious and simply wants to explore or see something interesting and want to follow.

a dog is under threat

There may be another dog in your next door neighbor`s yard and thus become a reason for your dog to escape. There are breeds like Siberian Huskies or any scent hounds that have a high prey drive and are likely to seek a way out of a yard. if you are a dog owner and you come to know that the dog is figuring out to escape by digging beneath the fence then you need to address this problem as soon as possible because this could be very dangerous for the survival of your dog.

4. Digging to Find Prey

You must know that dogs are attracted to find and catch prey. Domesticated dogs often do not rely on hunting for survival but their instincts to seek and catch prey is deeply ingrained in them. Dog`s hearing and smell is so strong that when they come across a molehill or smell a rodent, rabbit or insect, they immediately run and start digging. They will try to dig and catch it. While many dogs would not do this but still it is one of the reason why dogs engage in digging.

5. Digging to `Cache` items

Just as humans attempt to save excess food or prized possessions as a way to secure resources for times when food was scarce. Similarly, some dogs want to save precious chews for later by digging hole and hide them in. this behavior of dogs enabled them to create hidden reserves of food, bones or other valuable items for their future use.

dog digging to hide reserves of food for later times

While some dogs may dig and bury valuable items simply because they find them enjoyable or precious. However, caching food or chews and burying them may also be a way of marking their own territory.

By burying precious possessions, they leave their scent and smell which acts as a sort of territorial marker. In this way they communicates to other animals that the area is claimed. If you are a pet owner, burying food items by the dog may be the last thing you wish. Burying food items in the yard may attract other pests thus leaving your yard a messy place.

6. Instinctual Behaviour Causes Dog’s Digging

If you are a pet owner then you must know that digging is a deeply ingrained instinct in many dogs’ breeds. This behavior has been transferred to them from their ancestors, such as wolves. They dug dens for shelter, protection, and raising their young. This instinct may be dormant in domesticated dogs but it is still there within them.

7. Digging for Fun

Dogs might dig for fun as a form of enjoyment and entertainment. It is important to note down that digging can be inherently pleasurable and instinctual activity for many dogs, particularly breeds that have been historically bred for activities like hunting, burrowing, or excavation. Additionally, digging offers physical and mental stimulation allowing dogs to release excess energy and relieve the boredom.

How to stop dogs from digging – Famous Practices

After determining the reasons why your dog is digging then it is easy to manage their behavior and take steps to make the dog busy in doing something else. Following is a list of chronological steps that you need to take to stop your dog from digging.

1. Block off Key Places to Stop Dogs from Digging

If you've got vegetation or vegetables which you want to shield from any digging, create clean barriers using decorative fencing, rocks, or raised planters. These facilities clearly differentiate those regions and thus discourage your dog from venturing into them. However, for determined dogs, you may need to install everlasting and taller fencing around these regions.

shielding or covering your important flower

In extreme cases, you can make these regions less attractive for your dog by using pet-deterrents. Things like citrus peels, vinegar, or repellent sprays have scents that puppies dislike might prove beneficial for you in this regard. However, it is essential to understand that using pet-deterrents may not prove beneficial in every case because when the dog is determined they don’t care about fences or deterrents.

2. Don’t Leave your Dog Unsupervised

If you are really serious to stop your dog from digging your yard then the first step you need to take is to not leave the pet unsupervised outside. Accompanying pet in your yard will help you to keep an eye on the pet. It will also help you spend some time to get refreshed. If your dog starts digging a place you will be there to redirect their behavior.

must engage a guy for supervision don't leave dog alone

You can redirect the pet to do something else. This will keep the pet busy and relaxed. You can also ask your dog to run in the yard to help in relieving the excess energy. Remember we have discussed that dog dig because they get bored in the first place. If you are there to supervise then you can keep your dog busy by doing something meaningful thus keeping the dog fresh and relaxed.

3. Build your Dog a Dig Pit

Till now, in our discussion we have learned that digging is one of the instinctual behavior of dog that they have received from their ancestors. Digging is one of the natural behavior that every dog possess. Therefore, we need to be very humane to our pets. Thus fulfilling their basic needs and instincts should be our priority. Preventing dogs from digging seems a daunting task therefore in order to stop your dog from digging, you need to create a dig pit for your pet in an area in your yard. In this way dog can be busy in that artificial dig pit.

4. Increase Exercise to Stop Dogs from Digging

Digging may not be a favorite thing for your pet but when there is nothing else to do then digging becomes a priority. When there is nothing to do every organism gets bored. Thus if you are a pet owner, make sure that your dog is involved in physical activity and mental activity each day. Physical exercise and mental activity is really essential for dogs.

Your pets start digging in the absence of any physical exertion. Prepare a schedule for yourself and make out some time for your dog. In that past time, prepare your dog for any physical activity. You can make the pet busy in a fetching game or a running game. In this way your dog will be having a physical and mental activity. Consequently, this will lead the dog to other healthy activities rather than digging.

5. Provide Cool Area to the Dogs for Rest

provide arrange a cool place where dog can rest than finding some digging

As we have discussed above that digging is a natural phenomenon to counter warm climates. When the summer is on the peak, dogs chose a place and start digging as a natural cooling mechanism. They hide in the cool dig beneath the earth surface. Thus to stop dogs from digging, you need to chose a better place in the corner of your garden. Make a dig for your dog in that area. Allow your dog to that area. This will allow your dog cool in warm weathers thus preventing any other digging. In this way you can also keep your garden pristine.

6. Secure your Fence Line

We discussed earlier that your dog may dig up the area beneath the fence to escape or catch a prey. The observational, hear and smell capability of dogs are very efficient and they find ways to cross your fence. If you are facing this problem then you need to take this seriously because this might be dangerous for your dog`s survival.

Your dog may get hurt or become a prey to other animals. Thus, if you are a pet owner, then you must secure your fence line. Mark the area of the fence. Now cover that area by putting hard rocks or stones around that area. The materials must be hard like stones because the hard surface would stop dogs from digging. Dogs can dig only areas that are muddy when they are faced with hard surface they simply cannot do that. If your pet has dug along the whole fence line then you need to look into all those areas where dog have shown interest in digging. Mark that area carefully.

In cases of Less Digging

If there are less digging in the area then you can just put hard materials like stones in the area. But some dogs are digging along the whole fence line. If you are faced with such dilemma then you have to cover the whole area by installing an in-ground barrier. In-ground barrier is essential due to its variety of function. It may act as a permanent fence line and your dog cannot escape this. Secondly, it will protect your dog from other dogs or animals.

7. Addressing pests and other rodents

You have learnt in the previous section that dog can smell pests and rodents in the yard. Chasing and catching rodents become your dog first choice. This behavior is instinctual in dogs as they chase and catch rodents. Once you notice that your yard has rodents due to which your dog dig different areas of the garden.

Then the first thing you need to do is to address rodents and pests. Once you get away with pests dog will automatically slow down digging. You can use pests’ traps or pests’ deterrents in order to stop your dog from digging holes in your pristine garden.

8. Buy dog`s toy to Engage Dogs to avoid Digging

One of the prominent reason of dog digging is that when dogs are alone at home they are left with nothing to do. When they get bored they run and dig the garden. So if you are a pet owner, you can think of many ways to that from happening. You can use several things to keep the dog busy. Follow this simple step and you will notice visible difference in your dog`s behavior.

buy toys for dog and provide so it will not get bored

In order to execute the task, visit a supermarket or a pet store and buy some toys for your dog. Set these toys in a specific area inside or in the garden for your dog. Once your dog knows about the toys, he will start running around the toys. After some time, you will notice that the dog has been playing all along with the toys by trying different things. Just like kids, when they see toys they play with it and playing with toys makes a child happy. After some days you will notice that digging behavior has been changed slightly due to toys.

9. Distract your Dog from Digging

Mostly dogs start digging when they have nothing else to do. They get bored and hence start digging. Next time you see your dog digging, distract your dog at that moment. You can follow multiple things to distract your dog from digging. For instance, try fetching game. Command your dog to fetch something for. Then throw it away again and repeat the command.

In this process, there is a physical activity as well as exertion involved. And also this is the thing that dogs really enjoy. They find fun in these distractions. Additionally, you can also play a game with your dog. You can trick your dog into a game. The dogs find tricky things really enjoyable. They will be doing that tricks again and again to perform the game. In this way you can keep your dog busy in doing something else that is productive and good for the health of your dog.

10. Get Rid of Sandy Soil to Prevent Dog’s Digging

Till now, you have learnt that digging is an instinctual behavior in dog and your dog won`t stop digging. It is a natural cooling or defense mechanism for them. But what you can do is to look into your garden or yard and see if that has sandy or soft soil. If your garden or yard is sandy then it is possible that your dog will dig it whenever there is a chance.

Your pet will always find a way to start digging holes for a variety of reasons. The best thing you can do is to replace the soft soil with hard materials. For example, you can do concretization of your yard to make it difficult to dig.

11. Plant Thorny Plants in Your Yard

you are planting thorny plants

A dog gets frightened when they are prickled by any thorny plant in the way. You can stop your dog from digging the yard if you plant some thorny plants over there. Once your dog gets prickled then he will not follow the step. Dogs will get to know that digging means hurting yourself by these plants. It is an easy thing to do to stop dogs from digging.


As you can see dog digging can be a troublesome behavior but dogs dig for a variety of reason. Before addressing dog digging you need to understand the behavior of the dogs and the root causes of why dogs dig in the first place. After a thorough understanding, you can employ tricks and techniques to stop dog from digging.

In this article, we have explained the root causes of digging followed by how to stop dogs from digging holes in your pristine garden. The root causes are explained in detail by drawing insight from multiple research sources. Solutions are presented to stop your dogs from digging in a clear and concise way.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i stop my dogs from digging holes?

First of all try to understand why your dog digs in the first place. Mostly dogs start digging when they have nothing left to do. To get away with the boredom they start digging grounds. Now you can stop your dog from digging by following multiple tricks. One easy trick is to keep your dog busy with toys. Buy some pet toys from the market and put it in the crate or dog house. Your dog will start to play with these toys and hence there will be no time left to dig.

What scents stops dogs from digging?

Vinegar and citrus oil scents are two things that are use d to stop dogs from digging. Before spraying these things you need to be mindful that these things might cause eye irritation in your dogs. Therefore, be very careful and cautious while spraying these scents. After all you would not want your dog to get irritated.

Does vinegar stop dogs from digging?

Yes, vinegar can stop dog from digging. Take vinegar and make a solution with water. Put them in a spray bottle. Spray it in your yard to repel the dog. Vinegar`s scent is intense and it will help deter your dog. Keep in mind that this method does not apply to all dogs. Some dogs might still be digging in the presence of vinegar`s scent.

How do I fix my dog from digging in the yard?

If you are serious about fixing your dog from digging then there are several things you can follow. First of all, spend more time with your dog. Take your dog on a walk in this way your dog will have physical activity throughout the footpath or in a park. Make sure your dog spend more time inside home and when outside make sure they have a good crate or dog house. Build an artificial dig pit for your dog to keep them cool.

Katherine Tessa

Devoted pet enthusiast narrating heartwarming tales of fur companions, sharing insights on pet care, and celebrating the joy and bond of pet ownership.

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