Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

Digging brings so much joy to so many dogs, but why do dogs start this type of hole digging behavior in the first place?

Depending on the reason, you will need to employ various measures to prevent your dog from digging in the yard.

While this may appear to be a straightforward solution, understanding why your dog digs is the first step in protecting your landscape.

Whether your dog is digging a hole in the yard or an escape route under a fence, it’s crucial to figure out why your dog is digging before you judge it’s behavior.

Reasons for Dog Digging

It’s Written in Their DNA

Digging is a dog’s natural instinct. While every dog has this instinct in some way or another, certain breeds have a stronger drive to dig than others.

Several dog breeds were bred expressly for their scavenging and digging ability, because they were specialists at chasing small rodents into burrows.

Dogs’ proclivity for digging holes is largely due to the influence of humans. We were able to produce burrowing pros by carefully breeding the pups who were great diggers.

As a result, most of those breeds in your household still have a strong desire to dig. Jack Russell Terriers, Dachshunds, and Siberian Huskys are among the breeds that like digging the most.

They’re on the Lookout for Prey

Despite the fact that your furry buddies are far removed from their wild background, they nonetheless relish chasing after prospective prey. Small creatures and insects can find their way onto your land, triggering a dog’s prey urge.

A wandering animal would not only cause a dog to dig in the search of getting them, but their smell can also cause a dog to burrow. Animal excrement and lingering odours can pique a dog’s interest in hunting, causing them to dig excessively in certain locations.

A Stress Reliever

Your dogs have interests too, and many of them turn to them when they are stressed or overwhelmed.

Many dogs use various canine behaviors to express their tension and restlessness. But digging may be a fun activity for many dogs and provides an outlet for their current problems.

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors in dogs. If a canine is let alone for long periods. Or somehow doesn’t receive adequate exercise, or is struggling with the arrival of a new dog to the household, among other things, he or she may develop the habit of digging. It could be the source of your dog’s abrupt digging if it began following a potentially stressful occurrence.


Many dogs have an innate need to dig, while some dogs have an overwhelming desire to build a den. Although your domestic dogs might have not needed to build their own shelter, their wild predecessors did. That’s also why kennel training works and why most dogs prefer to nap in one.

To shield themselves and their puppies from the elements, feral dogs would dig burrows in the dirt, providing them with a snug place to feel protected. This impulse is why your dog may dig in its covers when it settles in, as it is part of their relaxation routine. 

When to Worry?

A digger dog can destroy your yard, hunt down the dirt and grime in your home, and make you give up everything to bathe it. Even worse, if your dog is digging a tunnel under the fence to escape, it could put him in danger.

It can be difficult to prevent and dangerous if your dog digs under the fence and runs out of the yard. Even though you’re not a gardener and also don’t mind the odd hole in your yard. If your dog is digging alongside the fence, you must intervene as quickly as possible.

How to Stop the Dogs From Digging?

Dogs Need to Stay Active

As discussed earlier, without frequent play and long walks, your dog will get bored and dig to relieve the boredom. 

While you probably can’t stop your dog from digging holes at all, you can get him to stop digging so much by making sure your dog gets a lot of exercise and attention. If you can give your dog the stimulation it needs, it won’t feel like digging that much.

Additional games, training, and exercise may be required to control digging behavior, especially if your dog is young and very active. 

When the owner is away, dogs that continue to dig may need extra stimulation to keep them busy. Providing your dog with a regular and abundant daily life can greatly help prevent problems such as digging (see abundance, predictability, and planning).

If your dog hasn’t been digging for the entire day, you might consider whether keeping them at home is the best option. When a dog is left alone for an extended period, it may begin digging.

Make an Exclusive Space Only for Digging

Some dogs just like to “dig well” and there is often no difference between digging in barren and muddy areas or in the vegetable garden you have worked so hard on. Some people designate a certain area in the yard, usually hidden, where the dog can dig as he pleases.

In this case, digging a larger hole where they are allowed to dig may prevent them from digging in the yard. 

Consider Dig Proof Gardens

Kindly ensure that even if you decide to use the trap in the pits, your dog will simply be discouraged from digging and it will not be injured.

While your dog is unlikely to be completely dig-proof, you can make your garden dig-proof to minimize damage and maximize your dog’s safety.

Once you understand that digging is just part of the job for many dogs, you will understand why this behavior requires more attention to stop it. Before you can even think about breaking the habit, it’s important to understand why your dog is digging at all. Because its behavior can be very easily explained. 

Digging Can Be Routed in Right Directions

Even if you try everything to keep your dog from digging, the impulse to dig can still kick in. Then why not accept it? Figure out how to make it work for you if it makes your dog happy.

The simplest method is to provide your dog with a digging area. In this regard, a sandbox can be beneficial. Hide rubber bones and other toys in the sand for your dog to discover while exploring. As a result, the excavating area will be more gratifying than the rest of the yard. 

Whenever your dog starts digging somewhere outside the desired digging location, gently redirect them and encourage further digging there.

Dog sports are yet another method to redirect your dog’s natural inclinations into something positive.


Digging is often not hazardous unless it is destroying your yard. You and the canine will be pleased if you can redirect your dog’s digging impulses towards more beneficial and lesser disruptive tasks.

Even after trying all the strategies if your dog does not stop digging, then you can contact a behavioral expert for training. 

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