Unearthing Solutions: How to Stop a Dog from Digging

Read our guide to understand the reasons and what to do!

Have you ever spent all weekend working in your yard and organizing your beautiful new garden, only to find it decorated with small holes just a few days later?

The guilty party is likely your dog. When your dog digs up holes in your yard, it can be extremely frustrating.

Looking for an easy way to stop your dog from digging?

While some dogs are bred to dig, there are actually several ways to curb their desire for this digging behavior. But, as dog owners, we must first understand the main causes of this behavior to know how to address this digging dilemma.

Why is my Dog Digging?

Although it may feel like a personal attack, your dog is not creating those holes in your yard because they are mad at you. They also do not do that because they want to destroy your beautiful green space.

There are several reasons why your dogs dig holes in the yard. Some breeds, like hunting breeds, are bred to dig holes and are more prone to digging, but often there is another factor at play.

Your dogs dig due to boredom.

One reason your dog creates a hole in the yard is out of boredom. Your dog digs because they have nothing better to do. Your dogs need to spend some of their energy, and digging seems a good way to use their energy.

All dogs, not just young puppies, need regular exercise and entertainment. If you only have one pup or live a busy lifestyle, your puppy may not be getting enough entertainment. As a result, your dogs dig as a way for them to have fun. The way the dirt and roots respond to their digging behavior feels like playtime for your dog.

Your dog is digging to cool off or get warm.

One other reason your dog digs is to cool off during hot weather. You will know this is the main reason your pet is digging if they get in and lay down in their newly created yard crater.

Also, some dogs may dig to find safety inside the holes if the weather is too cold. They use the holes to burrow themselves and try to get warm.

Dog digs out of boredom

A dog may be digging to hunt.

One reason why dogs may dig is to hunt prey. Many dog breeds have a great sense of smell and want to catch burrowing insects and animals that make your yard their home.

This type of digging usually has a unique pattern and creates holes that look like a path. This is a result of your dog tracking the underground creature.

Your dogs may be digging to escape.

One other reason why dogs dig is to escape. If your dog is digging a hole near the fence line more than two feet deep, it may be trying to explore beyond the fence and want to escape.

Your dog may dig holes under the fence to get to the other side.

A dog may be digging to get attention.

The final reason why your dogs may dig is to get attention. Your dog may have also learned that this digging behavior gets a response from a human friend. Even if the response is not positive, your dog may be trying to catch your attention.

How To Stop A Dog From Digging

How to Stop Your Dog from Digging?

It is important to pinpoint the reason your dogs dig in the yard, to begin with. Once you know your dog’s motivation, you may be able to help stop your dog from digging and find a better alternative.

Many dogs dig for various reasons. Some of these reasons are easy to discern, while others are not too obvious.

Again, you need to identify the reason to better address the problem and stop our dog from digging.

Here are some ways to stop your dog from digging.

Out of boredom…

If it appears that your dog is digging simply because it’s fun, the key is to provide them with better entertainment, like dog toys. Make sure that your dog has plenty of engaging toys to play with. Getting them preoccupied with dog toys will take their minds off digging.

Set aside a few minutes of your time every day to see your dog and bond with him. Even if your dog has a large yard area to roam, take your dog on two good walks each day.

You may also consider taking your dog to a dog park to see and interact with other four-legged friends or a training class at a local pet store. These activities will take away their time and keep them from digging a hole.

To cool off…

Some dogs dig to cool themselves off. Once the holes look like a large crater but not so deep, then most likely, this could be the reason why your pet digs.

Always be sure to monitor the temperature if your dog stays outside for long periods. If the temperature is too hot or cold, be sure to provide adequate shelter for your pup. This shelter would include a shaded area and clean water.

On warm summer days, you could bring them swimming. The cool water would cool them off and take their minds off creating holes.

In extreme temperatures, it is best not to leave your dog in the yard or any outdoor area for extended periods.

Dogs in water

To catch prey…

If it is the moles or insects your dog is after, it is important not to use any chemicals to try and remedy the invasion. This can be harmful to your dog.

As dog owners, we need to find a way to keep the insects off the area where our dog stays. One way we can clear the area is by tilling the soil to encourage the insects to move out of the area. Addressing the underground species problem will be the easiest way to get your dog to stop hunting by digging.

If there’s really a need to use chemicals on the soil to get rid of the problem, keep your dogs indoor while the chemical is working its wonders.

To escape…

If it looks like your dog is trying to escape the yard by digging holes near the fence line, there’s one way we can prevent them from doing this. Try to put barriers that would stop your dog from digging a hole near the fence.

You may try placing large rocks or chicken wire along the bottom of the fence line. Bury these partially underground, making sure there are no sharp edges that could harm your dog. The chicken wire would act as an additional layer to the fence line that would stop your dog from trying to escape. This should also deter your dog from digging near the fence.

To get attention…

If your dogs often dig when you are around or if you always catch your dog digging, it may be because they need and seek attention. Make sure that your dogs get enough attention if it appears that it is their sole motivation for creating burrows in the yard.

Just as with boredom, set aside some of your time and make sure your dogs get plenty of exercise, playtime, and time with their loving human family.

While many dogs dig for obvious reasons, some dogs often dig for reasons we may not know. New dogs are often curious about their surroundings. This curiosity also leads some dogs to dig.

To keep them away from digging, provide them with pet toys and training accessories. Engage them in training and use up much of their time by teaching them skills to take their time away from digging.

Be sure that positive behavior is also rewarded with lots of praise, as it will help stop your dog from digging a hole in your yard.

teach dog to stop digging holes

What if Nothing Seems to Make My Dog Stop Digging?

You may have already tried some of the above recommendations, and your dog is still making a mess of your garden. We share with you here some simple strategies on how to stop your dog from digging holes.

One strategy is to create a safe digging spot in your yard. If you don’t want to sacrifice a corner of your green lawn for your dog’s digging habit., you may use another spot in the backyard.

Another option would be to use a child-size pool or sandbox This space would be an exclusive space where your dogs may dig. You can make this space very appealing for your pup by burying toys under loose soil or sand.

When you first introduce your digging spot, praise your dogs when they dig inside. If you find them digging elsewhere in the yard, give a corrective command and escort them to their new special digging area. Be sure to provide positive praise when your pet digs in the designated zone.

If you have tried several strategies and your dog is still determined to dig in the yard, you may consider not letting them be alone in the yard. Make sure to supervise potty breaks and playtime that take place in the yard, but keep them inside for the remainder of the day.

When every day seems to be a challenge with facing the daunting task of training your dog to stop digging, you might want to consider getting the help of dog trainers. A dog trainer or behavior specialist may be able to help by providing specific recommendations to stop your dog from digging.

It is best to see a pet trainer or pet behavior specialist to get the best solution

Are There Things Not to Do?

When training your dogs not to dig holes in the yard, do not punish them after the behavior. This may result in your dogs feeling more anxious and digging even more. You can simply use a “no” command.

You could also keep your dog away from the yard. Let your dog stay in the confines of your home, especially during hot weather, to redirect their attention from digging a hole outside.

Which Dog Products Help Prevent Dog Digging?

Your approach to stopping your dog from digging a hole in the yard will depend on its specific digging behavior. Several products can be useful to aid in this process.

Providing your dogs with a wide range of pet toys will be essential to ensure they are physically and mentally stimulated. Kong products filled with dog treats or peanut butter are a great way to help keep your dog occupied.

Local pet stores like PetSmart and Petco and online providers like Amazon.com carry a range of balls, frisbees, ropes, and other toys for your dog. These pet toys may aid you in training your dog to stop his digging habit.

You may also need to buy chicken wire or rocks to help create a barrier or fence around special parts of the yard, like your garden with newly planted flowers.

If you have decided to create a digging area for your dog, you can find a small kid-sized pool or sandbox at a local Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon.com. Filling this area with sand or soil will provide a fun place for your puppy to dig.

Stop a dog from creating holes in the ground by engaging them in outside exercise and play

Final Thoughts

Digging in the yard is a very common problem for many dog owners. Even a dog trainer spends a lot of time helping stop many dogs from digging.

Take the time to assess why your pup may be digging. Then, try some of the suggested strategies to redirect your dog’s behavior.

Try to be patient, calm, and consistent with your pet, and you should be able to enjoy your yard along with your dog in no time!