How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

You step out the back door and nearly break your neck falling into a massive hole dug by your darling pooch. It’s the fifth hole this week - and as fast as you fill them in your industrious dog is out there throwing dirt every which way while working on a new excavation. Read on to find out what you can do about this annoying habit.


Why Do Dogs Dig?

While some dogs will dig to bury treasure (bones, socks, dog biscuits), others are on an escape mission and excavate tunnels in order to get to the other side of the fence. Yet others dig for the pure joy of it. Sometimes dogs will dig out a hollow to sleep in, using the back porch as a roof and then rearranging the dirt underneath to make themselves a comfortable den. As you might have guessed, digging is a natural behaviour and, left to their own devices, dogs dig for all kinds of very practical reasons. Bored dogs may also turn to digging as a way to distract themselves during too many hours spent alone hanging out in the yard while the grownups in the household are out at work.



big hole did your dog dig this one

Figure Out the Root Cause

Regardless of why your dog digs, trying to get ahead of the game and discourage this habit, while you still have some lawn left to mow, can be a challenge. It helps to understand your dog’s motivation, so take some time to figure out what’s at the root of your dog’s digging obsession.

What’s the Weather Like? 

Digging out a cool hollow under the apple tree is a natural response for an overheated dog. Provide adequate shelter or bring the dog in during the hottest part of the day. The same goes for cold weather. Dogs dig dens for shelter, so if your dog has to spend a lot of time outside in all weather, make sure to provide a cozy place for him to hang out. A sturdy, roomy, weatherproof dog house may curb unwanted digging, though some dogs just seem to prefer a do-it-yourself approach to accommodations. If that’s the case, consider setting aside an area where you don’t mind if your dog does a little excavating. Reward your dog for digging in one area and discourage him from digging elsewhere. You can temporarily place large stones, a tarp, or temporary fencing in the place you want him to leave alone. Burying bones or favourite toys in the designated dig zone can also guide him in the right direction.

How Not To Do It

I shouldn't have to say this!

Do NOT squirt methylated spirits at your dog.

squirting method at dog


What is the world coming to? People like this really give me the shits. The internet gives everyone the ability to share your opinion, but that doesn't mean you have to or you should. 

Dog lovers are a passionate bunch and sadly, mostly completely clueless when it comes to doing the right thing by their dogs. Especially in the field of Canine Nutrition. I get it, it's tough, your average Vet isn't exactly a subject matter expert either.

From rabid arguments with a Great Dane breeder who has "25 years experience in complimentary medicine" (LOL) who swears by Science Diet to the backyard breeder who swears by Advance kibble because "feeding dogs is expensive and cuts into my beer allowance"

As an intelligent dog owner and lover, and I have to assume that is why you are here, you really have to look through all of the noise out there that is created by seemingly caring, but unfortunately mis-guided people.


Is Your Dog Getting Enough Exercise?

Make sure you’re providing your dog with lots of exercise. Long walks, games of fetch, or a companion dog to play with go a long way to eliminating all kinds of problem behaviours, not just unwanted digging.


Mental Stimulation Matters 

Dogs are smart, social beings and when they find themselves bored and lonely it’s hardly surprising they find ways to entertain themselves. Digging is a classic ‘I’m bored’ behaviour. Fortunately, the cure is not exactly painful. Spend more time doing stuff with your dog! An obedience class is an excellent way to meet other dog owners and give your dog something other than digging to think about. Practicing between formal sessions keeps your dog on her toes and strengthens the bond between you. And, bonus, a dog who is trying to figure out off-leash heeling in a Figure 8 can’t possibly be digging at the same time. 

Get Me Out of Here!

A dog who is determined to escape is likely leaving for a reason. A fear of being separated from you may be at the root of his daily escapes or, for unaltered dogs, the search for a mate can provide compelling motivation to dig out in search of a hot date. Once you know the reason why your dog is leaving, you can attack the problem.

It’s in My Genes! 

Some breeds are more inclined to dig. Terriers, for example, may hear bugs or rodents underground and tunnel ferociously to try to catch their prey. A designated digging area is a good solution for these dogs as hard-wired behaviours can be very difficult to stop.

For really determined repeat offenders, you may not be able to just turn your dog outside without a chaperone. Leashes and supervision may turn out to be the solutions for dogs who have all their needs met but still persist in putting holes in the lawn.

At Rawmate we’re always looking for ways to understand our dogs better and to make their lives better. Check out our Rawmate all natural raw dog food subscription meal plans. Your dog will thank you!


Maybe your dog chases its tail too? Check out our blog post on the how and why of tail chasing as well as 8 tips for socialising your dog


Matt Joseph

Staff writer

There are 0 Comments

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published