How To Stop A Dog From Digging?(Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?)


Digging is one of those destructive things dogs do that we both hate and love. Although we can find it funny when dogs dig holes, cleaning the dog afterward and the holes in the yard are defeating. That’s why we tend to stop this unwanted behavior. How to stop dogs from digging holes?

To stop your dog from digging you can either teach your dog a command like “leave it”, or make popular digging spots hard to dig in. Dogs can learn a strict command to stay away from stuff and they won’t dig on the ground that will hurt their paws.

The most important thing with destructive dog behavior like this is to understand it. So, another important question to ask is why do dogs dig holes?

Dogs Dig Holes In Smelly Areas

Dogs Dig Holes In Smelly Areas

Most of the time, when dogs dig holes, there’s something specific about the digging spot. Dogs are attracted to strong scents which the ground has plenty of, especially grass. Dead carcasses, poop, and burrow animals, all can be found underground.

Dogs are able to smell the scents, so they feel inclined to dig. The scent can mean two things for the dog, food or something to roll in. This triggers an instinctive behavior which is to dig up the source of the scent. [Source]

Pay attention to the spots your dog is digging holes in. A strong scent in the ground will be persistent, so the dog will always go to the same place to dig in. If your dog rapidly digs holes in a line, maybe it senses a burrowing animal.

Dogs Dig Holes To Cool Down

During the hot summer days, dogs can’t control their temperature by breathing alone. Dogs can’t withstand the heat that much so they quickly find a way to cool down. More often than not, they look for a nearby water source.

However, that water source is hard to find sometimes. So, dogs go for the next back thing. They know that the ground is cooler, especially if they dig a little bit. You can notice dogs digging holes to sit in to cool down.

Is your dog digging holes when it gets too hot? Does this happen only during the summer? If you suspect this is the case, let your dog finish the hole next time. See if it sits in it after it’s finished digging.

Dogs Dig Holes When They Are Excited

Dogs Dig Holes When They Are Excited

Another reason why dogs dig holes is out of excitement. When dogs are playing, they often act out some instinctive behavior. In fact, most types of dogs playing games are related to natural instincts.

So, when dogs meet someone they love to play with, or when they get too excited, they will often start digging holes. Even if you can’t dig on the ground, the dog will act as if it’s digging.

Try to remember whether the digging always starts when you are playing with your dog or when it’s excited. If that is the case, that is the reason why your dog is digging holes.

Dogs Dig Holes To Hide Objects

Lastly, dogs often dig holes to hide valuable objects. We all know that dogs like to bury bones. This is the case with most things dogs see value in. Whether it’s a toy, a shoe, or a bone, dogs will often bury objects in the ground.

This is unlikely to happen while you are out on walks. Dogs bury objects only in areas they consider as their territory. In other words, your yard. So, if your dog is digging holes in your yard, it may be trying to bury something.

Is your dog digging holes after chewing on a bone or playing with a toy? Let it finish see what it does. If it buries the bone, then you know why it was digging the hole.

[Related Article: Why Do Dogs Bury Bones]

How To Stop A Dog From Digging Holes

How To Stop A Dog From Digging Holes

Now, the thing you came for, the solution. We can all agree that digging holes is destructive behavior. Whether it’s your yard that’s getting ruined or the dog’s coat, you want the behavior to stop. Well, there’s something you can do about it.

  • Learn your dog a “leave it” command. 
    An easy way to stop your dog from doing unwanted behavior is to teach it a command. Although the training may take a while, with patience, you will have an obedient dog.
  • Make your yard unavailable for digging. 
    You can easily recognize the spots your dog likes to dig in. So, you can protect your yard. The best way to stop digging in your yard is to barricade the likely spots for digging. Place rocks in a circle in the spot. Maybe you can get creative and decorate your yard. Make sure the materials you use will not be gentle on the dog’s paw but also not dangerous.
  • Keep your dog on a leash near spots that it usually starts digging. 
    If your dog digs only while you are out walking, you probably know the spots it digs in. A good idea is to keep your dog on a leash when you come close to those spots. Or, prepare your dog for the “leave it” command.
  • Place chicken wire around plants. 
    Dogs like to dig around plants as well. You can try saving your plants with chicken wire. Form a wall around the plants so the dog can’t get to the plant.
  • Provide another suitable area for digging to satisfy the instinctive behavior. [Source]

Related Questions And Other FAQs

How To Stop Dog From Digging In Plants

Dogs don’t like to dig on rough surfaces. Dogs are also disturbed by some scents. You can place rocks and similar rough materials around the plants to keep the dog away. Try spreading citrus peels or crashed cayenne peppers around the plants.

What Spice Will From Digging

To stop dogs from digging you can use some homemade dog repellents. Peels from citrus fruits have a strong scent that dogs stay away from. It’s the same with strong spices like cayenne pepper. Mothballs, vinegar, and spray reppelents are also effective.

Tim Adams

Tim has experience of 15 years with a wide variety of pets. Anything animal-related is his passion, so he is here to share some good practices to know about owning pets.

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