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Help! My Dog Keeps Digging Holes in the Backyard

Home » Dog Sports Training » Help! My Dog Keeps Digging Holes in the Backyard

Why does my dog keep digging? Picture this: Your dog runs around the backyard and starts digging holes all over the places. It’s fun to watch until he begins digging out the plants and vegetables in the garden. With all the diggings, your backyard now resembles the surface of the moon with unsightly craters. So why dog keeps digging holes in the backyard?

What can be done to prevent dogs from digging?

Before you can find a solution to your dog’s digging problems, you must first understand why dogs dig in the first place.

There are several reasons why dogs dig.

Dogs Dig To Cool Down

During the summer time, dogs are trying to get to some cool dirt to escape the heat. If your dog is in the backyard or the garden a lot and the weather starts to get a little bit hot, your dog knows that by digging down the through the surface of the of the dirt, he can get down to where it’s a little bit cooler and wet and they lay in a little bit to get cooled off. When it gets hot again, they’ll just find another spot and dig all over again.

Dogs Dig Because of Boredom

Some dogs know that below the surface, they can find all sorts of prizes and things to play with. It could be the sprinkler system, sticks, rocks, or toys. If your dog gets bored and has nothing else to play with, he’ll simply find something to play. Sometimes, by digging holes, your dog will find things that will attract his attention and that will make him preoccupied for a while until he gets bored with it again.

Digging Is A Natural Dog Behavior

Some dogs dig because it’s in their genetics to look for vermin like rats, squirrels, insects, and those things that burrow down into the ground. Rat Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers are some of the dog breeds find rodents by digging holes. They can hear the squeaking noises and they go after them.

Here are some dog breeds that are natural born diggers:

  • Australian Shepherds
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagles
  • Border Collies
  • Bedlington Terriers
  • Bloodhound
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Chow Chow
  • Dachshunds
  • Jack Russel Terriers
  • Malamutes
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • West Highland White Terriers

So, if you’re the owner of any of these dog breeds, you have to understand that it’s in their nature to dig and you should not be angry and punish them.

Digging Can Be A sign of Anxiety

Another possible reason why your dog digs is anxiety. When you leave your dog alone for a few hours, your dog may experience separation anxiety and it is a stimulus for digging. Some dogs engage in destructive behavior when left alone. Other causes of anxiety include fireworks, or thunderstorm.

Digging Is A Way To Escape

There are times when dogs dig underneath fences because they want to go visit the next-door neighbor’s dog that’s in heat. Digging is a way to escape and get to a place where there is another dog or something that catches his attention.

A solution for that is to put heavy-duty chicken wire under the surface of the dirt and anchor it down with some spikes and then put a layer of dirt over the top. When the dog digs, he’ll feel the wire through his toenails which is an uncomfortable feeling. It will serve as a deterrent and he will not dig again in that area.

How to Stop Dogs From Digging Holes In Your Backyard?

Keep in mind that digging is not bad in itself. It’s a natural and instinctive behavior. It can be bad when your dog starts to destroy things frequently.

So the solution?

Give your dog a place to dig in your backyard.

By having a designated digging location, your dog will not be going around and digging all over the place. Your plants and vegetables will be safe. You can put bricks around or some form of a psychological barrier that your dog will remember not to go beyond that point for his digging.

You can hide some treats under the surface of the designated digging point so when your dog digs further down, he will find the treats. He’ll keep coming to that location because he knows that there will be prizes waiting for him. The presence of the treats will encourage them to dig in spots where you allow him to dig. This works particularly well for dogs that are genetically predisposed to dig.

For the locations that are off-limits for digging, you can put a bit of their poop in the holes and bury so that they will eventually leave them alone. But a word of warning, this doesn’t work for dogs that eat their poop. So if your dog eats poop, he’ll just think that it’s another prize that he has to dig.

Make the off-limits area undesirable and uncomfortable for your dog to dig. On the other hand, make the designated digging spots fun and rewarding for your dog.

But wait, what about my dog that digs indoors?

Even inside the house, dogs will still dig if they feel like it. Digging is not really a bad behavior because it’s in the dog’s nature to dig. It comes natural to them and they will do so instinctively, but it can be destructive.

Dogs dig at carpets and wooden floors which, as well know, can be a pain in the neck. Sometimes, they dig on the sofa. The aggressive diggers can destroy the couch and carpets and scratch the wooden floors.

If your dog digs at different areas indoors, you can use an indoor digging toy. Like this iDig Digging Toy by iFetch. 

What you can do outdoors, you can do with this indoor version.

You can load the pockets of the flaps with your dog’s favorite toys and treats so they can quickly associate it as a fun and rewarding activity. It’s also designed to tire them out mentally, pretty much the same way they get tired when digging outdoors.

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If your dog is a digger, try some of the tips discussed above and let us know if it worked. We’d love to hear from you.