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How to Stop a Dog from Digging

 

Why a dog digs is related to breed, behavior and activity level. Some breeds may have higher prey drives and dig in search of burrowing animals or insects. Most dogs may dig because they are bored and need exercise, while other dogs dig cooling pits to beat the heat.

Alt text: Close up of mixed breed dog face with sand all over his nose from digging holes.11 Tips to put a stop to your dog digging

  1. If your dog is digging cooling pits, keep him inside in the air conditioning.
  2. For dogs who like some extra help staying cool, set up a kiddie pool outdoors.
  3. When dog dig tunnels or along fences, it is often in search of burrowing animals or insects who may also live in the yard. Use safe and humane means to prevent them from entering or to make your yard less attractive. Be sure to never use anything toxic or harmful to wildlife or pets.
  4. Dogs that dig holes are often frustrated and bored and adding activities to their routine can help. Play fetch, toss a Frisbee, or practice fun training or tricks for mental stimulation.
  5. Scent hounds can be deterred from digging by hiding treats around the yard and encouraging him to track them down.
  6. For dogs who are home alone all day, one of the best ways to end boredom for your dog is to include a daily walk together.
  7. Offer your dog a chewable treat to divert his attention from randomly digging holes.
  8. If your dog enjoys playing with other dogs, invite neighborhood dogs over for a playdate.
  9. Create a digging pit for your dog in a designated area filled with his favorite toys and chews. Praise him for using it and not the plant-beds.
  10. Try to keep your yard free of small animals by using fencing or by removing potential food sources.
  11. For dogs that dig along the fence, reinforce it with chicken wire at the bottom, push it into the ground.

 

 

Why do dogs dig?

Digging is part of natural canine behavior but why do dogs dig can be answered with three easy reasons:

 

Boredom

How to stop a dog from digging because he is bored or is just looking for entertainment is easy. When a dog is kept busy and mentally stimulated, he’s less apt to dig.

 

The more you keep him entertained, the less likely he’ll dig. Satisfy your dog’s boredom with a dog chew as an alternative to the lawn or plants.

 

If digging is purely a habit, it may start at around six to 18 months, when pups are loaded with youthful exuberance and need to channel their excess energy. They dig because they’re outside and have the motive, means, and opportunity.

 

The common denominator for all of these dogs, however, is that they dig because they find it rewarding.

 

 

Climate control

How to get a dog to stop digging dens to sit is as simple as limiting your dog’s exposure to warmer or colder weather conditions. Dogs that dig dens need to cool down or warm up so the first step is to never leave him alone outside and to limit outdoor playtime in very warm or cool temperatures.

 

In the summer, if you and your dog are going to be outside for a bit, consider setting up an inflatable pool where he can lie and keep cool, and place a bowl of ice water outside for him to drink.

 

This tactic works in cold weather, too. If you plan to play outside together, limit his outdoor activity time so that your dog remains safe, comfortable and happy. Dogs get cold too, don’t let his heavy coat fool you. Be sure he has access to areas of warm, direct sunlight. But remember, keep him indoors as much as possible during colder temperatures.

 

During hotter or colder temperatures, remember to closely monitor and limit your dog’s outdoor activity time. Avoid the potential dangers of dehydration or hypothermia for both of you by moving playtime indoors.

 

 

Prey drive

When considering how to stop a dog from digging tunnels or holes to reach burrowing critters, it can sometimes be helpful to know more about his breed. Some dogs may dig because of a natural instinct.

 

Try to keep your yard free of small animals and insects to avoid tempting your dog. If your dog digs along the fence, you may need to reinforce it by attaching chicken wire to the bottom and pushing it into the ground. This will help prevent your dog from escaping and keep small animals out of your yard.

 

If you can’t curb his digging habit, try giving him an approved area to dig in located in an area of your choice in your yard. If you find him digging somewhere forbidden, move him to the approved area. When he digs in this area, give him praise and treats.

 

 

Dog digging: Which breeds dig the most?

It is virtually impossible to make digging breed-specific. The truth is that all dogs have the potential to dig. Below are just a few breeds known to find cooler environments, search for small animals or have a prey drive and may dig based on natural instinct.

 

Spitz dogs* Earth dogs* Scent hounds* 
Akita Australian Shepherd American Foxhound
Chow Chow Australian Terrier Beagle
Finnish Lapphund Bedlington Terrier Basset Hound
Finish Spitz Border Collie Bloodhound
Icelandic Sheepdog Border Terrier Bluetick Coonhound
Keeshond Cairn Terrier English Springer Spaniel
Norwegian Elkhound Dachshund German Shorthaired Pointer
Norwegian Lundehund Jack Russel Terrier Otterhound
Samoyed Schnauzer Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Shiba Inu West Highland Terrier Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Siberian Husky

*This list is not comprehensive and includes some breeds with a natural instinct for tracking,  prey drive, and a need for colder environments.

 

 

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