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How to Stop Dogs Digging

Stop Dog Digging


Reasons why dogs dig

Digging is instinctive behavior for a dog. Dogs may dig for any of the following reasons

  • They are bored
  • It's fun
  • They are hot
  • They are trying to escape
  • They are lonely
  • They have excess energy
  • You have put nice smelling (to a dog) fertilizers in the garden

If you can find out the reason for your dog's digging then you can usually find a solution.

To stop the digging try to alleviate the boredom.

If you leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods of time provide him with something to do. Leave him with bones to chew or toys to play with. Food dispensing toys are available or you can use hollow bones which you can fill with a tasty treat.  Kong toys, hollow bones and such can be stuffed with a bit of spread cheese, spread meats, cheese cubes, hot dog chunks, semi-soft dog treats, canned dog food, kibble etc. Buster Cubes and similar toys have various compartments inside that hold kibble. Your dog has to roll them around or manipulate them to free the kibble. The dog has to work and chew to get the treat out. If you hide these toys, the dog also gets to enjoy the hunt and seek for a reward. Sturdy chew toys such as hard-pressed rawhide are also popular.
Read about
Bored Dogs


Treatstik TM

Kong Toys

Treat Ball

Rawhide Chew

The Lonely Dog can be a digging dog.

It's no fun being left alone most of the day. Dogs are pack animals and crave company. If you work long hours or are away from home a lot consider hiring a professional dog walker. Ask around your neighborhood as often teenagers will be grateful to earn a few dollars. 

Try not to leave your dog alone in the back yard for hours on end. Boredom will surely set in. Bring him inside and let him be part of the family.


The dog is digging to keep cool

In hot weather many dogs will dig a cool hole to lie in.

Ensure that your dog has a cool place to retreat to during the heat of the day or bring him inside. Make sure that he has plenty of water. Another idea is to supply him with a kiddies wading pool. Many dogs just love to splash and play in these and after cooling down will find no need to dig a hole.

The dog is an escape artist

Dogs may dig under fences and gates in order to escape. They usually want to escape because they are bored and things look more interesting on the outside. If your dog is not spayed or neutered he/she may be trying to escape in order to mate. Read more about Bored Dogs

Let your dog have a designated digging area.

Some dogs such as terriers and hunting dogs have a very strong instinct to dig. Perhaps there is one part of your yard that you will permit digging. Alternatively you could make him a sand pit. The dog will have to be trained to dig in the designated area, not in the flower bed.


To stop dog re-digging existing holes

Use dog poop! Place some of his own poop in the hole. For some reason, dogs will not dig where they have pooped. Be sure to use fresh poop.

Lay chicken wire over the hole.

Blow up balloons, put them in the holes then cover them back up with dirt. When the dog digs one up, POP! Hopefully this stops the digging once and for all

Sprinkle Cayenne pepper or chili powder in the spots where your dogs likes to dig. Then when he/she tries to dig/sniff it gets a big nose full of it, very discouraging!

If you catch your dog in the act of digging reprimand him! Don't let him get away with it. Speak in a harsh voice and let him know of your displeasure in no uncertain terms. Don't smack or use physical violence. A strong verbal reprimand is all that is required. Remove him from the digging area immediately.

Some people suggest using mothballs in the holes but I wouldn't recommend this as mothballs are poisonous. Naphthalene is the active ingredient found in mothballs. The most common signs of mothball ingestion include vomiting, anaemia, lethargy and seizures



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