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how to stop a dog from digging

How to Stop a Dog From Digging

how to stop a dog from diggingAre you wondering how to stop a dog from digging? Does your dog like to dig in the dirt? There are several reasons why a dog will dig.

Some dog breeds are natural diggers, like terriers, they love to dig. Herding and sporting dogs do also. How to stop a dog from digging is the question, so first, you need to know why your dog is digging.


Why do dogs dig?

There are several reasons that could explain why your dog is digging holes in your yard. Most behavioral problems develop from a lack of exercise so you must exercise your dog physically and mentally. Training your dog is mental exercise and taking your dog for a walk is physical exercise. Go for a walk or play fetch, then have a training session so your dog can release physical and mental energy. A tired dog is less likely to dig.

Entertainment

If your dog is left alone for long periods of time, they could be lonely and bored. They will dig for entertainment and to release energy, so you need to provide your dog with plenty of safe toys to play with. Kong type toys containing treats can entertain your dog and so can dog puzzles that require your dog to interact with the puzzle to find the hidden treats.

Hide Things

Your dog may be digging to hide their bones or toys and sometimes they will dig a hole to hide a treat for later. This is how they save things they want to protect. Your dog’s ancestors buried food to prevent starvation.

Comfort or Protection

Dogs will dig in the summer time to find cool dirt to lay on and they will also dig to create shelter from the wind. If your dog is digging holes to lay in then they are looking for comfort or protection. Provide shelter away from the hot sun and cold winds.

Attention

If your dog digs in front of you, then your dog is seeking attention. They are telling you they need more interaction. Take your dog for a walk, play with your dog, and train your dog or take your dog to a dog park and they will get to interact with other dogs and people.

Escape

Sometimes a dog will dig to escape and they will dig around the fence line. They might want to get something that is outside of the fence, get away from something inside the fence, or go to a friends house or follow you.

Partially bury large rocks along the fence line or place chicken wire about one inch under the ground to deter digging.


Create a Digging Zone

You may need to provide your dog a digging zone to provide a safe area where your dog can dig. Then you’ll have a happy dog and you will be a happy dog owner.

First, choose an area of your yard to create the digging zone. Make sure the area is shady during summer months, then line the area with wood beams, landscape timbers, large rocks, or low fencing. Cover the area with loose soil or sand. I prefer sand because it is cleaner.

Then you can bury treats and toys in the sand or soil. Take your dog to the digging area. You may have to show your dog where one of the treats is buried to get the digging started. When your dog is digging in their digging zone, say “dig” and praise them for digging in the digging zone.

If you catch your dog digging outside of the digging zone, say “no” and take your dog to the digging zone. Your dog will learn that digging in the digging zone will make you happy and dogs love to please their owners.

If your dog digs often, consider making a digging zone and use positive reinforcement. Your dog will learn quickly that you want them to dig in the digging zone. Make your dog happy and give them a safe area to dig where they can enjoy themselves. Both of you will be happy!


Is your dog a digger? What did you do to stop the digging? Feel free to leave a comment or share a story below. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

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2 Comments

  1. Very nice info that you have here, especially the digging zone part. You did a great job explaining the different ways to stop the digging. Thanks for writing this!

    • Alice

      June 29, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it. A digging zone is perfect for a dog that likes to dig.

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