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How to Stop A Dog from Digging

How to stop a dog from digging. It can be challenging for pet parents to fully understand the behavior. For us, it means another hole in the backyard plus a dirty pup!

Why does your fur-baby dedicate so much of his life to digging? What can you do about it? Here we'll tell you why and will give you tips and tricks to help stop your fur-baby's digging behavior.

"For anxiety relief. Digging is a physical activity that stimulates your fur-baby's mind and body."

how to stop a dog from digging


Your fur-baby may be digging for many possible reasons:

For fun. Your fur-baby might be digging for fun if he learns that the soil and roots can actually "playback". Causes for this type of digging can include when your fur-baby:

  • is left alone for some time without any company
  • has a relatively barren environment without toys, chews, companions
  • does not have an outlet for him to release his energy
  • belongs to a specific breed known to be prone to developing digging behaviors
  • belongs to an active type of breed

For anxiety relief. Digging is a physical activity that stimulates your fur-baby's mind and body. So for some dogs, whenever they feel bored or stressed out, they result in digging.

For attention. Dogs can be attention-seekers, especially if you have very limited bonding time together. And if digging is the only way he'll earn your attention, then he'll keep doing it.

For hiding what's his. Dogs are territorial and what they consider theirs is only theirs alone. Because of this innate trait, your fur-baby will feel compelled to bury his toys, chews, and even the food you gave him! It's a subtle way of saying "It's mine and you're not going to find it".

For comfort and protection. If your fur-baby usually stays outside, even in warm weather, he's digging holes to be able to lie down on the cool dirt. Your dog will also probably dig whenever the weather is cold, rainy, or windy. Your dog may be seeking for comfort if he:

  • digs near your house's wall, porch, or under the shade of a tree
  • lies down on the places he's dug
  • doesn't have shelter outside your house or his shelter seems to be uncomfortable

For an escape plan. If your fur-baby is digging under your fence or along with it, he might be planning an escape plan. Maybe because your fur-baby wants to go somewhere (like follow you to work), wants to get away from something, or simply having an adventure behind the fence.

For hunting prey. Your fur-baby is digging probably because of his urge to catch burrowing animals or insects that are in your yard. If hunting is the reason, you'll notice that your fur-baby is digging at the roots of trees or plants and is focused on a certain area.


Trying to stop a dog from digging can't happen overnight and the cause of digging must be identified first to rule out the behavior.

For a dog who's digging out of boredom, attention, stress, and anxiety:

  • Take your dog for a walk at the park and have him socialize with other dogs (and meet new fur-iends!)
  • Exercise him daily to prevent stress buildup
  • Play vigorous activities like playing fetch, tug-of-war, running uphill
  • Sometimes we can get busy and get caught up in life! Make sure you are taking time out of your busy schedule to spend more quality time together and assure him that everything we'll be okay.
  • Provide him with chews that will stimulate his brain. Gnawtlers® have bone marrow that attracts dogs and keeps them wanting to chew. They are less likely to get bored of the chew and will keep him occupied. 
  • Later in the blog, we will talk about calming supplements that can aid with anxiety and stress

These activities will burn out your fur-baby's extra energy instead of having to use it by digging in your yard.

For a dog who's digging to hide his belongings:

  • Never allow your dog to bring his toys, chews, food, etc. outside your house or into the lawn. Dogs are smart, he may try to sneak them things outside so keep an eye out for it. Only give his belongings back when he's inside the house again.

For a dog seeking comfort and protection:

  • Provide your fur-baby the comfort he seeks. If the weather is chilly or extra warm outside, bring him inside the house more often or find ways to tailor-maid his shelter to keep him extra protected from the heat and cold.

For a dog trying to escape:

  • Find out the reason why your dog is trying to escape. If your dog is a female, is she in heat? If your dog is a male, are there any female dogs in your neighborhood? Or are there any stray animals outside? Are there any threats in your house or lawn that triggered your fur-baby to get stressed out and run away?
  • Provide a safe environment for your dog, that will help lessen his fears and urges to escape
  • You can also consider burying chicken wire at the base of your fence, making sure the sharp edges are faced away from your yard. This will help limit your fur-baby from getting out.
  • Do not punish your dog from digging and trying to escape. Punishment will only worsen the situation and digging will even get more motivated by fear.

For a dog hunting for prey:

  • Regularly check your lawn if there are any burrowing animals or insects present, use friendly, harmless methods to transfer them or fence them out your lawn.

More things you can consider in how to stop a dog from digging:

Always supervise. Make extra efforts to supervise and keep watch of your dog whenever he's out on the lawn. When you see your dog beginning to dig, distract him by blowing a whistle, calling him out or by clapping your hands. By the time he pays attention to you, redirect him to proper behavior.

Contain and compromise. It is quite difficult to contain what is acknowledged as an innate behavior of dogs. If digging really can't be withdrawn, then don't you think it's time to compromise? It will be easier for the both of you if you allow your fur-baby to dig but only on certain areas of the yard, marked specifically for digging. Whenever he begins to dig in the wrong areas, call his attention and lead him to the appropriate digging place. Don't forget to reward him if he does a good job following instructions.

Provide calming supplements. Your fur-baby's urge to dig (for whatever reason) brings him to the edge of the seat. He's excited, he's eager, all-willing to use all his extra energy in digging. To help manage this, you can provide calming supplements. Pet Parents® Calming Supplements for dogs will provide your fur-baby with powerful ingredients that help act as a calming aid. For stressful situations that may cause anxiousness, these calming supplements for dogs can help keep fur-babies calm & relaxed.

These supplements contain L-Tryptophan, an amino acid, considered as a natural anti-depressant, that produces serotonin, which is key in regulating responses to stress & anxiety. And with Organic Passion Flower that helps regulate mood and manage stress, anxiety and some forms of pain and promotes calmness to anxious behavior without resulting in sleepiness.

There are a lot of ways on how to stop a dog from digging but all these ways can't be made possible without your help. You being a paw-some pet parent to your dog will help him overcome this behavior and will help him dig his way on to a happier and healthier life.

" These supplements contain L-Tryptophan, an amino acid, considered as a natural anti-depressant, that produces serotonin, which is key in regulating responses to stress & anxiety. "

The Author:

Micka V.

Micka Virtudazo is a full-time content creator at Pet Parents who lives with thirteen adorable American Bullies and a Shih Tzu-Maltese mix named Gretel. She especially enjoys writing how-to articles as she feels through this she can connect to other pet parents on a more personal level.

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