What Is Causing Your Dog to Dig and How to Stop It

What is causing your dog to dig and how to stop it

What Is Causing Your Dog to Dig and How to Stop It

Does your dog like to dig?  That’s no surprise.  After all, digging is an instinctual behavior that was passed down from wolves.  But even though this behavior is natural, that doesn’t mean you are happy about it.  So, if you want to prevent digging, you need to read this article. It will explain the various causes of this behavior, helping you determine what’s prompting your pup to dig.   We are also going to provide a solution for each cause.  Keep in mind, some solutions may work for more than one cause.    Let’s dig into it!  

what is causing your dog to dig

Looking for Prey

If gophers or moles have taken over your yard, your dog will probably try to hunt them down.  But guess what. Your dog must dig to find them.  And that’s exactly what you are attempting to stop.     

The Solution 

If you keep gophers and moles out of your yard, your dog won’t need to dig for them.  But don’t use poison to control your critter population.  If you do, your beloved furry pal might eat the toxic bait.  

Instead, look for an alternative, pet-safe methods for chasing gophers and moles away.  For example, you could soak tunnel entrances with a mixture of castor oil, dish soap, and water.   That’s one way to repel those pests!         

You could also plant certain herbs that gophers and moles hate.  Just make sure the plants you choose are dog-safe.      

Those ideas certainly aren’t your only options.  So, do your research to find a solution that works best for your situation.  

Escaping the Heat

On hot days, some dogs like to lie in holes they’ve dug for themselves.  This helps to cool them down during the heat.   

The Solution 

Keeping your canine cool will eliminate the need to dig a bed.  With that in mind, make sure your yard has plenty of shade.  Then put your pup’s favorite blanket or bed in one of those cooler spots.   

what is causing your dog to dig - the savvy sitter

Hiding Goodies 

Your dog probably doesn’t like the idea of sharing a bone or toy.  That’s why your pet may try to hide those prized possessions by burying them underground.     

The Solution 

Set up a sandbox where your dog can safely store all their goodies.  Just make sure your dog understands that digging is only allowed in the sandbox.  This might require some training.  Additionally, make sure the sand you get is kid friendly and non-toxic.    

Making a Break for It

Does your dog dig under the fence?  Then your four-legged pal is probably trying to escape and explore the world beyond your backyard.   But these escape efforts might also be a sign of anxiety.  If that’s the case, you will need to address this condition.       

The Solution

There are several ways to prevent a mischievous canine from escaping.  Some options include:

  • Putting chicken wire on the bottom of the fence. 
  • Planting bushes around the fence.
  • Placing rocks around the fence.  
  • Neutering your dog. 

Suffering From Anxiety 

Anxiety is another possible cause of digging.  If your dog is anxious, other signs will also be exhibited.   

Some of those other signs include:

  • Indoor accidents 
  • Excessive barking
  • Other destructive behaviors, like chewing
  • Pacing 
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling or panting
  • Trying to escape
The Solution  

If anxiety is causing your dog to dig, you must find out what’s making your pup feel so anxious.  Once you’ve discovered the root cause, you can effectively resolve the issue.  

You may want to work with an animal behaviorist that specializes in anxiety.  This expert can guide your steps towards successfully eliminating anxiety from your precious pet’s life.    

Feeling Bored

If your canine companion doesn’t have anything else to do, digging becomes a fun activity.  Although you might not see it that way, your pooch certainly does!

what is causing your dog to dig - the savvy sitter
The Solution 

Provide plenty of exercises and mental stimulation to keep your dog’s boredom at bay.  Here are some great ideas:

  • Take more walks.
  • Give your dog puzzle toys.
  • Teach your pet new tricks.
  • Play fun games, like fetch and hide-and-go-seek.
  • Rotate your dog’s toys so that your furry friend doesn’t get tired of them.

Bred to Dig

You might not want your dog to dig, but this behavior is what some breeds were made for.  A few examples include:

  • Terriers
  • Dachshunds
  • Malamutes
  • Beagles
  • Basset hounds
  • Bloodhounds
The Solution 

The American Kennel Club holds non-competitive events called Earthdog tests.  These events allow your furball to hunt underground without wrecking your yard.  Please note, only certain breeds are eligible for participation.  

What is causing your dog to dig

In Conclusion 

If your dog likes to dig, don’t fret.  Instead, get to work on pinpointing the cause of this habit.  After you’ve figured that out, you can save your lawn by taking the appropriate steps to correct this behavior. 

About the Author:

Savanna Westwood

Savanna Westwood is the Owner and Founder of The Savvy Sitter, Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, LLC. She has grown up with animals all her life and enjoys spending time with them. Savanna has lived in the Winter Garden and Windermere Area for over 30 years. When she is not taking care of Fur Friends, one can find her reading, practicing archery, riding, and devising ways to provide additional and excellent services to clients.  Savanna is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter with Pet Sitter International's CPPS certification and also holds certification in Pet First Aid and CPCR for Pet-Care Professionals.

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