How to Get Dogs to Stop Digging

Digging is a common behavior in dogs that can be both frustrating and destructive for dog parents. Whether it’s ruining your garden, creating holes in the yard, or causing other damage, addressing this behavior is essential for a harmonious relationship with your pup. In this blog, we’ll explore dog digging solutions to help you get your dog to stop digging.

Table of Content 

    • Introduction
    • Understanding the behavior of digging in dogs
    • Reasons why dogs dig
    • Instinctual behavior
    • Boredom or lack of mental stimulation
    • Seeking comfort or coolness
    • Negative consequences of digging
    • Destruction of property
    • Escaping or getting lost
    • Dog digging solutions
    • Provide sufficient physical and mental exercise
    • Designate a digging area
    • Use deterrents
    • Supervise and redirect
    • Seek professional help if neede
    • Conclusion

Understanding the Behavior of Digging in Dogs

Before diving into dog digging solutions, it’s important to understand why dogs dig in the first place. Digging is a natural behavior for dogs, inherited from their ancestral instincts. Wild dogs dig to create dens for shelter or to bury food for later consumption. While domesticated dogs may not have the same survival instincts, the behavior persists due to various reasons.

Reasons Why Dogs Dig

Instinctual Behavior

Many dogs dig instinctively, driven by their genetic predisposition. Breeds such as terriers, dachshunds, and huskies are more prone to digging due to their hunting or working backgrounds.

Boredom or Lack of Mental Stimulation

Dogs left alone for extended periods without adequate mental or physical structure activities may resort to digging as a way to alleviate boredom or release pent-up energy.

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors through digging. Sometimes is the outcome of certain breeds and sometimes it could be the out come of anxiety and stress.  

Seeking Comfort or Coolness

In hot weather, dogs may dig to find cooler ground to lie on. Similarly, they may dig to create a comfortable resting spot or escape from extreme temperatures.

Negative Consequences of Digging

While dog digging may seem harmless at first, it can lead to several undesirable consequences for both you and your dog.

Destruction of Property

Digging can cause extensive damage to your yard, garden, or outdoor furniture, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

Escaping or Getting Lost

Holes dug under fences or gates can provide an escape route for dogs, putting them at risk of getting lost, injured, or involved in accidents.

Dog Digging Solutions

Fortunately, there are several effective ways you can implement to discourage digging behavior in your dog.

Provide Sufficient Physical and Mental Exercise

Ensuring your dog receives adequate exercise and mental structured activities can help reduce boredom and excess energy, decreasing the likelihood of digging. Regular walks, interactive play sessions, and training activities can keep your dog mentally and physically engaged.

Designate a Digging Area

Creating a designated digging area in your yard allows your dog to satisfy their natural urge to dig without causing damage elsewhere. Fill the area with loose soil or sand and encourage your dog to dig there by burying toys, treats or bones.

Use Deterrents

Applying deterrents to areas where your dog frequently digs can help discourage the behavior. Options include bitter-tasting sprays, their own poop ( I know kind of disgusting)


Supervising your dog while they’re outside is the most effective dog digging solution. Get their attention whenever they start to dig, calm them down and expose again. Train your dog to be calm in your backyard. This is most effective because you can break the habit and create a new pattern 

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your dog’s digging behavior persists despite your efforts, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can assess the underlying reasons for the behavior and provide tailored solutions to address it effectively.

I personally supervise all my dogs when they are in the backyard so I can block right away any behavior that I don’t want them to rehearse. Before I do any other activity in my backyard with my dogs, I teach them to relax and calm down by default. Then I initiate play, training sessions or I just let them do free range with supervision. 

While digging is a natural behavior for dogs, it can pose challenges for dog onwers if left unchecked. By understanding the reasons behind your dog’s digging and implementing appropriate strategies, you can effectively manage and reduce this behavior, leading to a happier and healthier relationship with your dog.


  • Why does my dog only dig in certain areas of the yard?
    Dogs may prefer to dig in areas with soft soil, shade, or where they detect interesting scents. Identifying and addressing the factors that attract your dog to specific spots can help discourage digging in those areas.

  • Should Is punish my dog for digging?
    Punishment is not recommended as it can lead to fear, anxiety, or aggression in dogs. Instead, focus on behavior training and redirection to encourage desired behaviors.

  • Can digging be a sign of underlying health issues in dogs?
    In some cases, excessive digging may indicate underlying health issues such as allergies, parasites, or anxiety. Seek advice from your pet’s healthcare provider to eliminate any potential medical reasons behind your dog’s actions.

  • Is it possible to train an older dog to stop digging?
    Yes, it’s possible to modify a dog’s behavior at any age through consistent training and reinforcement. However, it may require more time and patience with older dogs compared to puppies.

  • Are there specific breeds more prone to digging?
    While all dogs are capable of digging, certain breeds with high prey drive or working instincts, such as terriers and hounds, are more predisposed to this behavior.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2024