Why Do Dogs Dig & How To Stop Them From Digging

Why Do Dogs Dig & How To Stop Them From Digging

Last Updated: March 31, 2023

The sight of your pooch digging in the backyard is inherently a dog’s thing. 

Scraping mud and sand is a normal trait in dogs that they enjoy as a playful act for hiding, hunting, or reducing body heat.

Most dog owners like you are often curious to know why dogs dig and its consequences. 

The good news is that the normal digging tendency in your canine is natural unless impulsive. 

As you know that excess is always harmful, so is your dog’s uncontrollable digging which might be indicating signs of anxiety that is channelizing through such aggressive behavior.

So if you see your dog persistently digging couches, blankets, beds, carpets, holes in the yard/garden, or under the fence you need to understand the cause of their behavior instead of getting angry with your pet. 

This brings us to the very first question that pops every dog owner’s mind.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Why Do Dogs Dig?

It’s not necessarily a matter of concern with your dog’s digging pattern. 

Most canines are fond of making holes in the garden or scraping out mud which is an inherited trait that they cannot escape. 

A dog digs for many reasons and you should know that they like digging. 

It is a kind of harmless playful act that they enjoy.

Digging helps them reduce their anxiety level and is also a way to retain a healthy weight. 

But if your poodle is showing serious signs of aggression through wild digging, or not obeying your command, then there are chances that it might be suffering from serious mood fluctuation.

Let’s look at the possible reasons for their digging.

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Digs Couches, Blankets, Beds, Carpets, Holes In The Yard/Garden, Or Under The Fence

Your Dog Is Suffering From Anxiety & Stress

Before getting a new pup or adopting one, make sure to manage some bonding time from your packed schedule. 

Dogs are social and thrive better in a warm ambiance where they enjoy quality time with you and your family.

But if your pooch is mostly left alone at home, get ready to face the worst of impulsive behavior. 

When your dog is deprived of your attention and touch of compassion, it tends to show serious signs of anxiety and stress that can aggravate if not treated on time. 

Just like humans, prolonged isolation can trigger depression in dogs which they reflect through uncontrollable digging, chewing, and random barking.

Your Dog Digs Because It’s Bored

Your Dog Digs Because It’s Bored

Dogs being social creatures expect more of your time, the lack of which can cause your dog to suffer from severe boredom.

If your dog is mostly left alone under unfavorable ambiance, then chances of growing obsessive behavior are quite normal which may include digging bed and carpet or chewing the cushions. 

In case you are noticing such unusual aggression in your canine, consider consulting a therapist, as extreme boredom can cause mood disorders and panic attacks in your dogs. 

Impulsive digging is a way for your dog to stay engaged and calm from growing anxiety when deprived of your love.

Your Dog’s Digging Is Genetic

Do you know that genes can be responsible for determining your dog’s behavior? 

Raising a misbehaving dog is a nightmare that can be avoided with just a little awareness.

It might possible that your dog’s obsessive digging is connected to its birth history. 

It’s proven that buying puppies from a reputed breeder can make your parenting days a lot easier. 

While adopting from a shelter or unauthorized breeder can land you in trouble with genetically defected pups from an unhealthy mother who wasn’t treated right during her pregnancy. 

So, next time you consider getting a dog, stay adequately informed to avert issues. 

Your Dog Wants To Escape

You might have noticed your dog often digging below the fence in your garden, which they can’t help as it comes to them naturally. 

But the problem strikes when your poodle becomes obsessed with uncontrollable digging.

Such behavior signifies that it wants to escape from the isolation to gel with the world out there or a neighbor dog. 

Canines thrive well when in a pack or such a similar ambiance. 

So if you are planning to get a dog, you must ensure to provide a friendlier environment to it, so that it feels loved and stay safe from developing a harsh temperament.

Your Dog Digs Because It Needs Shelter

Your Dog Digs Because It Needs Shelter

Looking out for a natural shelter is also a reason why dogs like to dig. 

Though most domestic dogs are provided with the best facilities, still they struggle to leave some of their inborn traits like rampant digging.

To protect your garden and backyard from the wrath of your dog, get a spacious dog house that it finds comfortable enough to rest and feel safe inside. 

Besides showing aggression through digging, most dogs also scrape mud before they lay down to find some cooling sensation to lose their body heat. 

Such normal dog behavior has no serious health threats until it turns into an obsession.

Your Dog Is Looking For Prey

Canines are born hunters and their preying mood can activate anytime, whether you are feeding enough or not. 

Dogs are very responsive to any kind of vibration both above and below the ground which makes them dig holes to look out for prey.

There is no need to be worried about such a natural dog’s instinct. 

Canines enjoy such playful activities to relieve themselves from stress which also helps them stay in shape. 

To help your dog survive a healthy lifespan, try to understand the warning signs that it shows through compulsive behavior and consider professional help as a responsible parent.

Your Dog Is Hiding Something

Your dog is not only protective of you but also its belongings like toys and treats. 

So if you often catch your dog digging holes in the yard or under the fence, chances are it might be on a treasure hunt and is not at all a matter of concern.

Dogs often struggle to find out their hidden treasure which makes them dig more all over the area. 

Such protective behavior has been passed down from their ancestors’ wolves that hide their surviving essential safe from other predators. 

But if your furry mate is showing destructive behavior, then you must consider seeking expert consultation without delaying any further.

How To Stop Your Dog From Digging – 13 Home Remedy

Now you know why do dogs dig.  

The next question that must be in your mind is how to stop a dog from digging. 

Well, glad you asked.

You need to know certain dog training tips and tricks and start grooming your pet at home in order to reduce its compulsive behavior. 

There is a couple of home remedy tips that will stop your dog from digging holes in your yard/garden or under the fence. 

Let’s look at them in detail, so that you can pick the ones you find easy and comfortable following.

Walk Your Dog Twice A Day – Morning & Evening/Afternoon

Walk Your Dog Twice A Day - Morning & Evening/Afternoon

All of us search for things that are new, enticing, and fulfilling.

When we don’t get it easily, we keep looking. 

In a similar fashion, dogs are fond of new scents and discoveries. 

And when that is not provided, they start digging the ground and relish the scents they discover. 

To refrain them from this, a healthy and easy way is to walk your dog twice a day based on your availability. 

Through this, you are fulfilling this need for new scents and your dog will be less likely to dig. 

It is one of the best pet grooming tips you can follow at the comfort of your home. 

Make sure to take your dog out at a specific time, this way soon your dog will get accustomed to it and would stop digging holes.

Scare Your Dog Whenever It Digs

Dogs aren’t tough to scare away, all you need to do is to find that one weak spot that always gets your furry friend running for its life. 

And in most cases, these are water and loud sounds. 

Water works as the perfect deterrent as every dog hates it. 

You can easily use it against your dog.

Sprinkled water on your dog as soon as it starts digging. 

The most effective way to do this is to install a motion-activated sprinkler that unleashes a jet of water as soon as the sprinkler detects movement. 

You can buy the best automatic sprinklers online. 

These are the best products that can be used on your pet.

These motion-activated sprinklers ever work in the dark to soak and scare away your sneaky night-time diggers. 

In case of sound test different loud music or sounds (maybe the sound of firecrackers) or drop something hard on the floor that makes a harsh sound to know which sound scares your dog the most and then use it whenever your dog digs. 

This will scare your dog away and soon it will come to realize that it’s better to stay away from digging.

Distract Your Dog Whenever It Digs

Your furry friend is most likely to dig if they have nothing better to do. 

Whenever you find your dog digging, try distracting it with a game of fetch, give a toy, do a trick or lure it away from the digging spot by giving a favorite treat it likes. 

At times when you leave your dog alone at home, the most efficient way to stop your dog from digging the yard or under the fence is to give it interactive toys such as treat-dispensing balls, tether tugs, and automatic ball throwers.

Spray Pepper Or Citrus If Your Dog Digs On The Same Spot

Your furry earth-mover has a habit of sniffing the dirt while digging the garden/yard and it is no revelation that dogs are remarkable sniffers but to their displease, we will use this against them. 

You can spray pepper, preferably red cayenne pepper, or citrus to release a nasty smell in the dirt which will surely act as a deterrent to your dog’s consistent habit of digging.

When inhaled, the pepper or citrus powder will irritate your dog’s nostrils and it will most likely snort, shake its head or run. 

And just there, you’ll know it worked.

Provide Shelter To Make Your Dog Feel Safe

If your yard doesn’t have patios, shady trees, or cozy places for your dog to snug in when the weather turns bad, it is the primary reason why your dog is busy digging. 

Yards no more than a field of grass and a fence are unlikely to provide your dog with a safe shelter, and when it doesn’t have one, it starts building its own. 

So, be on the safer side and provide a safe, cozy, and cool shelter to your dog. 

Outdoor dog houses are one of the best pet products that you buy online and stop your dog from digging shelter in the ground.

Train Your Dog To Dig In A Specific Area Of Your Yard Or Garden

If you want to spoil your curious dog even more and give what it wants. 

Because sometimes no matter how hard your try to groom your pet at home they are just stubborn and won’t listen.

We understand your frustration and we have got a way to help you out. 

All you need to do is create a digging zone, just for your dog. 

You can also level up and create a sandy area for your dog as sand is soft and easy to move around.  

Learn some dog training tips and tricks to lure your dog in this specific part by sprinkling or burying treats or hide toys your dog loves the most and make this seem like a treasure hunt. 

There is no way your dog will leave these daily surprises to dig somewhere else. 

Keep Your Dog Cool

Keep Your Dog Cool

Do you know why dogs dig before they lay down?

You might have seen your dog do the same. 

It is because your dog feels much hotter in the summers than you do. 

Thanks to all that fur (and adorableness). 

But well, excessive heat can urge your dogs to find a cooler spot, and what’s better than the wet soil which is 10-15°C cooler than the current temperature. 

To avoid digging, you should keep your dog fresh or bring your dog inside during scorching summer days or make a small water pool for your dog where it can cool itself.

Keep Your Garden/Yard Rodent Free

If your dog is digging in a single location over and over again it might be trying to dig an animal in the soil. 

Your yard or garden might be home to a variety of different animals and once your dog gets their scent, it won’t stop until it digs out its prey. 

Therefore, you should remove small animals like rats, squirrels, bugs, insects, toads, or gophers from your yard. 

Spend More Time With Your Dog

Spend More Time With Your Dog

Is your dog overly fond of you?

If yes, then you are not only lucky but also responsible to spend more time with your furry friend. 

These adorable creatures grow attached to their parents quickly and when separated even for some time, they start acting up. 

As mentioned earlier the excessive digging might be a result of the stress and anxiety that your dog developed over longing. 

So, it’s best either to train your dog or spend more time with it or groom it properly so that it does not miss you when you are out shopping, working, or partying.

Cover The Yard Or Garden With Rocks Where Your Dog Always Digs

Creating a barrier in the ground can do wonders in keeping your dig-o-holic dog in check. 

You can bury large rocks where your dog digs the most. 

Also, you should make sure that the rocks are big enough as dogs can easily remove small pieces of rocks and continue their search inside the ground. 

This barrier will tire out your dog and it will ultimately stop digging as the effort just won’t be worth it. 

Fence The Area Where Your Dog Digs

Is your dog hell-bent to dig a specific section on your yard? 

If yes, the best way to prevent this is to block its access to that favorite digging spot. 

Fencing a specific part will solely depend on your yard, in some cases, it might be required to attach patio fencing to posts with zip ties and further sections of the yard. 

You can also use an electric dog fence to keep it out of the digging zone, as the minor electric shock will train your dog not to go near the digging area. 

The height of the fence should depend on how athletic your dog is. 

However, it’s safest to grab onto the tallest fence possible. 

Give Your Dog Toys To Play With To Avoid Boredom

It should not come as a surprise that your dog gets bored too. 

As mentioned earlier, your dog suffers from boredom if you are too busy with your office work or other stuff that goes on in your life and too ignorant to notice your loving friend. 

Ultimately your dog starts sniffing around and finds something interesting to keep itself engaged. 

In most cases, dogs develop a habit of digging couches, beds, carpets, blankets, or whatever they can get their paws on. It’s their way of being playful to gain your attention. 

If you can’t spare time for your pet for whatsoever reason, give them toys to play with. 

This will keep them engaged and they won’t look for reasons to dig around.

Plant Cactus Or Pointy Plants In The Yard/Garden Where Your Dog Digs

Plant Cactus Or Pointy Plants In The Yard/Garden

Pointy plants like cactus can help you stop your dog from digging.

All you have to do is plant a cactus or any other plant with thorns like holly or agave in the area where your dog digs. 

The result will be whenever your dog comes back to dig in the same spot it will be greeted with thorns and believe us, that hurts the same to humans and dogs. 

This nasty prickle will surely refrain your dog from digging on the same spot and soon it will forget about it.

Final Thoughts

Parenting a dog is very similar to raising your own. 

So once you decide to get your first pup, make sure you are informed enough with the basic dog training tips and tricks. 

To ensure a healthy life for your dog, you need not be a professional but only offer enough bonding time so that you do not have to catch your dog digging up your garden or yard. 

The more you spend quality moments with your canine, the less are the chances of it developing anxiety and harsh temperament. 

Obsessive digging, random barking, and destructive chewing are some serious warning signs that your dog may start showing when lacking enough of your time and attention. 

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