Why Do Dogs Dig Holes? A Complete Guide

how to stop dogs from digging

Being a dog, dogs love to dig holes. It is excellent for their mental and physical stimulation. It is a source of joy for many dogs, and it’s like a game that they play with themselves. Unless your dog is not one of the escape artists, he might be digging holes to run away.

Digging is natural for dogs. It’s in their instinctive behavior. However, if your dog is doing excessive digging and they are ruining the beauty of your backyard or garden, then you must be worried.

There might be a lot of questions arising in your mind about your dog’s behavior. So first, let’s talk about why is my dog digging holes all of a sudden? in detail.

Understanding the Digging Behavior:

how to stop dog from digging

If you see that your dog is digging, you might have to understand what makes them dig before assuming the worst-case scenario.

Digging is engraved in a dog’s DNA, and it’s a behavior instant they got down from their wolf predecessors, like howling and hunting. Many dogs dig more than other dog breeds, which is normal because all dogs are not born equal.

Digging for Many Reasons

Let’s dig into the reasons: Why a dog digs? And what is up with this destructive behavior of your furry friends?

A Dog’s Instinct

Remember digging is in a dog’s genes mentioned many times by the American Kennel Club. The impulse to dig is stronger in some dogs than in other dogs. For example, some domestic and docile breeds don’t dig at all or do just a little digging, but other breeds like hunting hounds are trained for this purpose and are also favored because of this ability.

why do dogs dig holes

Seeking Prey

When dogs are seeking prey, they also start digging. But you might wonder how they are seeking prey in your backyard or farm? When dogs see small animals or critters wandering on their property, they love to chase them away or try to hunt rodents down by following their scent, which might lead them into digging.

Relieving Stress

Our canine companions do have hobbies to destress themselves from the things they don’t like. But, unfortunately, the destressing habits might come out as unwanted behavior for us owners. They include barking, chewing, and digging holes. So don’t worry. It is part of their natural behavior.


Sometimes dogs feel bored, and digging provides them the mental stimulation they need and also because they enjoy digging. It is just plain fun for them. A professional trainer advised me that if you feel that your digging dog is bored, try to get him to do more exercise or try some fun puzzle toys with them.

Hiding Treasure

Hiding treasure, this instinctual behavior is passed down from their wild ancestors, the wolf. They used to hide the leftover prey they hunted for later. Sometimes they also like to bury their things like a favorite toy because they think it is a safe place.


Our canine friends love to den. Sometimes they dig because they want to create a shelter for themselves. That is why dogs prefer crate beds to sleep in. Some other dogs like to den in hot weather as it provides them comfort and a safe space.

Want to Escape

If you see your dog digs a hole near the fence, keep a strict eye on them. If your escape artist can’t jump them, they will dig below so that they can run freely in the wild.

The Risks of Dogs Digging Holes

why do dogs dig

Digging behavior is common for dogs, but this issue has many risk factors for dogs. This Risk involves the following.

  • Escaping
  • Broken nails
  • Damaging your vegetable garden
  • Hitting large rocks
  • Getting exposed to parasites and bacteria in the soil
  • Falling in the deep holes or getting stuck

Channeling a Dog’s Digging in An Appropriate Way

Many behavior analysts and professional dog trainers say that you must find ways to channel your dog’s energies into something constructive rather than wasting them on such destructive behavior.

You can follow this professional advice about giving your dog a sandpit or a sandbox. Let them do digging in a safe, controlled, and protected space that doesn’t cause them health problem.

A dog likes to explore treasure, dig up rubber bones or toys and play with their owner. So whenever a dog starts digging, just redirect them to another playful activity.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Often Digs Holes and Lies in Them?

No, you should not be worried because most dogs like to den in hot weather for long periods, and sometimes they feel safe. This is normal behavior because of the common reasons we have mentioned earlier.

However, if you see that they are getting lazy, losing their appetite, and getting thinner, just take them to a doctor for a checkup.

Tell Me the Best Ways to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging Holes From Under Fences?

dogs digging holes

You can stop your dog from digging under the fence by burning chicken wire, planting bushes, and placing rocks.

In addition, place a dog house in holes they have already dug so that your best friends feel safe and don’t want to escape.

How to Stop a Dog From Digging?

You can make dogs stop digging by following these tips

  • First, try to find out the reason behind the dog’s digging that will help you plan out.
  • Place some obstacles near the spots they dig holes
  • Dogs dig because they want to cool off, so it is good to shelter them in humid weather, so they don’t have to dig.
  • Male dogs dig holes to escape, so it is better to get them neutered.
  • Get them more exercise, so they are bored.
  • Don’t give them toys or treats if they bury them. Rather train them with alternative methods.
  • It’s a good idea to put him on a leash and keep the dog inside when there is a storm or firecrackers.
  • Train him not to chase after other animals.
  • Give them a snuggle bed that feels like a den for lying in.

Final Thoughts

Dogs dig holes because it is in nature, so don’t worry about your furry friends. This is an inherited trait they got from their ancestors. You can’t just totally take this out of them. However, you can train them to minimize this and distract them toward a positive mental and physical stimulation.

Your dog just wants your time, love, and attention. So play with your love ball and give them an environment where they feel praised and protected.

I hope this article has helped you with your digging problem. If you have any more questions, feel free to comment below. Moreover, if you are on a hunt for the coziest dog beds then here is the list of articles to help you find the best for your needs. Happy reading

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Noah Tess
Noah Tess is a mother to a baby girl, two adorable huskies, and a toy poodle. When she's not busy taking care of her family, she's blogging about the newest pet trends and products. She's a member of the team here at dog cafe, a blog devoted to giving pet parents the best information on keeping their fur babies happy and healthy. When Noah's daughter was born, her world became infinitely more precious. Her baby was saved by the rescue huskies, she knew she owed them everything. That's why she does so much research into finding the best diets for her toy poodle "toffee" and her huskies, Jack and Snowball. Noah has a unique perspective on life that comes from being a mom - it's amazing!

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