Dogs can develop the urge to dig at any time in their life: it could be a habit they had since childhood or something that occurs later in adulthood. Learn about what drives dogs to dig to determine how to stop a dog from digging.
The occasional scuffle in the ground isn’t a problem, but digging as a repetitive habit can be destructive behavior. If you don’t stop digging early on, your yard and home can be seriously damaged, and it will be more difficult to train your dog not to dig.
Learn about what drives dogs to dig to determine how to stop a dog from digging.
Why is my dog suddenly digging holes?
There are many reasons why dogs dig; Determining the exact cause is important in determining the best method to stop a dog from digging. When trying to correct destructive habits, knowing your pet well and spending time with them will be very helpful. Here are some possible reasons your dog’s new favorite thing to do is digging holes:
1. Lack of stimulation
If your dog is feeling bored or lonely, he may start digging to keep himself occupied. The digging can then quickly transform from a one-time source of entertainment to a repetitive habit that they repeat every time they feel bored. If a dog’s surroundings are not stimulating or they are not getting enough social interaction, it can be the cause of your pet’s destructive digging.
2. Animal instinct
Some dog breeds are more biologically prone to digging. In the past, they may have been bred for this purpose, and it can be difficult to train that instinct out of them.
Research dog breeds thoroughly before deciding which dog is best for you: your family, your lifestyle, and your home. If you have access to a lot of wild outside space, then breeds like a terrier– which were originally bred for digging – should thrive.
3. The urge to hunt
Your dog may have picked up something you didn’t have and he thinks he’s doing you a favor! All dogs have a natural hunting instinct, and if your pet spots a pest problem in your home or yard, they may dig to hunt down the pests.
4. Unsuitable environment
Animals often dig in an attempt to find comfort or protection in their surroundings. This can happen if your dog is left outside without access to a shaded area on a hot day, or if he is left outside in the cold without access to heat.
5. Stress or anxiety
Destructive behavior like digging can develop from many different things. Stress and anxiety are key factors in pets developing new, destructive tendencies, and it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is likely to make your pet feel stressed. Changes in routine or in the environment can be unsettling to animals. So if your dog’s life has suddenly changed, this may be the cause. Learn more about Dog separation anxiety and how to keep your dog calm.
How to stop a dog from digging
When you feel it is time to take action and end your dog’s digging habits, there are a few things you can do to help stop the behavior completely:
1. Remove sources of stress
If your dog is digging because he is stressed or feeling threatened, it is important to determine the root of his fears. Sometimes this can be as inevitable as moving house: a sudden change in environment is often stressful for animals. If so, you can make the transition easier by spending a lot of time with your pet and creating a “safe” area in the new home. Restoring the sleeping place in as similar a place as possible helps with the transition.
If you’re trying to figure out how to stop a dog from digging, first look for changes in their environment or routine.
Make sure your pet is getting the right amount of Dog exercise every day according to their race. Different breeds of dogs require very difficult daily activities, and it doesn’t always follow that a small dog will need less exercise!
Your dog should be active outdoors for at least half an hour each day. Increasing their exercise level could help them burn off the extra energy they spend digging holes in your yard.
3. Mental stimulation
Dogs need just as much mental stimulation as physical exercise. If your dog is bored all day, the digging may be due to a lack of mental stimulation.
Stopping a dog from digging by a lack of mental stimulation is easy: by spending more time with your pet doing the things you both enjoy! Play fetch, go for a walk, and other dog games. If you enrich the surroundings of your pet with additional dog toys, your pet will be vitally stimulated even when it is alone. Dog feed toys and obstacle courses are other fun ways to add extra daily stimulation. Discover ideas for Dog games that will help keep your brain busy.
4. The pest problem
How to prevent a dog chasing pests in your home or garden from digging is very simple: fix the pest problem!
Find humane ways to catch or trap the problematic pests, or hire experts to do it for you. Always use caution when using chemicals of any kind to treat a pest problem as these can be toxic to your dog.
5. Provide shelter and shade
Although dogs came from the wild, these days they are used to their comfort! If you leave your dog outside for long periods of time, make sure he has access to shade when it’s hot and shelter when it’s cold. You should also make sure that you can always get a drink with fresh water: make a “non-tilting” dog bowl to be on the safe side.
6. How to prevent a dog from digging under a fence
One of the most common dogs digging crimes is the urge to flee! If your pet is still digging around the fence, you can deter the behavior by making it more difficult: try half-burying rocks along the edge of the fence.
If your dog is still a digger out of habit, you may need to create a “burial zone” where he can play out his natural instincts. Find a spot in your yard where you don’t mind being disturbed and praise your dog for digging in that spot.
Check out our Guide to Basic Dog Training Commands Other tips that can help you refrain from your dog’s digging behavior.