Dog Digging Up The Yard? Here's How to Stop It

Dog Digging Up The Yard? Here's How to Stop It

If your dog likes to dig, you may have long given up on having a presentable yard. Dirt holes, shredded grass, destroyed plants -- itโ€™s not a pretty sight, and itโ€™s definitely frustrating. But if your dog is digging, itโ€™s not because they want to make you mad or lay waste to your hard-earned garden. The truth is that digging is a common and natural behavior in dogs, and the dogโ€™s

wild ancestors, wolves, still dig dens to find shelter, hide valuables, and raise their young.However just because itโ€™s a natural instinct, that doesnโ€™t mean you should let your dog wreak havoc. If youโ€™re ready to reclaim your yard, hereโ€™s what you can do today.

Identify Why Your Dog is Digging

Before you can stop your dog from digging, you first need to figure out why theyโ€™re doing it.BoredomMany dogs dig because they are bored or have excess energy. Try walking your dog for an extra 15 minutes, throw a ball in the yard, or sign up for a training class

. If itโ€™s stimulation your dog seeks, their digging may subside once you provide it.

Stress or Anxiety

Does your dogโ€™s digging start when the neighborhood dog starts to bark, when youโ€™re getting ready to leave the house, or when guests come over? If so, they could be digging to release

anxious energy. Take steps to reduce your dogโ€™s anxiety

with exercise and behavior modification. And if you need help, contact a

trainer, animal behaviorist, or your veterinarian



If the weather is particularly



cold, a dog may dig a hole to escape it. If you find your dog lying in their hole, this may be the situation. Rather than leaving your dog in the yard without shelter, offer them a cool or warm place to rest, like a doghouse. And when youโ€™re home, bring them inside for relief.RELATED STORY: Is My Dog Weird? 5 Strange Dog Behaviors ExplainedThrill of the Hunt

Some dogs dig because theyโ€™ve sniffed out prey, and theyโ€™re trying to reach it. If your dog seems to be focusing on a single spot in the yard -- especially near roots or along a path -- check for signs of burrowing animals or other


. If you suspect that a creature may be posting up in your yard, contact your local animal control to safely remove it, then take steps to

make your yard less desirable



Is your dog digging a hole under a fence? If so, they may be trying to escape. A dog who is happy and well cared for shouldnโ€™t want to leave their home, so take time to evaluate their environment and living situation. Are they getting enough to

eat? Are they being treated well? Are they getting regular attention and exercise?To keep your dog from escaping, block off vulnerable areas with buried chicken wire, buried chain link, or partially buried large rocks.

What Not To Do

If you catch your dog in the act of digging, you can give them a firm โ€œNo!โ€

and then bring them inside. However, if you find a hole after the fact, donโ€™t yell at or otherwise punish your dog; they wonโ€™t understand, and if their digging is a result of anxiety, it could actually make the problem worse.

RELATED STORY: 8 Things You Didnโ€™t Know About How to Talk to Your Dog

Give Your Dog a Digging Zone

If all else fails -- or if you wish to let your dog dig to their heartโ€™s content -- consider creating a digging zone. A digging zone is a special area in the yard where your dog will have carte blanche to play excavator.To encourage your dog to dig in their special zone, create a physical border around it (for example with rocks or bricks) and bury treats or toys just below the surface. Praise your dog when they dig them up, and replenish the goodies over to time to keep your dog going back. If your dog tries to dig elsewhere, get their attention and lead them over to their zone. Eventually, they should learn to focus only on their sweet spot.Does your dog dig? Leave a comment and tell us how you deal with it, and consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


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