Dog Digging Behavior – Best Solutions with Home Remedies

dog digging

It cannot be denied that digging is among the behaviors of dogs. If not given immediate attention, it can be a nuisance for pet owners. Are you curious why dogs dig? Is your dog digging holes in the garden or under the garden fence? Then, this article is for you.

Pet owners usually feel frustrated when their dogs dig. It can result in a nuisance if you cannot manage it. To fix this, you must understand why your dog has this behavior. It can be a symptom that can lead to a bigger problem. There are various reasons why dogs dig. To guide you, the following are some of the reasons why dogs dig. 

What Are the Reasons for Dog Digging?

Dog digging can be annoying for pet owners. Are you bothered by this behavior? Why is my dog digging holes all of a sudden? Read further to know the answer.


One of the factors of dog digging is genetics. It has a big part in your pet’s temperament. Some breeds like small hounds and terriers dig out because they’re hunting dogs. Some dogs dig because they’re looking for prey. 


Naturally, dogs look for shelter or dens. Domestic pets dig holes because it warms them during the cold weather. If you observe your pet digs on its bed, which is associated with digging dens outdoors. Denning is a natural behavior for dogs. You must be patient because it is the behavior of your pet, which is hard to stop.

Stress Relief

There are also instances that dogs dig as it helps them to relieve stress. Usually, active diggers feel bored or suffer from separation anxiety. It helps them to release their negative emotions. This behavior can also give physical and mental stimulation, which is good for relieving anxiety and boredom. If you want your pet to avoid stress, show them love and attention, it will help their overall health. 


You may not know it, but your pet can be a good escape artist. Digging is their way to escape. Dogs escape due to anxiety and boredom. Some dogs dig because they want to cool down. If they’re afraid or stressed, there is a high potential of digging on the ground. With that, you must check your dog and keep them happy and active. 

Burial of possessions 

Some dogs tend to bury their possessions like chews or toys. As they bring their toys in the yard, there is a possibility to dig holes to hide it.

Common Dog Breeds That Digs

To give you an idea, the following is a list of the common dog breeds that digs.

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier is a sheepdog. This English breed is beneficial for vermin hunting, especially on mines. They dig instinctively, especially if they lack exercise.

Cairn Terrier

This dog breed comes from Scotland. They are small terriers who love digging, hunt for game, and love chasing. Owners use their digging skills for searching.


This dog breed is also popular for its digging habit. It is a German breed that has short legs. It is an active digger that can be a nuisance to pet owners if it’s not appropriately stimulated.


This breed is popular for hunting rabbits. It has a digging instinct because they love chasing.

Jack Russell Terrier

This popular dog breed is used initially for hunting foxes. They use their digging skills to fight and find their prey. These dogs are intelligent and very active diggers. 

Border Terrier 

The Border Terrier is used for hunting foxes. It can be a nuisance, too, since they are a strong digger. 

Siberian Husky

This dog breed actively digs during warm weather. They can also uncover cooler ground. These active dogs easily feel bored, which leads to an increase in their digging habit. So, you must give them exercise to reduce their digging behavior. 

Chow Chow

Just like other breeds, the Chow Chow often digs during the warmer climate to stay cool. It has an instinct for self-preservation. It is among the top breeds that dig.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

It is a gundog from the Netherlands and Germany, which stands out as a sporting dog. They can be destructive because of their digging habit. They need proper exercise to reduce digging.

Miniature Schnauzer 

This is a German terrier dog that can be a flexible farm dog. It has active digging instincts to catch their prey like rats and other animals they want to chase.

Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier also has a strong digging ability. It can be quite annoying for pet owners if the dog is not appropriately trained. The ancestors of this breed were used for eliminating mice, rats as well as other vermin. They dig to chase their prey.

West Highland White Terrier

This is also called Westie. It is an active breed that is originally bred to hunt small rodents on farms. They also dig for their prey. They are still active diggers today.

Alaskan Malamute

This dog is a Northern breed that is popular for its digging instinct, especially during the hot weather. This breed has thick coats that offer them protection from cold. It also makes them feel comfortable.

Effective Solutions to Stop Your Dog from Digging

Dog digging is quite irritating for pet owners. Don’t worry because there are ways to stop dogs from digging using home remedies. The solutions include the following.

Remove prey that your dog loves to chase

Dogs are hunters and enjoy chasing. If you encounter that your pet digs at the roots of plants or trees, there’s a tendency that there’s an animal or rodent that they want to hunt. Make sure to remove potential pray that your dog may chase. However, you must not use poison to eliminate the prey in your yard. Thus, the chemical or poison you use can also harm your beloved pet.

Provide a shady area in your yard

Your pet may feel uncomfortable during hot summer or cold winter. Your dog will dig for holes to feel warm during winter or to keep themselves wet during summer. Provide them with a shady area wherein they can feel warm when the temperature is high. Make sure to give them the protection they need in different weather conditions. The changing weather can cause illnesses such as cold and other diseases. Provide proper diet, exercise, and other basic needs to prevent health problems. 

Never allow toys outside

One of the main reasons for dog digging is for burying their possessions. Do not bring toys outside if you want to prevent your pet from digging. You can bring toys outside if you’re going to play with your pet. Make sure your dog plays with toys under your supervision.  

Dog sport

Dog sports are perfect for boosting the mental and physical energy of your pet. It is essential to reduce boredom and anxiety, which increases their inclination to dig. Among the dog sports is Earthdog. It is a sport for breeds who dig for their prey.

Avoid escape

Trying to escape is also the most common reason for dog digging. You can place a barrier. Include chicken wire or big rocks on the fence line to discourage your dog from digging.

dog digging under fence

More exercise and playtime

Another way to stop the dog from digging is to offer them more exercise and playtime. If your dog feels boredom and anxiety, there are more chances of digging. The best thing you can do is to keep active and happy by giving them more exercise and playtime. Playing more with your pet is the best solution to keep them active. It can also help them to have a balanced behavior. 

Give them with comfortable and soft bedding

Provide comfortable and soft bedding for your dog. You can train your dog to dig in a specific spot to prevent a mess. There is also a tendency that your dog will dig on the ground if they smell or hear something. Their digging instinct is always active if they are looking for their prey.

Divert the attention of your dog to any activity

If you see your pet digging on the ground, try to divert its attention to other activities. For example, chewing toys, playing fetch, and playfully chasing you. Always keep them busy by diverting their attention to more important activities that can help their overall health. It is also your chance to enjoy quality moments with your beloved pet. Go for a walk with your dog. Proper exercise is essential to maintain their mental, emotional, and physical health. Think about activities that will enhance their intelligence and health. 

Make your dog feel special

Feelings of separation anxiety and loneliness can be among the top reasons for dog digging. If you want to reduce dog digging, then you must make your dog feel special. Give them food, clothing, love, protection as well as other things they need for a healthy and happy life.

Visit your veterinarian

Do you observe abnormal behaviors from your beloved pet? Well, you must visit your veterinarian to keep your dog safe from illnesses. A regular check-up with a vet makes your dog prevent possible diseases that can affect its health. 

How to Reduce Dog Digging Behavior

Although digging is a natural behavior in dogs, it can still stress out dog owners. There are many alternatives to reduce dog digging. 

Provide digging deterrents 

You can use natural dog digging deterrent. If your pet has a habit of active digging, you can use digging deterrents. You can fence off the digging spots with a flexible and strong barrier. Use strong-smelling deterrents like vinegar, cayenne, or citrus peels in the favorite digging areas of your pet. It will be discouraged from digging. In the digging spots, you can put plastic chicken wire or bury flat rocks. You can make use of a sprinkler system, which is also an effective deterrent.

Use some distractions 

Digging is a natural behavior of most dogs, but you can do something to distract them. Boost their energy by offering them with more fun and entertainment by using rope toys, plushie, and tennis balls. Reward them by solving a problem with treat-dispensing dog toys. Give your pet dental chews and other chews to prevent boredom and anxiety. It is also beneficial for their gum’s and teeth’s health. Another distraction is a sandbox. Give your pet with space that can divert his or her attention from digging. You can use a sandbox that can be used as a digging area for your pet. You must train your dog to dig on the sandbox. 

Training sessions

Aside from honing their skills, training sessions can help your dogs to remain active, which can stop their digging habit. Always give them proper exercise to boost their energy and happiness. Never leave them lonely, which can lead to separation anxiety.

Stop Dog Digging Holes with Spray

Dog digging can be a mess in your yard. You can use a spray to stop your dog from digging. 

Cayenne pepper 

If you use a spray to prevent dog digging, make sure it is safe. You can use cayenne pepper as it is safe for your pet. It would not harm your dog if it were ingested or swallowed. Meanwhile, it can cause eye irritation.

Citrus Fruits

You can also try citruses such as grapefruit, lemons, and oranges. You can spray lemon water as a deterrent. 

Citronella oil 

Just like insects, your pet does not like the smell of citronella. So, it is one of the suggested digging repellents. You can mix it with 4 cups of water in a spray bottle.

Ammonia dog digging repellent 

Ammonia is among the strongest scents that dogs dislike. It is a digging repellent that you can mix with coffee filters, which is safe for plants and protects your garden.


A strong smell of vinegar can prevent your dogs from digging. However, this digging repellent is not suitable for the plants. You should not spray it directly on your garden or lawn. Before making a repellent, you must first soak it with biodegradable coffee filters and dry it under the sun. As it dries, you can cut it to thin strips and scatter on the ground, especially in the areas your dog digs.

Essential Oils 

Essential oils are among the best choices to prevent digging naturally. People use essential oils as fresh scent; however, it is not appealing to dogs. Among the essential oils, you can use lemon, sour apple, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and orange. You can mix it with water and place it in a spray bottle. Then, you can spray it in the digging areas of your pet. 

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol has a strong smell that can keep pets away. Do not add alcohol on the grass or plants directly as it is harmful. To protect your eyes and your dog’s eyes, do not use it in a spray. Instead, use soaking cotton balls with rubbing alcohol and scatter it on your yard. 


To sum it up, dog digging can be prevented by following the tips mentioned above. Your pet can dig because of various reasons. You must first understand the problem and formulate the best solution for it. If you don’t have enough knowledge, you can always seek the assistance of professional veterinarians to ensure the safety and health of your beloved pet.

There are many ways to stop the digging habit of your pet. However, you need a lot of patience, hard work and dedication to succeed. Dogs are natural diggers, so you must deal with them in the best way without putting them at risk.