How to Stop Your Dog from Digging in the Yard

Dog Digging Yard

Digging is a natural behavior for dogs, but it can be frustrating when they start ruining your yard. You've found the ideal place to stop plugging holes. This blog post will explain ways to stop your dog from digging in the yard.

Understand the Reasons Behind Digging

Before trying to tackle the issue, it’s important to understand why dogs dig in the first place. Dogs dig for various reasons, including:

  • Boredom: Dogs that are left alone for long periods may resort to digging as a way to entertain themselves.
  • Breed Traits: Certain breeds, such as terriers and dachshunds, have a natural instinct to dig due to their historical roles as hunters or burrowers.
  • Temperature Regulation: Dogs may dig holes in search of cooler ground during hot weather or warmer areas during colder months.
  • Hunting Instincts: Some dogs dig because they smell rodents or other small animals underground.
  • Escape Route: A dog may try to dig beneath a fence or gate if they feel anxious or want more freedom.

Understanding why your dog is digging will help you address the root cause and prevent further digging.

Provide Adequate Exercise and Mental Stimulation

A tired dog is less likely to engage in destructive behaviors like digging. Ensuring your furry friend gets enough exercise and mental stimulation is crucial. Here’s what you can do:

  • Regular Walks: Take your dog on daily walks or runs to burn off excess energy. This will help reduce their need for additional activities like digging.
  • Interactive Toys: Invest in puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys that engage your dog’s mind and keep them occupied.
  • Playtime and Training: Set aside dedicated time for active play sessions with your dog. Additionally, engage in regular training sessions to mentally stimulate them.

By providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, you’ll help curb your dog’s digging tendencies.

Dog Digging Yard

Designate a Digging Area

Rather than trying to completely eliminate your dog’s digging behavior, it may be more practical to redirect their digging instincts to a specific area. Here’s how:

  • Create a Digging Pit: Designate an area in your yard where it is acceptable for your dog to dig. Use sand or loose soil and bury some toys or treats to encourage them to use that specific spot.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats and praise whenever they choose to dig in the designated area. Consistent positive reinforcement will reinforce the desired behavior.

Redirecting their natural instinct to dig into a specific area can help save the rest of your yard from destruction.

Remove Temptations from the Yard

Sometimes, dogs are enticed to dig by certain elements present in the yard. By removing these temptations, you can discourage digging behavior. Consider the following:

  • Remove Rodent Attractants: If your dog is digging due to a hunting instinct, take measures to eliminate rodents or other small animals from your yard.
  • Secure Trash Cans: Dogs may be drawn to dig in search of food scraps. Make sure all trash cans are securely closed or stored out of reach.
  • Cover Exposed Soil: Dogs might find exposed soil irresistible for digging. Cover any bare patches with rocks or mulch until grass grows back.

By removing these tempting elements, you reduce the likelihood of your dog resorting to digging.

Dog Digging Yard

Address Underlying Behavioral Issues

In some cases, digging can be a symptom of underlying behavioral issues or anxiety. If your dog’s digging is excessive or accompanied by other concerning behaviors, it’s essential to address these issues. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Consult a Professional: Seek advice from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can help diagnose and address any underlying behavioral problems.
  • Provide Comfortable Shelter: Ensure your dog has a comfortable and secure area, such as a crate or designated spot indoors, where they can feel safe during times of anxiety.
  • Consider Medication: For severe cases of anxiety or compulsive behavior, consult with your veterinarian about possible medication options to help manage the issue.

Addressing any underlying behavioral issues will not only reduce digging but also improve your dog’s overall well-being.


Digging is a natural behavior for dogs, but it can become problematic when it disrupts your yard. By understanding the reasons behind their digging and implementing appropriate strategies like providing exercise, designating a specific digging area, removing temptations, and addressing underlying behavioral issues, you can effectively stop your dog from digging in the yard. Remember that consistency and patience are key in modifying your pet’s behavior. With time and effort, you’ll be able to enjoy a well-maintained yard while keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

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