Dog Digging: 8 Incredible Tips to Stop a Dog from Digging Holes

Published by , 27th December 2016 in Dog Training

How to Stop a Dog from Digging Holes in the Yard?

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Dogs digging holes in the yard is a very common problem that several dog owners complain about. Some dogs dig under the fence, some dig holes next to your favorite flowers. And some simply dig a hole in the middle of the yard!

If you have this problem, you know how frustrating it can be. To make it more frustrating, it seems that your dog is doing this for no reason.

However, there is a very plausible reason: digging is a natural thing for a dog to do. It comes from the past. In the wild, dogs needed to dig a hole to create a den in which they could sleep. They could also protect themselves, their puppies and save some food to eat later.

Now, coming back to the present and our digging problem. There are several reasons that cause a dog to dig holes in the yard. My goal is to write a complete guide for you.

Therefore, after reading this guide, you will understand the causes and solutions to stop a dog from digging.

Before we start the discussion of ‘causes & solutions’, if you are a reader of our articles, you already know that punishing your dog does not work (read my other article to understand the reasons). It is just like trying to punish your dog because he is barking or chewing something. All you need is dog training.

By now you understand that stopping digging all the time is hard because this is natural for your dog. We need to understand if there is a special reason for digging, then direct our four-legged friend to another activity.

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Main Reason for Dog Digging


Eight times out of 10, a dog will start digging when he is bored.

And how do you know that your dog is bored? It is a matter of excess energy. If your dog seems to have energy all the time when you are at home, it means that he is bored when you are not at home.

Some breeds, such as Golden Retriever, Labrador, Husky, etc have a lot of energy. That is why they need long walks several times a day. And remember that a bored dog not only will start digging but also will chew your things or channel the excess energy to things that they enjoy (and sometimes you may not enjoy that).

As a great dog owner, you don’t want this happening to you and your best friend. You want an obedient dog that has a lot of fun with you and doesn’t destroy things or hurt people.

8 Simple Tips to Stop Dog Digging

Our goal in this session is to provide ideas for you. You can try one after the other or you can try more than one at the same time. You will see which ones work better for your dog. When you find them, just be consistent and make them a habit.

1)    Leave Toys and Treats for your dog

You can leave your dog with her favorite toys and some treats when you go to work. For sure this will keep her busy. And leave her with complex toys.

My suggestions are to leave her with some durable toys that can keep her busy, excited and happy while you are not at home. In my opinion, Kong Toys are an excellent choice for this and they cost less than $10.

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2)    Dog Training and Dog Obedience

You can housetrain your dog following our articles and eBooks. We also have exclusive tips that we send by email to our subscribers that will help you.

Dog Training is an excellent way to reduce excess energy because dogs will be completing task after task. This will be good for your loved dog physically and mentally.

After a training session, such as training your dog to come, sit and stay, I’m sure she will not be bored. And she will be more obedient! Try a 15-minute training session before going to work.

Download our eBooks to guide you, if you have questions.

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3)    Exercise your Dog

This one is really simple and obvious. If you don’t have time to focus on a dog training session to exercise your dog, take your best friend for a walk or jogging. The more the better.

If you don’t have much time at all, I suggest that you just throw her a ball and keep her running around the house or in the backyard before you go to work.

You can try iFetch (watch the video below) as a solution to exercise your dog. This really works and it is great on rainy days!

If you have some time, but you don’t want to jog with her, you can go to a park and let her play with other dogs.

“I tried all of this and Boredom may not be the cause. How to stop my dog from digging?”

If boredom and excess energy are not the cause for digging, then, you will have to take different actions to stop the digging behavior. There are a couple of ways to achieve this.

Below, I will explain a list of options for you. But, keep in mind that exercising your dog is the first option and you should try exercising your dog daily.

In summary, you can Block the digging space and create a designated digging place. This can also be a temporary solution while you are trying to solve the excess energy and boredom problem.

4)    Cover or block your favorite places in the yard.

You can use some rocks, chicken wire or mesh netting to protect your favorite places in the yard. Your dog will not be able to dig a place that is covered or has chicken wire. By doing so, you protect your yard and continue trying the other topics mentioned in this article.

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5)    Minimize “attractive” digging spaces

Important: Dogs love to dig cool and moist areas! That is why they destroy your yard right after you worked on your tulips.

Other things that make it attractive for digging are some fertilizers and sweet smells that some plants have.

Some plants are unappealing to your furry friend. For example, roses. They are beautiful and they have thorns to protect them. For sure, your dog will stay away from them after the first attempt of digging around there.

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6)    Set aside a designated digging space for your dog

This is a very nice solution. Some dogs simply love digging and anything else you try to stop them doesn’t work. Even if you try to teach him the “Stop” command, he will only stop when you are there to say the command.

Creating his special digging space will keep him busy while you are away. This can be done with a plastic swimming pool filled with sand or dirt.

Therefore, you can direct your dog to this place and he can dig as much as he wants. You can try to hide toys for him on this place. Therefore, he will have fun in this special place and he will not try your special place!

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7)    Use Deterrents on your protected places

You can also try to sprinkle a natural deterrent to keep your dog away from some specific spots that she likes to dig. You can mix it with the dirt too. You can try some vinegar or pennyroyal oil.

Many dogs try to bury their heads to stay cool. Therefore, they will stop digging if places are unpleasant.

8)    Less time outside

The last solution is to try to keep your dog inside more time. Especially after working in your garden, because you already know your dog love to dig in moist places.

Therefore, if you cannot be outside to watch over him, try to keep him inside and limit the time he spends alone outside.

But, honestly, I believe all other options will work. The first cause is excess energy. If you solve that, you will not even need to go to the other options.

Conclusions on ‘Stop Dog Digging holes in the yard’

Now you understand that digging is as natural as barking or chewing. Therefore, you want to minimize excessive digging via methods other than punishment.

The best way to achieve this is to exercise your dog and release the excess energy in the morning.

Also, after you leave to work, leave him with a Kong toy on his favorite place. This will keep him busy.

If you don’t have time to go home for lunch or if you don’t have a dog walker, you have to protect your yard and create a designated place for your dog to dig.

Finally, you can try using deterrents on some special places or keep your dog inside the house.

This was a quick guide to solving the digging problem. If you liked it, you can download our eBooks and read more. We have a special chapter on digging, but we also discuss other topics, such as Crate Training, Clicker Training, Dog Whining, Chewing, etc.

You can download all eBooks and receive exclusive tips that we only share by email, with extra chapters and tips. Dog Digging: 8 Incredible Tips to Stop a Dog from Digging Holes Dog Training

Have fun training your dog!