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  • Gemma Johnston

Is Your Dog Digging Up Your Yard?

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

We have to understand that digging holes is a natural behaviour for dogs to do. There for, it is not a “bad” behaviour, just undesirable for us humans. We have brought them into our homes, but this is simply a natural behaviour they will express and we have to accept this.

They dig for a few reasons:

  • Fun & Enjoyment

  • Boredom

  • Stress & Anxiety

  • To lay in the cool dirt on a hot day

  • Building a den (Entire, in heat, pregnant or phantom pregnant bitches or for shelter from the element)

  • And simply again, it’s just fun

Unfortunately, there is no way you can teach a dog to never dig again. Its even harder to teach a dog what he should or shouldn’t be doing when the digging is happening when you are not home or if you are leaving him unsupervised in the yard.

This is a problem that needs to be managed & prevented. Also give your dog less reasons why they need to dig.

How to give your dog less reasons to dig? Fulfill their needs!:

  • Make sure they have adequate shelter outside that protects them from cold, wind & heat

  • Bring them inside if you can not provide them with adequate shelter outside

  • Provide them with an alternative digging spot, such as a sand pit. (Keep in mind if you dog enjoys and has a personal preference to the texture of your lawn more, a sandpit may not do the job)

  • Make sure you are providing them with enough mental stimulation!!! Train them before and after you leave the house. (Training = Whatever obedience you’re currently working on. If you’re not working on obedience, teach them a new skill or trick! We all get tired from sitting in the class room learning)

  • Provide them with enrichment and puzzle toys during the day to keep them mentally stimulated (Examples: Kong, Nina Ottomans, Busy Buddies, DIY enrichment toys)

  • Provide them with another way to relieve any stress such as chewing on raw meaty bones or Nyla Bones

  • Address any stress or anxiety issues

  • Physically exhaust them (I’m not talking just walks, I’m talking much more! Sledding, biking, agility, rally obedience, IGP, swimming, slat mills, spring poles, off leash freedom – if you have a reliable recall. Understand what your dogs breed was designed for and let it act on its impulses in a healthy and constructive way)

What to do if you have given them less reasons to dig and they still are digging? We now come to prevention & management:

  • Don’t leave them outside unsupervised

  • Mesh your yard and grow the lawn over top

  • Fence off any garden beds or areas you do not want them digging in

  • Crate them indoors

  • Provide them with an indoor or outdoor kennel run (With shelter, water, shade, misting system, enrichment toys, bones, solid or mesh flooring and roof for escapees)

  • Acceptance - You have purchased a dog and they will dig, some more than others

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