How to Stop Your Dog From Digging up Your Backyard

Dog digging backyard

Digging may be a normal action for dogs. The joyful expression on a puppy’s face as it digs its way through a hole is all you need to see. However, for most pet owners, holes can be a real pain! These unsightly holes in your backyard aren’t exactly the most pleasing aspect of your lawn, and they really can be a pain if you accidentally step in one!


Why do dogs dig holes?

Dogs dig for many reasons. They are most often trying to create a comfortable environment, whether for sleeping or eliminating waste. However, this instinct can become destructive if the dog continues to dig after these needs are met.


Dog Breeds That are Most Likely to Dig Holes in Your Backyard:

  • Australian Shepherds
  • Dachshunds
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Beagles
  • Jack Russel Terriers
  • Basset Hound
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Malamutes
  • Border Collies
  • Cairn Terriers


A few reasons behind the digging behavior 

  • Your dog is hearing or smelling things under the ground

Did you know that dogs have considerably more olfactory (smell) receptors than humans, with over 300 million of them in their noses compared to just six million in ours? And the region of their brain dedicated to smelling is about 40 times larger than ours.

It’s no surprise, then, that they can detect odors buried beneath the surface that pique their interest. It’s not just a question of smell; they have an exceptional hearing ability as well.

They can hear high-pitched sounds that we cannot. For example, if insects or other animals are moving about on the ground beneath your home, your dog may try to dig down to get closer and chase them off.

  • Your dog is bored

There is a saying that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” The same holds true with idle paws. When a dog has nothing much to do and a lot of energy to burn, it will typically figure out how to get that energy out.

Zooming around the yard is one option. Another alternative is digging. As dogs are natural diggers, they will do so whenever the opportunity arises, such as boredom.

  • Your dog is stressed

Excessive digging can result from a variety of behavioral issues. External elements may induce fear and anxiety that encourage the pet to play, chase or flee.

When the owner is absent, separation anxiety, in which the dog is left alone and distressed, may be a common cause of digging and other destructive actions.

Besides digging, owners with stressed dogs like this can also come home to toys chewed up, doors with scratches in them, and couch pillows disintegrated into a fluff snowstorm.

Fear of storms or fireworks may also induce digging. Typically, this shows up as digging beneath a barrier to flee.

  • The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence

Digging under the fence to get out of the yard is an apparent reason for exploring if your dog is an escape artist.

Digging can also be caused by anything your dog wants to get to over the fence, such as a canine neighbor or something else he wants to obtain. For example, a neighbor may leave dog treats on the other side of the fence, giving an incentive for your pet to dig his way there.

  • Dogs dig holes to get out of the heat

A dog may dig a hole to expose the cooler layers of dirt beneath the surface. During hot weather, you’re likely to discover that your dog prefers to relax in a cool hole. Your dog may also dig a hole under or near an object to get into the shade more easily.

  • Your dog might be hiding something dear to them

Do you have a dog that prefers to hide its toys from other animals inside the house? What about a dog that takes its goodies into the other room to eat in peace? Dogs like this who hide their “treasure” in a secure location usually enjoy hiding their “treasure.”

Dogs who perform this behavior typically bury their favorite dog toys in the backyard. These puppies enjoy hiding their favorite toy, which they consider a form of mental stimulation.

As dogs look for the ideal location to dig in their yard, they may carry their beloved possession in their mouth. After placing the item in its new hole, you may often see them nuzzle the dirt with their nose while burying it. If your dog carries their treasured items about the yard before digging, they are most likely doing so to hide them from other animals.

  • Mama dog is denning

Just as some dogs have a natural need to dig holes, some dogs feel a powerful urge to build a den for their pups. While our domesticated pups may not need to create their shelter, their wild ancestors certainly did.

Pregnant female dogs may dig holes as part of their nesting routines. Other moms like to destroy things in order to build a nest. If you have a pregnant dog that enjoys digging, be sure she doesn’t also squash or try to bury the pups!


So How Do You Stop Your Dog From Digging Holes in Your Yard?


  • Remove the rodent under the ground

Dogs may still have a strong hunting instinct from when they were hunting dogs. This might cause them to pursue little animals, even those that burrow.

Small burrowing rodents can drive your dog insane, and they’ll work hard to get to them. However, if your dog is digging to hunt these tiny creatures, you can stop the excavation by removing them from the area.

  • Try exercising your dog more

Many dogs dig as a result of their restlessness. Many dogs require one hour or more of physical activity every day. If they don’t get enough exercise, they may become bored and destructive, which is when digging happens.

Increasing the amount of activity you offer each day is a simple solution. This might be a game of fetch or take him for walks or play games to tire him out. You can also join the fun by playing with their toys yourself. The purpose is to allow your dog’s excess energy to release, so it doesn’t turn into destructive behavior.

  • Help with their separation anxiety

Some dogs may dig when they feel that they’re left alone. If your dog digs when you’re away, it’s a sign of separation anxiety.

You can help with this by watching how long you leave him for and whether he seems bored or anxious when you go out. In addition, you might need to make time for him, such as taking him on a walk when you get home.

You also have to find alternative ways to calm him down when he’s alone without using attention as a reward. This might mean finding another activity that helps reduce his anxiety or using an anti-anxiety medication.

  • Give your dog more toys to play with

Dogs, like children and teenagers, rebel when they become bored. Dogs act out in the same manner that children and teens do when bored. So it’s possible that digging is a consequence of boredom.

Some toys challenge your dog’s intelligence, such as treat-dispensing toys. If you have an existing outdoor toy box full of items, consider rotating them weekly so they don’t become boring.

As a result, providing your dog with new toys to play with might be an excellent method to relieve their boredom while avoiding further digging.

  • Make sure they have plenty of shade to keep cool

Many dogs are digging because it’s hot outside, and they want to cool down. If your dog is mostly digging around the edges of porches or buildings or digging a hole under a ledge, they’re most likely looking for some shade.

In this situation, providing some shade is all you need to do. If your dog is digging holes to escape the heat of the sun, providing a shaded area where they can relax will most likely take care of the problem.

  • Remove their reason to escape by digging under the fence

Some dogs are digging to get away. While this is simply due to the dog’s inclination to explore on occasion, there are times when they’re attempting to escape for a specific purpose.

There’s a high chance that something on the other side of the fence is enticing to them. It might be another dog, a toy they want, or anything else they want to chase.

Indeed, removing incentives such as wild animals or your neighbor’s dog that pass by your backyard may be challenging, but you may make it difficult for your dog to view them. For example, you can cover up your fence with a covering, so they can’t see what’s on the other side.


Final Thoughts

It can be genuinely aggravating when our dogs exhibit behavior that we don’t understand and can’t seem to change. For instance, if your dog is digging holes in your yard, you might become irritated as you witness your once-idyllic yard degrade due to their actions. Meanwhile, your dog is acting out because they can’t communicate a problem to you.

For this reason, you must take steps to resolve the issue of your dog digging holes in your yard once and for all. Remember that there are many solutions to this problem. You just have to approach it with patience and effort.

Hopefully, after learning about these methods for stopping your dog from digging holes in your yard, you have a better idea of why it’s happening and how to fix it. It’s time to pick a strategy and get started now. Soon, your yard will be restored to its former beauty, and your dog will be much happier as well.

Diana Ketchen
Diana Ketchen

Diana loves dogs. Plain and simple. She's always been drawn to their adorable faces and wagging tails, and she enjoys nothing more than spending time with her furry friends. Diana has six dogs of her own, three of them rescues, and each one means the world to her. Though some people may think it's crazy to have that many dogs, Diana can't imagine life without them.