Why do dogs dig? What to do if your dog digs holes in your garden

why do dogs dig

What motivates a dog to dig holes in the garden? There can be tons of reasons! The dog could dig out of boredom, because it smells some animal, to hide something it deems important or simply to seek a place to cool off during the warm seasons. We find out why dogs dig and what to do if you have a dog that digs holes in the garden.

Why do dogs dig holes?

If you are wondering why dogs dig holes in the garden, know that it is not out of spite against you, but simply because digging is a normal dog behavior. For wild animals, the holes represent the survival of the species. These holes in the dirt are in fact a den of refuge, where animals can give birth, hide their prey after hunting, or simply an ideal place to escape the heat. Some breeds of dogs are particularly enamored with this activity, truly four legged bulldozers! Among these breeds are the Australian Shepherd, the Portuguese Podengo, and most terrier breeds. Some argue that even the Nordic breeds such as Siberian huskies and the Alaskan Malamutes enjoy a good dig in the yard!

dog digging

Fortunately, there are some small tricks to solve the problem, but first of all we should ask ourselves some questions to figure out exactly why your dog digs. For example, we have to ask ourselves how long our dog is left unsupervised in the yard, if the soil is also frequented by other animals, such as mice and moles, what we use for fertilizer, if our dog loves to hide his favorite toys, and finally if our friend has a place in the shade to shelter during warmer weather.

After better analyzing the situation and understanding why dogs dig ,the next question we should ask ourselves is if we are spending enough time with our dog. In 70% of cases, dogs dig out of boredom, for them to dig holes in the garden is a fabulous pastime! If you suspect this is the case, try to get it out more, take the dog for a walk with you and socialize them with fellow canines.

dog digging under fence

Dog digging holes in the garden-what to do?

A great tip that can help you teach a dog not to dig holes in the garden is finding something to keep your dog busy, such as a kong dog toy. kong is nothing more than a hard rubber toy that you can stuff treats in. If you give one to your dog, they will stay busy for a long time and will potentially forget all about digging holes!

As anticipated boredom is perhaps the biggest problem, if your dog does not have new ideas and now knows all the smells present in your soil, he will try and find out how much deeper he can dig. Take him to the park or in another pet-friendly place and let him do his olfactory research there. If the dog continues to dig in the garden, we will have to resort to positive reinforcement.

dog digging holes

How to teach your dog not to dig holes in the garden

Another good idea is to teach the dog where to dig. You’ll have to choose a part of your yard that is cool in the summer and well protected in the winter, and about 6 square meters in size. Line up your selected portion of the yard with 40/45 cm wooden planks and fill it with sand. To encourage the dog to dig only in this spot, you should hide his favorite toy or some treats in the sand and reward him after the first excavation! You will see that with the passage of time, that little space will become his “personal safe space” and he will not dig in other parts of the garden!

how to get a dog to stop digging

Many people also said it helps to fill the holes dug by the dog with dog feces and waste material. In this way, our four legged will have an instinctive repulsion, thus avoiding digging again at that point. Because of the smell, we personally recommend you follow this technique only as a last resort! Rather, it is preferable to spray the dog with the hose (gently) as soon as he starts to dig, or you can also place heavy stones at the points where the dog digs – these  are definitely the most effective techniques! Finally remember that you scold your dog will come to nothing, and will only stress him out… causing even more holes in your beloved garden!