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Why Is My Dog Digging Holes All of a Sudden

Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology


As a dog owner, you are not alone

Around 83% of dog owners have dogs that dig holes. That puts you in the majority and you can get help to figure out why is my dog digging holes all of a sudden. But ever since dogs came into existence, they have dug holes.

They have a variety of reasons why they do it. The reason is not as bad as it may seem. We will explore those reasons. Also, letting your dog dig holes may have a negative impact on you and your family.

But there is hope as there are ways to discourage your dog from digging holes and you can break their habit without hurting our dog. Just keep reading to get all the facts on dogs and their digging habits

Why dogs dig

Part of the answer to that situation is that dogs naturally like to dig. It is part of their nature and gives them something constructive to do with all of their free time. They are out in the yard by themselves and no one to play with. .

Just continue to read to find out why your dog is suddenly digging holes in your yard

  1. The great escape- your dog may feel trapped in your backyard, so they are mimicking all the escape movies it has watched with you. Or they are just curious as to what is on the other side of that great barrier fence you have erected to keep them inside. Finally, your dog may feel threatened so it looks at digging as a way to escape that threat.
  2. They have a psychological issue- some dogs tend to turn to digging because they are suffering from anxiety or separation issues. They either find digging a form of relief from their fears or they do not like being separated from you and your family.
  3. They are doing their own investigation- dogs have great hearing and they will hear underground animals making their way through your yard. Like any good detective, they turn to digging to help them investigate the intrusion.
  4. They hate the heat- summer days can be hard on your canine friend. Dogs get hot from the sun just like you do, so they turn to digging to find a cool spot to lie in. Just like what you may do when you start digging that in ground pool to escape the summer heat
  5. Dog food is not enough- depending on the brand of dog food you feed your pet, sometimes those brands do not deliver the needed nutrients every dog needs. Your dog may start digging to add a little nutrient value to his daily dog food meal. His digging is sort of like his fast food outlet.
  6. He is a hoarder- there are people who cannot throw things away and their homes get very cluttered. Your dog may also have that attitude and use your background as their personal hoarding spot. They have their favorite bones or toys that they do not want to share or have thrown away, so they bury them where you can’t find them. Or so they hope.
  7. Mating is an option- this is more for female dogs than male dogs. It is known that some female dogs dig holes to help their mating prospects. If you do not want another family to feed, you may want to discourage this activity from taking place.

Why digging is bad

While it is a natural behavior for dogs to dig in your yard, not all digging is good. It is not a habit you want to encourage your dog to do. There are some negative reasons why hole sin your yard are not a good thing.

Here are some of those negative reasons:

l It makes your yard look bad- you spent a lot of time getting your yard to look great. A few holes dug by your dog can spoil that look and make your yard look like treasure hunters have spent a lot of time looking for buried treasure.

l It can ruin your patio or deck, etc.- a good sized dog hole can easily ruin the level in your patio. Your dog’s hole can move the cement footings and make your patio or deck very dangerous to walk on

l Your yard becomes dangerous- especially if you have little children. Children play first and look second and they may not see the hole your dog has dug. This also happens with teenagers and adults. At best, you and your family may come away from their early trip with only a few bruises

l Your garden disappears- you may like to grow your own vegetables and you have spent a lot of time grooming your garden to produce the best vegetables around. Your dog’s digging can ruin all of your best efforts and ruin your garden

l It costs you money- repairing holes can get expensive, especially when your dog has dug up your prized plant and it is ruined. Or if you have to repair your fence because your dog dug up a fence post or gate. That is not to mention the other repairs you have to pay for when your dog digs up other important home items like plumbing

How to stop your dog digging

Most dog owners go through the exact same problems you are having with your dog. While pet experts say that you really shouldn’t go overboard in trying to stop this hole digging activity.

They say that too much effort in hindering your dog from digging holes could hurt its health or its well being. With that in mind, here are some methods you can try to stop your dog from digging holes in your yard:

  1. Train your dog where to dig- you can do this by digging a larger hole and bury his or her favorite treats in that larger hole. This will help train your dog where they can dig without being scolded or punished.
  2. Buy new toys- one way to curb your dog’s digging behavior is to get him or her some great new chew toys that divert their attention from their hole digging duties. Digging holes is also a product of your dog being bored, so getting them something constructive to do helps
  3. Get plenty of exercise- that applies to your dog as well. Digging can be seen by your dog as a way to get rid of pent up energy. By giving them more exercise through constructive activities, like walks in the park, catch, and so on, you may be able to curb your dog’s digging schedule
  4. Treat the anxiety- or the separation issues your dog experiences when you have o go to work or there is a new member of your family in the house. There are constructive ways to identify these issues and treat them without hurting your dog
  5. Create alternative digging outlets- we are not talking about digging another hole but build your dog their very own sandbox. This will provide your dog the digging alternative they need without harming your home or property value
  6. Extra defenses- when your dog is digging by the fence to escape, you can always put up another underground barrier to prevent them from being successful. Burying chicken wire a little deeper than your fence helps to block your dog’s escape
  7. Plant different vegetation- or to be more specific, plant those plants that come with thorns or other sharp leaves or branches. These plants may deter your dog from digging as he or she will not want to get hurt by the plants

Digging is a natural habit

Dogs are probably the greatest pet in the world. But they are not without their faults. One of those faults is their natural inclination to start digging anywhere they feel like it. That digging habit is not an excuse to get rid of the family pet.

The first thing you have to do when you see your dog digging up your yard, is not to over-react. Yes, your prized roses may be lying in a heap but resist the temptation to throttle your dog. He or she has their reason for removing your prized plants.

With a little constructive thought and effort, you can change your dog’s bad habits and keep them from making a mess of your property and lowering your property value. Dogs are worth the effort.

© 2019 David Thiessen


David Thiessen (author) from Philippines on March 11, 2019:

Probably looking for buries treasure :)

Liz Westwood from UK on March 11, 2019:

We have a dog in our family who has dug his way around a back garden.

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