Some common reasons why your dog may be digging up your yard

When we first moved into the house that I lived before this one it had just been landscaped and we had a lovely patch of lawn in the backyard. Nowadays it’s in quite a different state after being run over many a times by two crazy and energetic puppies, and every so ofIMG_1845ten a few holes appear where there hadn’t been any before. Yes, I’ll be the first one to admit, my dogs are diggers. I don’t really make a fuss about it if it is only a few holes here and there in the yard, but it has become a bit of an issue sometimes, especially when Luna digs along the fence line and escapes. It’s happened a couple of times and I’ve come home to her exploring the next door neighbours yard! It was time for some changes around the yard to ensure that this wouldn’t keep happening.

The first thing I needed to figure out is why they were digging and then we could look at a solution. Here are a few different reasons why your dog may be re-landscaping your yard:

  • Digging to keep cool: Long-coated breeds such as the malamute will often dig holes to lie in and keep cool. Cynder is a bit of a culprit for this one. She likes to dig in the dirt on warm days and find the moist, cool soil to rest her belly on.
  • Digging to retrieve bones: Dogs will instinctively bury things in order to keep them safe, bones may get buried as a sort of storage for future use. Luna really loves burying her excess food and sometimes toys in the yard, on the couch, or even just in the middle of the room (she has this strange habit where she will place something somewhere, and then pretend to bury it). When they want the item later, a hole may appear where it was stored the first time.
  • Attracted by sounds or smells underground: You never know what might be under your lawn and a curious puppy may really want to find out. The first time I ever saw the Beagle, Luna dig something up she had sniffed out a location in the yard and managed to find a battery. Many dogs will dig, just to find out what’s going on under there or they may be hoping for something tasty.
  • Digging to escape confinement: Some dogs don’t like being locked in and are more interested in exploring the world around them. They may smell something on the other side of the fence, or may be suffering from something more serious like separation anxiety. Some dogs may also try to dig out when there is a thunderstorm or fireworks and this is a common way that animals escape and become lost.
  • Digging to relieve boredom: Your dog may just be digging because they need something to do to pass the time. This may mean they have been left at home without sufficient mental stimulation.

So your dog may be digging and you’ve worked out why, but how do you stop it from happening? In the next article I will take a look at some of the solutions to your digging problems.


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  1. My first terrier and when he started digging (which I’d been told to expect) I was at my wits end…I know what worked for me, but am curious to see what you suggest tomorrow

  2. Frankie Furter and Ernie

    Hi Girrrrrrls… we have been Missing you.
    We LOVE to dig Holes… We have NO Problems doing it. We’re just sayin.

  3. Digging the digging. Not sure about tips on how to stop us. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. I didn’t know dogs dig to keep cool. Even though I don’t have a dog I’m interested to read what tips you can give on making them stop. 🙂

    • Some dogs will also dig to keep warm. Dogs that live in the snow, and a close relative the wolf, will dig holes during blizzards or snow storms so that the can have shelter from the extreme weather conditions.

  5. Pingback: Four ideas to stop your dog digging up your yard « "that dog dancing guy"

  6. For our dogs, it’s digging for moles and digging for fun. Luckily, they confine their digging to certain areas so I don’t mind. For the whole that might cause a tripping hazard when their playing, I use to bury poop.


  7. When trying to stop dogs digging in your garden it is so important to identify why they are doing it. You have listed the common reasons and thanks for sharing how your own dogs’ digging behaviour varies!

    You are right to feature this article first BEFORE listing how to stop it. Knowing why your dog digs in the first place will make it a lot easier for owners to work out how to solve it!

    Nice article, thanks Kevin!

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