Dog won't stop digging

Let’s face it, no dog is perfect. They behave in ways guaranteed to drive us up the wall, but we still love them and want them around. Fortunately, there are strategies to counter most canine behaviors, and help them towards more, shall we say, positive outcomes. 

Digging is one dog behavior that is hard to contend with, in part because it’s an instinct that cannot be ignored. Not just an issue for your yard’s appearance, when a dog won’t stop digging they could find themselves on the other side of your fence or gate. 

The Destruction

Without a doubt, a destructive dog can create lots of extra messes around the house. But when it comes to keeping a dog safe, digging has the capacity for enormous danger. In addition to escape or accidental loss, a dog outside of their own yard can run into traffic, be exposed to dangerous predators, and even suffer the effects of toxins.

Doggie DNA

The answer to this behavior comes down to canine DNA. Some dogs, like terriers, beagles, and dachshunds instinctually dig because they’ve been bred to find various types of rodents. Larger, heavy-coated dog breeds tend to dig into the cooler earth during the hot summer months.  

Dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered may dig more than others because of their strong mating drive. And some pups just do it because they can.

A Fix for Boredom?

It’s possible that a dog won’t stop digging because they’re entertained by the act. Boredom can be a real threat to an otherwise fit dog. As a result, an owner that adds enrichment opportunities each day may see fewer holes in their backyard.

Interestingly, digging can also provide essential relief from stress or anxiety. If you have had changes to your schedule or living arrangement, they may take it out on your garden beds.

My Dog Won’t Stop Digging!

Digging demands owner attention and intervention. Because the behavior can stem from so many different motivations, watch your dog over a period of several days to learn possible triggers.

The simple act of supervising them while they’re outside may curb or reduce digging. If they start to get their paws dirty, redirect them to other fun, rewarding activities. 

Switch up what they play with every couple of weeks. Interactive exercise is ideal, such as agility training, but food puzzles are also great.

Other Solutions

If you notice that your dog only digs when you’re not home, hire someone to come by and play with them. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog. 

To minimize the effect on your yard, install a fence around an area that is only for their digging needs. Set up a sandbox or soft dirt area that helps them answer their instincts. 

If your dog won’t stop digging, consider consulting our training expert to help you understand and redirect this compulsive behavior. And if you have additional questions or concerns about canine health, please give us a call at (630) 530-1900.