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Dog Digging

Can You Dig It?

Animals are curious by nature and enjoy exploring new locations and situations. A direct result of this inquisitive manner is the dog's instinctive inclination to dig. This behavior can become quite destructive and also take its toll on the aesthetics of your yard. However, there are some effective means to combat this behavior; these guidelines should eliminate any problems with digging.

Temperature Control

First of all, it is important to understand why a dog digs. One of the most common motivations acts as a means of personal climate control. For this reason, digging may be a frequent summer activity, or may happen more often if you live in an area with a warm climate because the newly excavated ground will offer a cooler temperature than the rest of the surface ground. If the needs are climate related, they can be easily remedied.

Provide a cool, shaded location in the yard for your dog to relax. Many have found that the use of a kiddy pool or other larger tub containing some water may also help. By making the dog’s surroundings cooler and more comfortable you can easily eliminate his need to remove chunks of the yard to relax.

Likewise, dogs will sometimes dig for the opposite reason; to create a warm space during cold weather by digging a small pit in which they can rest because a space free from open breezes offers a warmer area. Again, it is relatively easy to address the situation: provide a well insulated dog house or keep them inside during colder weather.

Lack of Exercise

Dogs that don't get adequate exercise or are confined too long will dig as a way to burn excess energy. A dog that feels confined in his yard and yearns to run free will be likewise attracted to the prospect of digging those annoying holes. Regular walks, play opportunities, and other exercise outlets will leave your dog better rested and less inclined to dig. Exercise is also important because it produces a calmer dog that will be more receptive to training.


Digging can also be symptomatic of boredom; a dog with little to do may find the instinctive behavior of digging holes to be a great way to occupy his time. Offering your pet enough sources of distraction such as dog toys, dog bones or your own interaction, may gain enough interest to take your dog’s mind off of digging. Dogs that are simply left alone in a yard with little else to do, not surprisingly, opt to invent their own diversions. Because digging is naturally instinctive, it will occur when the dog feels there is nothing else to do.

If the guidelines listed above are followed, the destructive digging in your yard will surely decrease or possibly desist.

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 10/8/2018: 9:21:56 PM ET