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How To Teach Your Dog Not To Dig?

At A Glance

There are many ways to stop your dog from digging holes: you could give them more playtime, exercise, toys, and chews, or you could train it to limit digging to a certain area.

The key is to make sure it’s occupied, its needs are being met, and that you have a deeper understanding of why it’s digging holes to curb unwanted behavior.

Last Updated on: May 23, 2022

If you’re here looking up how to stop a dog from digging, chances are you’ve had your share of problems with your pup. It can be tough to teach an older dog new tricks, but that’s why we’re here!

Here’s some help on figuring out the best method to stop the digging, followed by seven easy steps for training.

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Identify the Problem

Are you wondering why is my dog digging in the house? Spend some time establishing the cause of your dog’s digging.

If your dog is constantly digging, you need to figure out why. Why does your dog dig? You need to determine your pet’s motivation so you can work on establishing a solution. This can be done through observation and experimentation.

As the owner, you may know that your dog digs because of instinctual pack behaviors. For example, many dogs will dig holes in search of food while indulging in hunter instincts or trying to escape (e.g., fighting). Pregnant dogs dig holes to create a nesting den or “house” in which they can rest.

Does your dog begin digging after a long nap? It may be a sign that it feels restless and needs an outlet for its energy. Does your dog diligently dig a hole and lie in it during hot summer days? It may be a sign that your dog is overheated.


Determine Your Dog’s Motivation

If your canine friend digs out of instinct, you need to redirect its behavior by providing an alternative outlet.

In addition, if your dog is looking for food when it makes holes out in the yard, try feeding your animal with a puzzle toy instead of leaving food bowls on the ground. Moreover, if your dog is clearing out a den, you could use an alternative location (e.g., a crate or sleeping bag) for your pet to sleep and rest.

Distract Your Dog With a Toy

How to stop a dog from digging holes in the yard? While you’re working on finding an alternate outlet for your dog’s digging behaviors, you also need to distract it.

Fortunately, toys make for excellent distractions. If you have multiple dogs in the house, try to pick toys that will work for all of your dogs to keep their attention away from your yard.

An image of a dog digging holes

Why Is My Dog Digging Holes?

What causes dogs to dig? This behavior goes back to their wolf ancestors that had to dig underground dens for their packs.

Today, dogs dig because of instinctual pack behaviors, lack of stimulation, bad habits, or when their energy levels are too high or low.

Whatever the reason, it’s up to you as the owner to take action against this undesirable behavior. Compulsive and habitual digging is a very bad habit. Not only destroys your garden but is indicative of a deeper behavioral or even health issue in your dog.

To stop this destructive habit, you must:

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Importance Of Proper Reinforcement

In order to stop your dog from digging, you need to be able to properly reinforce the behavior you want. You can try using a dog digging deterrent like a citronella spray collar if you’re having trouble reinforcing good behavior.

The training must be consistent, and you must make sure that your dog is not distracted easily by other things around the house. If your dog has a limited attention span, you must exercise patience while going through obedience training.

We’ve also been asked, “does vinegar stop dogs from digging?” Yes, it does. Many dogs are repelled by the smell of vinegar, therefore they may stop digging if you pour some vinegar in areas they frequent or spray them with it when they start to dig.

Tips For Stopping Your Dog From Digging

We’ve outlined some simple steps that you can use to make it easy for your pet to understand and follow through with your commands.

Restricting Areas

Choose specific areas in your house where your dog can dig. Only give your pet permission to dig in one place, such as one corner of the yard or inside a fenced-in porch. This way, it can expend its energy without destroying your garden or your indoor furnishings.

Use The Buddy System

When your dog starts digging, be sure to have someone nearby to distract it. If you catch your dog in the act, give it a toy to play with instead, or lead it to its comfortable crate.

Try to prevent digging by giving your dog ample attention and physical activity before it becomes bored enough to start digging.

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Give It More Play Time

Providing your dog with exercise is great for its overall health and happiness. If your dog tends to dig holes in the yard, provide it with more than enough time to play outdoors.

If you have a hyperactive dog, try using a special toy or bone (e.g., tennis ball) that it can’t chew on or destroy if its energy is too high.

Get Rid Of Rodents

If you have a rodent problem in your yard, you may need to trap the pests and dispose of them. Some dogs like to dig in search of these pests. While their intentions might be good, it’s not always a good or safe idea to let them do it.

Keep Them Cool

Some dogs dig to stay cool in warm weather. If you notice that your dog is digging a lot in the summer, see if you can find or create a shady spot for it in your yard.

If you can’t, make sure to provide ample cooling opportunities with air conditioning units, fans, bowls of cold water, or even a doggie pool!

An image of 2 dogs digging hole

How to stop a dog from digging? These helpful tips can surely help. Remember that it’s up to you as the owner to take action on your dog’s behavior, and you can use these methods to ensure obedience.

If you have any other ideas or methods to stop dogs from digging, please write them in the comment section below!

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.