Most dogs love to dig. For some dogs, it is part of their DNA. Unfortunately, your dog’s digging can wreak havoc on your yard, garden, and shrubberies. So how do you stop your dog from digging? We’ll explain what causes a dog to dig and how to help your dog channel that digging habit into more constructive energy.

Why is My Dog Digging Holes?

The short answer: because it’s a dog. But dogs dig for a variety of reasons. Here are the most common reasons dogs like to dig:

Separation Anxiety

Dogs crave companionship because they are social animals. If you leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods, your dog can become lonely and anxious. 14-20% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety. Digging becomes a nervous habit when your dog feels abandoned.

If this is your dog, then you’ll want to make sure you don’t leave your dog unattended for long stretches of time. You can also fence off a dog run area of your yard, giving them a space where they can dig without destroying your yard.

Related Link: How to Calm Down a Dog When They’re Anxious

large black dog digging a hole at the beach


Many dogs have a natural hunting instinct. If you have other critters that populate the area around your yard, it may trigger your dog’s instinct to hunt and dig up their burrows. Common animals that dogs love to chase, hunt, and dig up:

  • Mice
  • Moles
  • Voles
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Quail
  • Pheasant
  • Grouse

If your dog is a hunting breed, you may want to rid your yard of the critters by calling animal control.


Some dogs dig when they get bored. And who can blame them? Digging kicks up dirt, provides exercise, and produces a hole. These are all fantastic things for a dog. But if your dog gets bored quickly, this can create a landmine of a yard. To curb boredom, you’ll want to play with your dog or give them an interactive or stimulating toy to play with in the yard.

Energy Levels

Some dog breeds have high energy levels. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise to burn off this energy, they may dig for mental and physical stimulation. To stave of digging, you’ll want to make sure your dog gets lots of exercise and playtime.

Related Link: 25 of the Best Things to Do With Your Dog


Certain dog breeds are genetically geared to dig and burrow. These dog breeds include:

  • Dachshund
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Beagle
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Siberian Husky
  • Malamute
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collie

To minimize their digging (because they are going to dig), you’ll want to train them well and provide safe areas to fulfill their digging needs.


Extreme weather temperatures can cause your dog to dig outside. If they’re too hot, they’ll dig to provide shade and cool down. If it’s too cold, they’ll dig to create a warm burrow. To prevent digging during temperature extremes, bring your dog inside.


Some dogs dig to escape the yard. If your dog identifies something or someone on the other side of the fence, your dog may dig a tunnel under your fence. This is problematic twofold, your dog dug a big hole, and they’re missing. To prevent escape, fortify your fence and don’t leave your dog unattended for long periods.

Hiding Things

Burying bones, treats, and toys can be second nature to some dogs. But to bury treasured items, your dog will need to dig a hole. If your dog likes to bury things, then you’ll want to follow these tips from the American Kennel Club.

Puppies especially love to dig. So you’ll want to train them early to lay off the garden.

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Related Link: Dog-Friendly Vacation Spots in California

tiny white dog digging through a leaf pile

Is My Dog’s Digging Bad?

No, digging is not a sign of a bad dog. It’s more of a bad habit. Most people prefer to have a yard that doesn’t look like a warzone. If this is you, then your dog’s digging isn’t bad. It’s just not desirable.

Does Vinegar Stop Dogs from Digging?

Some dog breeds do not like the scent of vinegar and will avoid areas where the scent is strong. Create a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, and then spray it in your dog’s favorite spots to dig. This can help prevent digging, but keep in mind this may not work for all dogs.

Do Dogs Grow Out of Digging?

Most puppies love to dig. But as long as your dog isn’t a digging breed, like the breeds listed above, your dog should grow out of digging with proper training. If your dog continues to dig, there are tips for minimizing and preventing digging.

How To Stop My Dog from Digging

Here are a few of our best prevention tips on how to stop your dog from digging:

  • Create a digging zone in the yard where they won’t destroy anything.
  • Exercise your dog regularly through walks and stimulating play.
  • Create a shaded area in the yard where your dog can find refuge in extreme weather.
  • Spend time with your dog so that they feel loved and secure in the family.
  • Provide stimulating toys that can keep your dog entertained.
  • Fence off or put down dog deterrents like vinegar in areas where they like to dig.
  • Never leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods of time.
  • Rotate your dog’s toys to keep them entertained.

Digging is in a Dog’s Nature But it Can Be Preventable

By identifying what triggers your dog’s digging, you’ll be able to prevent and stop your dog from digging. While it may be in some dog breeds’ nature to dig, you can train your dog to dig responsibly with love and patience.

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Related Link: How to Show Your Dog You Love Them