Your dog makes you smile, but when he leaves your backyard looking like an archaeological dig site, you might feel like frowning instead. Of course, you can't blame your pup. Digging is a natural instinct for most dogs, and some breeds genuinely can't help themselves. Still, you'd likely prefer not to have a yard that looks like the movie set of Holes. So, what do you do?
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Why your dog digs depends a lot on what kind of dog he is. Many different breeds dig based on natural instincts and particular habits that are innate to the breed. For example, terriers typically dig because they were bred to dig tunnels to reach their prey, such as moles and gophers. Dogs with heavy coats, like Chow Chows, tend to dig holes during hot weather to form pits they can lay in to keep cool.
Then, there are dogs that, no matter what the breed, might dig for other reasons. Unneutered males will dig under fences to try and reach a female dog in heat. Young dogs might dig simply because they have lots of energy and are bored. In fact, even older dogs can end up digging up your yard if they don’t get enough proper stimulation or exercise. And, yes, some dogs might even dig to hide a coveted prize, like the stereotypical bone in the backyard.
12 Dogs That Love to Dig
While most dogs enjoy digging, some certainly like to get down and dirty more than others.
Here’s a list of some of the dog breeds that love to dig the most:
This active pup needs moderate exercise and is a good candidate for various dog sports like tracking, herding, and other canine sports.
This terrier was bred to chase small animals, so a fenced-in yard is a must, plus lots and lots of exercise.
This pup needs lots of exercise, especially to help build up the muscles that support his back. Therefore, don’t let his small stature fool you, and prepare to provide him with regular opportunities for walks and activities.
Not only is this frisky pup extremely energetic, but he also doesn’t like being alone. Therefore, a beagle left unattended in the backyard and bored is a recipe for a digging disaster. Make sure you can give this pup plenty of exercise and companionship.
This breed’s prey drive is strong, so the urge to chase after small animals can cause him to dig like crazy. However, ensuring he gets plenty of exercise definitely helps, as does lots of playtime together since this dog loves being with his family.
This fluffy-coated dog needs a moderate amount of exercise; typically several walks a day. However, the real focus with this pup’s digging is to keep him cool because he doesn’t handle hot weather very well.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffin
This dog’s activity needs are almost off the charts, so make sure you’re ready to engage in lots of physical activities with this pup. Otherwise, he can become understimulated, bored, and potentially destructive.
This extremely high-energy pup has a strong prey drive and needs to be socialized well and early. If you have a Russell at home, be prepared to have an active lifestyle.
These beautiful pups love to run, and regular exercise is a must to maintain their health and happiness. To help keep digging at bay, ensure this pup has a way to stay cool when he’s outside in the heat.
This dog is very active and needs an owner that lives an active lifestyle. It takes a lot more than a couple of walks to curb this pup’s need for action, so enrolling him in various canine sports can be a great solution.
This energetic dog enjoys lots of different activities but will also be content to run around in a fenced yard. Just ensure he has ample opportunities for regular exercise, so he stays stimulated and happy.
This terrier requires a fenced-in yard and lots of exercise to prevent boredom and undesirable behaviors. This pup’s hunting instinct is powerful, and it can be challenging for him to resist chasing after other animals like squirrels or cats.
How Do You Stop a Dog from Digging?
Once you know why your pup’s digging, you can better determine how to stop him. Therefore, if your dog digs to keep cool, provide him with other means to do so (or keep him inside on overly hot days). You can ensure he has many shady spots in the yard, access to a water bowl of cool water, and set up a small kiddie pool that he can use as a cooling-off spot.
If your dog isn’t neutered, then it’s worthwhile taking a trip to the vet. Neutering your pup also comes with several benefits, including decreasing potential aggression, reducing your dog’s urge to run off exploring (and get lost), and of course, helping with overpopulation and overcrowding in shelters.
Boredom is a significant cause of digging, and with some time and effort on your part, you can help your pup overcome it. Ensure you properly socialize your dog and provide him with lots of opportunities for exercise and play. Provide your pup with stimulating toys, like the Rolly Cannoli, to help keep him mentally engaged. Plus, training your dog is also essential to get him to stop digging. Encourage and teach your dog the expectations you have for him when he is in the yard alone. Use plenty of treats and positive reinforcement, and be consistent.
If you have critters burrowing in your yard driving your dog nuts, call in a pro to help rid your yard of the creatures. But, if your dog is genuinely a digger at heart, there might be no way to stop his behavior completely. Sometimes, a dog’s just got to dig.
Let Your Dog Dig -- In a Certain Spot
When digging is such a natural, bred instinct in your dog, it’s almost impossible to get him to stop. But, you can redirect his digging to an appropriate place; it’s a win-win for both of you.
Many people will create what’s known as a digging pit for their dirt-loving dogs. It’s not difficult to make and won’t take very long, and you don’t need many materials. To make a digging pit for your pooch, do the following:
- Locate a section of your yard where you don’t mind your dog digging.
- Mark off the area using large stones or something similar. This serves to distinguish the pit and also creates a visual marker for your pup.
- Ensure the pit is large enough for your dog to dig comfortably. For example, a Siberian Husky will likely need a bigger pit than a small Dachshund.
- Loosen up the soil a bit in the pit and mix in some sand to improve drainage.
- Finally, introduce your dog to the pit using his favorite toy or some tasty treats. Bury the item in the pit, lead your dog over to it, and encourage him to find the item. When he digs and finds it, praise him and reward him. If he starts to try and dig elsewhere, calmly redirect him to the pit, praise, and repeat.
The first few times your pooch uses the pit, stay outside with him. Once you’re confident he understands the rules, you can let him outside solo.
No matter how you decide to curb your dog’s digging habit, one thing’s for sure; your yard will thank you. For more helpful tips on being a fantastic pup parent, make sure to check out the rest of our blog. You’ll always find new resources and ideas that you can use to expand your knowledge of your furry friends. Can you dig it?