how to make dogs stop digging

how to make dogs stop digging


How to Make Dogs Stop Digging

Understanding Why Dogs Dig

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand the reasons behind your dog’s digging habit. Not unlike us humans, dogs may dig for a variety of reasons:

  1. To seek comfort or protection: Digging can be a survival instinct. By creating a hole, they can hide from weather extremes or even predators.
  2. Boredom: If your dog doesn’t get sufficient physical and mental stimulation, they might resort to digging to kill time.
  3. Hunting instinct: Some breeds have a strong hunting instinct and will dig to chase after underground critters.
  4. Separation anxiety: Dogs suffering from separation anxiety often dig to escape and find their owners.

Steps to Prevent Your Dog From Digging

Once you’ve understood the root cause, you can take specific steps to help your dog stop digging:

  1. Provide plenty of exercise: Regular walks, play sessions, and training exercises can keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated, reducing the urge to dig.
  2. Create a safe and comfortable space: Make sure your dog has a comfortable, weather-proof area to rest so they don’t feel the need to dig a hole for shelter.
  3. Use deterrents: There are products available that can deter dogs from digging, such as bitter sprays or motion-activated sprinklers.
  4. Try distraction: Introduce new toys or interactive games to keep your dog engaged.

Training Your Dog Not to Dig

Patience and consistency are key when training your dog. Here are some tips:

  • Start with basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “come”.
  • Gradually introduce the “leave it” command near the areas they frequently dig.
  • Reward your dog for obeying these commands, reinforcing the positive behavior.

Alternatives for Dogs Who Love to Dig

If your dog just loves to dig, why not offer them a safe place to do so? A designated digging zone can be a win-win for you both.

Digging Zone Ideas Description
Sandpit Easy to clean up, fun for dogs.
Kiddie Pool Fill with dirt or sand and let your dog have at it.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s digging behavior becomes obsessive or causes them harm, it’s time to seek professional help. A certified animal behaviorist can provide personalized strategies to manage your dog’s digging.


Q: How long does it take to train a dog not to dig?

A: It varies depending on the dog’s age, breed, and the underlying reason for the behavior. Patience and consistency are key.

Q: Can I use negative reinforcement to stop my dog from digging?

A: Negative reinforcement often does more harm than good. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviors.

Q: My dog keeps digging under the fence. What can I do?

A: Consider installing a dig guard around the fence or provide your dog with more stimulation to curb their digging behavior.