The Top 7 Reasons Why Dogs Dig and How to Stop It

The Top 7 Reasons Why Dogs Dig and How to Stop It

If you're tired of your dog ruining your garden or backyard with their constant digging, you're not alone. Dogs dig for a variety of reasons, from boredom to instinctual behaviour.

Fortunately, there are several effective ways to prevent your furry friend from digging up your yard and causing damage.


Why Do Dogs Dig?

The first step to 'curbing' this normal behaviour is to understand why dogs dig in the first instance. First, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Provide them with plenty of toys and playtime. You can also create a designated digging area in your yard, filled with sand or dirt, where your dog can satisfy their digging instincts. If you live near one of our many stunning Sydney beaches, take your dog to the dog friendly section and allow them the opportunity to dig in some sand!

Finally, if your dog is digging to escape, make sure your yard is secure and consider using deterrents such as chicken wire or rocks around the perimeter of your backyard or garden.
Finally, supervise your dog when they are outside and redirect their attention if you see them starting to dig in an unwanted area. With patience and consistency, you can train your dog to stop digging up your backyard.

Boredom and Lack of Exercise.

One of the most common reasons why dogs dig is simply because they are bored and not getting enough exercise. Dogs need physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy, and if they are not getting enough of it, they may turn to digging as a way to release their pent-up energy. To prevent this, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and playtime each day, and provide them with plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained. Consider taking them for walks or runs, playing fetch, or enrolling them in obedience or agility classes.

Hunting and Prey Drive.

Another reason why dogs may dig is due to their natural hunting and prey drive instincts. Some breeds, such as terriers and hounds, were specifically bred for hunting and may have a stronger drive to dig and search for prey. To prevent this behaviour, provide your dog with appropriate outlets for their hunting instincts, such as playing with interactive toys or participating in scent work activities. Additionally, make sure your yard is secure and free of any small animals that may trigger your dog's hunting instincts.

Digging Holes to Lie In - Comfort and Temperature Regulation.

Dogs may also dig to create a comfortable spot to rest or regulate their body temperature. In hot weather, they may dig a hole to lie in the cooler soil. In colder weather, they may dig a hole to create a sheltered spot to stay warm. A common reason dogs display this type of digging is instinctive, their ancestors would dig holes to sleep in!

To prevent this behaviour, provide your dog with a comfortable and shaded area to rest, as well as access to fresh water at all times.

Consider providing a dog house or other shelter for them to use in extreme weather conditions.

Anxiety and Stress.

Yes, anxiety and stress can be a major cause of digging behaviour in dogs. Dogs may dig as a way to relieve stress or anxiety, or to release pent-up energy. If your dog is exhibiting signs of anxiety or stress, such as excessive barking, destructive behaviour, or restlessness, it’s important to address the underlying cause.

This may involve providing more exercise and mental stimulation, creating a calm and predictable environment, or seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviourist.

Breed Instincts.

Some dog breeds are more prone to digging than others due to their natural instincts. For example, terriers were originally bred to hunt small animals that burrow underground, so they have a strong instinct to dig. Similarly, breeds like dachshunds and beagles were bred for hunting and tracking, which also involves digging. If you have a breed that is prone to digging, it’s important to provide them with appropriate outlets for their natural instincts, such as designated digging areas or toys that encourage digging behaviour.


Digging in Bed

Also known as nesting, a dog digging and circling in their bed is an instinctive behaviour. Our advice is to provide a towel or some blankets in their bed to help your hound get comfy and ensure their nails are kept clipped so they don't shred their bed!

It's important to determine the underlying cause of your dog's digging behaviour and address it accordingly. Providing your dog with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention can help prevent digging out of boredom or frustration. If your dog is digging to escape, consider reinforcing your fence or providing a designated digging area.


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