How to get dogs to stop digging?

If you've ever stepped into your backyard only to discover it transformed into a series of furry craters, you're definitely not alone.

But fear not, because, in this blog post, we're diving into the world of canine excavation and sharing some effective tips on how to get dogs to stop digging and provide answers to your common questions.

6 Reasons Why Dogs Dig

Before searching for how to get dogs to stop digging, you need to understand the reasons why dogs dig in the first place.

The following reasons are the common reasons between dogs:

1. Buried Treasure Hunt: 

Dogs have a natural curiosity that rivals even the most dedicated treasure hunters. They dig to explore new smells, sounds, and textures hiding beneath the surface. It's like they're on a quest for the buried bone of legends!

2. Beat the Heat or Cold: 

Ever noticed your dog digging a little pit on a hot day? They're probably trying to find cooler soil to lounge in. On chilly days, they might be seeking warmth. Dogs are just like us – they want to be comfy, no matter the weather.

3. Paws for Play:

Dogs are playful critters. Digging can be a game, a way to expend energy, or even an invite for you to join in on the fun. Just imagine it: you and your pup, in a friendly competition to unearth the best imaginary treasure.

4. Stress Relief: 

Dogs have emotions too! If your pup is feeling stressed, anxious, or even a little bored, digging can be a sort of therapy. It's their way of saying, "Hey, life is a little ruff right now, so I'm just gonna dig my worries away!"

5. Communication and Territory Marking: 

Dogs have a secret language written in scents. By digging, they can release their unique scent into the earth, sending a signal to other four-legged pals that this spot is claimed – it's like leaving a "Paws Off!" sign.

6. Just For Fun: 

Sometimes, there's no profound reason behind it. Dogs dig because they enjoy it. It's like a canine hobby, a way to pass the time and let their inner explorer run wild.

Should You Scold a Dog for Digging?

Scolding a dog for digging might not be the most effective approach of how to get dogs to stop digging. 

Dogs don't really connect scolding with their past actions like we humans do. They might just see it as you being upset, and that could confuse them.

Instead of scolding, it's better to:

  • Redirect Their Energy: Offer them a digging spot like a sandbox where they're allowed to dig to their heart's content. This can satisfy their digging urge without ruining your garden.
  • Positive Reinforcement: When they do something right, like digging in their designated spot, give them a treat or some praise. They'll start associating good stuff with the right behavior.
  • Stay Patient: Dogs dig for various reasons, like curiosity or boredom. Try to address the underlying cause. If they're bored, more playtime might help.
5 Tips To How to Get Dogs to Stop Digging?

5 Tips To How to Get Dogs to Stop Digging:

Let’s tackle that doggy-digging dilemma with some friendly and effective tips:

  • Create a Digging Zone: 

Give your pup a designated digging area, like a sandbox or a corner of the yard. Fill it with soft soil and maybe even bury a few toys. This way, they can dig to their heart's content without turning your garden into a construction site.

  • Positive Distractions: 

When you catch them mid-dig in a no-no spot, gently redirect their attention to a toy or a game. It's like saying, "Hey, this is way more fun than digging up Mom's flowers!"

  • Stay Active Together: 

A tired dog is a happy dog. Keep them engaged with walks, playtime, and mental puzzles. When they're pooped from all the fun, they're less likely to turn to digging for entertainment.

  • Supervise Outdoor Time: 

If your furball is in the yard, keep an eye on them. When they start digging where they shouldn't, a simple "No" and a guiding hand can work wonders.

  • Digging Deterrents: 

Sprinkle some dog-friendly materials like citrus peels or a bit of cayenne pepper in areas you want to protect. Dogs aren't big fans of these scents, and they might steer clear.

If digging becomes a persistent habit or seems excessive, it might be time to chat with a dog behavior expert. 

When Is Digging a Sign of a Health Problem?

When Is Digging a Sign of a Health Problem?

Digging can go beyond just playful pawing, so keep an eye out for these 6 signs:

  • If your dog's digging habits suddenly escalate or change dramatically, it's worth investigating. 
  • When digging to the point of ignoring food, play, or potty breaks, it might be time to give your vet a call. 
  • You may need to know how to get dogs to stop digging because excessive digging can lead to hair loss or irritated skin. If you notice your pup scratching and digging so much that they're hurting themselves, it's definitely time for a vet visit.
  • If your dog starts digging along with a drop in appetite, lethargy, or unusual weight loss, there could be an underlying health issue lurking.
  • If your dog is digging and displaying signs of discomfort like whining, yelping, or unusual restlessness, it's wise to consult a vet because they might be trying to tell you something isn't right.
  • When digging combined with heavy panting, especially when it's not particularly hot, could be an indicator of an internal problem that needs attention.

Dog digging has many concerns related. Here’re the answers for some of them.

What About Dogs Who Dig To Den?

If your fluffy pal is digging to create a cozy hideout, consider giving them an alternative cozy space inside your home. A comfy doggy bed or a crate can mimic that den feeling without turning your yard into a construction site. 

Show them that indoors is where the real snuggle magic happens!

How To Stop a Dog Who Digs for Prey?

Got a furry hunter on your hands? 

Try engaging their inner detective with puzzle toys or treat-dispensing games, keep them mentally occupied, and they might just forget about their digging escapades. 

And hey, a good ol' game of fetch or tug-of-war could be the perfect way to channel that hunting energy into something more positive!

How To Help Dogs Digging To Cool Down?

If your dog is digging for a chill-out spot, help them beat the heat by setting up a shady spot with a kiddie pool for splashing, or lay down some cool tiles for them to lounge on. 

And a homemade frozen treat like dog-friendly ice cubes or chilled snacks can turn their digging mission into a tasty adventure!

Also, Read More About: How to help dog stay cool in summer?

Can you use cayenne pepper to stop your dog from digging?

Using cayenne pepper might help deter your furry digger, but it's not a guaranteed fix. Dogs usually aren't fans of the spicy scent, so sprinkling a bit in the areas they're digging might make them think twice.

Just like us, humans have our own quirks, different dog breeds have their unique tendencies too. When it comes to digging, some pups just can't resist getting their paws dirty a little more often. 

5 Dog Breeds Are More Inclined to Dig?

Here're 5 breeds that tend to be the ultimate digging champs:

  • Terriers: 

These little furballs are like the Olympic gold medalists of digging. They were bred to dig out pesky critters, so it's basically in their DNA.

  • Dachshunds: 

With their long bodies and short legs, Dachshunds might seem like they were built for digging. These sausage-like pups were originally bred for burrowing and hunting badgers.

  • Beagles:

These adorable hound dogs have a powerful sense of smell, and their curiosity often leads them to dig up interesting scents. 

  • Australian Shepherds: 

These energetic and intelligent dogs have a history of herding livestock. They might dig to create a cool spot to rest or simply to let off some of that extra energy they're famous for.


  • My dog is digging up the garden, what should I do?

If your dog's turned your garden into their personal excavation site, start by creating a designated digging area in your yard, filling it with soft soil and toys. 

Whenever you catch them digging in the garden, gently redirect them to their special spot and reward them when they use it. And keep your furry friend engaged with playtime and walks to tackle boredom. 

If the digging continues, it's a good idea to chat with a vet or a dog behavior expert to rule out any underlying issues. 

  • What Do I Do if My Dog Is Still Digging Everywhere?

Firstly, ensure they're getting plenty of mental and physical exercise to curb any excess energy that might be driving their digging. Revisit the designated digging zone and make it super enticing with toys and soft soil. You could also explore interactive puzzle toys to keep them engaged. If the digging persists, a chat with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist might offer personalized solutions.

  • Is digging a bad habit for dogs?

Digging itself isn't necessarily a "bad" habit for dogs – it's more like a natural behavior rooted in their ancestry. Dogs dig for various reasons like exploring, staying cool, or even just having fun. 

However, if the digging becomes excessive, damages property, or interferes with their well-being or your peace of mind, that's when we might want to gently guide them toward more positive behaviors. 

  • Does vinegar stop dogs from digging holes?

Vinegar can be a safe way how to get dogs to stop digging your yard. Dogs usually don't like the strong smell, so you can mix vinegar with water in a spray bottle and use it on spots you want to keep dig-free. Just remember, some dogs might find the smell a big turn-off, while others might not be bothered.