You step outside, only to find yet another freshly dug hole in your backyard, courtesy of your four-legged friend. It can be frustrating, no doubt, but why do dogs dig holes in the yard and how can you tackle this habit?

Before you go after your dog, understand that digging is perfectly normal for our canine companions. It’s in their DNA, and no amount of scolding will change that.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some insights into why they do it and how you can minimize the damage.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes In The Yard?

1. Stressed-Out Behavior

Believe it or not, dogs can get stressed, just like us humans. The root cause of their stress might surprise you—it’s often separation anxiety.

If your dog starts digging up a storm whenever you leave, it could be a sign they’re feeling anxious and lonely without you.

Signs Of Stressed-Out Dogs

Apart from their newfound digging hobby, keep an eye out for other signs of stress in your dog. Changes in their body posture, excessive licking, or pacing could all be indicators of their emotional distress.

What’s The Remedy?

We know you can’t be with your pet 24/7 but there are solutions to ease their stress. Just like how we de-stress with exercise, a tired-out dog is a happy dog.

So, take your dog out for more walks, play fetch, or indulge in some fun tug-of-war sessions. It’ll do wonders for their stress levels!

If you notice persistent signs of stress, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your veterinarian during your dog’s next check-up.

2. Hormones And Genetics – It’s In Their Blood!

why do dogs dig holes in the backyard

First things first, some dog breeds are born to dig! It’s simply in their genes, and there’s no denying their predisposition for excavating.

For instance, terriers are notorious diggers, and they can’t help it—it’s like a calling they can’t resist.

Not just genes, hormones play a role too. If your dog hasn’t been fixed, those raging hormones might be urging them to dig their way to potential mates.

So, it’s essential to know whether it’s in their genes or the hormones doing the mischief.

How To Spot The Difference?

To figure out the root cause, research your dog’s breed to see if they’re naturally inclined to dig.

If they aren’t fixed and there are flirty furballs of the opposite sex visiting your yard regularly, that could be a sign that hormones are fueling their excessive digging.

What’s The Fix?

To keep your yard intact and your dog happy, try setting up a designated digging zone.

Give them a space where they can unleash their inner archaeologist without ruining your garden. And if your pup isn’t fixed, it might be worth discussing neutering or spaying with your vet as a long-term solution.

3. Time To Beat The Heat

Imagine wearing a fur coat in scorching weather—that’s what your dog goes through every day!

When the temperature rises, the ground underneath your yard offers a cool respite, so it’s no wonder they’re digging to create a cozy space to chill out.

Signs Of A Digging Cool Down

If you notice your dog lying down in the freshly dug holes, it’s a good indication that they’re trying to make a comfy outdoor bed for themselves.

As much as it might irk you to see your lawn pockmarked with holes, it’s your dog’s way of asking for a cool oasis.

How To Keep Them Comfortable

During extreme weather, make sure your pet has a sheltered place, like a dog house, to retreat to. This way, they can stay cool and comfy without resorting to yard excavation.

Also, consider bringing them indoors more often during extreme heat or cold. And to keep them hydrated while they’re outdoors, keep a sturdy, untippable water bowl within reach.

4. Your Dog Wants To Play Escape Artist

why do dogs dig holes

Picture this: your pet, ears pricked up, trying to catch all the action beyond the confines of your yard. Dogs are curious creatures by nature, and the world outside their little territory beckons them.

If there are any strange or loud noises, like nearby construction, it might be enough to send your dog into escape mode fueled by fear.

Signs Of A Great Escape

Watch out for signs that your dog is plotting their getaway. Are they digging under or around the fence?

If they start channeling their inner archaeologist around the boundaries, it might be a telltale sign that they want out.

Also, be attentive to any changes in their environment, such as fireworks or other disturbances, as these might trigger their escape endeavors.

How To Foil Their Escape Plans

To prevent them from pulling off their escape act, create a barrier between your dog and the fence.

You can use chicken wire, large rocks, or even bury the fence below the soil’s surface to make their escape route less appealing.

Here’s how to keep a dog from jumping the fence.

5. They Want To Hunt

Deep down, your dog still carries the instincts of their wild ancestors—the call of the hunt is just too strong to resist!

Even though they enjoy their pampered meals every night, your furry friend might be hot on the trail of an elusive insect or critter hiding in your backyard, and they’re determined to dig their way to it.

Signs Of Your Dog’s Detective Work

If you notice your dog laser-focusing on one area in your yard or following a specific path, they’ve probably got their detective hats on and are hunting something with all their furry might.

How To Keep Their Hunting Instincts In Check

To balance their wild instincts with domestic bliss, keep an eye out for signs of burrowing animals near your dog’s digging spots. Use humane methods to deter or relocate these critters to avoid any harm.

Be Mindful Of Toxins

While it’s tempting to use toxic solutions to tackle the critter issue, remember that what’s harmful to other animals can also pose a risk to your furry companion. Keep their safety a priority when seeking solutions.

6. When Boredom Strikes

What’s boring to you might be a blast for your furry pal! Digging is an exhilarating pastime for dogs, providing endless fun and excitement in their world.

Signs Of A Boredom Digger

If your dog spends extended periods outside with nothing to do or without any furry companions, boredom might be the culprit behind their digging escapades.

Dogs see the dirt as their playful partner, so when they dig, it’s like Mother Nature’s own game.

How To Beat Boredom

To keep your dog’s boredom at bay, equip them with engaging alternatives. Ensure they have plenty of their favorite toys to keep them entertained, like a tetherball to unleash their inner champion.

How Do You Stop Dogs Digging Holes?

how do you stop dogs digging holes

Here are some effective strategies to keep your yard intact and your dog content:

1. Designate A Digging Zone

Create a special digging area in your yard where your dog can unleash their digging prowess to their heart’s content. A sandbox with buried toys can be their very own excavation site!

2. Take Them Out For Exercise

Excessive digging might be a sign of pent-up energy. Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise to tire them out, so they won’t have as much energy left for digging escapades.

3. Spice It Up With Cayenne

Sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper in areas your dog tends to sniff around for digging. The spicy scent is a big turn-off for them.

4. The Poop Solution

It might not sound glamorous, but filling their favorite digging spots with poop can be a simple and effective deterrent. Dogs generally avoid digging where they do their business.

5. Digging Praise

Yes, you heard that right! Praise your dog when it digs in its designated area. Positive reinforcement helps them understand where it’s okay to dig and where it’s a no-go.

6. Balloon Booby Traps

Blow up some balloons, bury them in potential digging spots, and cover them with dirt. When your dog tries to dig, the balloon will give it a harmless scare, discouraging further excavation.

What Not To Do

Punishing your dog for digging after the deed is done doesn’t address the root cause. This is a common pitfall that pet owners need to avoid in their quest to stop the digging.

It might lead to confusion and even worsen their behavior, especially if they’re digging out of anxiety or stress.

You may also be interested in checking out how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.


1. Why do dogs dig holes and bury things?

Dogs dig holes to bury items or instinctively create cool spots, hunt prey, or alleviate boredom.

2. Why is my dog crying and digging?

A dog crying and digging may be in pain, anxious, or seeking attention; consult a vet for a proper diagnosis.

3. Is it healthy for dogs to dig holes?

Dogs digging holes can be normal behavior, but excessive digging may indicate underlying issues and should be monitored.

4. Why is my female dog digging holes all of a sudden?

Sudden excessive digging in female dogs may be related to pregnancy, nesting instincts, or health concerns.

5. Why does My dog keep digging the same hole?

Dogs often dig the same hole due to scent marking, seeking buried items, or instinctual behavior.

Final Thoughts: Why Do Dogs Dig Holes In The Yard?

Dealing with a digging dog might seem like a hassle, but understanding the reasons behind their digging adventures can help you devise a plan of action.

We hope these insights and strategies keep both you and your furry buddy happy in your backyard haven! Happy digging, in the right spot, of course!

By Robin M

Robin remains an active participant in the skilled trades community. His hands-on involvement in projects, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for helping others succeed in their home improvement pursuits, reflects his commitment to empowering readers with the knowledge they need to tackle projects confidently.

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