How to stop your dog from digging holes in the garden and reasons why they do it.

When my dog was young, I had a problem with him digging holes in our back garden. He used to do it right in the centre of the lawn. I was forever having to go out there and fill the holes with soil and sprinkle grass seed over the top. Luckily he grew out of doing it and learned that it was the wrong thing to do.

This post covers a few things that you can do to stop your dog digging holes in the back garden.

Why do dogs dig holes?

Natural Instinct – Some dogs have been bred for this purpose so it is their natural instinct to dig holes. My dog is a Jack Russell and terriers were originally bred to dig. He used to like digging up stones!

Your dog is bored – Lack of stimulation can lead to destructive behaviour. 

Your dog is trying to escape – Your dog may be trying to escape to chase something or to get away from something that has frightened him. He will usually dig near fencing if this is the case. Your dog could’ve seen some prey such as a squirrel or a bird that he wants to chase.

To Cool Down

If the weather is hot, your dog may dig the earth because the soil underneath is cooler and he may be trying to cool himself down.

Make sure there is plenty of shade available and fresh water for your dog when it’s hot. A dog paddling pool is a great investment for the Summer.

How to stop a dog from digging holes

How do I stop my dog digging up the garden?

More toys and activities – You could try leaving some extra toys outside when your dog is in the garden, Rotate the toys often so that your dog doesn’t get bored. You could try fun activities like hiding treats around the garden for your dog to sniff out.

Take more walks – Make sure your dog is regularly walked at least once a day. Lack of exercise can lead to behavioural problems.  Make sure your dog is socialised with other dogs. Take your dog to the park often.

Pay more attention to your dog – Make sure your dog is not left alone too long and has company. Spend time playing with your dog, give him more attention. Playing games like fetch can burn off some energy and keep him entertained. Your dog actually may have learned that by digging holes he gets your attention!

Give your dog something nice to chew on – When your dog is in the garden give him a nice bone to chew on. Or maybe a Kong toy * that you can fill with treats. My dog loved it when I filled them with peanut butter or cheese. This will keep your dog occupied for some time.

Have a designated digging spot – Have a designated digging spot, bury some of your dog’s chewing toys and let him dig them up. Praise your dog when he digs in the acceptable digging area.

It can take some time to train your dog to stop digging the garden. While you’re trying to teach your dog not to dig holes, it’s best to be around to supervise your dog when he is outside until you are sure he can be left for longer periods of time without destroying your garden.

Do you have any tips on how to stop a dog digging in the garden? If so, let us know in the comments below.