What Causes Puppy Digging and What Can You Do About It?

Puppy digging in a field

Have you ever noticed how much pups like digging? Puppies dig as naturally as they eat, play, itch, and sleep. It's critical to remember that 'digging' is really a symptom, not a 'problem.' Attempting to just stop your dog from digging is akin to bandaging a broken leg. The first step in stopping your dog from digging is to figure out why he or she is digging!

Reasons Dogs Dig

Here is a short list of reasons for your puppy to choose to dig:

  • Instinct
  • Cooling
  • Boredom
  • Freedom


There are several dog breeds that have been specifically developed to dig! The word 'Terrier' is simply translated as 'Earth Dog' in my dictionary. As a result, several Terrier breeds see digging as natural as breathing! Dachshunds, for example, dig into the earth to search for vermin. Take a look at the numerous duties that your puppy has been bred to undertake. (akc.org) Many breeds and breed combinations are 'predisposed' to hunt for prey in your flower garden, which may surprise you!


Some puppies like digging cooling pools to get away from the sun. Many Northern breeds, such as Huskies, Malamutes, Spitz, and Samoyeds, have an instinctive understanding of how to calm down. Again, investigating your puppy's breed or breeds for hints to her behavior will yield helpful information!


Have you ever been bored before? What do you do to keep yourself entertained when you're bored? Are any of these practices unnecessary or perhaps harmful? It's possible that digging is more fun for your puppy than peering wistfully at the back door! It's possible that your dog is just having a good time digging up your backyard. Is there any conduct that you engage in simply because it is enjoyable? Are any of these habits something you're aware isn't beneficial for you? Can you really be unhappy with your dog for just enjoying life if you, the person, do things because you enjoy them? I challenge you to think deeply about this subject!


Some puppies dig to find their way to freedom. The grass appears to be greener on the other side of the fence for these puppies. When your dog digs at fence lines or beneath walls, you may tell she wants to be free. This is the most harmful cause for your puppy to dig! What will she do if she breaks through the fence?

The Rewards of Digging

Your dog repeats activities for which she receives a reward. She ceases doing things that don't result in a reward. You should consider what benefit your dog derives from digging! This question's answer is your cue to keep her from probing. Spend some time learning about the positive reinforcement your dog receives from her digging. It's your responsibility to turn this positive reinforcement into a punishment. You are correct in assuming that this is a challenging assignment! It's honestly simpler to resolve the behavior issues that prohibit you from leaving your puppy outside than it is to resolve the issues that prevent you from leaving your puppy outside. This is because most dogs regard your yard to be their area, not yours. Another explanation is that your dog is frequently outdoors alone, with no one to direct her activities! As we discuss different behavior modification approaches, keep this simple reality in mind. You made the decision to bring an animal into your life, so don't be surprised when it acts like one!

How to Stop the Digging

I invite you to consider this list of possible corrections for your pup’s digging:

  • Deterrents to digging
  • Underground fence
  • Pest control
  • Goalie
  • Train in the yard

I have had clients successfully deter digging by helping the environment to correct the pup’s digging behavior. These deterrents are usually not sufficient to deter instinct driven digging. 


Sneak into the yard and liberally sprinkle the holes with a substance that your pup might not enjoy:

  • Bitter Apple Spray
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Hot Paprika

Remember that when your dog starts digging, she will put her nose down! Please with your veterinarian to ensure that any drug you use as a deterrent is safe! This prevents some puppies from digging while teaching others to dig in different locations.

Purchase two or three Boat Horns from a sporting goods store. When you press a button on the horn, pressurized air in a can generates a loud sound. From inside your home, keep an eye on your dog. Start digging open a window and sounding the horn as you see her. Your dog is likely to flee her digging activities as a result of the unexpected harsh noise. Please bear in mind that scaring your puppy with sound may cause her to develop a fear of loud noises like explosions and thunder. Use sound adjustments only when necessary!

Clients have also reported that dumping their dog's excrement in the pit and covering it with loose dirt prompted the dog to stop digging. This, I believe, was all it took for the pup to forsake that specific burrow. You are invited to test it for yourself because the clients thought it worked!


Don't overlook the advantages of raising your dog's activity level! Puppies who are tired do not dig; instead, they sleep. Before leaving your dog in your yard, take a quick morning stroll and incorporate some training. Teach your dog to securely walk on your treadmill as an alternative. If you don't already have one, you may buy puppy treadmills that are specially designed for your dog's safety.

Underground Fence

Consider installing an around places such as flower gardens and children's play areas. This style of fence is highly good at keeping freedom-seeking dogs from digging under fences and walls. A wire is put underground around the regions where you don't want your dog to go. Your dog wears a beeping collar that alerts her when she approaches the restricted zone. You'll have to educate her that she must move away from the banned area to avoid the electrical correction that follows the beep!

Pest Control

It's a good idea to have a pest control firm inspect your yard for moles. A easy cure to intuitive hunting digging is to rid your yard of vermin that your dog knows is there even if you don't. Pest control is a great way to keep temptation out of your dog's life!


"Who's yard is this?" is a crucial question to ask oneself. The second best technique to show your dog that she owns the yard is to just open the door and let her to run into it. Dog doors are the most effective method to communicate to your dog that she owns both the house and the yard! I don't have a dog door and don't see myself needing one in the future. I want my own puppies to realize that because I pay the mortgage, the home and yard are mine! With my blessings and consent, I am pleased to enable them to experience both. If you utilize a dog door, I hope you don't have any harmful problems in your home or yard. If you do have troubles, I recommend locking your dog door until you have established correct respect. I recommend that you master the "Goalie" exercise and utilize it every time you let your dog out of the house and back in!


When was the last time you took your dog out into the yard to practice training? I welcome you to take advantage of the advantages of crime scene training! Dragging your dog to the hole to punish her for digging does more harm than good. Taking her near her digging and practicing training sessions is quite beneficial! You're sending her the impression that you expect her to listen to you both inside and outside the house. The message will reach her! Skeptical? I urge you to give it a try for two weeks and see how your dog's attitude changes in the yard.

Plan Your Yard

Let's shift our attention away from deterrents and present conduct and toward future planning! There are a few things you can do to assist your dog stay out of trouble in her yard. Charlie, my youngest grandchild, enjoys digging! She adores dirt, sand, mud puddles, and sawdust - anything she can dig her fingers into. In many aspects, Charlie resembles a charming, intelligent, and lively Terrier! Charlie's parents cleverly erected a huge covered sandbox to encourage him to dig in an appropriate location. For the most part, it solved the problem—and when it didn't, they had a place to send Charlie instead of punishing her! Consider making your dog a digging area. A section of your yard or a child's sandbox can be used. Bury little trinkets for your puppy to locate in the loose dirt. Go outdoors and dig in her spot with her. If your dog is digging in an area you don't like, just guide her to her proper location. This easy method will save you a lot of time and effort.

Make your dog's yard more interesting! Teach her how to play with the ball by tying tether balls to tree branches. To keep your dog entertained, provide him with fun puzzle toys. Install some entertaining backyard agility equipment, such as a tunnel and a small A-frame, or a slightly elevated dog bridge. Spend some time examining your puppy's favorite toys. Provide her with enjoyable activities to keep her from damaging your lawn.

Remember Respect

Finally, remember that resolving the issue of why you don't leave your dog inside is frequently easier than resolving outside behavior concerns! Make every effort to provide your dog with continuous exercise. Remember to train her both inside and outside your home. Keep in mind that love, trust, and respect are the foundations of a good connection with your dog. As you enable your puppy to walk into the yard and return to the house, teach all family members who are able to play the Goalie game. Spend the time necessary to figure out why your puppy is digging! Keep in mind that your dog is your pal! Refrain from using punishment since it will not prevent her from repeating the act and may even harm your relationship!