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How to Stop Your Dog From Digging


by Patricia Ellison

Isn’t it a huge pain when you’ve spent hours planting a gorgeous garden and your furry friend of the house comes along and digs it all up? Or how about building a new fence to find that Spot already knows how to get around (or more literally, under) it?

Dogs are instinctually driven to dig, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train them to respect your yard.

First of all you should ask yourself why your dog is digging. Is he bored? If this may be the case, look into investing in more chew toys or treat dispenser toys that dogs have to play with to get food out of. My Chihuahua are notorious for digging, especially if I am on the other side of the fence. Providing them with special toys, they like the treat dispensing one the best, keeps them occupied while I am out of their sight or reach.

Hiring a pet sitter to walk your dog may be a good idea, or hiding their food in small amounts around the house to keep them entertained at breakfast time.

Aside from boredom, stress may be making the dog misbehave. Before you proceed any further on fixing this behavior, ask yourself if there are any recent changes in your lifestyle or home life that might be making your pet act up. Are you remembering to take him out often enough? Are there any other stresses that may be affecting him?

If you still aren’t sure about what the problem is, try these tips to getting them to stop digging:

The most obvious method that people use to try and stop dog digging is to catch them in the act and scold them. While this may work while you’re around to enforce it, many dogs will just wait until their owner is gone and go right back to digging. So, scolding is not a long term solution.

A better idea is to make your dog think you are not involved in the consequences they receive after they dig. One of those methods is to go purchase a squirt gun and shoot them in the head when you see them digging. They won’t realize the discipline is coming from you, but they certainly won’t like the water to the face.

A similar idea to this is to have a sprinkler set up near the area your dog likes to dig. If you can, turn on the sprinkler when you see your pet tearing up the ground. This works especially well if you can leave on the sprinkler for short periods of time while you are away. Once again, they will not realize where the harsh response is coming from; they’ll just know they don’t like it.

One really good trick to keeping your dog from digging is to place their own feces in the holes they like to dig. Dogs do not like the smell of their own droppings (remember, it must be THEIR feces, not any other dog’s), and will refuse to dig in the hole anymore if they smell them.

If you are having problems with a dog digging under a fence, make sure there are no gaps in the fence. Lay down concrete in any holes or put chicken wire from the bottom of the fence to the ground. If there are no gaps, consider laying concrete blocks along the bottom of the fence.

Digging is a huge pain and certainly doesn’t improve the aesthetics of your yard. Puppies don’t think about aesthetic value, they are more into play value. Remember to keep your puppy entertained and find ways to encourage him to play in positive ways over destructive ones.

Patricia Ellison is an experienced Chihuahua Breeder and dog lover, her kennel is located in Chiloquin, Oregon. Patricia provides vital dog care and training information to dog lovers worldwide at Although she exclusively breeds and sells Chihuahua, info is provided on many breeds.


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!