Stop your dog from digging up your yard

dogs digging _ hire a dog walker, puzzle toys Lakeway, Steiner Ranch

Is your dog dabbling in a digging career? Despite what it seems like, he’s not really trying to drive you crazy! He might be seeking entertainment, prey, protection, escape or even attention.

If he’s bored:

This is a common behavior for dogs who are just looking for something to stimulate their minds. If you think your dog is digging because he’s bored, try:

  1. More exercise! He can’t get himself into trouble if he’s resting from all the fun he had before you left.
  2. New hobbies. Frequently engage him in new activities like fetch, agility or new tricks.
  3. Adventure. Go on more adventures together – dogs love routine but they also thrive on experiencing new places and things.
  4. Puzzle toys. Keep interesting things in your yard for him to play with. Try a Kong or a Kool Dogz Ice Treat Maker.
  5. Digging pit. Designate a place for him to dig because let’s face it, it’s fun! Fill a kiddie pool or sandbox with dirt and bury his treats and toys for him to find.

If he’s hunting:

  1. Search for signs of burrowing animals, then use safe, humane methods to fence them out or exclude them.

Tip: Don’t use toxins because what’s harmful to the wild animal will be harmful to your pet. Plus, it won’t stop future animals from coming in next year.

If he needs comfort or protection:

In the hotter weather, you may find that dogs like to dig holes to find the cooler mud to beat the heat. Signs that your dog is digging for protection from the weather are if the holes are near the foundation of a building, by large shade trees or near a water source. If he is lying in the holes he digs, that’s also a pretty good indication.

  1. If it’s extremely hot or cold, keep your dog inside if possible. Heat stroke can come on quickly and can be deadly.
  2. Make sure your dog has a comfortable dog shelter that protects him from wind, rain and extreme temperatures.
  3. Provide lots of fresh water that doesn’t sit out in the direct sunlight or can be tipped over.
  4. If he still prefers to dig himself a cooling hole and you’re in a forgiving mood, designate an area that is safe from the elements and let him dig away!

If he’s looking for attention:

If your dog is digging right in front of you or if he has limited opportunities to interact with you, chances are he’s trying to get your attention.

  1. Ignore any kind of attention-seeking behavior and praise him for any kind of good behavior (even sitting quietly).
  2. Give your dog time every day to interact with you playing new games, walking and working on obedience.

If he’s trying to escape:

This could also be an indication of boredom or discomfort so also try the suggestions above along with preventing his escape.

  1. Make sure your yard is a safe, comfortable place for him to want to be.
  2. Place large rocks or bricks, partially buried, along the edges where you see the gaps.
  3. If possible, bury the fence 1 to 2 feet below the surface.
  4. Make your yard dig-proof. The Humane Society has detailed instructions in their article, keeping out burrowing wildlife.

Never punish your dog after the fact. It will only worsen any digging that is caused by fear or anxiety. Additionally, never tie your dog near a hole he’s dug or fill the hole with water.


If your dog digs due to boredom or lack of sufficient exercise, Gusto Dogs can help by giving him a vigorous daily walk and engage him in new activities that stimulate his mind. Read more about our services.

View more resources and training tips.

Information for the above article kindly provided by The Humane Society of the United States.

About Kristen West

Kristen started Gusto Dogs in Austin after running a pet sitting and walking business for two years in Sydney, Australia. After discovering that the dogs benefited much more from incorporating enrichment into their daily walks, Kristen decided to make it a part of every Gusto dog walk with the aim to provide a more fulfilling experience for Austin's dogs and their owners.

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