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Why Do Dogs Dig?

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

More than 38% of American households have at least one dog, making dogs the most popular household pet.

People call dogs man's best friend because dogs are loyal, loving, and forgiving. They don't hold grudges and are always happy to see their owners.

Obedience Dogs  training in the greater Dallas Metroplex
I don't need a shovel!

But, dogs also have some downsides, including digging holes. So, if your dog does this, you might ask, "why do dogs dig?"

Many dogs dig holes, but you might be able to find ways to stop this habit. However, first, you'll need to learn why this happens. Keep reading to learn these answers.

Why Do Dogs Dig? The Main Reasons

It can be very frustrating when a dog keeps digging. After all, digging leaves holes in your yard and destroys your grass. Some dogs might occasionally dig, while others dig often.

In any case, you might wonder why this happens. So, here are some of the common reasons for dogs digging:

Hunt or Hide Things

Dogs have instincts that cause them to do the things they do, and digging is one of many instincts that dogs have.

For example, dogs might do this when hunting. If a dog catches a rodent, bug, or animal, it might dig a hole to bury it. Burying it hides it from other animals, and dogs do this to protect their food.

They might also dig holes to find prey. For example, if a dog smells an animal, it might dig holes to find it.

If you give a dog a bone or toy, it might dig a hole to hide it from other animals. But, again, a dog's instincts cause them to hide things to protect them.


Some dogs also dig for fun or entertainment purposes. For example, your dog might dig holes if you leave it alone in the yard for too long. The dog might not have anything else to do and might feel bored.

Dogs might also do this to alert you of their boredom. In other words, they might seek attention and not know how to get it. Some dogs even find enjoyment from digging; it's fun for them.

Shelter or to Cool Off

Dogs also turn to digging when they're hot or need shelter. This is because they know that the ground is cooler. Therefore, they might dig a hole when they're hot to cool off.

They might also dig a hole to have a comfortable place to sleep or to seek shelter when it's raining or snowing.


Dogs are smart animals, and most don't enjoy being stuck inside a fence. So, your dog might dig a hole by the fence to find a way out. If they're successful with the hole, they can climb into it and get out of the fence.


While some dogs might not get scared often, other dogs get scared easily. Many things can scare a dog, including fireworks, gunshots, and loud noises.

When dogs feel scared, they might do things they normally wouldn't do, and digging is one of them.

Your dog might start digging out of fear, especially if they want to come into your house, but you aren't home or won't let them. You know your dog better than anyone else, so you'll know what scares them.

Ways to Stop Your Dog From Digging

Many dog owners yell at their dogs and scold them when they dig, but this doesn't always do the trick. That's because dogs tend to learn more through positive reinforcement rather than scolding.

So, how do you change your dog's habits? How can you stop them from digging holes in your yard? Changing canine behaviors isn't an overnight achievement, but it's something you can do with the right steps.

First, you might want to stop scolding your dog for digging or other bad habits. Dogs have difficulties understanding why their owners scold them, so scolding doesn't tend to offer any positive results.

Next, it might be helpful to study your dog's habits to determine why it's digging.

For example, does it only happen when your dog is scared? If so, you might want to change anything you can to prevent your dog from feeling this way. So, you might want to bring your dog inside when people do fireworks.

Additionally, giving your dog plenty of exercise might also help. When your dog gets enough playtime and exercise, it might not need extra forms of entertainment. It might also get tired and need a rest.

Keeping a dog busy through exercise and playtime is helpful for this problem and others. Plus, dogs need exercise to stay healthy, so your dog will likely feel better if you spend time doing these things.

You can also try to give your dog more attention. Dogs love attention and can never get enough. As a result, your dog might stop digging to get your attention if you give it more attention.

Finally, you can hire a dog trainer. Dog trainers work with dogs to correct their bad habits. Your dog can learn better obedience habits through training and much more. In fact, there are many benefits of dog training.

Hire a Dog Trainer

So, why do dogs dig? Now you know some of the reasons; however, you'll likely also want to find solutions to get them to stop.

One of the best ways to teach your dog to stop digging is through dog training. Are you ready to hire a dog trainer?

Contact us at K-9 Culture Dog Training in Dallas, TX. We offer dog training services for all breeds and can help with all kinds of problems you might have with your dogs.

Help Humans Have a Dog that is a JOY to Live With!


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