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How to stop a dog from digging holes?

Author: Alexandra Wrigley

Owning a dog sometimes can make you question in your mind, would it be easier to look after a child?

Especially when you’re out, and you’re taking them to a park. When they’re not chasing squirrels, they’re getting stuck into the mud, digging lots of holes.

Then what’s even worse, they take this behavior from the park and bring it home.

You find your dog digging holes in the yard!

Fear not; as a dog owner, you can do a few things to stop your dog from doing this.

But first things first, let’s look at why dogs dig holes.

Why do dogs dig holes?

why do dogs dig holes

Well, one of the most common answers to this question is that dogs dig holes because it’s their primal instinct. Their wolf ancestors like to hunt and dig as a way to try and find something. Many dogs were also bred to hunt animals in underground dens.

You may have noticed your dog not just digging in the yard but digging into the couch, cushions, or bed? Again this is their instinct! They’re trying to seek out prey.

Dogs also dig holes to bury and hide things. Again, this is their innate animal behavior. If they have a favorite toy, treat, or bone they’re scared of being stolen, they will bury it.

You might also like: Can I give bones to my dog?

Another reason they could be digging is for entertainment purposes. They could be bored if they’ve been left on their own for long periods without any attention or family members.

So they might be digging to occupy their time if there’s nothing else to do or anyone to interact with. Finally, they might just be having lots of fun digging up holes and bringing out lots of dirt around them.

How to stop a dog from digging?

how to keep dogs from digging

Now you have a bit of background knowledge of why your dog might be digging; you can take some actions to prevent this. Do note; this will not be an easy ride; you’re tackling behavior that descends back to their wolf ancestors!

Add a barrier

If your dog is digging in a particular place, like your yard, for example. You can place a barrier over it like a specific fence. A barrier can work as a deterrent to discourage your dog from going into the area and making it find space for somewhere else.

This is often a successful technique accomplished by many dog owners. They often use different things to deter dogs away from their usual digging spots.

Such as burying rocks underneath digging spots, citrus peels or vinegar to deter their nose, plant rose bushes, or thorny plants around the digging spot.

Use distraction techniques

Remember we said earlier, your dog might be digging because it’s bored? One great way of stopping them from doing this is using distraction techniques, like playing with toys.

You may want to get some balls, dog chews, or ropes to turn their attention away. Another great equivalent is using a sandbox, as this will allow your dog to fulfill its digging needs.

Call an exterminator

Dogs often dig because they’re looking for prey. Take a moment to consider where your dog is digging, are there other animals nearby? Could there be some underneath the dirt?

There could be giant bugs under there or reminiscences of squirrels, cats, rats, and other animals, leaving their distinct smell all over the dirt.

One of the best ways is to stop your dog from doing this is to call an exterminator to check if there are some underlying pets around that they can get rid of.

Give it an area to cool down

Sometimes dogs can overheat quickly, and your dog might be digging to cool down its paws. As they need to find a cool area to relax in. A great way of resolving this issue is by giving it a cool space in your yard where they can seek shelter and shade from.

Walk it regularly

Digging requires a lot of energy for a dog to do. Another fantastic way to prevent this is exhausting your dog and taking it out on long walks. Sometimes little exercise can cause behavioral problems in dogs, which might be why it’s having this problem.

Give it enough mental stimulation

Just like walking, your dog may not be exhausting and using its brain to its potential. Therefore play games with your dog like fetch or use puzzle toys, like the Kong, to help your dog keep busy and its mind engaged.

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