Easy Dog Yard Digging Solutions

Do you have a dog you swear is part gopher? Maybe you have a beautiful yard, and your dog is determined to dig to the center of the earth. Perhaps you’ve even encouraged the digging at first and now you don’t know how to curtail the activity? Or maybe you think your dog enjoys digging holes just to laugh at your expression. Why do dogs dig with such excitement and how can we protect our yards? Today, let’s put on our boots and find some great and easy dog yard digging solutions.

a dog yard digging solution has not hit this pup or his dog parents as he enjoying digging his hole
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

I have to admit, I think it's kind of funny to watch Henry dig like a mad gopher. But I know there could be a day, I may need to curtail his need for digging. I know his digging is mostly done from a play standpoint. So, I'll do what I can to replace his play digging or find a new spot for him to dig. Once you know how to deal with a digging dog, the solutions can be easy enough and definitely not a budget buster.

Why is my dog digging holes in my yard? 

According to the American Kennel Club, digging is a natural instinct for dogs. But like with anything in life, I think it’s always good to find the source of what’s causing an issue. Rather than slap a band-aid on it and hope for the best. I recommend observing your dog to discover which reason is the most likely for digging. You may need to do this without your dog’s knowledge. So, this could be through a window or with a security camera.

However, keep in mind there are typically a few reasons a dog will dig. These include:

1. Curious 

This will generally result in digging at the edge of the yard, next to your fence. Your dog is curious about what’s beyond the fence or yard.

2. Hunting 

This type of digging is especially indicative of certain dog breeds such as labradors, retrievers, beagles, and hounds. Often there is one big hole and several smaller ones in close proximity. This type of digging dog is after rodents or small game.

3. Comfort 

These types of digging dogs will find places to dig holes near foundations, under decks, or in shady areas of your yard. These holes are indicative of your dog seeking a cool or comfortable place to rest.

4. Learned behavior

A dog who has seen you or someone digging in the yard or witnessed another dog digging may start digging as well. This is the monkey see, monkey do type of digging dog.

5. Bored or burning energy 

Some dogs use digging as an activity. This is especially true for certain dog breeds and for those dogs that don’t like to play with toys. Henry falls into that second category.

NOTE: By supervising your dog in your yard you’ll be able to tell if your dog is bored, curious, hunting, comfort digging, or doing some other type of behavior in digging. Or even a combination of these behaviors.

How do I get my dog to stop digging in my yard? 

Once you’ve discovered why your dog is digging, then you can use a few tricks to deter your dog from being a gopher.

Although these tips will vary a bit depending on whether you want to contain your dog’s digging to one area or restrict your dog from digging altogether.

1. Digging zone 

This is a fun one, which assumes that your dog will be allowed to dig in some designated area of your yard. The idea is to train your dog to only dig in the area you have set up for digging.

When you’re dog is not around (maybe in the house) bury toys or treats in the desired digging area 2-3″ below the surface. Then when you see your dog dig up the treasures, praise your dog for a job well done.

Or you could even create a “digging pit” much like a sandbox and encourage your dog to dig in that area by burry favorite dog toys.

I’ve done this one with Henry and he absolutely loved it! Although, it took him by surprise at first. I placed treats inside plastic Easter eggs and let him find the eggs. Of course, I helped him open the eggs and he retrieved the treats. I have to admit the hole he dug in that spot after that experiment was HUGE!

dog digging for a treasure
Henry discovers a treasure as he digs.

2. Large flat rocks or pavers 

If your dog has a tendency of digging in areas you don’t want, then try placing large rocks or pavers over the area. It won’t be easy for your dog to dig in that spot and he or she should move away from that area for digging.

3. Shady and comfort zones 

If your dog is digging out of comfort, then simply make sure your dog has cool shady spots in your yard. You can place a hammock, chair, or bench over a dirt or grass area. Don’t forget to always provide cool water as well for your dog, especially when it’s hot outside. These two simple acts should greatly reduce your dog’s need to comfort dig.

4. Exercise 

A bored dog will be much more likely to seek ways to entertain him or herself. Remember if you don’t have time to properly exercise your dog, then consider asking a friend, calling a dog walker, or even taking your dog to doggie daycare. A happy, well-exercised, and tired dog is a dog less likely to dig up your yard and flowers.

Additionally, you can also try providing your dog with mental stimulation toys or games.

5. Deterrent spray 

Sometimes you may need to up your anti-digging game. For instance, if you have certain areas in your yard, that you simply can’t seem to keep your dog away from digging and you’ve tried fencing them off, rocks, exercise, and providing other areas to dig, then you may need a deterrent spray. There are a few on the market. Or you can make your own. The benefit of making your own is that you know exactly what’s in it and you can easily tweak the recipe as you see fit for your dog.

Here’s a recipe that my friends have used as a dog deterrent without hurting plants. While it can be used for keeping dogs from peeing in your yard, it basically deters dogs from any areas it’s sprayed. Thus, it’s perfect for digging applications as well.

 

6. Professional advice 

If you simply can’t seem to convince your dog to stop digging up your yard, and you’ve tried everything discussed here (and maybe a few others), then consult your dog trainer for a bit of dog training on digging. Or call an animal behaviorist for additional advice with the digging behavior. There could be something going on with your dog that they will be able to easily detect, including frustration with something in your household, separation anxiety, or even dog aggression.

Related posts:

Summary of easy dog yard digging solutions

I realize if you have a prized backyard, your dog digging in it is probably not the best idea. However, if you can get to the reason for that digging and provide an alternative that will solve the need to dig, then it’s a good thing for you and your dog. Such as a digging zone or comfort area for your dog.

husky dogs are great dog yard digging pups and this husky is proving that statement to be true

Is your dog a digging dog? Do you need to correct your dog’s digging behavior? 

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About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

18 thoughts on “Easy Dog Yard Digging Solutions”

  1. I knew of dogs digging for comfort but never thought about it otherwise as I have never had a dog that digs, so will know for the future if I have a digging dog. Thanks

    Reply
    • I’m glad I could provide some new information about digging dogs for you. I hope you don’t have to use it though. 😉

      Reply
  2. Years ago my daughter fell in love with a Dachshund, but my husband said no because he didn’t want a dog who digs. I wish we would have known about these tips back then!

    Reply
    • Awe, yes. I’ve always adhered to the motto “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” You just have to understand the underlying reasons why dogs dig and then address those issues. Most of the time the digging will subside or you find a happy ground with something like a digging zone when you understand the reasoning for digging.

      Oh, BTW, I have friends with Dachshunds. Those dogs wouldn’t dream of digging. They’d prefer to cuddle or be with their humans. Sometimes dog breeds are deceiving. 🤷🏻‍♀️

      Reply
  3. I did a double-take when I saw your Pinterest Pin photo – that dog looks just like my girl Icy, a brown & white Husky! That’s a great pic. These are very good tips. Icy had a digging obsession for awhile and I made her a dig pit to curtail it, and it worked. I once had a foster dog that dug large holes to lay in – she was an extremely terrified, anxious dog and she seemed to be hiding in the holes. Poor baby.

    Reply
    • Cathy, I wondered if you’d pick up on that pin or not. I saw that photo and I thought of Icy too. Such a cute pup and a great photo!

      I’m glad you made Icy a digging pit. Those do wonders for some digging dogs.

      It’s so sad that some dogs are so scared that find comfort in digging. I’m certain you were a great foster mom as you are a great dog mom. Great you were able to allow her to dig and give her that comfort.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  4. LOL, I have photos of my dog that look like this. I support establishing digging zones. I wouldn’t want to stop my dog from digging completely–she digs either to create a cool spot to lay in or in pursuit of critters. When I end up with a hole where I don’t want one, I bury it later.

    Reply
    • I do exactly the same thing, Jana. I actually find watching Henry digging hysterical! He jumps, barks, flips, and makes a whole game of it. Who couldn’t laugh at such an act? Heck, I wish I was that agile! If I was better at photos and video, I’d post him digging. But my skills aren’t so good. I need up my skills … or attach a GoPro to his head. Hmmm…

      I’m really glad you all your pup to dig with a digging zone. I love that idea! Henry does as well.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  5. I didn’t know digging was an obsession just a play thing. This is a surprise and very interesting.

    Honestly, I confess that it would drive me nuts as I love my garden and would hate to see it full of holes! The upside is I could hire out a dog to help people plant shrubs and trees! Look on the bright side.

    Reply
    • This is very true, you can have a dog help with digging holes in your yard for planting. But then you must not be upset when the dog goes off course and digs in a different spot. Unless you’ve trained your dog to dig in a digging box, and for you Margorie, that’s not a litter box. But it could resemble one and your kitties would probably love it for a litter box. 😉🤣

      I’m glad I could give you new information about digging dogs.

      Reply
  6. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How lkng have you been blogging for?
    you mazde blogging look easy. The overall look of your site
    is wonderful, as well as the content!

    Reply
    • Thank you! I appreciate your kind words. This blog is about 2yrs old as I reply today. I’m glad you’re enjoying the articles and my effort.

      Reply
  7. You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the web. I’m going to recommend this blog!

    Reply
  8. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes which will make the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips for stopping dogs from digging up the yard! I’ve been struggling with this issue and can’t wait to try out some of these solutions. Ashley Fowler

    Reply

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