Reaping Rewards of a Dog Digging Pit

Do you know the benefits of a dog digging pit?

Are you frustrated with your dog digging a patchwork of holes throughout your yard? Maybe you even have holes in your garden beds? 

My dog, Henry, loves to dig! But he has zones where it’s fine for him to be a gopher. I don’t mind and he digs away.

There are actually reasons why a dog will dig holes and even try to dig a hole through your floor, couch, or bed. 

So, today let’s “dig in” and discover the benefits of a dog digging zone or dog digging pit. 

a cute dog enjoys playing in his dog digging pit
disclaimer note

*Updated: June 12, 2024

Budget tip:

While letting your dog dig, may seem contrary to keeping your expenses down, it actually helps. You can avoid more pricey vet bills and even the repair or replacement of destroyed furniture or flooring. 

Thus, providing your dog with the ability to dig with a digging pit is a great way to save money. It’s really a huge benefit for your dog and you. Thus, it’s a super win-win item!

No. In fact, it’s a very natural instinctive activity. Although, there can be many reasons why your dog digs a hole. 

However, where your dog decides to dig, could be an issue. Especially, if digging includes the middle of your flower bed, a beautiful floor, a comfortable bed, or even a welcoming couch. 

There can be many reasons for a dog wanting to dig a hole. This includes trying to dig into your floor, bed, or garden. 

Among these reasons are:

This can include dogs a variety of dogs. You may see a Husky, Dachshund, Beagle, Jack Russel Terrier, Poodle, Cockapoo, Pitbull, and your basic rescue dog dig. Thus, it’s really a “dog thing” to dig.

You know that old saying that boredom can spell trouble. Well, it’s true for your dog as well.

This can be something left by another critter, an underground living critter, or even something yummy they may want to eat like a carrot.

A mentally engaged dog either by digging in prescribed areas, a brain game, a snuffle ball, or a puzzle game, is a much happier dog. Thus, less likely to the mentally enriched dog is less likely to exhibit undesirable behaviors, cause damage, or injure him or herself.

Remember when you were a kid and had to sit still for a family outing or dinner? You may have swung your legs or used some other motion to release your kid’s energy. Perhaps you even went outside and played to release the energy you weren’t allowed to use.

This is the same for your dog.

A lack of proper exercise can cause your dog to exhibit undesirable behaviors such as digging up your flowers or chewing your shoes. However, a well-exercised dog will not be as likely to do these acts.

You could be surprised that even pain can cause some dogs to dig or behave undesirably. Doing something like digging may relieve their mind of focusing on the pain. Additionally, exercise such as digging vigorously, releases endorphins, which can lessen the effects of pain.

Of course, when your dog has separation anxiety or is having a panic attack, then the behaviors may be odd.

For instance, when there are loud noises outside, yet Henry has to go potty, he acts almost paralyzed. He’ll go outside, pee, and then get lost in the noise, and often will shake. Thus, I carry him inside and to one of his safety zones.

However, other dogs may find the need to dig where they are to express their emotions of anxiety.

When a dog is trying to escape a yard, they may either jump a fence or dig under the fence. If this is your dog, then make sure your yard is secure from both jumping and digging under the fence.

Some dogs are very prey-oriented. Thus, if they see or smell an animal that’s burrowed through the soil or is on the other side of the fence, they may feel the need to dig.

It’s really funny what a dog can learn from watching other dogs. Thus, if your dog has been around a digging dog and suddenly starts digging, it’s most likely a copycat or learned behavior.

Think of a child that isn’t getting attention. They will likely act out in order to receive some attention, even if not the type of attention they really want to receive.

Yes, it’s natural for a pup to want to bury their dog food. To them, it helps to keep their tasty treasures safe from other predators and have them for later.

For example, Henry occasionally tries to bury his dog food bowl before eating. Although, he never did this until he saw one of his puppy friends do it. Now, he thinks it’s a great idea. Honestly, it’s pretty funny!

Digging a hole can provide a cooler area to lie on a hot summer day.

Think of a child sucking his or her thumb when scared, lonely, or bored. It’s a way to self-soothe.

Thus, when your dog digs, there’s a reason. No, your pup isn’t necessarily a bad dog. Your furry friend is doing what comes naturally. 

Note: If you suspect your dog is digging due to pain or a compulsive behavior issue, then you may need to consult your vet or a behaviorist for assistance. 

These two concepts are very similar in that they give your dog a designated location that is safe for your dog to dig.

However, a dog digging pit will be a contained area marked by wood, bricks, or even a pool. 

Meanwhile, a dog digging zone is an area that you’ve deemed safe for your dog to dig. This could be a corner of your yard. 

For example, in Henry’s case, he has a digging zone near a favorite volunteer tree. Although, the tree’s roots are deep enough, that they don’t cause an issue for him.

There are at least eight main benefits of providing your dog with a digging zone. However, you may find even more exist with your dog. 

Just the simple fact that your dog knows he/she can dig can be a great relief. Plus, you can save the rest of your yard, which you’ve spent time and money creating, from being destroyed. 

It keeps your dog happy and you as well. 

That’s a huge benefit!

Want to learn how to build a beautiful dog-friendly backyard on a budget? In this article, I walk you through everything you need to know. 

Even Henry will try to dig a hole in his bed if he hasn’t exercised enough that day and needs to release some energy. 

Therefore, giving your dog a proper place to dig will prevent scratches, tears, and other damage to flooring, carpets, beds, and other furniture. It can be expensive to replace or repair these items.

Thus, this is another great benefit of providing a dog digging pit!

Do you know that providing your dog with safe zones can also help reduce your expenses? In this article, I share how to set up a dog safe zone for free and the amount you can save in the process.

Yes, it is a great exercise for your dog to dig! Henry can even get to the panting stage when he’s on a great dig. It actually engages muscles he wouldn’t otherwise use. 

Actually, think about how exhausting it is to shovel dirt or even heavy snow. That’s a whole-body workout!

As such, this is another great benefit of creating a dog digging pit or dog digging zone!

Want some fun exercises to do with your dog? In this article, I share some exercises you may want to try with your pup. 

As my vet, has emphasized to me on many occasions, that a dog needs to stay mentally active. It’s part of great dog care and a dog health plan. 

Want to learn the tricks that my vet says are critical for extending your dog’s life? In this article, I share everything I was told with you.

For example, when a bunny, coyote, deer, or other animal has been near one of Henry’s digging zones, he is more active with his digging. He wants to explore those sniffs. It provides him with great mental enrichment.

Thus, this is a terrific benefit of a dog digging zone!

Want to learn about fun ways to engage your dog’s mind, even if your pup doesn’t like toys? In this article, I share mealtime dog brain games that all dogs love, even Henry. 

Yes, allowing your dog’s heart to pump with an aerobic exercise like digging is great for heart health. 

Henry’s heart pumps more when he’s digging. Yet, when he’s exhausted, he stops. His heart and body have been well exercised for the day. 

Thus, a critical benefit of giving your dog a digging pit!

Allowing your dog to have a digging pit can absolutely reduce obesity. Moreover, your dog can avoid health issues that often accompany obesity such as diabetes, heart health issues, and increased joint pain.

Henry stays at a very trim weight. In fact, his vet says he’s the “perfect weight”.

Perhaps I’m a proud dog mom, but I think the ability to keep your pup fit is a great benefit of a dog digging zone!

Moreover, overfeeding your dog not only adds to an obesity issue but an over-bloated wallet issue. In this article, I share all the details.  

Giving your dog, no matter if he or she’s a Husky, terrier, laborer, pitfall, cockapoo, or simply a rescue, digging feeds their natural instincts. 

Simply put, dogs are built to dig and explore. It’s a natural instinct. Trying to prevent digging can cause behavior issues or property damage. 

For illustration, think if you were told you couldn’t read, listen to music, or talk to your friends. You’d be denied an essential part of you. Thus, you’d need another outlet, which could be a negative vice such as eating more, drinking, or smoking

Therefore, providing an outlet for your pup’s natural instincts to dig, is a great benefit of a dog digging pit.

Do you know that even passive smoking harms your dog and costs you money? Shocked? In this article, I share all the details. 

The simple act of digging can help your dog release stress and other anxieties. This can prevent other behavioral and destructive issues. 

For example, if Henry’s been stressed out by more wind or other issues, I know the next time he goes outside he’ll want to dig. It helps him and I’m relieved to see him calm himself down with digging.

As a further illustration, think of when you’re overly stressed or your anxiety is higher than normal. However, when you’ve done something aerobic, don’t your symptoms seem reduced? They do for me!

That’s because your endorphins get a boost and you naturally feel better. You might be more exhausted, but you definitely feel better.

The same goes for your dog when you allow your pup to dig. 

That’s another great benefit of a digging zone!

Are you looking for affordable ways to keep your dog from jumping your fence? In this article, I share great ideas you can act on immediately. 

Yep, a dog digging zone, can be a great time to strengthen your relationship with your pup. 

For example, Henry digs and then looks at me for approval. Of course, I’m generally laughing at his gopher abilities. But that reassurance is all he needs. 

Bonding time is certainly a great benefit of a dog digging pit!

Want to learn about other affordable ways to bond with your dog? In this article, I reveal great ways to strengthen your relationship with your pup and not spend a penny. 

First, you’ll want to survey your yard for a good spot. It should be in a safe area where you don’t mind digging and sheltered from the elements. Providing shade for your dog’s digging zone will encourage digging despite the weather. 

Next, prepare your chosen spot. Make sure to remove any roots, rocks, or other debris that can harm your dog. 

Finally, you can make your dog a digging zone, which is what Henry has on my property. All you really need to do is make sure the area is safe and clear for digging. Thus, it’s the least involved in setting up.  

Or you can install an actually digging pit. There are a few ways to do it. 

One way is with a large kiddie pool, like Hannah Pet Hospital demonstrates in this video.

Another way to create a dog digging pit is by creating a sandbox or dig box, like Gohan The Husky does in this video.

Do you need an affordable temporary dog fence? Yes, they exist and in this article, I share everything you need to know.

Honestly, you can just use sandbox sand. Or even topsoil. The key is just to make sure it’s free of roots, glass, rocks, and other harmful debris. 

Additionally, the soil should be  the form of loose dirt. Hard clay could cause injury to your dog’s paws or nails.

For example, as I mentioned Henry has digging zones. As such, he’s digging in topsoil. However, each zone is safe for him.

Need more dog digging solutions for your gopher dog digging problem? In this article, I walk you through how to keep your yard free of unwanted holes from your pup. 

One good way is to place dog treats in the digging zone. This will give your dog the cue that it’s a good place to dig. 

Or you can place a few favorite dog toys, a fun cherished chew toy, or even partially bury prized dog toys. 

Thus, it becomes a buried treasure hunt for your dog. 

For example, I’ve put dog cookies inside plastic Easter eggs and buried them in Henry’s favorite digging zone. He’s been thrilled to find the hidden treasure. And I always giggle at his success. 

Henry loves his dog digging area.
Henry finds a treasure in one of his dog digging areas.

NOTE: Of course, as you can tell I used plastic Easter eggs for Henry’s hidden treasure in his digging zone. You can do the same with very affordable plastic Easter eggs.

Want to teach your pup basic dog training on your time schedule and for free? You can do it and I show you how in this article.  

It may surprise you that any type of digging pit you choose, it’s very affordable. While you consider the costs below, also keep in mind that these prices can vary by location. 

Kiddie pool $8.80
Wood (2 pieces of 2’ x 4’ x 10’) $7.72
Screws (6 exterior wood screws 3” long)$3.00 
Digging zone or digging area (only labor, if that)FREE!

Additionally, make sure you reward your dog for digging in the designated area with love and even homemade dog treats. 

Do you know that making homemade dog treats is not only easy to make but saves you money? In this article, I break it all down for you. 

This is always the fun part of the article. As a numbers nerd, I love the cost breakout. 

Of course, your expenses can vary, but the following is a great guideline for what you can save on future expenses. 

Damaged carpet replacing (12’ x 12’ room)$250 – 1100
Replacing of damaged wood flooring (12’ x 12’ room)$860 – $2300
Destroyed baseboard replacement (average-size room)$25 – 200
Replacing torn bedding (queen-size sheet set, depends on quality)$14 – 65
Diabetes treatment of dog$700 – 2800/yr
Joint and arthritis pain (depends on the treatment selected and your area)$180 – 5000
Anxiety and stress issues (depending on treatment option)$68 – 108/year
Torn nails or paw pads$300 – 500
Ingested toxic or harmful items from digging in a dangerous area$200 – 10,000
Wound care for injuries from digging in the wrong spot$40 – 5,000

Related articles:

I admit when I first saw Henry dig, I thought, “Oh no! This is going to cause some issues.” But I quickly learned that allowing Henry to dig, actually prevents pricey issues from even occurring. 

Of course, the expenses could be from repairing or replacing furniture, flooring, or the worst unnecessary emergency vet bills. 

Therefore, I always encourage Henry to dig in his digging zones. I get a huge kick out of watching him. 

In fact, some of the best entries into my dog journal jar, are from him digging. For me, I’ll make sure Henry always has a digging zone or digging pit. It helps him and me! 

a beautiful husky looks up from his dog digging pit
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. 

6 thoughts on “Reaping Rewards of a Dog Digging Pit”

  1. I was sat there reading and thought, where do I decide to put the digging pit then I got to the bit with te portable sand pits. You put it where you like!! DUH * eye roll* These look brilliant and a lot less labour intensive for those who are not brilliant with a space!!

    • Yes! A portable digging pit is definitely a good idea. Something with a kiddie pool would certainly work. Or even an area in your yard designated outlined with bricks or cinder blocks and filled with would would be easy as well. Honestly, I love low labor DIY as well. You can save some money and make a big impact. Thank you for your insights and continued support. I really appreciate it!

  2. Fantastic post, Layla loves trying to bury her bowls of food and it is a nightmare to clean so I now put place mats under the bowl so they are easy to wash. In her younger days she would hide her bully sticks including my pillow and I nearly lost an eye LOL but with age its now snuffle toy time all the time which keeps her brain busy, I love the idea of the sand pit it is so clever

    • It’s so wonderful that you’ve recognized Layla’s changing needs and have adjusted to them. I can’t imagine finding a bully stick in my pillow. That would certainly be a rude awakening. I LOVE that Layla gets so much enjoyment out of snuffle toy. She’s an absolutely sweet pup with a great mom. Thanks for you continued support and kind words. I really appreciate it!

  3. As a Husky momma (they are notorious diggers!) I love this, Terri! We did do a digging spot in our yard for our FiveSibes. And when they dug enough “moon craters,” my hubby had a load of sand dropped for them, and oh, my what a blast they had! I do love the idea of portable digging pits, especially if folks are short on yard space. Brilliant! And…the budget savings…as always, wonderful breakdown and really eye-opening, too! Oh, and I love the hiding of treat idea…Henry must have loved finding those eggs!

    Pinning and sharing to my readers!

    • Oh my, that must’ve been fun to see your FiveSibes dig. I’m certain it was a lot of fun for them. Yes, portable digging pits can be super useful. Whether you live in a small space or renting a space. A dog’s gotta dig or disaster can happen.

      Henry was a bit shocked and perplexed when he dug and suddenly there were these eggs with yummy treats inside. It took him a few seconds and then he was all in on the idea. It certainly made me giggle.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. I really appreciate your continued support and encouragement. It means a lot to me.


Leave a Comment