How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging: 9 Helpful Tricks

Your garden looks like a crater? Does your sweetheart regularly plow over your flower beds? Does your furry friend keep disappearing into holes you've dug? We'll tell you what to do about your dog's digging.

Dog and digging
Table of Contents

Before we get into the best ways to stop your pet's unwanted behavior, let's take a look at the causes.

Finding out what makes your pet a tunnel digger will make it easier to break the habit.

An alternative is to give him a special place to dig. More on this later.

Why Do Dogs Dig?


Let's first take a look at the possible reasons for the enthusiastic digging of deep holes. There may be several reasons for your dog's behavior.

On the one hand, digging is in our four-legged friends' genes. On the other hand, breeders consciously reinforce this heritage, for example in hunting dogs.

1) Your Dog Wants Your Attention

Do you scold when your dog is passionate about the garden? Even negative attention is better than none. If you turn to your four-legged friend, talk to him, and take care of him, he has caught your interest.

You may be very busy at work or with your family. If you have little time for your dog, this can be a reason for him to dig.

2. Your Dog Searches for Prey

Do you have a hunting dog, such as a terrier or dachshund?

He may try to enlarge the entrances and exits of mouse holes, molehills, or fox and badger burrows by digging. Terriers were originally bred to hunt rats and mice.

Your furry nose smells the prey under the ground. First, your dog probably uses his nose to dig. Then the paws come into play.

3) Your Pet Stores Food

If your dog doesn't eat his food right away, he may bury it in the ground for a while first.

This behavior can be seen in dogs of all breeds. He may bury a piece of meat or rumen in a flower pot or in your flower bed.

The treat is usually placed in an easily accessible area of the territory. This way, your dog can check his food stash regularly and easily. Eventually, he will take the meat out and eat it.

4) Your Dog Wants to Rest

No sooner do you level the ground or dig a trough than your dog curls up and falls asleep. He may have built a sleeping place in the ground.

This behavior can also be observed in wild dogs: In summer, the earth protects the dog's body from overheating. In winter, on the other hand, it warms the body.

If you have a female that is expecting kittens, she may also want to build a nest for her offspring.

5) Your Pet Only Wants to Help!

Does your dog watch you work in the garden? When you dig up your flower bed and plant new bulbs, does your four-legged friend start digging enthusiastically? Maybe he wants to help you with your gardening by mimicking your behavior.

6. Your Dog Is Bored

If your dog has few stimulating activities, he may be bored. Your dog may feel unchallenged. Digging is fun and gives him a good physical workout. It strengthens the front paws and keeps the nails short.


9 Tricks You Can Use to Stop Digging

Dog in bottle box

Now that we've covered why your pet digs like there's no tomorrow, it's time to learn how to make your dog stop digging. These 7 tricks will work wonders!

1) Spend Time With Your Dog

Your four-legged friend should be the center of attention. Walking, playing, cuddling, and training are all appropriate. The important thing is to give your pet your undivided attention.

Ideally, you will challenge him physically and mentally as you walk and train.

2) Keep Your Garden Free From Mice and Moles

The dog then does not feel animated to dig by this possible prey.

If the dog's digging is triggered by the hunting instinct (e.g., when chasing mice, moles, or other animals living in the ground), an Anti-Prey Drive Training be useful.

In this case, training is aimed at controlling the dog's hunting instinct and offering alternative behaviors.

3) Put Away Leftovers

When your dog is full, put the leftover food away. This will prevent your dog from building up his own supply and burying the leftovers. The same goes for chew bones.

4. Give Your Dog a Comfortable Place to Sleep

In a half-high basket with a blanket, your furry bunny can snuggle up. The blanket is great for stirring. If your dog is expecting litters, a litter box is a good idea.

In summer, mats provide cooling. In winter, a self-heating blanket or dog heating blanket may be a good idea.

5) Do the Gardening Alone

To keep your helpful four-legged friend from giving you a hand in the garden, you should take care of the plants yourself. Leave him in the house or send him out for a walk with another family member.

6) Entertain Your Dog

The best thing for your dog is for his human to spend time with him. But that is not always possible.

Retailers offer a variety of intelligent toys, balls, sniffing, chewing and cuddling items for these situations. Find out what your pet likes best.

If you barf your four-legged friend, you can offer him a raw meat bone to chew. This will keep him busy for a long time.

7) Setting Up a Dig Area

You may not need to ban digging altogether. If your yard is large enough, you can create a special area for your dog. There, he can indulge his passion for digging.

To mark this area, dig up a patch of earth and fill it with a mixture of sand and soil. To let your dog know that this is where he can play, bury dried bones there. Let him dig to his heart's content.

You may also be able to find a spot while walking where digging won't disturb anyone.

8. Barrier

Areas where he frequently digs can be protected with a fence, rocks, or other barriers to prevent access.

Professional Help

If digging becomes a big problem, you can visit a dog school or ask a dog trainer for advice.

It is important to be patient and consistent. Scolding or punishing your dog will not help and can strain your relationship with your dog. With understanding, patience and clear rules, you will be able to get your dog to stop digging or at least control it. Good luck with this!

What Do I Do if My Dog Is Still Digging Everywhere?

Dog digging

Is your dog still digging in your beds? If you see him start digging, distract him. Saying "no" or throwing a toy can help. There are three steps to doing this.

  1. Say "No!" in a firm, loud voice if your dog digs in an unwanted place.
  2. Distract them with an exciting game or a challenging task.
  3. When your pet does a job well, praise him lavishly.
  4. You can also give him a treat or give him extra play time. Positive reinforcement is the key. You know best what your pet likes best.

You'll probably have to repeat these three steps-say no, distraction, reward for desired behavior-many times until he stops digging.

Another challenge is consistency. If you want to prevent your dog from digging in your yard, you have to forbid it everywhere. Even when he goes for a walk and in places where he is allowed to dig.


Unwanted digging can be prevented. First, determine the cause of your pet's behavior.

If you are successful, you know the solutions. If possible, give your dog a place to dig in your yard or on the street.

Do not forget Digging in the sand or dirt is a natural behavior and need for your dog.

If you don't want to or can't, be consistent and forbid digging in general. Be patient. It may take a while for your dog to stop digging.

Provide exciting distractions and reinforce desired behaviors. This strengthens the bond between you and your pet and allows him to exercise in a different way.

Too theoretical for you? If you prefer a visual approach, our app offers step-by-step video instructions to help you teach your dog to stop digging. Learn more about our app here.

Picture of Verfasst von Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker, and I am a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant. With these articles, I want to help you to understand your dog better and to build an inseparable bond.

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  1. "2. Keep your garden free of mice".
    Hi, we have two mouse-addicted huskies and almost 2000 sq ft of garden with undermined shrubs, trees and holes in the lawn. It's not sooo bad that they dig. It's kind of part of being a dog. You just have to know that - 2 huskies or a baroque garden 😉 . And as noted in the text: it's also an interesting occupation, often with success (prey mouse), it exerts and keeps the claws short. They may also dig for mice on walks at the edge of the field times. We think that complete weaning off is hopeless.
    Nevertheless, I was very excited about the tips 😉 Number 2 made me laugh 🙂 We live in the country. Next door a real farm garden with all kinds of creatures and lots of food for mice, fields all around.
    But we'll have to think about the tip with the burrow box. Maybe then we don't have to give the plants new soil so often.
    Overall a nice site with helpful tips. Thanks for that.

    1. Mine from Hundeo

      Dear Katrin, thank you very much for your great post. A good example that a tip is not suitable for every circumstance 😉 Love, your Hundeo team

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