Dog Training

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging: 7 Helpful Tricks

Maintaining a wonderful garden while taking care of pets is a real challenge for some owners. However, it's not impossible! If you learn how to get your dog to stop digging, you can keep your garden safe!

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Before we tackle on how to get your dog to stop digging, let's take a look at why they dig. If you find out what makes your pet dig tunnels, it will be easier for you to prevent this behavior. 

Even if it's impossible for your dog not to dig, you can still keep your garden as tidy as ever if you know why they keep digging!

Why Do Dogs Dig?


First, let's see the possible reasons for enthusiastically digging deep holes. There are several reasons for your this behavior. 

For instance, digging is in your pet's genes. This is because certain breeds hold hunting instincts rather strongly.

1) Your Dog Wants Your Attention

It may happen that your dog is actively looking for you to tell them off after digging. Even negative attention is better than no attention. Should you turn to your pet, talk to them and take care of them is a better way to pay attention to them instead. 

You may be very busy at work and with your family. Not having enough time to spend with your pet could be the main culprit of their digging.

2) They Are Looking For Prey

Provided you have a hunting dog like a terrier or a dachshund, it's likely that they're looking for critters burrowed below. Terriers were originally bred to hunt rats and mice in fact.

Your dog can smell their prey under the ground. The first thing your pet does before digging is probably using their nose to find critters. Then, they add their paws. 

3) Your Pet Is Storing Food

If your pet doesn't eat their food right away, they may bury it in the ground to storage them for a while. This behavior can be observed in dogs of all breeds. They'll bury a piece of meat or other treats in your garden, or even below flowers.

As a result, they leave behind their meal in an easily reachable place for later consumption. This way, your dog can check their food stash easily and regularly. Eventually, thei will take out the food to eat it.

4) Your Dog Wants to Rest

Dogs like to rest in a comfortable area, and recently dug areas are perfect for them. They might have taken sleeping in fresh holes as a habit.

This behavior can also be noted in with wild dogs: in summer, resting in recently dug holes is a perfect means of cooling off. Additionally, during winter, dug holes help your pet in keeping them warm. 

Also, if your dog has a litter, most probably they will dig for their puppies to rest in.

5) Your Pet Only Wants to Help!

When working on the garden, you may notice your dog is paying attention to what you do. If so, they're trying to figure out what you're doing and how they can help you. This might explain why they're digging so actively: your pet is trying to help you in your gardening!  

6) They Are Just Simply Bored

If your dog is bored out of their mind, they might start digging for the sake of it. Your pet wants to exercise! Digging is fun for them and helps them get a real physical workout. It strengthens their front paws and keeps their claws short.


How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging With 7 Tricks!

Now that we've dwelled on why your pet makes holes as if there's no tomorrow, it's time to learn how to get your dog to stop digging. These 7 tricks will do wonders for you!

1) Spend Time With Your Dog

Your pet should be the center of your attention. For that matter, walks, games, caring time and training sessions need to be carried out. The important thing is to give them your undivided attention. 

Ideally, you'll exercise your dog physically and mentally while walking and exercising. 

2) Keep Your Garden Free From Mice and Moles

Prey is what makes your dog enter in hunting mode, so getting rid of mice and moles should fix the problem. Another possible fix is to control your pet's hunting urges by mastering how to manage prey drive in dogs.

3) Put Away Leftovers

When your dog is full, put away leftover food. This will prevent your pet friend from taking care of the storing the leftovers somewhere safe. Do note that this also applies to chewing bones.

4) Find a Cozy Place for Your Dog to Sleep In

A crate with a blanket provides your dog with a safe zone to snuggle up. The blanket can be give your pet the comfort they need. However, if you have a litter to take care of, a pad for puppies is a better idea.

Whenever summer is around, pads, which are quite convenient overall, are such a godsend. When winter comes, blankets or even just a regular security heating blankets for dogs, are a nice addition to ensure your dog's comfort. 

5) Do the Gardening Alone

To avoid your dog's 'helpful' digging, you should take care of the plants alone. Leave them in the house or send them for a walk with another family member while gardening.

6) Entertain Your Dog

Dogs sure love when they have their owners all for themselves. Regrettably, it's impossible for us to stay with our pets all the time. Fortunately, there are ways to entertain your while you're out: challenging toys, balls, and items to sniff at, chew on and cuddle should do the trick. Find out what your dog likes best, first.

If you're to leave your dog for a while, you can offer them a raw meaty bone to gnaw on. This shall keep them busy for a long time.

7) Set Up a Digging Area

You may not need to stop the digging completely. If your yard is big enough, set up a special digging area for them. They'll be able to dig there to their heart's content. 

To mark the digging area, dig up some soil and fill it with a sand-soil mix. By doing this, your dog will recognize they can dig without hesitation there. Let your pet be!

Alternatively, when going for a stroll with your dog, you can designate a place for them to dig. This way, you keep your garden beautiful while your dog still gets to dig.

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


If you haven't mastered how to get your dog to stop digging, don't worry. You can distract them to prevent that behavior.

  1. Say in a firm, loud voice: 'no!' if your dog digs in an unwanted spot.
  2. Distract them with an exciting game or a challenging task. 
  3. If they remained focused on the activity, praise them a lot! You can also hand away a treat to your pet. Positive reinforcement is crucial here. Dogs learn the best when cheered on.

You will probably have to repeat these three steps - saying 'no,' distracting your dog and rewarding them for their good behavior - many times until the digging subsides. 

It's worth mentioning that you must be consistent about it. Knowing how to get your dog to stop digging is useless if not. Forbid your dog from digging, even if you're walking somewhere they can dig. They have to learn.


Learning how to get your dog to stop digging is not as complex as it sounds. First and foremost, find out the cause of your pet's behavior. Afterwards, try out one of our tricks! 

Remember: digging corresponds to your dog's natural behavior and needs. It's in their blood. 

If you want to avoid digging at all, forbid making holes in general consistently. Be patient: your pet will probably need a while until they learn how to supress their needs. 

Provide exciting distractions and reinforce desired behavior. This strengthens the bond between you and your pet and gives them the chance to exercise in a healthier fashion.

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and 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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