Why Dogs Dig Holes and How to Make them Stop

. 4 min read

If want a nice, manicured lawn and your dog seem intent on ruining your yard work, you’ve probably asked yourself: Why on earth do dogs dig holes? We’ve all been there: You walk into the backyard, sees your dog digging another hole and totally wig out. After multiple shouts of, “not again,”!" there is an inevitable wail, "why did you do this?!"Here’s how to figure out why your dog keeps digging and how to stop this behavior before it starts.

Top Reasons Dogs Dig Holes

In order to protect your yard, it’s important to get into the mind and heart of your dog as he burrows a deep hole in the ground. The truth is that dogs dig for a variety of reasons. That's why it's so confusing—one dog's cooling system is another dog's escape route. Once you understand the differences, you can understand where your dog is coming from and how to make him stop.

#1 Your dog is trying to cool off.
On a hot summer day, the ground is soothing and cool below the surface. A shallow empty pool of cold soil is heaven on earth for your dog's warm body.
How to Stop Your Dog From Digging: Try other ways to keep your dog cool. Dogs have a difficult time regulating their body temperature, so they need help cooling off even if the temperature doesn’t feel steamy to us humans. Try these tricks to prevent overheating.

#2 Your fertilizer is tempting your dog.
Some organic lawn treatments and fertilizers contain cow blood or bone meal because it is a natural source of nitrogen. And while your dog loves how it smells (and tastes), it can be toxic if a large amount is consumed.
How to Stop This Dog From Digging: Generally, it's best to keep your pets off of treated areas for 72 hours. This will keep them from ingesting any toxic substance and stop them from digging into any fertilized soil!

#3 Your dog’s hormones are raging.
If your dog hasn't been neutered, the digging—particularly under fences—might be a cry for help. As in, "Help me, I'm late for my date with Sheila!" When Sheila happens to live on the other side of the fence.
How to Stop This Dog From Digging: An easy fix is to fix your dog, of course!

#4 Your dog senses a varmint underground.
Do you expect your dog to help protect your home from intruders? Well, according to your dog, this includes groundhogs, moles, and other dirt-dwelling imposters who will pay for their crimes just as soon as your dog can dig into their evil lairs and get his paws on them.
How to Stop This Dog From Digging: Rid your yard of vermin in a safe, non-toxic way. Never use any poisonous substance in an area where your dog likes to dig, but you can try traps or peppermint oil.

#5 Your dog is storing toys.
You've raised a responsible dog and he's eternally grateful for your generous gift of rawhide bone, tennis ball, squeaky toy, or jingly trinket. Your dog is showing how much this means to him by finding a spot to keep it secure.
How to Stop This Dog From Digging: One great solution is to give your dog a part of the yard to dig to his heart’s content. If it’s possible for your living situation, plant a few toys in a corner of your lawn and reward him for digging only in this spot.

#6 Your dog has separation anxiety.
There's a hole your dog’s heart that goes all the way to your office. Why do you have to leave every morning after your coffee, wearing those sensible shoes and blabbering about budget meetings? Your dog misses you terribly and knows that you'd both be happier if you could just spend all day together.
How to Stop This Dog From Digging: Try other tricks to lower your dog’s stress and decrease his separation anxiety. This can be anything from crate training to playing soothing music while you’re away.

#7 Your dog just likes to dig!
Like his ancestors who dug for prey, breeds like Dachshunds and Terriers dig because their ancient DNA tells them to.
How to Stop This Dog From Digging: If a dog just loves to dig, give him a space where it’s okay to do so. This might be a spot in your yard or a nearby beach or park. Let your dog go wild!

The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.