German ShepardDo you have a dog that dig holes and you don’t like it? Do you want to know how to stop your dog from digging holes? Read on…

An ex-neighbor of mine owned a Pit Bull / Labrador Retriever mix a few years ago. She was the sweetest dog… so playful and friendly. But, man, did she like to dig holes in the yard.

When my neighbor moved into their house, their back yard was full of green grass and numerous plants and flowers. After about 6 months, the dog had completely destroyed the plants and flowers, and had scraped up about a third of the grass. Eventually, they came to me for some advice. Together we figured out the best ways (with trial and error) to stop their dog from digging those annoying holes.

Why do dogs dig holes? There are several reasons why dogs dig:

  1. The dog is bored.
  2. The dog has too much pent up energy.
  3. The dog is trying to stay warm or cool.
  4. The dog thinks it’s fun.
  5. The dog is looking for something.
  6. The dog is seeking attention.
  7. The dog is trying to escape.

Whatever the reason, here are steps you can take to train your dog not to dig in your yard or garden.

  1. Make sure your dog has plenty of exercise. Take him for a walk. Play fetch with him. A dog who gets exercise often will be less likely to dig.
  2. Stay involved with your dog. Teach him new tricks (yes, even an old dog can learn new tricks). Keep his mind occupied with things other than digging.
  3. Provide plenty of thought provoking toys for your dog, such as a Kong. Again, keep his mind off of digging.
  4. Provide an acceptable digging area, such as a sand pit or an area with loose dirt. If you catch your dog digging somewhere inappropriate, move him to the digging area. Place a few toys partially buried in the digging area so your dog learns to dig there.
  5. Provide a comfortable shelter for your pet. If your dog tends to lay down in the holes he digs, he is probably trying to warm or cool himself. Give your dog a nice, insulated shelter and plenty of drinking water in a spill-proof dish.
  6. If your dog seems to be digging for pests (rodents, bugs, etc.) then call an exterminator to get rid of the pest. It’s not your dog’s fault that the little rodents are tormenting him. Help him out!
  7. If your dog is digging at the base of a fence, trying to escape, try burying chicken wire at the base of the fence. Make sure any sharp edges are facing down.
  8. Never give your dog attention when he digs. That may be what he’s digging for. If you think he’s digging because he needs more attention, then give him more attention at other times through the day. Dogs are social animals, so don’t ignore them.
  9. This might sound gross, but if your dog is consistently digging in one spot and you can’t get him to stop… try putting some his own poo in the hole. Most likely he will leave it alone.
  10. If your dog is digging in your garden, install a sprinkler in the digging area. When you catch your dog digging there, turn on the sprinkler. This works best if you can turn on the faucet when your dog isn’t looking. Then you don’t take the blame and your dog won’t identify you as the source of the water.

These are all tips that you can try with your dog. The chicken wire and the digging pit worked for my neighbor. Remember, spend time with your dog and give him plenty of exercise. Those 2 things alone will do wonders when you’re trying to make your dog stop digging holes. Have fun!

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8 Comments on How To Stop a Dog From Digging Holes In a Yard or Garden

  1. Kathy says:

    What If you have tried these things and the dog still digs, she has a companion and the kids play with her all the time. She still pulls clothes of the washng line and digs holes all over the yard.. she knows she is in trouble, because as soon as I open the back door she puts her tail between her legs and looks at the hole before I even say anything to her.. She is a staffy cross ridgeback, she has a lovely nature but seems to be as thick as a brick..


  2. Anthony says:

    Okay I’ll try because my dog constantly digs holes and it’s making my yard look very tacky so thanks for the advice and again I’ll try.I truly love him so I will try my best.

  3. DoctorWho says:

    My dog gets plenty of attention, frisbee / walks, and has plenty of space (almost 4 acres) yet she is a constant digger during the hot part of the year. I know she is just trying to stay cool but she digs near the side of the house. There is plenty of wooded area that she could dig but she chooses to ignore those areas. I have had to resort to laying out fence along the ground near the house. It seems to be the only solution to an annoying problem. I believe she digs near the house just because she wants to be closer to the hands that feed her!!!

  4. naya says:

    i have a 8mth old rotti cross staffy and we have apoodle the kidsplay with him all day and we walk him every day but he still digs up my lawn ive tryed putting his poop in the holes but still he keeps digging them up and ther not little holes.he sleeps in them what can i do to stop this

  5. sarah says:

    to doctor who.

    I would say your dog is digging to keep cool, she digs at the side of the house because you are her pack and the house is the den. She is digging there to stay close to the “pack”

    put down a kiddy pool (the hard plastic ones) and fill it with water for her to lay in. Also you could fill on with sand and put it in the shade next to the house where she is digging.

  6. Laura says:

    My partner has a staffy X mastif and he keeps digging holes. We have tried his own poo, cheyenne pepper even chillie powder. We have brought him toys ect.We take him for walks and he runs every where chasing a ball. Unfortunately nothing seems to work. Can you please help as we are getting to the point as maybe giving him away. He was sterilized resently.

  7. Bri-Ann says:

    I have a pitbull who is 4, and just recently learned how to dig and get out always in the same spot every time, Ive tried many tricks to stop him. He is just to smart. He is also fixed. He sees other dogs and just wants to be free spirited. I try to walk and I give him plenty of attention. I need help fast my worst fear is him getting hit by a car.

  8. Jessica says:

    Mia is a pit 5yrs old, she was adopted and has cone along way in being retrain. But, big issue right now is she digs holes everwhere. How do i stop this its out od control. And yes she has a playmate, toys, swim pool, goes walks excer..etc. So is it possible to fix this problem!? Please help. Thxs

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