Why Do Dogs Dig?

    Summary: “Why do dogs dig holes?” In this blog, learn why dogs dig carpets, beds, couches, and under fences. And, we’ll learn how to get a dog to stop digging…     It can be incredibly frustrating when your pup digs up your yard for no apparent reason. Perhaps you’re coming home to […]

Oct 19, 2023·3 min read
Why Do Dogs Dig?



Summary: Why do dogs dig holes? In this blog, learn why dogs dig carpets, beds, couches, and under fences. And, we’ll learn how to get a dog to stop digging…  


It can be incredibly frustrating when your pup digs up your yard for no apparent reason. Perhaps you’re coming home to a scratched-up couch too after a particularly ferocious digging sesh… But, before you get upset at your dog, let’s learn why they’re doing it. Why do dogs dig holes…? 

Why Do Dogs Dig? 

Digging is actually an instinctive behavior and all dogs will dig to some extent. Arguably, it’s more prevalent in dachshunds and terrier breeds because of their high prey drive. These breeds instinctively know to seek out small animals or rodents they can hear or smell under the ground. 

A small, red-furred puppy is face deep, digging a hole in a grassy back yard attempting to burrow under a wire fence

Dog Digging Under Fence 

If your dog is digging under your fence, this is usually because they want to get to something on the other side; another dog or something that smells good perhaps. Digging is obviously an easier option than attempting to jump over the fence!  

Why Do Dogs Dig Carpets? 

If there’s nothing smelly underneath the carpet, bed, or couch then your dog may be a bit bored. Excessive digging for no apparent reason can indicate that your dog isn’t receiving enough exercise or mental stimulation. Check out our guide below on how much physical exercise your dog needs depending on their breed: 

a red, white and blue infographic detailing how much exercise a dog needs dependent on their breed and size

They may also be attempting to relieve themselves of stress or anxiety, so think about what’s just happened to them and consider if this has caused them to feel this way.  

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes? 

If your dog is digging a hole in your yard, they may be having a game with themselves and planting a treat or biscuit for later on. Or they may be trying to find a treat they hid for themselves there earlier! 

If the weather is hot, digging a hole can sometimes be used as a method to help cool themselves down. Larger dogs with thick coats are more likely to adopt this behavior on a warm day. 

How To Get A Dog To Stop Digging 

There are multiple things that you can try to encourage your dog to stop digging. Here are the best dog-digging deterrents: 

Neutering; A male dog will be less likely to attempt to seek out female dogs via digging if he’s neutered.  

Ensure they’re appropriately stimulated; make sure they’re getting the right amount of exercise and interaction they and their breed need. 

Provide them a designated space to dig; perhaps a sandbox in your yard, and you can encourage them to use it via positive reinforcement.  

Appropriate prevention and intervention; got a dog that likes to bury? Keep treats inside. Got a dog with a strong prey instinct? Keep your yard rodent-free (without using poison). And, try not to leave them in your yard unsupervised, so you can redirect the digging behavior in a positive way which will encourage them not to do it.


Author Bauhaus, Jean Marie “How To Get Your Dog To Stop Digging (& Why They Do It)” Hill’s Pet, Jan 29. 2021 https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/behavior-appearance/how-to-stop-dog-from-digging  

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
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