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Got a digging dog?

Digging often results from boredom.


Digging in the yard can be caused by a number of problems and each case should be assessed individually.


Dogs dig for a range of reasons and understanding your dog's motivation may help you manage it so it doesn't become a big problem.

Common causes of digging:

  • Hunting for rats or interested in noise underground such as insects
  • Enjoys digging
  • To cool down
  • Trying to escape
  • Boredom
  • Burying objects
  • Anxiety
  • Nesting


It's important to determine the motivation behind the digging behaviour. This table outlines some basic management options.

Motivation Solution

Supervise outdoor activity

Restrict to gravel, tiles or concrete areas

Anxiety Address anxiety such as storm phobias and digging to escape
To cool down Offer protection with shade or a small pool
Boredom Ensure adequate exercise for the breed and life stage such as daily walking, fetch, new toys

Management of digging involves diverting their behaviour to a more acceptable form such as giving it a digging pit such as a sandpit and burying toys and treats in this area.


Tips to help prevent digging in unwanted areas:

  • Pest control of rats (careful not to use toxic chemicals)
  • Provide shady areas in hot weather or bring your pet inside
  • Adequate exercise for the breed and life stage to prevent boredom
  • Offer toys or treats inside the home only to prevent them from burying toys
  • Don't fill the holes as this will encourage digging
  • Try booby-trapping with balloons
  • Do not reward the behaviour with attention
  • Provide adequate exercise for the breed and age of the pet

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