4 tips to avoid your dog dig holes in the garden


If you want your dog to stop digging in the garden but you don't know what to do, With this article, the surprise holes are over! We give you the tips you need so that your dog neglects the habit of filling the garden with holes as soon as you neglect. Do not miss it!

1. Don't let your dog accumulate energy

If your dog doesn't stop digging, it is most likely because it has too much accumulated energy. Remember that exercise is essential for all dogs, to a greater or lesser extent, and that it is your responsibility as owner to take your dog for a walk as many times as necessary. Not only to make your needs, but also to exercise.

Ask yourself if maybe your dog needs more exercise than he does on a daily basis, take it out more times or take longer walks and he will return home more tired!

2. Don't let your dog get bored

We all get bored sometimes and dogs too! Make a toy available to your dog, or better yet, play with it. Spending time together will fight boredom and also help strengthen your ties with your pet.

On the contrary, if your dog is bored, He will choose to be crowded to distract himself, including digging holes.

3. Do not encourage him to bury objects

Dogs bury things by pure instinct, It is a reflection of his wildlife and his need to hide food and then recover it. However, sometimes this instinct can turn into a bad mania, since domestic dogs can bury not only food, but also objects.

If your dog has a habit of burying his toys, A good way to end this behavior is to have them play with them hanging on a rope, so that they don't touch the ground. If your dog has possessiveness problems with objects, this method also helps remedy it.

4. If your dog is pregnant, prepare her nest

The maternal instinct of the bitches causes them to prepare a nest where they hope to house and protect their future babies. One way to do it, obviously, is to dig holes in the garden. To avoid it, prepare that nest yourself!

Likewise, this is a typical custom of bitches with psychological pregnancy. If this is the case with your pet, hormonal inhibitors can help. If your dog has a psychological pregnancy, go to your veterinarian!

5. Make changes to your garden

A small garden remodel can help your dog stop digging. For example, you can place stones where you usually do it. Another option is the fences, if you want to prevent your dog from accessing certain areas, but it can be more invasive in sight.

But nevertheless, Don't forget that digging is an instinct! If you don't want to stunt him, another option is to teach him to dig only where he can do it: Place a sandbox in the garden. He will have a great time and the grass and plants will remain intact.

6. Don't spend the day scolding your dog

Remember that Dogs are not able to understand why we scold them if we do it long after their treatmentIt has to be in the moment or it will be of no use but to make you sad.

Correcting problematic behaviors takes some time, be patient and be constructive with your pet.

The custom of digging in the garden is very common, but It can be solved with patience, affection and taking appropriate measures. Follow our advice and you will get it!

Method 1: distract your dog as soon as he starts digging

Supervise your dog when he goes out to the garden. As soon as you start digging, distract it with a clap or a loud whistle. The idea is to distract him, not scare him. The goal is to interrupt the digging and thinking of the dog to redirect it to a different activity, such as chasing a ball or playing.

You can also throw a couple of your favorite prizes to the ground. The idea is to water them all over the garden to get distracted and forget to dig holes. However, care must be taken that things other than prizes are not put in your mouth

Method 2: demarcate a garden area for your dog to dig

It can be very difficult to eliminate natural behavior in dogs. Therefore, it is easier to control an area where it is allowed to dig. Mark the area by using plant borders, or a fence that can dig into the ground. Bury valuable items for your dog and do it as a game.

You must teach it to only dig in that area. When you try to do it somewhere else, distract it and take it to the allowed area. When you start digging up valuable items, congratulate him and reward him to strengthen the behavior.

Why does my dog ​​dig holes in the garden?

Every canine behavior has its logical explanation. First of all you should know that for them it is an instinctive behavior, their ancestors dug holes to bury food or to build lairs to protect themselves from the elements, so it is a normal behavior in them. But this is not the only reason that explains this behavior, there are other reasons. These are the most common:

  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Lack of attention
  • There is an anxiety problem (including separation anxiety)
  • They have never been corrected
  • It is an entertaining activity for them

Luckily this is a problem that has a solution and if we put a little dedication and effort on our part we can end this bad habit.

What to do when my dog ​​digs holes in the garden?

As we have seen this is a behavior that can have different motives, so the best thing we can do is to fight several fronts at the same time by applying different tips, so we will have greater chances of success. It is very important that you be constant and patient since correcting this behavior may take time. Here are some tips you can carry out:

Exercise, exercise and exercise

When someone tells me that your dog makes holes in the garden the first thing I ask is if your dog does enough exercise every day. One of the most common mistakes when we have a garden or backyard is to believe that dogs can make their needs there and therefore have no need to go for a walk. Dogs and especially some breeds (Beagle, Boxer, Border Collie….) Need to exercise in the form of long walks or games to be able to consume energy and channel it. Otherwise, they will look for other ways to reduce it, which can result in bad behaviors such as digging holes or destroying things. Take long walks of 60/90 minutes several times a day and practice games that consume a lot of energy, such as playing ball or throwing the frisbiee.

Remember the house rules

Another reason why your dog is making holes in your garden is why he has simply been doing it previously (perhaps also in his stage as a puppy) and nobody told him that it should not be done. As we have said before this habit is normal for them and unless we remind you that it is not a correct behavior your dog will not have any reason to stop doing it.

It is important that you know how to correct your dog properly, you should never use physical punishment and when you see your dog begin to dig the earth you should say loud and clear "No" and take it from the garden. It is important that you do it right at the moment you are doing it, otherwise you cannot relate it and it will be useless for us to do so.

In some cases our dog may have this behavior only when we leave home, which could be a symptom of separation anxiety. In these cases, it is highly recommended that, in addition to applying the rest of the advice, we strengthen our leadership at home to reduce the dependence they have on us.

Our dog should know that we do not want to make holes in the garden

Garden supervision

From now on, visits to the garden must be controlled by us. It is recommended that you only allow access to the garden at times that you can supervise and not allow access when you are not present. When you go to take it out to the garden, put on a long leash and give it some freedom of movement, but watching at all times what it is doing. Leave toys in the garden with which you can entertain. Every time your dog uses one of those toys, reward him for it and in case he intends to dig a hole you should say loud and clear "No" and get him out of there. We want your dog to understand that he will not achieve anything by destroying things and can achieve much if he behaves well.

Present alternatives

This is very important. If we really want to end this bad habit of our best friend, it is highly recommended that we give him an alternative. Unfortunately, this bad behavior brings significant benefits as it helps them reduce stress and keeps them entertained, so in addition to exercising and taking long walks It is highly recommended that you have other more interesting options in which to invest your time. And this is where toys play an important role. Toys like biting ropes or the Kong can be very entertaining and at the same time very stimulating for them. These help them fight anxiety and are a perfect alternative to hang out.


If you are one of those lucky people to have a garden at home, do not let your dog spoil such a prized space. This problem has a solution if we apply these simple tips and do it with dedication and perseverance. Dogs can learn to behave well and avoid certain behaviors if we educate them correctly, and this as you have seen is at your fingertips.

Why do dogs escape?

If your dog digs holes in the garden, he is trying meet your needs somehow. A serious situation of stress or anxiety can lead you to try to alleviate your discomfort through intense physical activity or, in this case, digging in the garden.

There are several reasons why you can carry out this behavior, but the fundamental thing to try to help you will be identifying the cause which encourages you to make holes:

    They keep things: It is an instinctive behavior. Dogs hide their precious goods underground and for that they have to dig. However, dogs that live inside the house and not in the garden can store their things under carpet blankets or inside their travel cages or dog houses. They don't always have to dig to "store" their favorite toys and food scraps.

That brings us to a topic of discussion, "where should dogs live?" Arguing about whether dogs should live inside the house or in the garden is very old and has no answer. Everyone decides where their dog should live. However, in my opinion, dogs are beings with whom we share our lives, not objects, and therefore must live inside the house, along with the rest of the family.

  • They look for cool places: especially in summer, dogs can dig to find a cooler place to rest. In this case, a comfortable, fresh and comfortable house for your dog can be a solution to help you refresh. Letting it rest inside the house and not in the garden is another alternative. It is essential that dogs always have fresh and abundant water at their disposal to avoid a possible heat stroke.
    • They are looking for a comfortable place: It is a case similar to the previous one, but in which the dog does not look for a more pleasant temperature, but a softer place to lie. They remove the earth so that the place where they lie is more comfortable. It usually occurs with dogs that live in the garden and have wooden houses or other hard material without mattresses or blankets.
    • They want to escape from a place: Many dogs dig with the sole and simple intention of leaving. In some cases they are dogs that escape from their homes to go to "kick"as they say vulgarly. They will enjoy life as semi-stray dogs.

      In other cases they are dogs that are afraid of something. These dogs feel anxiety when they are left alone and try to escape from that place in search of protection. When the case is very serious, the dog can develop separation anxiety and in its attempt to escape it can try to dig hard surfaces until its nails are shattered and end with>

      How to prevent your dog from making holes

      Here are three different options that can help you improve this situation. We encourage you to try all three at the same time so you can observe how a dog changes if regular attention, heat and toys are offered:

      If your dog is not a compulsive digger and only digs occasionally or when he is left alone, the solution is relatively simple. Provide company and activities what to do. Many dogs dig for boredom and sadness, see for yourself how play and attention modify their behavior in a positive way.

      On the other hand, allow your dog to start live inside the house and spend more time indoors than in the garden is an excellent option. It will greatly improve your quality of life, you will avoid the destruction in the garden and you will have a happy dog. At the time of going out to the garden, it will be important that you accompany him and supervise him, in this way you can distract him when his digging instincts begin to flourish.

      Finally we encourage you to use dog toys. In the same way as for dogs that chew things, you can give your dog enough activity to forget to dig when he is left alone. Of course, keep in mind that you should restrict the places where you leave it alone, at least until you are completely sure that it will not dig in your garden. Among all the toys for dogs, we certainly recommend the use of the kong. The kong will help you channel stress, motivate you intellectually and allow you to develop an activity that takes you away from the garden.

      Alternative for dogs that need to dig

      If you have a terrier or another dog addicted to dig in the garden, is to redirect their behavior. In these cases you will not be able to eliminate that behavior without creating other collateral problems, so the best thing you can do is get your dog a place where he can dig and teach him to do it only in that place.

      Teach a dog to make holes in a specific place

      The first step will be choose the place in which your dog can dig and make holes without problem. The most sensible option is to go to the countryside or to a nearby garden area. In that place, it will be delimited by an area of ​​two by two (approximately and depending on the size of your dog). We advise you to remove the earth so that it is loose. It's fine if your dog helps you to remove the earth, since that will be your digging hole. However, make sure the area is free of plants and roots so that your dog does not associate the activity of digging with destroying the plants or eating any of the toxic plants for dogs.

      When the digging hole is ready, bury one or two toys of your dog in it, letting out a small part of them. Then, start encouraging your dog to dig them up. If you see that it does not work, you can try to spread I think about the area doing a searching to familiarize you with the place. When your dog digs up his toy, congratulate him and play with him. You can also use positive reinforcement with treats and snacks for dogs

      Repeat the procedure until you notice that your dog digs with more frequently in that place. At that time you will notice that digging in the excavation hole has become a very popular activity for your dog because it does so even when there are no toys buried there. However, from time to time, leave some buried toys so that your dog can discover them when he digs and the behavior of digging in the digging hole is reinforced.

      All this procedure must be carried out avoiding that your dog has access to the rest of the garden when it has no supervision. Therefore, for a while you will have to place folding doors or other similar structures in some places to prevent your dog from having unrestricted access to the entire garden. You should only have access to the area where the excavation hole is located.

      Little by little, you will notice that your dog stop digging in other areas of the chosen area and only dig in the hole you have built for him. Then, gradually and over several days, increase the space you have access to when you are alone. During this time, every day leave a toy buried in the excavation hole that reinforces your dog's behavior. You can also leave interactive toys stuffed with food, outside the digging hole, for your dog to do other things besides digging.

      With the passage of time, your dog will acquire the habit of digging only in its digging hole. You will have lost a little piece of garden but you will have saved the rest. Remember that this alternative is only for compulsive diggers. It is not for the dog that occasionally digs and can learn to chew its toys instead of digging.

      If you want to read more articles similar to How to prevent the dog from making holes in the garden?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.

      Method 4: distract your dog from digging holes

      Serving your dog's food next to a food puzzle can help keep his legs busy on something else. The toy will encourage him to use his legs to get his food, which will give him a physical and mental alternative to his boredom. If you use prizes in the puzzle, make sure they are healthy and give them the right amount. We do not want an excavation problem to become a weight problem.

      No matter what method you choose, you should supervise your dog for a while until it stops digging in areas that are not allowed. Once you seem to have the routine, supervision may decrease. If digging is still a problem after following these suggestions, it is advisable to speak with the veterinarian and seek help from a coach.

      Why do dogs dig in the dirt?

      Dogs make holes in the ground on their own instinct, it is not necessary that they have been seen doing other dogs, they will dig in our garden instinctively in the same way that they eat grass when their stomach hurts and they want to vomit, pure primary instinct

      The reasons why they dig the earth are several, they don't always do it for the same reason but there are several reasons why they may want or even need to make a good hole.

      Dig in the ground out of boredom

      Although it seems ridiculous this is the main reason why a dog is dedicated to undermining our garden with dozens of holes everywhere. Dogs, mainly puppies and youngsters, have a lot of energy that they need to spend daily.

      It is a big mistake to think that since the dog has ample space in the garden, it is not necessary to take him for a walk or exercise with him. The excess energy ends up resulting in a mixture of excitement and boredom that often leads the dog to make holes in the garden repetitively.

      Not only does the excess of energy influence, a bored dog will look for ways to entertain himself by eating the pots and plants or digging in the ground. This is normal since sometimes they spend many hours alone.

      Dig in the garden to hide something

      Another great reason why our dog makes holes is to hide things. In a totally instinctive way, dogs tend to hide food or toys for the future, in a place where nobody can take them away, that is ... underground.

      When a dog wants to hide a bone to eat later, another day, another week or even another month ... what it does is dig a good hole and bury it. In this way he will know where he is thanks to his excellent nose, but not us.

      The same happens with toys, when they want to keep them to enjoy them later, they hide them. Even if there is nothing buried but they detect some interesting smell, they will dig to locate the origin of the smell, thinking that there will surely be something buried.

      Make holes to file your nails

      It may seem strange but that's the way it is, dogs are filing their nails with the walks and races they take on tracks, sidewalks or asphalt. However, when the nails are not sanded naturally and the dog is disturbed when walking, they look for ways to file them.

      Making holes in the ground is not only very fun for them, but also serves to keep their nails well filed. If you are convinced that the reason why your dog digs holes is this, you may find this info interesting: How to cut a dog's nails.

      Homemade tricks to prevent my dog ​​digging holes in the garden

      That our dog digs on the ground should never be a problem, as long as it is done in the park or in the mountains, that is, away from home. If you do it indoors, in our garden, it will not only spoil it but it is possible that you bury food that ends up rotting and attracting other animals or insects.

      We will explain a couple of super simple tricks that we can do to stop our dog from digging in the garden. In just a couple of days we will have solved the problem definitively.

      • Use Vips Vaporub spreading a little on the edges of the planters where your dog usually climbs and digs. The smell of Vips Vaporub is very unpleasant for dogs so avoid being in areas where it smells like this.
      • Inflate small balloons and bury them in their holes, so when he digs those holes again he will prick the balloon with his nails and take a small scare. It is a very simple and effective way to correct this behavior in dogs.

      Complicated? Sure not. They are very simple tricks of the old school, where teaching a dog to correct unwanted behavior how to make holes in the soil of our garden, was solved simply and quickly.