Why Does My Dog Dig Holes in My Yard?

Why Does My Dog Dig Holes in My Yard?

Why Is My Dog Digging Holes All of a Sudden?


If your dog is now digging holes excessively, the reason could be a behavioral issue at play. Because of those behavioral issues, what normally would get a dog excited could instead cause him to be scared and anxious. Could your dog have separation anxiety? Excessive digging is also a very common consequence to leaving your dog on his own for a long time.

The Digging Starts

No one wants to wake up to patches of dirt in their yard. It doesn’t come much as a surprise to you as a dog owner that your furry friend likes to dig up holes, and to you, it probably looks like they’re having the time of their lives doing it.


Excessive digging by canines, however, is sometimes considered destructive behavior – especially if that destruction is being done to your property. You can try and get him to stop, but why is your dog even digging holes excessively in your backyard all of a sudden? Through discussing reasons why Fido might have started this troublesome habit, you’ll also learn what you need to do to train him out of it. Let’s dig in!

Understanding the Digging Behavior

Dog digging is so common and possibly frequent that there is a bounty of reasons why they could be doing it. Most of the time it isn’t alarming, but it also helps to understand why your dog started digging holes all of a sudden in case they’re trying to tell you something:

  • Genetics/natural instinct

Dogs are natural hunters. It’s true some breeds are better (or better bred to be) hunters than others – which would also play into the frequency and intensity of your dog’s digging – but it’s relieving to sometimes remember that it’s a part of their DNA. It’s how they manifest their innate survival skills!


  • Denning

If there’s anything dog owners know like the back of their hands, it’s that dogs are den animals. A reason why your dog might be digging is that they’re trying to create a safe den for themselves, something also instinctual that wild dogs used to do.

  • Anxiety

Anxiety-induced digging is usually your dog’s way of stress relief, if your dog has separation anxiety and is left alone or unstimulated for long periods of time. This is the main cause you generally have to look out for. If ignored, your dog’s digging habit could develop or even become compulsive.


  • Hiding Treasure

Ever given your pooch a treat and he took it to eat in peace in another room? Dogs often have this habit of hiding their treasure in a ‘safe place’ so it’s only theirs to relish. If your dog has any favourite toys, digging a hole could be his enjoyable way of ensuring he can hide it safely.

  • Escape

Although not ill-intentioned, some dogs fantasize of just running free. Your furry friend’s escape plan in this case would include digging at the side of the fence in hopes of being able to go under.


How You Can Stop the Digging

Whether out of boredom or a warning sign you want to deter your dog’s distraction from destroying your yard to a solution more well-fitted for the both of you. Your dog will less likely dig for simulation when he's both physically and mentally exercised.


This article offers a very strategic set of approaches to how you can eventually exhaust your dog of his digging habits rather than just one-off solutions. It also has a section on dangerous advice to avoid, just in case it’s been proposed to you before.

Final Thoughts

Because there’s not just one reason that could explain your dog’s excessive digging habits, it’s important to identify which one. Different underlying logic behind every reason means they’ll each need their own tactics of dealing with in terms of training your pup to avoid digging holes in your yard. Whatever method you end up using, always remember to be patient. Raising a dog keeps proving to be a beautiful journey because after all, positive reinforcement is not just fun for your dog, it’s also a bonding activity for you to enjoy.