Why Dogs Like To Dig

When canines discover that soil and roots “play back,” they may dig as a form of amusement. Your dog might be digging to amuse himself if:

  • They spend a lot of time alone in the yard without the company of their human family.
  • They lack playmates and toys, and their surroundings are rather empty.
  • They lack other ways to release their energy because they are young animals or adolescents.

Do dogs enjoy digging?

Dogs frequently engage in the behavior of digging, albeit not all dogs dig for the same reasons. In order to stay cool and comfortable while it’s hot outside, your dog may dig at their bed or the ground. Other dogs may be bored and use digging as fun.

If you want to stop your dog from digging, make sure that their activity is normal for their breed, age, size, and health by asking your vet first.

Does digging come naturally to dogs?

Dogs frequently dig, and they may do it for a number of reasons. These can be things like genetics, boredom, worry, or the need to create a cozy place to lay down. Since digging is a normal behavior for dogs, it’s doubtful that you can completely stop yours from doing it. However, by collaborating with your pet, you can stop the behavior before it is destructive.

We enjoy digging for puns, so we thought about informing you that we would give you the whole story, all the dull details, the inside scoop, the scoop on dogs’ digging, that dogs dig digging, or that we would uncover all the information you require on this subject. We ultimately chose to exercise restraint.

Why dogs dig in the ground

Dogs dig in the ground for a variety of reasons, most of which are caused by their instincts, which might be helpful while they’re doing specific tasks or fending for themselves but may not be so welcome in your yard or flower bed.


Dogs have been digging for thousands of years, so that is the easiest explanation for why they do it. In the wild, the wolves that are the ancestors of our pets dug continuously to seek for and store food, or to build a den or a cool place to lie down. Many dogs were designed to hunt animals that lived below the surface, such as dachshunds searching for badgers and rat-hunting terriers. Your dog might be searching for prey even if they are not hunters. For instance, if bunnies or rodents enter your yard, they can catch your friend’s eye. For a dog who is eager to dig, any intriguing smell or sound will do so.

Burying items

Food and other resources can be hard to come by in the wild. A dog might bury part of the meat he finds outside if he has more than he needs right away, covering it with dirt in the interim to prevent other animals from eating it. This is something that wolves also do. Your dog probably receives all the food and toys they require, but they also have a protective instinct that makes them want to guard any valuables just in case.


In order to create a cozy, cool place to lay down, dogs also dig. Feral dogs would do this to avoid the heat on hot days if their homes lacked air conditioning. Dogs may attempt to dig a hole in the living room despite the fact that they won’t have the same success as they would outside because of instinct.


Some dogs will scratch the ground after peeing or pooping in addition to actively digging. Ethologist Dr. Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, refers to the behavior as a component of a composite signal through which they may use the scent glands in their paws and the visible marks left by digging to communicate with other dogs. Scientists have proposed a variety of explanations for this behavior. The fact that these dogs appear to enjoy their activity may be the most important piece of information. Let your dogs scratch the ground if they are among those who enjoy it, Bekoff advises.

Why dogs dig the bed, blankets, or carpet

Dogs may dig their beds, your bed, the carpets, or other surfaces in your home for comparable reasons as part of their innate desire to create a comfortable resting spot for themselves. Dr. Stanley Coren’s research, which was mentioned in our article about why dogs circle before lying down, revealed that dogs were more likely to circle on a carpet than a smooth one. Additionally, several canine study participants scratched or dug the rug before lying down, supporting the notion that digging is a component of dogs’ nesting behavior.

Dogs can mark their territory by digging in beds because they have smell glands in their paws.

Any number of things could be going on if your dog is digging in the carpet or similar soft surface when they aren’t about to lie down. Dogs’ incredibly sensitive noses allow them to detect odors or stray food particles hidden in carpet threads. They might be trying to “save an item for later” if they’re the burying kind. Again, they might be digging out of boredom or anxiety; if they do it frequently or at times that might be linked to anxiety (such as when you leave), take efforts to identify the source of the stress and collaborate with your trainer or veterinarian to treat it.

Make sure to keep up with nail clipping if you’re worried about your pal damaging the surfaces while he digs.

Why dogs eat dirt

Your dog may have a nutritional shortage, digestive issues, or another medical condition if they are eating dirt in addition to digging in the yard. Dogs may consume dirt for psychological reasons as well, such as when they are under stress. Immediately seek assistance from your veterinarian if you find that your pet is consuming dirt.

How to stop unwanted digging and encourage “good digging

Although dogs can use digging as a healthy physical and emotional outlet, the risks of unregulated excavation may go beyond uprooted begonias. You don’t want your pet ingesting any of the toxins, parasites, choking dangers, or other things that some soil may have. And dogs with a compulsive digging habit risk paw damage. You might wish to limit or redirect your dog’s digging for these and other reasons.

Treat the underlying cause of the issue with enrichment if your dog is digging out of boredom or anxiety. Your dog’s body and mind can be kept occupied with exercise, training, puzzle toys that promote “searching for food, and chews, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be exhausted and content while you’re away from home rather than getting into mischief.

Find into dog-friendly pest-control options if your dog is digging up your yard to look for rodents. You can also put up barriers to stop your dog from going where you don’t want them to dig, such as a fence, pebbles, or a sprinkler. Also, never leave your dog unattended in the yard.

Don’t make your dog stop digging if they enjoy it. To encourage them and reward them when they choose the best site for their shoveling, you can offer them a designated digging area, soften the soil a little, or you can play games that involve digging, burying, and recovering objects. You can also do this inside using blankets, cushions, laundry, and dog toys—just be careful not to use anything that could be dangerous or provide a choking hazard.

Some dog sports, such as breed-restricted Earthdog from the American Kennel Club, can be a secure method for dogs to indulge their love of digging without endangering your garden, your furnishings, or their health.

If, despite your best attempts, you discover that your friend has impersonated a backhoe without authorization, do not reprimand them. Instead, think about asking a qualified trainer for assistance.

Why does my dog try to dig me up so often?

Lack of exercise and/or mental stimulation is the root of many behavioral problems in dogs. If your dog is any of the following, he may be bored and digging:

  • a young dog that receives insufficient mental or physical stimulation
  • long periods of time spent alone in the yard without any toys, companions, or canine playmates
  • a breed bred to dig, such as a Siberian Husky, Dachshund, Terrier, or Beagle

Why do dogs enjoy digging in the mud?

Dogs use soil or other substrates, such as mulch or sand, to look for objects that they have previously concealed or to bury items they wish to store for later, such as a favorite chew or toy. Additionally, they dig to look for delectable delicacies like insects or other tasty animals like rodents.

How can a dog who digs be disciplined?

If your dog enjoys digging, designate a specific part of the yard as their digging zone and show them where it is:

  • Sand or loose dirt should be used to fill in the digging area. Use a kid-sized sandbox instead.
  • By hiding secure objects (like toys) for them to discover, you can draw attention to the digging area.
  • Praise them when they dig in the designated area.
  • If you see your dog digging in an inappropriate place, firmly tell him “No dig” and make a loud noise to stop him. then take them right away to the digging area.
  • By covering the undesirable digging locations with pebbles or chicken wire, you can temporarily make them unsightly.

Keep your dog indoors with you and keep an eye on them when they go outside to relieve themselves if you’ve tried all these methods and still can’t get your dog to stop digging. You might also seek out more assistance from a behavior specialist.

How can you quell a dog’s need to dig?

What then should you do if your dog has a burrowing disposition? Dogs often bury excess items, so keep that in mind if your dog’s tendency to burrow things becomes an issue. Try the following advice:

  • Lessen the appeal of your dog’s favorite digging areas. You might try covering the area with chicken wire or another non-paw-friendly material.
  • Try giving your dog a less destructive alternative. For example, demonstrate to him how to bury his favorite toy under a blanket or make a sandbox for him to enjoy.
  • Limit your dog’s access to one bone and one toy at a time by picking up the majority of his or her playthings.
  • Occasionally switch up the dog bones and toys you give him to keep him interested.

If you keep the extras to a minimum and give your dog some variety, he might be less inclined to take them outside to the backyard and treat them like hidden treasure.

Which dog breeds enjoy digging?

It’s crucial to determine why your dog digs before seeking for remedies because different breeds dig for various reasons. Heavy-coated spitz-type dogs, like Huskies and Chow Chows, dig pits to keep cool when it’s hot outside. Earth dogs, such as short-legged Terriers and Dachshunds, who were developed to dig tunnels to get their food, are following their instincts to locate gophers, moles, or other burrowing rodents. Scent hounds, including Beagles, Bassets, and Bloodhounds, as well as unneutered males of all breeds, frequently burrow through fences to get at small game (such as squirrels), food, or a female dog that is in heat. Additionally, young dogs (between the ages of six and 18 months) may dig because they are bored and in their youth. All of these breeds share the characteristic of digging out of satisfaction. Dogs who are left outside alone have the incentive, the tools, and the opportunity to dig, and they take advantage of it!

One typical culprit is boredom. Your dog may dig up the yard to pass the time if there is nothing else to occupy him. Why? For the same rationale that mountain climbers do: “because it is there! When he’s waiting for you to come back outside, it fills the hole. Canines can become bored at any age, although it frequently affects young dogs. This conduct can occasionally be triggered by a lack of socializing.

The angry landowner has two options: remove the motivation for digging or direct digging in a proper location. Keep your overheated husky inside on hot days with the air conditioner on, or provide a small kiddie pool with cool water for him, if he is digging cooling holes. Bring in a specialist to remove the gophers if your terrier is tearing up your yard in search of them. And if your male dog who has not been neutered is crawling beneath the fence in search of the females, a “It’s time for a vet visit for Snips. Males who have been neutered frequently lose the desire to travel and leave their homes.

By keeping your dog active on both a mental and physical level, you can prevent boredom. Training your dog to act appropriately when left alone can be helpful, but until he shows that he is safe outside, keep him inside. Play, practice training commands, and engage in other activities while you two are outside. For your dog, hiding treats throughout the yard can be a lot of fun. When you return home, make sure to take a stroll together. Get together with neighbors at a dog park or go on walks to socialize your dog. Your dog will be less likely to start digging if he is kept active and cognitively challenged.

Using chicken wire, you can prevent digging along your fence’s edge. A section of wire five feet wide and as long as your fence line is required. At the fence line, create a three-foot-wide, half-foot-deep ditch. Near the bottom rail of the fence, attach the wire about a foot higher. In the trench, bury the remaining wire. Your dog should stop digging once he reaches the wire.

How come dogs dig under beds?

It’s a natural instinct for dogs to dig at their beds to create a cozy, warm area to sleep down, which is why practically all dogs do it. We’ll go into more depth about why dogs scratch before they lie down in this post, and we’ll also tell you how to stop them from trashing their dog beds in the process.

My dog keeps scratching the floor, why?

Digging or scratching is a natural behavior that originated in wild canines. The behavior is ingrained in their DNA, I’ve learned. Although it may seem strange to us as humans, there are several reasons why our dogs scratch and dig. It may indicate boredom, nesting, security, or even territorial behavior.