Why does my dog dig holes in the garden? Tips & advice from Fetch

February 16, 2018


Has your dog been digging up your lawn? If so, it’s important to remember that they don’t do this in spite or to deliberately destroy the garden. Digging is a normal, instinctive behaviour for many dogs. Dogs may be more likely to dig in some specific circumstances or for a particular reason, such as:

  • Relief from boredom

  • Playing

  • Instinct

  • Trying to escape

  • Seeking protection


How do I stop this behaviour?



Walk your dog at least once daily. Insufficient exercise is a leading cause of problem behaviors. 

Chewing needs

Keep interesting chew toys in the yard to keep your dog busy when you're not around, such as 'Kong' toys filled with food treats. Rotate the toys to keep things interesting. Offer a raw meaty bone a couple of times a week – a raw bone can keep a dog occupied for a good length of time


Provide an alternative ‘acceptable’ digging area

Choose an area of the yard where it's okay for your dog to dig. Make the acceptable digging area attractive by burying safe items (such as chew toys) for him to discover. If your dog digs in the ‘acceptable’ spot – reward him with lots of praise either in the form of a food treat, vocal praise (good boy!) or a scratch on the chest. If your dog starts digging in an unacceptable area, catch his attention by encouraging him to come over to the ‘acceptable’ digging area. When he comes to you and starts digging in the approved spot, reward him with lots of praise. Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive (at least temporarily) by placing rocks or fencing around it. 


Things to avoid

Regardless of the reason your dog’s digging, avoid punishing your dog. This won't address the underlying cause of the behaviour, and it will likely worsen any digging that's motivated by fear or anxiety. 


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Norwich, UK