How to Stop Dog Digging Holes in the Yard, Under Fence, Gate, Carpet and Bed

Dog digging in grass
Dog digging close to the flower bed

To know what method to use on how to stop dog digging holes it is important to find out why the dog is digging in the first place. This will help in a great way to settle for the most appropriate method of stopping the behavior. We explore these in relation to dog digging in the yard, garden, around the gate and fence as well as in carpet and beds.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Why do dogs dig? This dog digging question is common especially in pet owners whose dogs have been trained and who may not have exhibited the behavior any other time. Naturally, dogs are diggers. They will dig up holes to hide treats and bones and later dig up the same areas to retrieve them.

Dog digging close to the fence
A dog digging in the yard close to the fence

In addition to this, dogs dig for other instinctive reasons which include the following:

  • Boredom
  • To have fun
  • Loneliness
  • Excess energy
  • Attraction to nice smells

Why do Dogs Dig in their Beds?

A common concern by dog owners is what leads their pets to dig in their beds. Like discussed earlier, digging can be as a result of boredom or to seek comfort. When it comes to digging in bed, this they do because it comes in naturally.

In the pads of the dogs’ feet are glands that produce some unique odor. When they scratch and dig, the odor is enhanced. As a result, scratching before bed helps to make that spot as their territory. Other than this, female dogs may dig around the bed for the purposes of nesting. This way they get a feeling that they are providing their puppies with a place to rest thus showing motherly love.

How to Stop Dog Digging Holes

In most cases, finding out why the dog is digging is enough to bring the behavior to a halt. As such, your solution for the digging lies in finding out the reason and then eliminating the same. Below are some ways on how to stop dog digging holes based on where they are doing it.

Dog Digging Deterrents to Prevent Digging around Escape Points

When your dog masters the art of digging under the fence and under the gate, he most probably is an escape master and is looking forward to having some escapades. This is more so common in dogs that have not been neutered or spayed. Their intentions will be for them to escape and mate. Try these deterrents to prevent the behavior

Chicken Wire, Balloons, and Stones as Digging Deterrents

Laying chicken wire over the areas where the dog is digging can help to deter it from doing. You could also bury a balloon beneath and cover it slightly. This way when the dog comes digging, it will find it uncomfortable. Other deterrents include chili powder and cayenne pepper. The smell will discourage your pooch from digging. You could also try to bury some sizeable but harmless stones which the dog will find hard to move. These should work under the fence and gate as well as to keep your pooch from holes they had dug previously.

Alleviate Dog Boredom to Avoid Digging Holes

Dogs are always craving for attention and will easily get bored when left alone for long. If you are going to leave them around it is best to look for a walker or sitter to keep them company. Avoid leaving your dog in the backyard for long hours to prevent digging of holes.

Dog toys to alleviate boredom
Use dog toys to stop digging

If the above is not a viable option and you want to stop the burrowing, it is important to keep your dog engaged while you are away. In case you plan on leaving your pet anywhere alone, ensure there are toys or bones for them to chew.

Food dispensing toys and hollow bones stuffed with food are a great option to go keep the dog going. These will keep the dog busy as they have to keep manipulating and chewing to get whatever is in them.

Keep the Dog Environment Cool to Prevent Digging

When it is in the hot season, dogs tend to dig so they can get a place to lie in and cool their bodies. This can be avoided by having specific areas they can retreat to when it’s hot.

A pool can have a great effect on cooling your pooch. They will also enjoy the water play. Other than these, ensure that your dog has plenty of drinking water to keep well hydrated.

Have Designated Digging Points for Hunter Dogs to Prevent Burrowing

There are dogs with digging characteristics. Breeds such as terriers are known for this. The same applies to hunting dogs. If you own such a breed, the dog will still dig even when not bored. The solution to this is creating specific areas where your dog is allowed to dig. This prevents him from doing it everywhere.

Making the dog a sand pit would be great for it. Put a fence around the sand pit and fill it with earth. You can also bury treats to draw the attention of the dog to the area and discourage it from digging in undesignated areas. Once done, teach your dog to dig in the area so they can learn to follow commands not to dig in flower beds and yards.

Discourage Re-digging by your Dog

In some cases, dogs will keep on digging in the same areas. In such situations, it is best to make use of digging deterrents. Some dogs will find their poop repulsive. Bury some fresh bits in areas they have dug to prevent recurrence. Orange and lemon rinds are also repulsive. Bury some for the same effect.

Get Rid of Rodents to Prevent Dog Digging

At times, the reason why your dog may be digging in the yard could be because there are rodents around. This is more so if you notice them digging under trees and plants. Get a simple yet safe way to get rid of the rodents. Also, make your yard unattractive for rodents. Never be tempted to use poison on them since anything that can harm the rodents could also harm the dog.

Give your Pet Attention to Keep him from Digging Holes

Dogs love attention and company. If they feel ignored they may seek attention by all means possible. Your dog may have noticed that by engaging in this unbecoming behavior, they are able to gain attention from you. In case this is the reason, start by ignoring the dog when it engages in digging but lavish it whenever it behaves well.

Give your dog more attention. Your dog may have learned that digging a hole in your nice garden gets attention from you, even if that attention is the bad sort of attention. If you think this might be the case, ignore the dog after the digging and lavish your dog with attention for other, good behavior. Additionally, make sure your dog has plenty of time with you on other occasions. A happy dog won’t need to find attention in all the wrong places.

Get a Dog to Stop Digging Holes through Reprimand if All Else Fails

At times, the subtle methods of stopping your dog from digging holes may fail. In case it gets to this, some reprimand may help. Whenever you get your pooch in the act, ensure that you reprimand him.

Do not use physical means of disciplining him though. If he is used to your commands, verbal reprimands are all he will require. Once done get him out of the digging area immediately.

How to Stop Dogs from Digging Holes in Carpets

At times you may notice that your pet is not only digging outdoors but has brought the behavior indoors. Dogs may dig holes into the carpet or scratch it to get under leaving you wondering what piece of furniture is most appropriate to cover up the area. This is more so for dogs that know the couch is off their limits.

This kind of behavior is likely to occur on a specific part of the carpet close to where the toy has disappeared to. Also get rid of anything your pooch may try to hide beneath the carpet.

Dogs left alone in the house may also anticipate your return and in the unfolding anxiety start digging and chewing on your carpet. They may also scratch and imitate digging around the doors and entrance points. Where this is the case, try leaving your dog some toys to play with or get them a sitter.

In some cases, the cause of carpet digging may be because their resting place is not comfortable. It could be that your dog is digging in to get a comfortable place to lie in. To curb this, give your pet a comfortable bed with proper bedding.

If these measures do not help in stopping the dog from digging the carpet, use anti-chewing and anti-biting spray to lightly coat the carpet at the points of concern. However, never spray your dog with the product.

How to Stop Dog Digging under Fence and Under the Gate dog

Whether you are concerned about your dog digging through the fence and into the neighbor’s yard or are the neighbor in question this will help. In case you notice your dog digging holes around these areas, you can stop it by zip tying some chicken wire at the bottom.

Chicken wire to stop dog digging holes
Chicken wire can be used to stop dog digging under the fence and gate as well as to avoid redigging

In case you want to stop digging under the gate, lay it on the ground and peg it in. Follow this with loose pavers on top. Placing freshly dug soil over the wire can also work. The deterrents discussed earlier on can also go a long way in stopping this sneaky behavior.

How to Stop your Dog from Digging Holes in Yard, Lawn, Garden and Flower Bed

For some people, the first reaction when they look out the window and notice their dog digging holes in the garden, in the lawn that has freshly been mowed or freshly cultivated flower bed is to reprimand them. While this may work momentarily, it will not be a long-term measure.

Dogs get excited by the bare earth. It is therefore advisable not to leave them into this kind of environment. Also avoid letting your dog see you digging, gardening or playing around with the soil as it may entice them into doing the same.

Most puppies love digging in the garden. In case you are going to have your dog in the yard alone for long periods of time, ensure he has enough toys around to avoid him digging holes. If not, let him have company to play with.

Where you have a puppy or adolescent dog, they come with a burst of energy that they need to release. If the right channels are not provided to achieve this, they might try to achieve the same by digging. To prevent this, engage your dog in various physical activities so they can release the excess energy.

Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 344 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone

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