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My backyard looked like a colony of groundhogs lived there.  I tried filling in the holes but within days they would be dug up again.  It was a never ending battle that I was fighting with my dog.  If this sounds familiar to you, keep reading.  I am going to share how I got my dog to stop digging up my backyard so that you can learn how you can stop your dog from digging too.

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Why Do Dogs Dig?

Like with any behavior we want to change, we first have to figure out why our dog is digging.  There are several reasons why dogs dig up the backyard.  Once you figure out why your dog is digging, you can then decide the best solution to the problem.

1. Boredom

This is the number one reason why dogs dig.  If you put your dog out in your backyard by himself he will get bored.  Bored dogs look for things to do.  If he doesn’t find something to do, he will create something on his own and often that is digging.

Solution: Provide more exercise for your dog, both physical and mental. The more exercise the better.  Spend time with your dog playing a game of frisbee or fetch.  Do some obedience training or teach him a new trick.  A tired, happy dog will rest nicely and maybe even have a nap in the backyard.

2. To Cool Off

This is a common thing for dogs to do in the heat of the summer.  They will often dig holes along the edge of the house.  They do this to create a cool spot to lay.

Solution: Check to make sure you are providing fresh cool water throughout the day and night.

Is there adequate shade to protect your dog from the hot sun? Is good air circulation available or possibly a nice breeze?

Provide plant life (trees, bushes) for shelter from the hot sun. Cool grass keeps the ground heat down.

3. It’s The Breed.

Sometimes its the breed of dog, not so much the environment. Some breeds tend to be burrowers.  Research the breed of dog that you have and see if it’s something that the breed is known for.

Solution: If this is the case, work with your dog to agree on a place he can do his thing and camouflage it with something like plants or fencing.  Keeping the digging to one area of the yard is a compromise for you both.

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4. They Like To Dig.

Some dogs just like to dig, they just can’t seem to help it and can’t stop no matter how many times you tell them not to do it.

Solution: Create an ideal digging place for your dog. A sandy blend of ground with hidden treasures that reward digging at that spot. Having a prepared area encourages your dog to focus the digging to the area you set up in a place that is convenient for you. Remember to keep the area stocked with assorted treats and toys.

The Complete Guide To Raising A Well Trained Dog


What do you do with the holes that keep reappearing, no matter what you do? Have you back-filled holes dug by your dog only to find them dug again, over and over?  This is what happened to me.  With my dog, I set up an area for him that he could dig as much as he wanted to.  This worked for my dog but for some dogs, they may need more than this.

When this happens, the next stage of hole-filling is called for.

You might think this next step it involves yelling at your dog or tapping on the window. Nope. Are you really going to stand and stare out the window hoping to correct the situation while its happening (which would be the only way to really correct it using this method)?

Find the perfect solution for those challenging training times.


There are two better techniques to encourage your dog to rethink digging that hole.

The easier of the two is to fill the hole until almost full. Mix the last portion of dirt with pine cones, moth balls, or other repelling non-harmful substance. The next time your dog arrives for the big dig, he quickly finds the game has changed. Most dogs quickly change their behavior.

The second method is more time consuming but effective. Cut a section of chicken wire or similar to cover the hole plus 8 inches or more. Dig a hole a few inches deep that surrounds the hole and will fit the wire shape.

Fill the hole and then press wire in place and cover with dirt. Pack the area well, particularly around the wire edges. When your dog returns, the wire will stop his digging progress.

If along a fence line, secure the wire to the fence along the inside of the fence, just a short distance from the ground. When the wire gets to the ground, keep going vertically a short distance underground. Then bend the wire so the bottom is perpendicular to the top (forms an L). Bury the horizontal part underground inside the fence, pointing away from the fence. When your dog digs he is stopped by the wire and his weight on the earth helps keep the wire in place. The result is the dog gives up on that area.

When using the chicken wire, make sure that the cut ends are not sharp.  You do not want your dog to cut himself on the wire when he’s trying to dig.

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When all else fails…

Don’t put your dog outside unattended.  It’s that simple!  If you are outside interacting with your dog, he will be too busy with you to go and dig up your backyard.

For us, digging is a negative dog behavior.  Dogs don’t see anything wrong with it though.  Our job is to figure out why they are digging so that we can either stop the behavior or set up an area just for the dog to dig.

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