I was walking my dog yesterday and he decided to go and sniff in a yard I had never been on. It’s not that far from home, he just never seemed interested. And he decided to keep walking longer than the leash allowed so of course I followed. And stumbled into a hole. I caught myself just as a new-to-me neighbor came out of the house with her dog.

The two dogs did the whole butt sniffing getting to know you dance while we chatted. She has just moved to our neighborhood, didn’t know people yet, yada, yada, yada. As we walked I once again stumbled in the hole and she mentioned she was having such trouble with her dog digging. They no longer have a fenced yard and the back is a parking lot since it’s a little multi family unit. We chatted about our hole digging experience when we first got our dog, new surroundings, new routines, etc. I hope to see her again because our dogs got along nicely and it’s always nice to have new friends whether they are four legs or two.

This is an article from The Humane Society of the United States about this topic. I’ve cut and pasted it because people are far more likely to read something here than to follow a link.

My biggest concern was that my dog would dig under the fence and escape. He was a runner back then so it was a valid problem. Bricks took care of that but holes in the yard, digging up newly planted bulbs and vegetables, and ruining the lawn are just a few of the reasons to get digging under control.

How To Get Your Dog To Stop Digging

If your dog is leaving craters all over your yard, it’s important to know your dog isn’t doing it out of spite or a desire to destroy your landscaping; more likely they’re seeking entertainment, attention, comfort, escape, prey or protection.

Comfort and protection

In hot weather, dogs may dig holes to lie in the cool dirt. They may also dig to provide themselves with shelter from cold, wind or rain or to find water. Your dog may be digging for comfort or protection if:
The holes are near the foundations of buildings, large shade trees or a water source.

Your dog doesn’t have a shelter or their shelter is too hot or cold.

Your dog lies in the holes they dig.
What to do

Provide your dog with the comfort or protection they seek. Bring them inside more often and make sure their outdoor shelter is comfortable, protected against extreme temperatures and has access to water in an un-tippable bowl. If your dog is still a dedicated digger, try setting aside a digging zone.


Any behavior can become attention-getting behavior if the dog learns that they receive attention for engaging in it. Remember, even punishment is attention. Your dog may be looking for attention if they dig in your presence or have limited opportunities for interaction with you.
What to do
Ignore attention-seeking behavior and give your pooch lots of praise for “good dog” behavior. Also, make sure your dog has enough walk and play time with you on a daily basis.
Dogs may try to escape to get to something, to get somewhere or to get away from something. Your dog may be digging to escape if they dig under or along a fence.
What to do
Figure out why your dog is trying to escape and remove those incentives. Make sure their environment is a safe, appealing place for a dog.
To keep your dog in your yard:
Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence. Be sure to roll the sharp edges away from your yard.

Place large rocks, partially buried, along the bottom of the fence line.

Bury the bottom of the fence one to two feet below the surface.

Place chain link fencing on the ground (anchored to the bottom of the fence) to make it uncomfortable for your dog to walk near the fence.

Work with your dog on behavior modification to stop their escape efforts.

What doesn’t work

Regardless of the reason your dog is digging, don’t:

Punish your dog after the fact. This won’t address the cause of the behavior and will worsen any digging that’s motivated by fear or anxiety.

Stake out your dog near a hole they’ve dug or fill the hole with water.

Next steps: A digging zone

If your dog is a dedicated digger, set aside an area of the yard where it’s OK for them to dig and teach them where that digging zone is:

Cover the digging zone with loose soil or sand. Or use a child-sized sandbox.

Make the digging zone attractive by burying safe items (such as toys) for them to discover.

When they dig in the digging zone, reward them with praise.
If you catch your dog digging in an unacceptable area, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise and firmly say, “No dig.” Then immediately take them to the digging zone.
Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive (at least temporarily) by placing rocks or chicken wire over them.

If you’ve tried all these strategies and still can’t solve your dog’s digging problem, keep them indoors with you and supervise them during bathroom breaks in the yard. You may also want to consult a behavior professional for additional help.