Why Do Dogs Dig?

All dogs have their own quirky personalities. Some prefer chewing and it doesn’t matter if they’re chewing approved toys given by their pet parent or if it’s the living room sofa. They just like to chew. Other dogs, especially those with the hunting gene, will dig whenever they can. But, why do dogs dig? Is it just a natural trait of all dogs? Or, is your dog trying to tell you something when he digs?

Here are a few common reasons dogs dig:

He’s bored.

Ho hum. A bored dog digs. Dogs are intelligent animals and must be physically and mentally stimulated to remain healthy and happy – and to prevent potentially destructive behavior, such as digging. Even if he has plenty of toys and isn’t necessarily bored, he may still dig because many dogs enjoy digging. Whether he’s bored or just a natural digger, find ways to avert his attention from digging. Give him plenty of toys to play with when he’s outside. Take him for several walks a day. Go to training classes to ensure he’s challenged.

He wants to bury something.

Dogs have a natural instinct to bury that which is important to them. Your dog may dig a hole to bury his favorite toy or a chew stick, cover it with dirt, and come back to it when he wants to play or to chew. But, burying toys isn’t relegated to the outdoors. Some dogs will bury their prized possessions indoors, under piles of laundry, blankets, or in other bulky areas.

He wants to escape.

Dogs may dig to escape for several reasons. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, he may start digging at the door to get out and to join you when you leave. One common way to deal with separation anxiety is to be discreet when you are leaving the house, to just leave and allow your dog to relax.

Some dogs want to escape because they don’t like being confined to one space. Your dog, for example, may have a large yard in which to run around. But, alas, he may really crave finding out what’s on the other side of the fence or he might see something that he just has to check out.

He’s trying to get warm or cool.

Your dog may be outside when it is very hot or very cold and he just wants to find a comfortable place to protect himself from the elements. He may dig a hole to plop in to keep warm or to get cool. Allow your dog to come in when the temperatures are extreme and, if he just likes to lay outside, offer him a dog bed or an old pillow so he won’t be compelled to dig holes.

He’s hunting prey.

Some dogs, like beagles and dachshunds, are natural predators. They instinctively prey on small animals like badgers, squirrels, and rabbits and will dig holes if they pick up the scent of a prey animal.

Find a solution.

Dogs dig for many reasons. If your dog is a digger, find out why. Is he bored? Trying to escape? Begging for attention? When you pinpoint why your dog is digging, you can come up with an acceptable solution to curb the digging.

Does your dog dig? If so, why does he dig?