Dog Behavior – Digging

Does your dog seem to think of your yard as his personal mine? Dogs love to dig, and digging is a frequent concern from dog owners. One thing that is critical to understand is that your dog is not out to destroy the flowerbed deliberately. Digging, like many other of Fido’s habits, is a natural instinct in many dogs. Dogs always dig for a reason. Figuring out why your dog is digging is the first step in helping Fido overcome his urge to tunnel. A few reasons your dog may be putting holes in your yard are outlined below in this article from a vet. Lexington dog owners, read on!

Prey Drive

Some dogs, either through breeding or possibly through prior experience, know or sense that some animals tunnel under the earth. When Fido lived in the wild, digging was one way for him to catch his supper. If your dog tends to concentrate on one particular spot, or if he tends to dig in fairly straight lines, he may be trying to catch an animal that has burrowed into your yard. In this case, said animal is what needs to be addressed first. We advocate using only safe, non-toxic methods of pest control. Depending on what the animal is, there may be ways for you to make your yard less appealing to your tunneling visitor. Ground hogs, for instance, are quite common in Kentucky. They are attracted to debris piles, and can be dissuaded by fences.


Dogs are not solitary animals by nature. In the wild, Fido lived with his family members. If Fido is left by himself while his human family is out, he may be lonely and bored. Dogs, especially those without canine ‘roommates’, need lots of stimulation, playtime, and exercise. Make sure Fido has a good array of toys, and change them out frequently to keep them interesting. Even if you have a fenced yard, taking your furry buddy out for regular walks is really good for both you and him. Puppies, terrier breeds, and ‘working’ dogs, such as Shepherds, are particularly prone to digging out of boredom.


Fido may be curious about the world outside the fence, or he may be trying to reach something, such as a neighbor’s dog. If your dog is digging along fence lines, chances are, he’s going for a breakout. To keep your pup safely enclosed in your yard, you can try burying chicken wire alongside the fence. Rocks and shrubbery may also help, and may even spruce up the yard a bit. Another possible option is an L-footer. This is an L-shaped fence addition you can either bury under the fence, or simply place alongside it to help protect your yard.

Lexington residents: if you need to bring your dog to a vet clinic, please call us any time.

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