Why is my dog digging holes suddenly? Truth and Guide

Why Is My Dog Digging Holes Suddenly? Truth And Guide

Many people love to raise dogs as their pets because; they are very active, funny, and loyal pets for their owners. But, if your pet is a dog, you have the same problem that many people have; why is my dog digging holes? This is commonly seen within dogs.

Therefore, it is very important to pay special attention to this behavior. Accordingly, this article is all about the digging of dogs.

So, why is my dog digging holes? This is commonly seen within many breeds like; Huskies, Dachshund, Jack Russell, Cairn terrier, etc. Here, you should remember that this is a natural habit of dogs. So, it is difficult to stop this. But, don’t worry; you can stop it with better guidance. First of all, find the reasons for this behavior. There will be many reasons like; seeking prey, releasing their stress, boredom, etc. However, try your best to stop this as it is very bad for many reasons like; it will destroy your garden, bury the valuable materials, and the dog will be dirty.   

Accordingly, in this article, I have covered, does digging holes is a natural habit of dogs, why does my dog dig all of a sudden, what are the risks of digging and finally, I have given some tips to stop digging holes with your pet dog.

Let’s get started!

Is digging holes a natural habit of dogs?

Digging is very commonly seen within many breeds. Jack Russells, Huskies, Cairn terrier, etc., are some breeds that commonly dig holes. What do you think about dogs digging holes? Is it natural or not? We can give a short answer here, as yes. It is a natural behavior of dogs.

Especially when we pay attention to Jack Russells, they have originated as hunting dogs. Also, they are very active and energetic. So, digging is a common habit for them as digging is a part of hunting.

They dig for many reasons like; to seek prey, release boredom, stress, etc. In such cases, you have to identify the root cause behind their habit. 

It is said that the genes of dogs force them to come out with these behaviors. When there are some small animals in your garden like; gophers, for sure the dogs will dig to catch those animals.

So, it comes from their instinct naturally. You should understand that before going to stop the behavior.  

However, you have to remember that as a natural habit, it is very difficult to stop digging. But, you can manage or completely stop it by understanding the reasons for their behavior, provide alternative activities for that and be patient by giving enough time for them to change. 

Why does my dog dig holes all of a sudden? 

Although dog digging holes is a natural behavior, there are many reasons behind it. You can stop that habit successfully by understanding those reasons. So, here let’s focus on the reasons for digging holes by the dogs. 

1. Releasing the stress

People have hobbies to engage in to release stress. So, likewise, the dogs enjoy various activities, especially when they get anxious and overwhelmed.

Therefore, digging will bring pleasure for them in front of their restlessness and stress. It helps them to come out of the struggle as the hobbies do for people. 

This behavior for stress releasing takes place most of the time, when they have to be alone for a long time, lack of exercise, and especially, the jealousy created if you bring another puppy to the home.

2. Genetics

Now, it is not a secret that digging has been hidden in the DNA of the dog. The capacity of digging changes from one breed to another, but the behavior is common to all.

As an example, terriers like; Jack Russells are originally hunting dogs, and they love to dig more than the other breeds. 

3. Seek for the preys

Although your pet lives at your home, they may still have wild incentives. So, they love to chase after prey; there is no matter of eating the prey or not.

They love to chase after them. So, if the scent of prey smells to the dog from the underground, they tend to dig.

Accordingly, if there are many small animals like; gophers, bugs, and any other small mammals in your garden, the capacity of digging by the dog will be increased. 

4. Releasing the boredom

When the dogs experience boredom, they will most probably tend to dig and be destructive. Especially if your pet is a hyperactive, energetic terrier, it needs to engage in any activity always.

If not, they find something like digging to keep themselves engaging. Physical and mental stimulation is essential for a dog; if not, they feel boring and sometimes frustrating and tend to dig holes in your garden.

So, if you notice that the dog is digging, most probably it is the time that it needs exercise to stimulate mentally and physically.

5. Hide valuable materials for them

Have you noticed that your dog is hiding when you give a favorite treat or a favorite toy for the dog? That is the nature of dogs; they love to enjoy their favorites alone.

So, they hide them in safe places. This is done by digging and hiding in the favorite place of the garden by them. They are holding the specific item by their mouth until they find the correct place to dig and hide it. 

6. Denning

Some dogs love to create a den. Although there is no need for them to create a den as their shelter as a pet living in a house, genetics may drag them to dig holes and create a den as their shelter.

So, this is one part of their comforting process for them. Accordingly, if you see that your pet is digging and sleeping in that hole, that is the sign to recognize that they need to create safety for themselves. They will go to that place when they need to be relaxed. 

7. Need to escape

Many dogs like to be free. So, if your garden is surrounded and is an obstacle for the dog to go out, they tend to search for another option as going through the underground. So, they dig.

Accordingly, if you notice that the dog is always digging under the fence, which is a sign of its need to escape, pay much attention to your pet in such situations. 

What are the risks of digging holes by the dog?

Dog digging holes are not new to any dog owner because; digging is common to many dogs. Although it is a natural habit of dogs, there are many risks in it, not only for the dog but also for your property.

So, it is very important to know about the risks of digging holes by the dogs. Accordingly, here let’s pay our attention to the risks of digging holes by the dog.

1. Risk of escaping

Dogs love freedom. Therefore, they try to flee from your house if it is surrounded by obstacles like; fences, walls, gates, etc.

There, they look for another option, and digging will be their choice and try to go from the underground. Accordingly, there is the risk of escaping your pet with its digging. 

2. Breaking the nails from trauma

Here, there is no secret that dogs use their nails for digging. So, the risk is there that your pet will damage its nails.

Sometimes, nails will break or may completely separate from the finger. So, pay attention to your pet if it is digging.

3. Damage the garden

When your dog digs in the yard, it will be great damage to its beauty. What will happen if there are holes everywhere in the garden?

It damages the cleanliness and the quality of your garden. So, it is only you who can stop its behaviors and reduce this risk. 

4. Risk of tripping in the holes

This is a risk for both you and your dog. Especially if you have small children, you should be very careful about this because if the child trip due to a hole that has been dig by your pet, the child will damage his leg.

And the same will happen to you also. Therefore, it is better to stop this behavior of your dog.

5. Exposes to bacteria and parasites live in the soil

This is also a risk for both you and your dog. That means; when the dog digs, it is directly exposed to harmful parasites and bacteria living in the soil.

Then, when the dog comes to you with the same bacteria and parasites, you are also exposed to them. Therefore, you two will get skin diseases, rashes, etc., with this. 

Tips to stop digging holes by your dog

Dog digging holes are a hindrance for the owners because they can harm the children, and on the other hand, they destroy the beauty of the garden.

So, many owners whose dogs are digging are searching for techniques to stop it. Accordingly, here I will provide some tips to stop the destructive behaviors of your dog. 

1. Providing exercises

If you recognize the root cause for digging your dog as boredom, you can stop it by providing exercises for the dog.

When he is busy with exercises and gets tired of it, there is no chance for the dog to get bored. So, they will not dig holes in your garden anymore.

It is said that always a well-exercised dog will be a well-behaving dog.

2. Pest control

Many dogs do not ignore the pests in your garden. They chase after them, and whether they catch them or not, they tend to dig by representing their hunting behaviors.

So, if there are many pests in your garden, it is better to take steps to control them. But, make sure to choose a safe pest control method for the dog. Then, of course, your dog will end up digging.

3. Provide a shelter for the dog

If you see that the dog is digging dens and staying in them, you can stop it by providing shelter for it. There, you can choose the areas where the dog usually digs dens to create its new house.

If the dog loves digging and enjoys the dirt, you can dirt the place a little. But, don’t worry about dirt the place because you can clean the dog, but if you do not do it, the dog will continuously dig the garden. 

4. Keeping obstacles

If you see that the dog is digging to escape from the place, most of the time, they dig near the fence.

So, you can stop it by placing obstacles like; stones, bushes, and any other obstacle that can keep your dog away from it.

Accordingly, you can plant bushes in the areas where the dog usually digs or places stones to make their task difficult. So, finally, they will stop their behaviors. 

5. Providing the mental stimulation

You can successfully stop digging holes in your dog through mental stimulation. There, you may play games like; playing fetch, playing tug of water, etc.

These activities keep the digging thoughts of the dog away from it and turn their attention to another different thing.

In Particular, they will not pay attention to other things when you are around them. So, it not only stops digging but also gives extra exercise and extra time for you to be with your pet. Accordingly, you can strengthen your relationship.

6. Removing the sources of stress

If the root cause of your dog’s digging is stress, you can stop it by finding the reason for its stress. If it is anxiety, find what makes the dog anxious and keep it away from your pet.

And change the environment or routine of the dog that increases its stress and provides a safe environment for it. Then, it will not cause me to get stressed.

Conclusion – Why is your dog digging holes all of a sudden?

We have discussed; why your dog is digging holes all of a sudden with more details. I think this article will be very important for all people who raise dogs as their pet as I have covered many important areas like; does digging is a natural habit of dogs, why does my dog digs all of a sudden, what are the risks of digging and finally I have given some tips to stop digging holes by your pet dog.

Digging is a common, natural habit of many dogs. But there are many other reasons also for it like; lack of exercise, releasing boredom and stress, escaping, seeking for prey, hiding precious things, etc. But, do you know that there are many risks within a dog digging holes not only for the dog but also for you and your children.

Accordingly, they will damage the beauty of your garden, cause injuries for you and your children if you get tripped due to the holes. The dog also damages its nails with digging, and also they will be exposed to harmful bacteria. Likewise, there are many risks in digging.

So, you should take steps to stop it. There, you can; provide a shelter for the dog, put obstacles for the digging areas, provide mental stimulation, control the pests, etc. Then, you can save both your pet and the garden.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about our four-legged friends.

Cheers from Shaggy and Lenny!


  • Dominic Parker

    Dominic P. is a dog behavioral researcher who graduated from the University of Surrey and holds BVMsi (Hons) in Veterinary Medicine and Science. He has been around dogs since childhood and has unconditional love for dogs. It makes him become a researcher instead of practicing as a veterinarian. Dominic enjoys his work and likes to share his findings with dog parents to give them a better understanding of dogs’ behaviors.

    [email protected]

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