How to Correct a Dog That Digs

Doggie digging an escape tunnel again?
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Digging is one of those behaviors that your dog might have trouble resisting. After all, it's a lot of fun -- for him, anyway. If you have a digger, he'll look for every opportunity to start digging away. While changing the digging behavior is not necessarily easy, it's not impossible either. You might not be able to convince Doggie that digging is boring, but you might find more interesting things for him to do so digging moves down the list.

Step 1

Bring Doggie inside. He might be digging because he’s tired of being alone or trying to catch your attention. Better yet, go out with him when he steps into the yard. That way you can say a firm “no” every time he starts going at it. Want to give Rover free access to the yard? Leave the door open or install a doggie door. That way he can come right back inside and spend time with you every time he wants to.

Step 2

Get Rover more toys. While digging might not be your idea of fun, it might be Rover’s. So if he’s suddenly digging -- and looking like he’s having a lot of fun -- maybe it’s time to focus his attention somewhere else. A few squeaky toys, a rawhide bone or more time with you at the local park might do it.

Step 3

Turn up the air conditioner. Dogs, especially those who grew up outdoors, sometimes dig their own “beds” to escape the heat. Deeper ground is cooler than surface ground, so Rover might be making a hole so he can sleep on it. If you adopted Doggie from a shelter, find out where he came from. Any chance he had to sleep outside, on his own? Bring him inside into a cool room so he can learn there are cooler places to sleep than on the ground.

Step 4

Make Rover a very, very tired doggie. Extra-long walks, long Frisbee sessions or a run on the local beach are all great workout options. If he's digging as a way to burn off excess energy, long exercise sessions will help.


  • Some breeds, like terriers, are natural diggers. They dig in search of small mammals they can hunt. If you have one of these breeds, well, good luck to you. You can still try to discourage digging, but it might be easier to simply provide an “acceptable” digging area. Every time Doggie starts to dig, just move him to that location, which can be a section of your backyard, a sandbox or anywhere you don’t mind having a big hole.