Why do dogs dig holes? And what can you do to stop them?

Why do dogs dig holes? And what can you do to stop them?
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We can all easily imagine our dog digging holes in the back garden, or even in the flower pots on the balcony. 

This behaviour seems to be instinctive for dogs, but it can cause problems for gardening enthusiasts, who are less than impressed to find their flowers and plants dug up.

There are several reasons why dogs dig holes:

  • Some dogs do it to cool down in summer: because the deep soil is nice and cool by comparison to the temperature of a hot summer’s day.
  • Sometimes to chase rodents or insects, which they locate with their heightened sense of smell.
  • A lack of exercise during the day may explain why a dog gets excited as soon as he is left outside.
  • If a dog spends a lot of time alone, digging holes may simply be a distracting activity to make up for the solitude.
  • When a female dog is expecting: when the puppies are about to arrive, the dog instinctively digs a hole to protect and shelter her young.
  • Puppies can also dig holes to discover their environment.
  • Finally, dogs that are more wild and less used to humans may dig holes to try and store food.

Solutions for owners of dogs who are always digging holes:

  • If the weather is warm, try to help them find a cool place.
  • Fence off any areas you want to protect.
  • Make the area in which they dig the holes less pleasant for them: bury a few stones or a grill in the ground, to discourage them from repeating the behaviour.
  • Keep your dog as busy as possible so as to ensure they are not bored.
  • Go and see an animal behaviour specialist, who will do an analysis of the behaviour and help you find some solutions.

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