Why is my dog digging holes all of a sudden? A Helpful Guide

If you’re wondering why is your dog digging holes all of a sudden, it would help to investigate why your dog is trying so hard to escape.

Your dog may want to leave your household when he feels threatened.

For instance, if you have always had one dog and recently introduced another one. This might affect your dog, especially if the new dog is more significant.

Also, if your dog has trouble socializing, he will feel uncomfortable.

I can’t remember the number of times I have been asked, “Why is my dog digging holes suddenly?”

It is another of those strange and annoying habits that your dog may suddenly start doing for no reason.

However, like all strange dog behavior, it can be stopped quickly and naturally.

Dog digging holes is not uncommon; most dog owners will tell you. Almost all dogs will need to drill holes in their life.

However, this does not mean that we should encourage the behavior. Why do dogs have dog holes? And how can I stop it?


Why Is My Dog Digging Holes?

Why do dogs drill holes?

You may have noticed your dog returning home a little dirtier than usual.

It is because he is probably having fun in your yard or during one of his escapes as you walk.

There are several reasons why your dog is digging holes all of a sudden…



Your dog may want to escape your home due to several reasons. To do so, your dog will try to run in different ways.

One of the most common ways of escaping your home is digging holes. For instance, if you let your dog in the yard, he may see an opportunity to leave your household.

This could result from curiosity to explore the outside, as in the wild.

The number of dogs that do not know how to socialize with others is fantastic. This is also a result of domestication, whereby we can adopt only one dog in a household.

Your dog is more accustomed to the human company than other dogs. Sometimes he will consider other dogs a threat and thus provoke the flight or flee reflex.

If the new dog is more extensive, your pup may feel threatened and want to flee from home. To do so, he may dig his way out and leave.

The same case may happen with the new dog, especially during the first few days. Bringing a new dog will have him trying to adjust from his old home.

This is common in adopted dogs from the shelter.


Adopted Dogs

Getting a dog from the shelter feels like a great idea, right? You will get a pet for yourself and also help the poor animal.

However, the dog is not aware of all this. He is probably wondering why he has to move from place to place.

Newly adopted dogs, especially from a shelter, may want to leave your home to return. This is because of the anxiety that comes with the change from a top to a new home.

Your dog may also feel lonely if he is used to having other pets.

Your dog will start digging holes as a way of coping with anxiety or trying to escape, as discussed above.


Attention Seeking

This I another expected behavior in dogs! They love attention and react once they do not feel like you give it to them.

You will leave your dog in the yard to take a glass of water only to find him digging holes.

However, you should monitor him for some time to determine why he just started the habit.

You will encourage the vice by giving your dog the attention he seeks. For instance, when you shout at him to stop or even look at him as he digs.



Dogs are scavengers and wild animals that still retain their instincts. Your dog may feel the need to dig holes as he would in the rough.

This, however, is usually motivated by several factors, like hunting for prey or hiding food.

In the wild, a dog is responsible for its survival. To live, they hunt for food, including rodents, squirrels, and other burrowing animals.

A dog can sniff prey from underground and dig it out.

Burrowing animals may live in your yard. These animals will prompt your dog to dig in your yard.

Even if your dog does not hunt, this is a natural response to these animals.



It can also be encouraged by boredom in that your dog will find something to do. Confining your dog is not recommended, so people leave their dogs free to move around.

However, he may end up digging in the yard when he gets bored in the yard.

You can curb this habit by keeping your dog busy all day. We shall discuss dealing with boredom in dogs later on.


To Cool Down

During hot weather, your dog may feel more heat than expected. This will make him want to cool himself down, especially if your house is not humid enough.

You may find your dog digging in the yard to lie down during summer.

This is also a result of his instincts. In other words, digging is one of the natural ways for dogs to cool down.


How To Stop Your Dog From Digging Holes

Now that we understand why a dog starts digging holes out of a sudden, let’s see what we can do to stop this crazy behavior…


Chew Toys

Getting your dog a chew toy helps curb digging. This is especially true when your dog is bored from being alone at home.

These toys will keep your dog busy instead of digging up your yard. It is essential to understand that dogs are prone to boredom when left alone.

You must monitor your dog to ensure he is digging out of boredom. Often, dogs will engage in unwanted behavior when they get bored.

Chewing provides a distraction from exploring and thus curbs the behavior.

Check out these Chew toys for dogs for dealing with the issue of digging holes…

Dog Digging Holes - Chew toys for dogsSee on Amazon
See on Amazon


It is essential to exercise your dog because it offers him mental and physical stimulation. Failure to provide this kind of stimulation may lead to boredom.

For instance, your dog might get bored when you are away from home all day. Due to domestication, you will have to confine him to the household.

Exercise will also expose your dog too exciting things and places. These are memories he is going to treasure and think about all day.

It is also likely that your dog will want to take a nap right after exercising.

Most dog owners also prefer incorporating exercises with play. You may consider getting a tennis ball for your dog to fetch as you exercise him.

This provides him with an opportunity to learn new things through exciting experiences.

This will curb boredom and anxiety that may result in your dog digging holes.


Treat Separation Anxiety And Fear

Separation anxiety refers to the extreme fear your dog may experience being left alone. Most dogs will share this at some point in their life.

As a result, your dog may develop unwanted behavior as a coping mechanism. This might include digging holes in your yard and, basically, everywhere he can.

To be able to stop your dog from digging, you will have to be sure of the underlying cause.

For instance, dogs digging could be due to separation anxiety and will need more examination.

Separation anxiety can also result from new surroundings or changes in the household. A new baby can affect the way your dog feels.

He may feel ignored as the baby will get most of the attention.  The death of the dog owner or family member is also a possible cause of separation anxiety.

Once there is a change in your household, your dog may suddenly start digging holes.

A pet behaviorist can examine this, but you can also monitor your dog for a few days to determine his source of separation anxiety.

Exercise and play before leaving the house are essential in eliminating the vice.

You can also train your dog how to be alone even when you are at home. This way, he will adapt to doing so, and you can assist by providing him with options.

You can leave him in the living room with the TV or toys on. You may start by keeping him in a different room for a few minutes.

Each time he does not exhibit separation anxiety, offer him a treat. This will reinforce and catalyze the training process.



This is helpful, especially in dogs that dig due to instincts. It isn’t easy to make a dog stop searching when he is doing it because he feels the need to.

Instead of trying to stop him from digging, you can provide an alternative. You may consider making a sad box for your dog to dig up whenever he feels like it.

However, you should first make sure that the presence of burrowing animals does not drive the need to dig.

It would help if you treated your yard with pesticides and fences well to keep these animals away. You may also consider burying treats there to make the activity exciting.

This way, your dog will feel rewarded and keep him occupied daily. This can also help in curbing boredom.


Chicken Wire

Chicken wire can solve this problem if your dog digs to escape your home.

Often, dogs know that the only way you leave your household is by digging up your yard into the fence.

You may consider burying chicken wire underground to prevent him from escaping successfully. You will make another fence so that when your dog digs, he cannot run.

New dogs will want to escape your household, and you may have to confine them in the yard. This is mainly for dog owners who dislike dogs in their houses.

However, you may also prefer plastic wire over steel. This is because steel can hurt your pup’s paws as he digs.


Pest Control

This is an essential point for dog owners with yards. This is because burrowing animals may live in your yards, prompting your dog to dig.

Treating your yard with pesticides is essential but can also harm your dog.

Some dogs are allergic to pesticides which means they might develop itchy paws. It can worsen if your dog loves to eat grass.

If he happens to ingest grass with chemicals, he may fall sick. This will be fatal and costly to treat.

Once you treat your yard, it is essential to restrict your dog from accessing it. You may keep this up for a few days until the chemicals wear off.


Thorny Plants

Planting thorny plants in the yard will keep your dog away from digging. You can grow tough plants like roses along the fence to stop him from escaping.

Your dog knows the stings hurt; thus, this is an effective method.

However, it would help if you were always careful to ensure that the thorny plants are safe. Some thorns may poison your dog, which may risk his life.

Owning a dog is one of the best things on earth. However, we cannot forget to care for our dogs which means paying attention to them.

You have to maintain a close relationship with your dog constantly. This way, you will be able to notice any behavioral vices.

Dogs are also accustomed to attention. Whenever he feels ignored, he will do anything, usually unwanted, to get your attention.

Play and plenty of exercises help keep your dog healthy and happy.

It is also advisable to always ensure that you provide physical and mental stimulation for your dog. This will keep him from boredom and thus curb behavioral issues.

Treat dispensers that reward your dog with treats is also a great way to keep him busy.


In Conclusion

Domestication requires us to provide the best care to our dogs. We also want that, don’t we? Spending time with your dog is essential.

This is because you will be able to create a special bond with him and also monitor him.

You will be able to observe any behavioral changes in your dog.

This way, you can stop the behavior as early as possible or provide better alternatives to the unwanted behavior, like digging.

The cause of this unwanted behavior is the key to determining the best way to curb it.

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