Why Dogs Dig In The Dirt

Dogs dig in the earth because there is a wildness in them, although they got domesticated a long time ago. This wildness drives them to behave like predators in the jungle – a place that they are not part of anymore. You can tie this trait to how wolves – the dog’s ancestor – operates. Digging is part of a wolf’s lifestyle, and traces of that behavior get detected with dogs, their descendants. The digging is what experts call instinctual behavior, where the motivation is more from within the dog that its surroundings. This article will explore the specific reasons why your canine is in love with the earth, and why they want to put a lot of it behind them.      

Dogs Dig In The Dirt

The Reasons Expounded

So, apart from instinct, what motivates Doggie to do dirty work (get it?). They could be doing it for fun, to hunt, to create a cozy spot, or to flee.

Here is the expanded discussion:

1.For Fun.

So, you thought Doggie only loves to play with balls and giving chase? Well no! Digging is entertaining and therapeutic for them since when they dig, the soil seems to be playing back at them.

Why would they have fun with dirt while they have you, their master and best friend? Check these reasons out:

1.You may have left them alone for way too long. When the company goes missing, Doggie starts digging!

.2. The place where they live may lack toys or other playing items, or even playmates. Another pet would get Doggie psyched up bigtime!

3. They may have reached their pubescent stage. As people say, when you are young, your flame always burns and never does it die. That principle also applies to dogs, especially when they do not have any other outlet to channel their youthful energy.

4. Their type of breeding may be directing them to dig. Some breeds like the Terrier get bred to dirt themselves, something you do not have control over.

5. Also, they may be of naturally active variety. So, dogs take up the dirt-digging as a job, which then makes them feel elated. 

6. They may have seen you getting dirty and thought, ah, so this is what my master does for fun. Well, let me do it too!

7. So, how can you undo this fun-induced digging?

8. Take them for a walk. This activity will help as a form of exercise, and Doggie will find more fun than undoing the peace of the earth.

9. Get them toys! There are many active toys in the market, including balls and flying disks. The toys will not only be fun for Doggie, but the exhaustion that comes with playing will not leave them a joule of energy for the dirt-digging behavior.

10. Make your Doggie tricky – teach them some tricks. Also, be consistent about it so that the fun never ends.

The idea is to make sure that Doggie never feels lonely. Dogs stick in packs, just like wolves, their ancestors. Treat Doggie like a child – attended to them as much as possible and always stick by him. No one is an island, and no paw stands alone!

2. To Hunt.

Your Chihuahua may not look like it, but long ago, his great-great-great-aunt was a hunter, and digging was one of her tactics. Dogs feed on small animals that burrow in the earth, and that is what Doggie is experiencing. Also, he may have noticed animals and insects hiding under the soil and wants to chase them out of his territory. 

So, how do you know that the digging is about hunting? If they keep digging one area, especially under shrubs or trees or along a path – that is it.

To reduce this behavior, inspect your yard for any burrowing animals. If you find burrows, fill them with soil. Also, make sure that your fence is intact so that the vermin do not penetrate your yard. Now, Doggie will remain a non-triggered canine who does not have to destroy how your yard looks.

Be advised not to use harmful extermination methods. Whatever can do away with the burrowers may pin Doggie down, and Doggie may never see the light of day again.   

3. To Create A Cozy Spot.

The summer heat scorches, burns, and blazes everyone, including Doggie. When this happens, they make holes under the earth because it is cooler down there. The spot becomes their cozy place, which they may also take as shelter.

So, why is Doggie trying to find comfort under the earth, between the soils? The main reason is that they do not have a comfy place to call home, or their home is unbearable – too hot or too cold.

Taking care of this is easy. Visit a pet place online and get Doggie their own home. It may be costly, but it will save them from hurting their nails whenever they go digging. The design of the shelter should be purposeful – remaining cool, whatever the weather.

4. To Flee.

Yes – Doggie may be wanting to escape, but he does not want to tell you. What makes them want to flee is if they detect something in the environment that can cause them harm. Also, they may want to go somewhere, maybe to get a mate whose scent they picked.

If you think that is the case, make sure that the yard is properly fenced. If you can, plant rocks a few feet under the fence. The rocks may demotivate them from continuing to dig.

How To Get Your Dog To Stop Digging

At this moment, I know your yard or lawn is a shadow of its former self – no beauty at all. Who is behind all the earthen drama? Doggie, of course! For whatever reason, he has been finding it thrilling to pull out your daffodils and plant his paws through the surface of the earth.

Well, here are three anti-digging methods that I have not explored yet.


I know you might be scared, but you should consider this option. Picture it this way, your garden has some award-winning roses, and it is one day to the competition. Then, Doggie chooses to dig the roses out, looking for something, leaving your mouth wide open the following morning.

Sparing the rod means spoiling the dog, and I am sure you want Doggie to be at his best behavior all the time. Right?

2. Vermin Control

Your dog may not be the trouble. Some burrowers may be triggering Doggie to go out digging. So the vermin need care if you know what I mean. Get on the phone and talk to an exterminator so that they advise you on the move to make.

3. Making It Difficult For Them

You may need to deter the digging adventures yourself. You can:

Plant some thorns or pieces of wire where Doggie might dig next. As you do this, have it in mind that they could get hurt.

As a positive reinforcement method, automatic sprinklers may scare Doggie away from digging. Every time Doggie wants to do it, they detect its motion and make it rain on it.

There are some nose-wrinkling items you can use to make the earth smell awfully to Doggie. Try peels from citrus fruits – those will get the job done.

4. Get Them Distracted

Doggie is a sucker for treats, and throwing a few to the other direction will get him off the digging. When he gets something to chew, he will forget the ground-breaking project that he had started.

Should I Get A Digging Zone For My Dog?

Yes, you should. This option is not famous, but it is worth trying. Since digging comes naturally to Doggie, you might consider accommodating the behavior. You can get a handyman to construct a sizeable wooden box, or you can do it yourself. Then, fill it with sand but not to the brim. You can enhance the sandbox by hiding toys underneath the sand.

If Doggie loves digging, the sandbox will make it safe for him. Every time he seems like he wants to take a dig, direct him to the spot and let him explore his instinct.

Do Dogs Eat Dirt While They Dig It?

Yes, they do. If Doggie digs a lot, the chances are that he also downs some of the soil particles. Have you ever inspected him after a dig? If not, then do it one time. That will answer your question.

Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt?

Simple – they do it because they like it. However, experts have tied this behavior to some deficiencies in and around the diet of Doggie. The idea is this – if their food is not as nutritious as it should be, they go for the nutrients in the dirt. You must know that the soil is full of minerals. Also, the dog may be sick, or the earth could be the tasty kind.  

My Dog Eats Dirt – Should It Bother Me?

Of course, it should! Think about it this way – the soil may be full of chemicals that may cause harm to Doggie. So, what should you do?

1.Give Your Dog Nutrient-Rich food. The soil contains pro-biotic elements. Some dog food companies have made high-quality and high-protein food that gives the dietary nutrients that your dog needs.

2.See A Vet. The vet will share his medical opinion on Doggie’s dirty behavior. Since Doggie may be sick, the vet may guide you to deworm him.

Breeds That Love To Dig The Most

Here’s a table highlighting the top breeds that love digging. You may get surprised at finding your dog on the list. Get on with it!

Airedale Terrier.8
Alaskan Malamute6
Australian Shepherd10
Bedlington Terrier4
Border Collie12
Cairn Terrier5
Jack Russell Terrier1
Miniature Schnauzer11
Siberian Husky3
Smooth Fox Terrier7
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon13

Leave a Comment