Why Does My Dog... Dig?

Dog with hole in yard.
iStockphoto

En Español

Digging is so much fun! No wonder your dog has a hard time understanding why you’re so steamed she just tore up that new row of annuals. It should be obvious that she was compelled to dig — as if by some instinct — to dig up that fresh patch of wet earth you just spent half a day toiling over.

Even if you aren’t fed up with the many holes that make your yard look like a moth-eaten sweater, you might still want to know why your pup digs.

Here are the most common reasons.

It’s fun. Digging is what dog paws were designed for, which is why nature devised a simple scheme for ensuring dogs would be great at this behavior: Make them love it!

It relieves boredom (and sometimes stress). If you had at least two able paws, lots of energy, and time to kill, wouldn’t you dig, too? Digging gives a dog something to do, but it could also be a sign of stress, which is exacerbated by inadequate exercise or mental stimulation.

It’s how a dog makes a den. Consider it canine DIY: She’s building her own home. It’s great to have a place to hunker down when it’s cold (which is why cold-weather breeds are predisposed to digging), but dogs also build dens for safety (mostly when whelping their pups).

It’s a way to get to prey. Got voles or moles or other such vermin? If so, and you’ve got a Terrier breed and a yard, you’re likely to have holes all over the place. In fact, your yard may look a lot like Swiss cheese.

It’s how she can get under (and out). A dog looking to catch prey, find a mate, fill a belly, or simply enjoy a night on the town will sometimes dig an escape route.

Sometimes the reasons overlap, as when a bored, stressed Husky threatens to unearth a septic tank or when the occasional Parson’s Terrier attempts to burrow vole holes right into the sofa. 

Google+

Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!