How to Keep Dogs From Digging Under the Fence - Backyard Boss
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How to Keep Dogs From Digging Under the Fence

I grew up living in the woods where our dogs could freely dig as much as they liked. We didn’t have to keep them from digging under fences because we didn’t have any. However, I remember my brother’s black lab digging under her doghouse every summer and we had no idea what that was about, except she seemed to like lying in the hole. As it turns out, she was just trying to cool off in the Florida heat. For those of you who are too busy to deal with that behavior, we’ve created a list of 21 dog fence ideas for your yard. However, if you don’t have time to make one, we have another solution, so go ahead and check the list of the best outdoor dog kennel for 2021.

There are reasons your dog is digging those holes, so before starting the process of trying to keep them from digging, try to find out why it’s happening. You’ll learn in this article what to do next after that discovery’s been made.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes in the First Place?

Short coated black dog standing near the fence
Image Credits: Jonnelle Yankovich on Unsplash

It is important to examine why dogs dig in the first place. It seems that it’s just an annoying habit, but there are some reasons behind it, and by doing that dogs may be asking for help.

To Regulate Body Temperature

Sometimes dogs dig holes in the shade or direct sun because of the outdoor temperatures. In the summertime, they’re digging in the shade because they want to cool down. If they’re digging in the hot spot during the winter, it’s because they’re cold.

To Hunt

Dogs are good at sensing the presence of small animals and insects. 

That’s why they often dig near the house or doghouse because they’ve smelled a mole burrowing around and they’re in the mood to hunt.

To Fight Boredom

It’s very important to give dogs toys and playtime attention. If not, they can decide that digging a hole is the best way to pass the time.

To Hide Treasures

Dogs like to keep their treasures safe and well-hidden from prying eyes. Of course, their idea of a treasure is more likely to involve bones than gold.

To Follow the Leader

If you’re a gardener, chances are your dog has witnessed your digging skills at work. And since you’re their role model, they can decide to follow your lead and dig away in the garden or the yard.

How to Keep Dogs from Digging Under a Chain Link Fence

Brown dog carrying large stick through woods
Image credits: Jamie Street via Unsplash

Whether they’re hunting or fighting boredom, dogs are notorious for trying to escape under fences – even the small breeds.

If you catch your dog in action, interrupt his digging with a loud command or noise. If he stops, give him a reward like a treat.

Reinforce that by building a barrier. You can safely add some simple barriers to help keep your pup from escaping under the fence.

  1. Partially buried flat rocks
  2. Bury plastic chicken wire (avoid metal, which may harm your dog’s paws)
  3. Add a motion sensor to your sprinkler system
  4. Thorny bushes or sticky shrubs along the fence line
  5. Lace the fence line with citrus peels, vinegar, or cayenne pepper
  6. Bury the bottom of the chain-link fence one or two feet below ground level

If it seems more likely that he’s escaping boredom, provide him with some more toys, spend more time together playing and relaxing, or consider getting a playmate for your pet.

How to Stop Your Dog From Digging Holes in the Yard

Two dogs playing in their yard
Image Credits: Photo by Mathew Smith on Unsplash

If your dog is digging holes in the yard, more than likely he’s on the hunt for a critter or seeking more comfort from the elements. 

If the holes are focused on a single area instead of along the fence line, at the roots of trees and shrubs, or in a path, he’s probably hunting. 

However, if the holes are close to buildings or under trees, near a water source, and he lays in those holes, he’s seeking some shelter from the heat or cold.

To help with these issues, consider:

  1. Bringing your pup indoors more often
  2. Providing a better shelter or more shade
  3. Add vermin deterrents like a solar-energy mole repellant or non-toxic (pet-safe) insect repellants
  4. Add more access to clean water in untippable bowls

How to Keep Dogs From Digging Under the Kennel

White and brown long coated dog lying on the grass
Image Credits: Honest Paws on Unsplash

If your dog is digging under his kennel, chances are he’s seeking some better temperatures, or he’s just bored. 

If your pet is bored, you’re going to need some extra help. Some things you can do to keep him from digging include:

  • Walk your dog more often – hire a walker, if needed.
  • Play with him with more active toys like frisbees, balls, tug-o-war ropes, etc.
  • Provide engaging toys when you’re not around. Things like a kong treat dispenser, busy-boxes, and others that help them engage their minds can be really helpful with this. Rotate the toys in and out to keep them interested.
  • Teach your dog new commands and tricks. Practice every day for 10 minutes.
  • Take a training class together with your dog and practice what you learn together outside the class.

How to Stop Your Dog From Digging in the Same Spot Over and Over Again

Alskan husky digging in ground, face not visible
Image credits: SabbraCadabra via Pixabay

The solution to your pet’s digging problem depends on his motivation. Provide him a shaded area to lay in during the summer, and don’t leave him out for long.

Give him vigorous exercise each day so he doesn’t feel the need to expend pent-up energy on backyard excavations. Discourage him from digging at certain sites by installing a square piece of chicken wire a few inches under the soil’s surface in your dog’s favorite digging spots.

If you’ve got the space to spare, consider creating a designated digging zone. This area is set aside for your dog to dig as much as he wants. Cover the area with sand or loose soil, or use a kid’s sandbox. Bury some fun items in there for your pup and reward her with praise for digging in her designated spot.

You can also consider burying some of your dog’s waste in the hole he keeps returning to. When he uncovers it, he won’t find the hole as attractive and likely will stop digging there. Repeat as needed.

Things to Avoid Doing

Wire Fence
Image credits: Helena Lopes via Pexels

There are a few things you should avoid doing in response to all those holes.

  1. Never punish your dog after the fact. This is likely to cause some anxiety and fear or make the behavior even worse.
  2. Don’t stake your dog near one of the holes she’s dug. This will reinforce this area as a digging zone. Instead, use a sturdy, flexible barrier to fence off that area. This may help break your canine pal from the habit of digging in that area.
  3. Avoid using products that may harm your pooch, whether they’re sharp or toxic. Anything that can poison wildlife can harm your dog.

Keeping Your Dog and Yard Safe

Remember that safety is the most important factor in the methods you choose to employ. Ensure no techniques can harm your dog or other animals roaming the neighborhood. Probably you’ll need to use several of the methods to help break its bad habit. Keep testing until you find the right options.