The Positives Of Your Dog’s Digging Habit

Why does your dog dig and how can it be a positive activity?

Puppies love to dig! It’s in their blood and it is quite often their favorite pastime. This is especially true for young puppies that stem from the sporting group, the terrier group, and the Nordic group.

Digging is also a dog’s way of relieving stress and “letting it all out” so to speak. If a puppy is experiencing anxiety levels due to a new baby in the house, a recent move, strange people, or lack of attention, then he is going to dig in order to help himself feel better.

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can help diminish your puppy’s digging behavior so that it is less destructive to your belongings while at the same time giving him a place to dig without being punished for it.

Below are a set of instructions that will help you train your dog not to dig and claw in areas that you do not want him to, as well as creating a place of his own where he is free to dig at his heart’s content

Digging is an outlet for stress and energy1. The first thing you need to do is find one area that your puppy is allowed to dig in as much as he wants to. This could be somewhere in your house, in a nearby park, or better yet, in your backyard if you have the luxury of owning the property.

2. Make it fun for your puppy to dig by burying some of his toys and bones underneath the dirt. Now play with your dog and start digging with him so you can both play the game of looking for his toys while digging. It becomes a lot of fun to watch your puppy dig along with you in search of his hidden treasure.

3. Every day, go back to your dog’s digging area and instruct him to start digging by giving him a command. This command could be as simple as “Sparky, Go Dig!” After a while he will immediately begin clawing at the dirt in wild anticipation for the fun that lay ahead.

iStock_000002136036_Large4. If you see your puppy digging in any area other than his digging spot, be sure to correct him and then guide him to his proper digging location. This is the same protocol that you would use when housebreaking a puppy after he makes a mess in the house. Eventually, your dog will seek out his digging area when he feels the urge to dig away. Remember, only scold him for digging in an inappropriate spot if you catch him in the act. Don’t scold him if you come home to holes in your yard that he dug hours ago.

At Highland Canine Training, LLC, we specialize in rehabilitating behavior problems and helping dog owners resolve problems with their dogs. If you need help or advice in treating dog behavior problems such as digging, please feel free to call us at 866.200.2207 or email us at We offer free in-home evaluations and affordable and effective solutions to all dog behavior problems.