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How To Stop My German Shepherd From Digging Holes

Hearing Or Smelling Things Under The Ground

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Did you know that dogs have over 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to humans who have just 6 million? And the part of their brain devoted to smell is approximately 40 times larger than ours.

Its no wonder then that they can smell things buried beneath the surface that they are curious about unearthing.

But its not just smell, its also their acute sense of hearing. They can hear high pitched frequencies that we are unable to hear. If there are bugs or creatures underneath the ground moving around, its highly likely that your dog will hear them.

How To Proof No Jumping

Proofing in different areas is pretty simple. Basically, all you need to do is rinse and repeat the steps you originally followed.

This part goes pretty quickly because all youâre doing is showing your dog what you want in different places.

Proofing with more challenging criteria takes a little more work and creativity on your part.

You can work on your own, or you can work with someone.

To begin with, youâll click and reward as youâre doing the jump provoking behavior.

And once your dog is successfully staying calm and not jumping youâll start clicking and rewarding after the distraction.

Remember the golden rule of dog training is to set your dog up for success. If your pooch is getting too excited and failing go back a step to less distractions.

Hereâs a quick example of proofing at the front door

Greet your dog in an excited, happy voice and you can even add some physical touch here. All these things excite dogs and thatâs what you want so you can proof the behavior.

Remember to click and reward. So itâll look something like this

Jump provoking behavior / no jumping / click / reward.

If your dog is doing well, raise the criteria even more by moving excitedly to and from the door. Remember a happy voice!

If your dog does jump, just move to the side and ignore them. And then take a step back to calmer movements and voice.

You can even pretend that youâre scared of your dog. So try using body movements that a person whoâs afraid of dogs would do.

Possible Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Digs

There are a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might dig a lot that I will mention below.

To protect food

One reason why dogs used to dig was to protect their food. By digging holes in the ground, they would be able to hide their food away from predators. Your German Shepherd might instinctively be doing this as well.

To cool down

Another possible reason why your German Shepherd might dig a lot is because its looking to cool down. If your German Shepherd digs when it is hot outside and it does not have access to shaded areas then the digging could be because the soil below is cooler and its looking to lay down in it to cool off.


Since German Shepherds were bred to do intensive tasks for hours daily it means that they require a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated. If your German Shepherd is not getting a lot of exercise daily then the digging could be because it is bored and it is making its own entertainment.

The cause of the digging could be because it doesnt like being left without you so and its way of coping with it is to dig. Other signs that this could be the cause is that it becomes anxious when it notices that youre about to leave and that it does other destructive things while you are away.

Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?

To get next door

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Chicken Wire Or Netting

This sounds odd, and is certainly not cheap, but is supposedly quite effective.

Install chicken wire or mesh netting under your lawn or around areas that your dog likes to dig in. This requires a fair amount of work and works best for smaller spaces.

Basically, the wire is a subsurface deterrent that your dog just cant get under.

Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Beds

How To Stop A German Shepherd From Digging

Wondering why dogs scratch their beds? Dogs like to dig in their beds and do circles to chase away any unwanted pests. Before dogs were domesticated, theyd lie down in the tall grass and stomp around to create safety and comfort. This meant they wanted to scare off any rodents, snakes, etc., to ensure the space was only theirs.

Digging and circling is also a way for them to. A dogs paws have sweat glands that help mark their resting place with their scent.

This natural burrowing dog bed provides a great way for your dog to dig the perfect space in its bed without wrecking it. Our dogs have tried this product out and truly adore it.

If your dogs bed is destroyed from all the digging, consider one of these dog beds or an elevated dog bed as a replacement.

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A Means Of Cooling Down

A German Shepherd may also dig as a way of cooling down their body.

When the day temperatures get high, a dog may look for a way to cool themselves. Holes in the ground where they can sit provide a cooling effect on their body.

This is seen when they dig around places near a building, water source, or under a shade. Observe if this is the reason your dog digs during hot days.

Dont Leave Your German Shepherd Unsupervised

Many GSD owners swear that the best way to avoid digging behavior is to never leave your young GSD unsupervised in your yard.

It can be tempting to just let the dog out on their own, shut the door and forget about them for an hour or two they need the exercise and fresh air, right?

Yes, but no.

Remember, your dog is still learning and growing for the first few years of its life and training is a constant process. Digging can be a very hard instinct to train them out of and requires constant vigilance on your part to be successful.

Being outside with your dog does not require constant interaction with them. You can do yard work, have a cup of tea on the porch, read the paper, or whatever strikes your fancy. Just keep your eye on your dog and make sure to respond immediately with a firm no to the first signs of them opening up a hole. It is also a good idea to follow up the no with sending them inside or to another part of the yard.

Be careful though, some owners unintentionally train their dogs to dig by unintentionally rewarding them! If you see your dog digging, and you go and get them a toy or a treat to distract them, you are actually teaching them to get your attention through digging.

It is best to reward your dog when you see them doing the right thing:

Also Check: What Age Do Female German Shepherds Go Into Heat

How To Keep A Dog Out Of The Garden

Keeping a pet out of a garden usually comes down to either a physical barrier or a scent barrier.

A physical barrier is obviously some kind of fence or moat around the garden that will keep your pet out. Some people use mulch or pine cones around the garden as an obstruction. Pets often hate the sensation of walking on these jagged objects and so will avoid them.

Dog repellent plants like marigolds and citronella based deterrents can act as a scent barrier for pets. Other scent based deterrents you can try include citrus scented plants, citrus based products, citrus peels or vinegar sprays.

Dogs with high intent can often overcome these scent deterrents however.

So if you find yourself asking why is my dog digging holes all of a sudden, its important to keep a few points in mind. If its a medical or behavioural issue, then seek help from your veterinarian. If its your pet expressing their natural behaviour, then redirect it in a positive way that keeps everyone happy. Remember, this all takes time, patience and repetition. So if you dont see results immediately, dont give up. Some dogs will outgrow their digging behaviour. Most can learn to happily coexist.

Does your dog like to dig? Leave your stories and perhaps possible ways youve overcome this problem, in the comments below.

Spend Time With Their Dog


Take time to bond and play with your German Shepherd.

Understandably you may not be able to be active with them all the time because of your daily schedule but try to make time. Taking walks or having outdoor games can really mean a lot to your dog who loves spending time with you.

This can really minimize the attention-seeking behavior such as digging just to have your time.

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The Root Of The Behavior

In the wild, dogs dug holes for a variety of reasons which includes protecting themselves and their puppies or hiding their food. Dogs foraged for food and often found it and wanted to save it for later. So they dug holes to hide it from other dogs and animals. This allowed dogs to have nutrition and eat when they really needed it. Dogs love den-like environments because their instinct and DNA craves it for different reasons. If your dog is digging up the yard, he might be trying to cool off from the hot weather, warm up from cold weather, find a safe place to sleep, or hiding food for later. You will be able to determine the cause that leads to the behavior by observing your dog when he digs holes. Some dogs have emotional anxiety from being separated from their owner all day while they are at work while others dig holes to hide from thunderstorms.

How Do You Stop A German Shepherd Digging Holes

If your german shepherd is digging holes, fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can get them to stop. So if one doesnt work, you can always move onto another. And you can also try more than one at once!

Here are the best ways to stop your german shepherd from digging holes.

Exercise Them More

The simple solutions are often the best. One of the easiest ways to get your dog to stop digging is to exercise them more.

German shepherds are very energetic dogs, often theyll need two walks a day to keep them tired.

If you cant walk them, then you should at least spend some time playing fetch or tug of war with them.

Whatever you choose to do, making sure theyre getting tired out is one of the best ways to stop them from digging.

Spend Time With Them

Ideally, german shepherds shouldnt spend more than four hours at a time on their own during the day.

If you cant spend time with them, then you should try to find a family member or somebody that can.

Spending time with them can also help reduce their separation anxiety.

And when you do have to leave your dog alone for long periods of time, make sure you tire them out first.

Give Them A Sandpit

Often giving your german shepherd a designated spot to dig can help stop your garden from being ruined. Of course, this only works when your garden is big enough.

When you add a sandpit, youll need to make sure your german shepherd knows to use it. One great way to get them to start is by burying treats and toys in the sand.

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Use Deterrents To Discourage Digging

Use deterrents to discourage your dog from digging. You can do this by filling the holes they dug up with their feces or they or citrus fruit peels.

If your dog does not usually eat their own feces as some dogs do, they will move away because some dogs hate the smell of their own feces.

Most dogs dislike the smell of citruses such as lemon, orange, or grapefruit and will back away from it. When your dog revisits the area to dig again and finds these items, they will be discouraged from digging in that area.

If You Have A Dog That’s Constantly Digging Up Your Flower Beds It Can Be Incredibly Frustrating Find Out Why Your Dog Digs And How To Stop Them Doing It With Our Helpful Guide

Reclaim Your Yard By Training Out The Digging Problems ...

Dogs can develop the urge to dig at any time in their life: it could be a habit theyve had since being a puppy, or something that comes on later in their adulthood. Find out more about what drives dogs to dig in order to determine how to stop a dog digging.

The occasional scuffle in the soil isnt a problem, but digging as a repeated habit can be a destructive behaviour. If you dont discourage digging early on, significant damage can be done to your garden and home, and it will become harder to train your dog not to dig.

Find out more about what drives dogs to dig in order to determine how to stop a dog digging.

Also Check: Are German Shepherd Dogs Good Pets

Get Rid Of Burrowing Animals

One way you can discourage your German Shepherd from digging in the yard in search of rodents or any burrowing animals is to get rid of the burrowing animals.

This can be done by reaching out to an expert in this to assist in the methods to discourage the animals from your yard depending on which animal it is.

You can also fence off the area that the animals appear frequently.

One thing not to do to get rid of the animals is the use of poison which can be harmful to your dog if they happen to eat it.

Why Is My German Shepherd Digging Holes In Yard


Likewise, people ask, how do you get a dog to stop digging holes in the yard?

Here are our top seven solutions to help stop your dog’s digging behavior.

  • More playtime and exercise.
  • Maintain an area for acceptable digging.
  • Discourage digging in unwanted areas.
  • Add digging deterrents.
  • Get rid of rodents.
  • Help your dog cool down.
  • do shepherds like to dig? Have you been annoyed with your German Shepherd trying to dig holes in your garden and backyard? All dogs love to dig, and it is absolutely normal if you find your GS digging up the ground. However, if the digging goes overboard and you are just too annoyed, you need to make it stop.

    Herein, do dogs grow out of digging?

    Sometimes dogs grow out of digging, but this is not usually the case. Some dogs will stop digging as they get older, but others will not. Some breeds, such as terriers, were bred to dig. While some dogs will not naturally grow out of digging, there are steps you can take to curb the behavior.

    How can you get a dog to stop digging holes?

    To keep your dog in your yard:

  • Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence.
  • Place large rocks, partially buried, along the bottom of the fence line.
  • Bury the bottom of the fence 1 to 2 feet below the surface.
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    Digging For Many Reasons

    So, its clear that digging is an instinctive canine behavior. After all, dogs even dig in the couch cushions before lying down for a nap. But what is your dog hoping to accomplish with all that pawing at the ground? The truth is, there are many different reasons why dogs dig. The most basic of these is to seek prey. Yards infested with vermin like moles may have dogs digging like crazy to find what they can hear and smell.

    There are other practical reasons for digging as well. For example, dogs may dig a shallow bed in the cool earth to help beat the heat on a warm summers day. Thick-coated Northern breeds like the Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky may be especially prone to this. Pregnant females may also be inclined to dig as part of their denning instinct.

    And just as dogs dig to look for food, they will dig to bury things too. This caching behavior is a throwback to that wolf heritage. If your dog has had enough of a bone or toy but doesnt want to risk leaving it where it can be stolen, they might choose to keep it safe by placing it underground. Of course, locating it again is another story!

    Dogs also will dig to get under barriers. They might be trying to escape the yard to find more exciting locations or even search for a mate. But keep in mind, not all escape artists are looking for fun. Some dogs will try to escape because they are anxious in the yard or scared to be alone.

    How To Stop My German Shepherd Puppy From Digging Holes

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    You can use a scent as a dog digging repellent: citrus, vinegar,

    Cayenne pepper is not harmful to your dog or puppy if swallowed or ingested.

    your dog’s poop and bury it in a hole near where your dog has been digging.

    To stop your dog from chewing or digging, keep him busy.

    Golden Retriever Puppy chewing bone, close-up. Digging. Make sure to keep her busyprovide.

    Provide adequate shelter, since often dogs will dig holes simply to shield themselves from sun or wind.

    I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago.

    My grandfather shouted, We got a puppy! The puppy was a half German shepherd and half Siberian.

    shed find a spot in the backyard, dig a hole, and bury her pizza treasures.

    My backup dog, Baby J, a 6-year-old Pit Bull mix has another way of venting her.

    Diablo the Saint Bernard/German Shepherd mix Puppy is standing on a tiled.

    He’s barely visible, at the end of all the trash, clothes, etc., by the open door.”.

    Plus it doesn’t take long for a little bit of digging to end in a HUGE hole!.

    I once worked with a German Shepherd who would dig, and then chase and try to bite at the dirt she threw for her this was a game.

    labrador training, puppy training.

    If I provide my dogs with enough mental stimulation and exercise (more.

    Many years ago, I bought an album by the band Boston, and the second cut on the record was a song entitled, Peace of Mind..

    Many a garden has been sacrificed to the paws of a digging dog, and it can.

    I might even stop and.

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