Why do Labs Dig

It is an animal instinct to dig holes in the ground. Of course, your Labrador also belongs to the same family of animals who has the habit of digging holes. But why do they do that? Before getting into that, let us understand that it is characteristic and habitual for a Labrador to dig holes. Yes, it is. There are many reasons for this. The animals have the habit of digging trenches to protect their food. It has happened in the past, and the dogs have the habit of transcending to different levels. They also dug holes to protect their puppies from bad weather and other animals. So, it is normal that your Labrador digs holes.

On the other hand, digging holes shall cause a lot of damage to your garden as well as the pet dog itself. In the past, the park or the lawn or even the ground were chemical and electrical wire-free. People lived an effortless life. Digging holes by the dogs was not taken as a more significant cause of concern. Now, there are many aspects to be considered. Firstly, your lawn shall undoubtedly get damaged. Secondly, there are many possibilities that your Dog shall get hurt. Thirdly, there are a few psychological issues that need to be addressed.

As such, digging holes being ordinary; it is not ok in the current circumstances. At the same time, let us figure out what can be done to avoid it. There are a few preliminary factors that we need to negate so that most of your lab’s digging problem is solved.

Fundamental Problems to Avoid Your Lab from Digging holes

1) Ensure that your Labrador Gets sufficient Exercise every day

This is one of the reasons your Lab gets anxious and starts digging the ground. As discussed earlier, this is one of the psychological troubles that can be addressed by taking them for walks consistently. It would be best if you considered the pup’s energy levels. Yes, the digging problem is mostly with the puppies. Take them for two walks daily. You can extend up to 30 minutes a walk. Keep the energy levels of the Dog into account while you take them for a walk. Nevertheless, 30 minutes shall be more than sufficient for a one time walk.

2) Spend Quality Time With your Dog

This is one of the psychological factors that make the Dog restless. In such a situation, the dogs tend to dig the ground out of anxiousness. Spend a good time with your Dog daily. Play with them. Interact with them by playing games and assure them you are always available for them. This shall solve most of your Dog’s digging troubles. A simple hangout in the garden also must do. But, do it consistently.

3) You can offer them something to Chew

This is a dog’s habit. If they do not chew anything for a long time, they get anxious and also start digging holes because of that. A good bone shall do the magic for you. If they do not get anything to chew, they get bored. Ultimately, your Dog must be given some activity or the other so that they get distracted. You cannot take them out for a walk always, and you cannot provide them with any exercise all the time. A good chew shall do the trick, and the Dog shall stop digging the ground.

4) Ensure that the Dog has an adequate shelter

This is one of the reasons they dig holes in the ground. As it is an animal instinct to dig holes if they feel cold, they do that if they do not feel warm. Giving them appropriate shelter and warmth, they shall never indulge in such activities. Al the more, the Labrador is yours and your family member too. Giving them proper protection is our responsibility.

The factors, as mentioned above, are to be addressed as these are common mistakes most of the owners do. If these are addressed, you shall definitely find your pup not digging holes at all. Also, you can use the digging aspect as the sign of some discomfort and treat it accordingly.

We must also know why your Labrador does dig the ground. We came to understand what has to be done, and there are a few things that we must know so that you can take collective actions to solve it.

The Prime reasons for a dog to dig holes in the ground

reasons for a dog to dig holes

1) Puppies dig

Of course, they do. They are young and want to explore the world. They have the curiosity to know everything under the ground. They tend to dig and spoil your garden. As they tend to dig as a kid, just with minimal effort from your end can easily solve this problem. If you do this continuously, they shall stop digging as they grow older. Also, follow the above-said self-made treatments so that it is of excellent support.

2) The Dog develops the digging habit from its young age

This is a regular habit. The pups, as we saw, shall have their instinct and curiosity to dig the ground. If you do not teach them that it is wrong, they tend to inherit that as their habit. It is an act that shall bring happiness in your pup, and if they continue to do that, they may spoil the entire garden as they grow matured and steady, their intensity of digging increases. Watch Out!!!

3) Separation Anxiety is one of the reasons

Psychological problems are the leading causes of this digging trouble. When the Dog gets anxious, they want to distract themselves from getting diverted from that anxiety. This makes them dig the ground. Usually, digging the ground in adult dogs are looked at as separation anxiety. If they get bored or anxious, they dig the ground and create a lot of mess.

4) Your Dog is planning to escape

This happens to the dogs that you keep them under a fence cover. Especially if they do not get the basic necessities inside the fenced area, they have the habit of escaping to explore the outside world. The escape mentality develops as anxiousness, and they start digging the ground. Ensure that you offer them the shelter, support, and love they shall not dig anymore.

5) Your Dog is Pregnant too

This shall make them dig holes and protect the toys inside that. Also, if there are any food items, they tend to dig holes and bury them inside. It is an instinctive behavior. They are planning to protect the food and toys for its puppies. While this is very common, this type of digging is not aggressive as well. Also, this can be easily ignored as you will be intervening in its love towards its kids.

How to solve this problem?

There are a few ways that you can treat this problem. Though initially, we saw specific steps that you can take to avoid them from digging, you must know how to manage your Dog to be out of this trouble ultimately.

1) Counter Conditioning

This is one of the methods that you can use to make your Dog come out of the digging trouble. Most of the time, it is the anxiousness that causes them to dig the ground. Train them to associate the uncomfortable situation with something that is productive. It can be chewing a treat too. If they feel lonely, train them to grab a chew rather than digging holes.

2) Positive Reinforcement

If you do not teach them that digging is wrong, they shall certainly not learn that. Give them productive alternatives other than digging as an option for them to do. Also, teach them that digging is wrong.

3) Strict Supervision

This can certainly stop them from digging. Most of the time, we let them alone in the garden and leave them unnoticed too. The anxiousness and curiosity mounts in the dogs. They start digging. Always allow your pets to roam around in the garden under your supervision. If you find any act of digging, stop them right there.

4) Appropriate Restriction

This is for extreme cases where you cannot stop them from digging. Get a crate and put them inside that. Or chain them most of the day while you are not able to watch them. Such acts can stop them from digging.

5) Make an Attractive digging are for your pet

This can be done for the pets who love to dig and not dig out of anxiousness. Create a designated area and decorate them. Allow them to bury the toys and food items there. This shall be fun, and you are also allowing them to live an unrestricted life. This shall not make them dig anywhere else other than the place you have assigned them to.

Useful Tips to Solve this Digging problem

Solve this Dog Digging problem
  1. Supervise the Dog as it is out: This is an essential task; you must take it up as and when you go out with your Dog. Even if you allow them to hang around freely, have a close watch.
  2. Accept the Extinction Bursts: The dogs tend to be more aggressive towards their lousy behavior when that is suppressed. Allow it the time, and they shall come back to normalcy.
  3. Patience helps you a lot: Yes, it does. Even humans these days do not change their behavior soon. Take your time and give the Dog their time too.
  4. If needed, go for professional help: There are extreme cases where they do not listen to you and always keep digging. Such situations can be handled by the professional and do not get scared in assigning them.

What is that you must not do to control digging behavior?

  1. Do not allow them alone in any circumstance. Your supervision is always required.
  2. Please do not get into the punishment mode. You have to be patient if you are planning to change an inborn behavior.
  3. There is a suggestion to fill water in the holes. It does not work. Instead, it shall increase the level of curiosity to dig more.


Digging holes, as we saw, is its inborn behavior. You will never restrict with force, and it is always counterproductive. There are several ways, as we mentioned, and not all the time, all the steps can work. Use the right steps at the right time. You know your dog better than anyone else in the world. Also, digging holes is an inherited behavior from the ancestors.

It is in their genes. Punishing them for doing it shall not be a solution at all. Most of the time, behavior mapping works a lot. Also, give them a lot of love so that they do not get anxious at all. Assure them that you are always there for them, they shall easily come out of this trouble.

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