How to Keep Dogs From Digging Under Fence? 12 Best Solutions

Last Updated on July, 2024

Dogs digging under the fence can be a frustrating experience for many pet parents. 

Especially when dogs destroy your garden and try to escape, you wonder how to stop this annoying behavior, right?

Not to worry, though!

In this article, you will learn how to stop your dog from digging under fence, the common reasons for digging, and more.

So, keep reading to find out how to solve the troublesome behavior of your pup.

Let’s get started!

Quick Summary

There are many ways to stop a dog from digging, including filling in present holes, providing a designated digging spot, using a dog-safe deterrent spray, and adding large rocks or gravel stones.

Dogs dig for many reasons, including boredom, prey drive, attention seeking, and anxiety.

Things not to do to stop a dog from digging include punishing the dog, using things that can hurt the dog, leaving the dog tethered and unsupervised, and filling the hole with water.

Why Do Dogs Dig Under the Fence?

a dog digging under the fence

If you want to stop your pup from digging under the fence, you should find the root cause behind this behavior.

And once you identify the reason for this undesirable behavior, you can easily eliminate it.

So, why exactly does your dog dig under the fence?

In this section, you will learn the most common reasons for dogs digging under the fence.

So, let’s check them out!

For Entertainment

Did you know that dogs dig to be entertained and get some fun?

Your pooch may be digging under the fence because he is bored. So, your dog may be trying to do something enjoyable.

This unwanted dog digging often occurs when pet owners leave their furry friends alone for long periods. OH NO!

Moreover, dogs will look for entertainment by digging if:

  • Dogs have no playmates or toys.
  • They are a puppy or adolescent and looking for a way to release their energy.
  • Dogs are one of some dog breeds, such as Terriers and Beagles. These breeds have an innate tendency to dig.
  • They are adventurous and always trying to be active.
  • Dogs have seen their owners gardening or working in the yard recently.

Hunting Prey

If you notice that your dog digs in an unwanted area, it may be due to their hunting behavior.Each dog has a unique level of prey drive.

Specifically, dogs of hunting breeds such as Terriers, Hounds, and Weimaraners have a higher prey drive than other dogs.

As a result, when dogs see burrowing animals or insects, they try to chase and catch them by digging holes.

In such cases, dogs usually dig in a single area instead of the boundary.

a dog digging the ground

And if the digging has a path-like structure with two holes, it is most probably because the dog is hunting another animal.

To Get Attention

If your pooch learns he gets attention by digging they will keep doing it.

Dog owners should keep in mind that dogs need proper mental stimulation. So, if they are understimulated, these four-legged buddies will try to dig holes just to get their owners’ attention.

Our loving dogs need lots of love, care, interaction, and attention from their owners. When dogs do not receive them, they try to get attention through destructive behavior.

Therefore, you should ignore the attention-seeking digging behavior and praise your pup for good behavior.

So, if your dog’s digging in front of you often, he may be asking to spend more time with you.

To Escape

Another common reason for your dog digging under the fence is to escape.

Many dogs try to escape the yard by digging under the fence.

However, this does not mean your pet wants to leave you. Instead, it may be because your pooch simply wants to roam outside the fence. 

If your dog is a brilliant escape artist, he will try every possible way to escape from the yard. 

a dog running on the ground

Of course, dogs are MISCHIEVOUS!

Most dogs dig holes when they try to get to something or get away from something. So, your dog’s digging behavior may be caused by something they saw, and they want to run toward it. 

As a result, dogs attempt to dig deep holes under the fence and try to escape through them.

Also, mating urges can cause your pup to escape the yard. Male dogs especially attempt to run away when they smell a female dog in heat.

And this is one of the primal instincts of dogs. But unfortunately, they cannot control it, so they try to escape.

Moreover, dogs crave friendship and try to interact with other dogs in the outside world. 

So, these reasons may influence them to escape the yard by digging.

Anxiety or Stress

A stressed or anxious dog may tend to escape the yard by digging the fence line.

Many dogs engage in digging behavior as a form of stress relief.

And if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, your pup will show undesirable digging behavior.

So, if you leave your pup alone in the yard for hours, you may notice holes all over. 

Sounds TERRIBLE, right?

a dog in Stress

Therefore, if you can eliminate your furry friend’s separation anxiety, you can control your dog’s behavior.

Moreover, if your pet is frightened by fireworks, thunderstorms, or other scary stimuli he will become anxious or stressed.

So, these situations may also trigger your dog’s digging behavior.

And other signs of aggression, destructive behavior, excessive elimination, depression, barking, and pacing.

How Do You Stop Your Dog From Digging Under Fence?

Now that you know the common reasons for dog digging let’s check out what you can do to stop digging under the fence. Shall we?

1. Figure Out the Reason for Digging

First of all, you should identify the reason behind your pup’s digging behavior. 

Check whether your dog is affected by any of the reasons mentioned above.

Once you understand the cause of your pet’s unwanted activities, you can take the necessary actions to stop your dog from digging.

Moreover, you should redirect your dog’s attention whenever he attempts to start digging in your yard.

So, read on to learn what you can do to resolve the situation.

a dog digging the ground

2. Fill any Present Holes

In some cases, dogs are attracted to existing holes. So, it is essential to fill up any holes as the existing holes may encourage your dog to dig more and more holes in the yard.

Cover up the present holes to discourage this undesirable behavior and prevent additional digging. You can use soil, dirt, and rocks to do this.

Moreover, dog owners can do landscaping or use other lawn fixtures to cover up any holes to stop their troublesome diggers.

This will also help you notice if the holes reappear over time.

3. Chicken Wire

Another great way to stop your dog from digging is to use chicken wire.

Burying chicken wire under the fence can simply stop your dog’s digging.

Your pup will be discouraged from digging the places where the chicken wire is buried. 

First, you have to measure the fence correctly and buy the correct amount of chicken wire.

Then you can bury chicken wire under the fence with a single side sticking into the yard.

Chicken Wire

To do that, dig a pit under the fence that is deep enough to place the chicken wire inside.

This pit has to be the same width as your pet’s digging holes. Then cover up the pit until it is fully covered.

Also, make sure to roll the sharp edges away from the yard.

So, there you are! Now you know an effective solution to stop your dog from digging under the fence.

4. Assign a Digging Spot

Dogs that enjoy digging need a way to release the urge to dig.

It is a natural behavior for many dogs. And when they do not get to release the urge to dig, they attempt to mess the yard and even escape. 

So, if your dog is an innate digger, assigning him a separate digging zone is a great solution to stop the digging.

A separate digging area helps keep your furry friend happy and entertained and your yard beautiful.

a dog digging the ground

It is COMFORTING, right?

Dog owners can provide their pets a sandbox, a digging-safe space for dogs.

Don’t forget that digging is a mental enrichment activity for dogs. So, instead of completely eliminating it, you can assign them a digging zone to let them engage in their entertaining activity. 

Make sure to cover the digging spot with sand or loose soil.

Moreover, pet owners can make it more fun by adding treats, toys, and bones inside it and letting the pets find it. 

And do not use plastic sandboxes because your pup may chew them and choke the parts.

By the way, you will have to train your pup to dig only the assigned spot.

And teaching and guiding dogs to use an assigned digging space like a sandbox may take time and effort.

If you find your pup digging in another spot, interrupt it with a loud noise, gently say “no”, guide him to the assigned area, and give him a treat.

5. Concrete the Fence

You can do several things to strengthen the fence so that your pup cannot dig underneath the fence.

One thing is to pour concrete in the bottom of the fence. Of course, your pup cannot dig through concrete.

And it is a costly yet EFFECTIVE way to deter digging under the fence.

Place cement along the whole length of the fence. This will ensure that your dog can’t dig any holes and escape the yard.

Concrete Fence

6. Chain Link Fencing

Placing chain link fencing on the ground makes it harder for your dog to walk and come near the fence.

You can anchor the chain link fence to the bottom of the fence. This will ensure that your dog cannot dig through the perimeter.

7. Give Them Enough Exercise

Lack of entertainment may encourage dogs to engage in digging behavior.

So, if you figure out that your dog needs more fun and entertainment, you should give them plenty of exercises.

You can try the following tips to ensure your pup gets enough physical exercise.

  • Walk your dog at least twice a day.
  • Play with them as much as possible using active toys like balls, frisbees, and flying disks.
  • Consult a dog trainer to train your furry friend with some difficult tricks and games.
  • Practice these tricks daily.
  • Place your dog’s favorite toys all over the yard to keep him busy when you are not around.
  • Let your pup walk and run on a dog treadmill.
a human playing with a dog

8. Provide Mental Enrichment

Did you know that a bit of dog training can do miracles for your pup’s undesirable behavior?

So, mental enrichment is ESSENTIAL to keep your buddy’s mind and body busy and active. 

Always keep in mind that your furry friend needs not only physical exercise but also proper mental stimulation. Specifically, brainy dogs need a lot of mentally stimulating activities to be happy.

When dogs do not receive enough enrichment, they seek stimulation through activities like digging.

Therefore, dog parents should provide enjoyable and mentally stimulating enrichment activities.

And it is better to consult a certified dog trainer to enroll your pooch in training.

So, here are some fun activities that provide enrichment for our loving dogs.

  • Engaging in an obstacle course or agility dog training
  • Playing with a puzzle toy filled with yummy treats
  • Doing nosework and ring stack games
  • Using a dog ball launcher to play fetch

Here’re more DIY dog brain games you can play with your furry friend. Also, you can buy them challenging dog toys for mental stimulation.

9. Landscaping

You can use creative landscaping ideas to decorate the spots where your buddy loves to dig.

This will prevent your dog from digging pits in your yard.

However, make sure you use dog-friendly bushes to eliminate the behavior.

Also, dog owners can use other landscaping features like a stone path to keep their pets away from the fence line.

Moreover, you can consider building a water feature to cover the places your dog loves to dig.

a human Landscaping

These features will discourage your dog from digging in the yard. Plus, it will make your garden pretty.

10. Dog-safe Digging Deterrents

You can find many dog-safe dig deterrent sprays on the market.

And it is a pretty EASY solution to resolve your pup’s digging behavior.

These sprays will prevent your dog from coming near the fence. So, there will be no digging and escaping through the perimeter.

YES! It is as simple as that!

You can spray the deterrent in the problem areas or all over your yard’s perimeter. 

But, some deterrents may cause discoloration of the fences. So, spraying it on a small section of the fence is better.

Wanna know what repels dogs from digging?

Some solutions with strong smells can help prevent your dog from coming near the fence.

Dog owners can use diluted vinegar, pepper spray, and citrus oils to keep their furry friends away from the border.

a dog smelling the ground

You can make a diluted vinegar solution with a 50:50 mixture of vinegar and water. Use a spray bottle to spray it on common dig spots.

So, this is an inexpensive and effective solution to stop your dog’s hollowing. Don’t you think?

11. Add Large Rocks or Gravel Stones 

Another simple solution is to place large rocks or gravel stones at the base of the fence.

This will make it harder for your pooch to come close and dig through the perimeter.

You can simply place some pretty gravel stones, rocks, and stones on top of the ground. And it will ensure your pet’s safety and also complement your yard.

This method allows you to modify the fence at any time since you can move around the layer of rocks according to your preference.

12. Add an Invisible Fence

If you dislike a physical fence obstructing your view, an invisible fence is a great option to install in your yard.

But, if you plan to use an invisible fence, you must first teach your dog how it works. And this will take a lot of time and effort.

An invisible fence will stop your dog from coming near the perimeter. As a result, they won’t be able to dig through or escape the yard.

Sounds pretty AMAZING, right?

a dog sitting on the ground and looking the invisible fence flags

But how does the invisible fences work?

The transmitter of the fence system sends signals to your furry friend’s receiver collar. And this signal will control your dog’s behavior by preventing them from coming near the fence perimeter.

This is a great alternative to physical fences and there is no way for your dog to dig through it.

Here’s our best picks for No-Dig fences for dogs.

Things Not to Do to Stop Your Dog From Digging

While it is important to know how to ensure your dog’s well-being, it is also vital to know what NOT to do.

So, here are the things that you need to avoid when trying to stop your dog from digging.

Do Not Punish Your Dog

No matter the reason for your pup’s digging, NEVER punish your dog for undesirable behavior.

Punishing your dog will worsen his behavior caused by fear, stress, and anxiety. And they will be confused.

Sounds TERRIBLE, isn’t it?

Instead, you can direct him to more fun and productive activities. Also, make sure to give them a lot of treats and praise for good behavior.

Always use positive reinforcement methods for your dog’s behavior modification.

a human trying to hit a dog

Do Not Use Things That Can Hurt Your Dog

Do not use harmful or painful things to deter your dog’s actions.

Stay away from dangerous and harmful things like chemical repellents, poisons, or sharp objects that can be hazardous and cause pain to your loving pup.

Never Leave Your Dog Tethered and Unsupervised

It is not safe to leave your pooch when they are tethered and unsupervised.

Only use a leash when you are with your dog. Never leave dogs on their own when they are tethered.

Do Not Fill Up the Hole With Water

Water cannot fill the hole permanently. So, it is not a good idea to stop your dog’s digging.

If your pooch loves water, it may encourage him to explore the hole even more.

Therefore, fill up the hole with dirt or rocks instead.


There are several reasons behind dogs’ digging under the fence. So, dog owners need to identify the causes before finding solutions to stop the undesirable behavior.

Then, they should take the necessary actions to resolve the situation.

However, there are also certain things that dog parents should not do to prevent digging.

If you’re bored to death with your dog constantly digging through the fence and nothing can stop it, an invisible fence is the only way to go, you know how beneficial they can be. Checkout the best invisible fences here.


The scent of vinegar and citrus oil will keep dogs from digging.

Vinegar, citrus peels, ammonia, and chili pepper are good dog deterrents that keep your dog away.

Yes. Coffee grounds can deter your dog from digging.

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Stefano Giachetti
Stefano Giachetti is always excited to share his knowledge and love of animals with you through our blog, IPetGuides. And he has always loved animals and has been blessed to have many pets throughout his life. Currently has a Pomeranian Dog Breed.

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