dog who has been digging under fence

Is your pup digging their way to the neighbours? Or are they planning their escape by digging by the fence? It can feel like a losing battle when your pooch constantly digs and leaves dog-sized craters in your garden. 

But there are plenty of different solutions that you can use to stop your dog from digging under a fence or throughout your garden.

You first need to consider the underlying reason for your dog digging. By knowing this, you can often pinpoint the best solutions and quickly put an end to the digging.

Why is my Dog Digging?

Dogs don't dig to defy or annoy you, though it can feel that way. There is usually a logical reason for their behaviour.


Though anxiety presents itself in many forms in dogs, digging is a typical behaviour if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety. Usually, this manifests as digging multiple holes around the fence line in your backyard.

Other anxious behaviours that they may also show include pacing, aggression, destructive behaviour and excessive barking.

Your dog may think that if they escape from the backyard, they can return to you faster, so this reason for digging typically occurs when they are left alone at home.


It's common for dogs to dig when you aren't home, they get bored too if there isn't much to do. Puppies and high-energy dogs have the biggest problem with boredom.

Boredom digging typically looks like lots of shallow holes all over your garden, but some bored dogs love to dig big holes at your fence line.


Certain dog breeds have a higher prey drive than others. The higher the prey drive, the more likely they are to dig. Breeds like Jack Russell Terriers, Dachshunds, Cairn Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Beagles are some breeds that are more likely to dig and show other hunting behaviours whilst on walks and during play.

These breeds are known for their digging qualities and were often companions to help with hunting. 

With hunters, the digging is concentrated on a few spots where they suspect an animal has created some path-like structures in the ground.

Some people support their dog's hunting behaviour, whilst others wish to lower their dog's prey drive, but this depends on you and your preferences.


A common reason for a dog to dig in the garden is to find a cool patch of dirt to lay in. Australian summers are hot, and it can be an effective way for your dog to cool down.

Take note of the location of the digging; if it's in a shady spot along your fence in the middle of the day, you know they are digging to keep digging under fence

How You Can Stop Digging

Now that you have a better understanding of why your dog digs, you can test different solutions.


If your dog is digging because it's anxious, you often need to address the anxiety as a whole instead of just their digging. The best ways to treat separation anxiety all involve desensitising your dog.

Do this by grabbing your jacket and keys or opening and closing your front door during the day while you're home. This way, they won't recognise your departure routine. Some other things you can do are to keep greetings and partings low key.

Waiting until your dog settles to say hello, and ignoring its barks and whines will show them that your leaving and returning isn't a big deal.


To stop your dog from digging in your garden, you need to focus on using their energy before you leave. Go on walks, play fetch or use mental stimulation like interactive toys and games. 


Use your dog's energy with a long walk before you leave the house. The more dogs and humans they interact with on that walk, the better. 

Like (some) humans, dogs love social interaction, but they also find it tiring. Walking them before they are left alone, you'll use up their energy, hopefully tiring them out quicker.

Play fetch, let them run up the beach or jog laps of your local park, and they should (hopefully) be too tired to start digging. If you begin using enrichment toys and games, your dog should have a schedule so busy they don't have time to dig under your fence.


Enrichment toys, dog puzzles and interactive toys are the perfect way to keep your dog entertained and use their brain. Try toys like KONG or Nina Ottosson, or create your own!

Freeze Your Treats

If you use a Kong toy, try freezing the snacks before putting them in! Frozen veggies, fish, fruit and more can all be used. It's a great activity to use in conjunction with others.

Let them Eat Cake

Not actual cake, but using a cake tin and some tennis balls, you can create an easy and fun enrichment activity. Place some treats or biscuits in an old muffin tin, then place some tennis balls on top to cover them.

Your dog will have to solve the puzzle and move the balls to get to the precious treasure (and be too distracted to even think about digging under your fence).

Use a Towel

Grab an old towel and tie it into a big knot. Once tied, shove some treats and nibbles into the knot and give it to your dog. This is a fun one as your dog has to try to unravel the knot to get to all the goodies.


If your dog is digging to keep cool, perhaps, coming up with new ways to keep them cool is the priority. If your backyard permits, you can always install more shade to keep your dog cool.

A shade sail or pergola will help to keep your dog cool. Start freezing some ice blocks to leave out for your dog to lay on when it gets hot. Add ice cubes to their water bowl, and make sure you keep their hair cut nice and short.

stop dog digging

Try an Hidden Dog Fence

If your dog continues to dig under the fence, products are available to solve this ongoing issue and keep your pup safe. We recommend using an Hidden Dog Fence, also called an E-Fence.

An E-Fe works by sending a radio signal from a transmitter (which is around your dog's neck) to a wire (placed along your fence line). When your dog crosses the fence line or gets too close to it, they will get alerted.

Most E-Fences come with training boundary flags to give your dog a visual aid so they can understand where the boundary is. The collar has two set zones. If your dog gets too close to your fence, they will enter the 'Warning Zone', and the collar will alert your dog with a warning beep. If they continue to get closer and enter the 'Stimulation Zone', a safe stimulation will happen.

2 dogs running around on grass with a Hidden Dog Fence around

The stimulation doesn't hurt. It just sends them a signal to stop what they are doing. We recommend you try it on yourself, put the collar on the back of your hand and see what it feels like when you go too close to the boundary.

This gives you a great understanding of what your dog will actually feel, and you can set the stimulation to a level you are comfortable with.

Quality E-Fences are waterproof, allow you to control the shock and have a thick, durable boundary wire. Our bestselling E-Fence is the Advanced Hidden Fence Dog Training System. You'll find that this option has all the features you need!

They are a great option for stubborn dogs and owners who have tried everything but can't seem to stop the digging. Most dogs quickly realise where the boundaries are and what happens when you go too close. 

Digging Frequently Asked Questions


Cayenne pepper is a popular alternative to stop dogs from digging. In small amounts, it's a harmless method, but it does cause irritation.

All you need to do is sprinkle a small amount in the areas your dog is digging. The idea is that the smell and irritation are enough to deter your dog from digging in that spot again. And as an added bonus, is that the cayenne pepper won't ruin your garden!


Vinegar can stop your dog from digging. Despite being completely harmless, the smell can be intense for a dog and will hopefully deter them from digging. Mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle, shake, and spray! Both cayenne and vinegar can be effective solutions, but they may not work on every dog. Give them a try and see how your dog responds.

If you're serious about getting your dog to stop digging under a fence, first try tiring them out and implementing enrichment toys. If that just isn't working, an E-Fence will keep your dog safe and your fence line clear.

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