How To Stop A Dog From Digging Under A Fence

If you own a dog, chances are they like digging, and often one of their favorite places to dig is under your fence. This can be very frustrating, as holes make your garden look unattractive, but you also don’t want to risk your dog escaping. The good news is, there are things you can do to lessen the chances of this happening. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes Under Fences?

There can be many reasons why dogs might dig under fences, and these reasons could differ between breeds and between different types of yards. Finding out exactly why your dog is digging under the fence will make it easier to work out the best way of stopping it.


If you leave your dog alone for too long, with no playmates and no toys, your dog will become bored, which is when digging under the fence becomes most appealing. Dogs have a lot of energy, particularly puppies or other younger dogs, and if they don’t have the opportunity to release some of this energy, they can become very restless.

You need to ensure your dog gets plenty of opportunities to exercise and that you have items in your garden to keep them entertained.

Seeking Comfort

Some dogs, when left home alone for too long, will become very anxious. They will be inclined to pace, bark, or take part in other destructive behavior such as digging holes. They could even try to escape from your garden.

Other dogs may be looking for ways to protect themselves from the elements. They may be trying to keep cool in the dirt, stay protected from the rain, or trying to find water. You need to make sure you have some shady spots in your garden and provide your dog with plenty of water to last them throughout the day.

Hunting and Exploring

Dogs, particularly terriers and Dachshunds, like to hunt insects and other prey. You may want to try to rid your garden of these creatures but take care as some chemical-based products can be toxic and harmful to your pet. Other animals, such as rats and squirrels leave scent trails behind that can attract your dog and cause them to dig in that area. The smell of a female dog could also attract your dog.

Dogs like exploring, so if they can see something they like on the other side of the fence, they may dig holes so they can have a closer look at whatever has caught their eye.

How Can You Stop Your Dog Digging Holes Under Your Fence?

Most dogs are natural diggers, so you are unlikely to stop them digging entirely, but may be able to encourage them to dig somewhere else apart from under your fence! Here we look at some of the most popular ways to discourage your dog from digging holes under the fence,

Keep Your Dog Active

Like all of us, dogs need to release energy, so make sure you walk them regularly and play with them as much as possible. It’s a good idea to keep toys such as food puzzles, balls, or chewing toys in your backyard, so they have something to keep them interested. If they are a particularly social dog, you may even want to consider getting another dog for them to play with The more other activities you provide them with, the less likely they will be to dig holes.

Train Your Dog Well

You need to let your dog know that digging under the fence is unacceptable, so if you see them doing this, tell them firmly that it is not ok. You need to be careful, though when disciplining, as sometimes dogs are seeking your attention, so if this is the case, any punishment may encourage them to keep doing it. Always praise them for their good behavior to help them learn what is right and wrong. If you are finding things particularly hard, you may even want to call in a professional trainer.

Create a Digging Zone

If your dog is particularly prone to digging, you may want to set up a digging zone somewhere else in your garden that is well away from your fence. One idea is to fill a wooden sandbox with loose sand or soil, and then you can even bury toys and other treasure, so they have something to find when they are digging. Wood is an excellent material to use for the sandbox, as you don’t want to risk your beloved pooch choking by chewing on the plastic. Again, make sure you praise your dog when they are digging in the digging zone, or even give them a treat, as this will encourage them to keep doing it.

Cover Up Existing Holes

If you already have some existing holes under your fence in your dog’s favorite digging spots, you can fill these holes with stones or brick or something that they won’t be able to dig through. You’ll need to take the size of your dog into account as if you have a large dog, a few small rocks may not deter it. You can also use their dog droppings from around the garden to fill the holes, as dogs don’t usually like to dig this up.

Landscaping can also discourage digging. You could build a stone path along the edge of your fence or plant some extra bushes. If you plant rose bushes, the thorns can be a good deterrent. Landscaping will not only make digging less likely, but it will also enhance the look of your garden.

Use a Deterrent Spray

Sprinkling red pepper powder or capsicum spray along the edge of the fence can be good for keeping dogs away, as dogs don’t like the smell, which can also cause them to sneeze. Both these things will make them less inclined to dig. You’ll need to reapply the dog repellent spray every couple of weeks. You can purchase pepper spray from a pet store, or you can make a homemade variety. You could also try other things that don’t have a pleasant scent, such as orange peel or vinegar.

Blocking Your Fence

If your fence is see-through, sometimes simply putting up bamboo or outdoor fabric to block your dog’s view could help. This way, they won’t be able to see other dogs, or even humans, that can attract them to the other side of the fence. Your dog may also want to go exploring outside your yard, but if they can’t see, they won’t know what they are missing out on.

Chicken Wire

Using chicken wire can be an inexpensive way to stop your dog from digging holes under your fence. If you bury chicken wire in a ditch along the fence line, this should stop your dog’s digging attempts. Take care when doing this, though, as you don’t want your pets to get injured. An alternative is to place chain link fencing on the ground and anchor it to the fence’s bottom. This will not be pleasant for your dog to walk on, so they are likely to avoid the area.

Electric (or Invisible) Fences

Electric fences are set up using underground cabling along the boundary line. When your dog gets too close, they’ll get a tiny electric shock, which will deter them from crossing your boundary and therefore digging holes under your fence. Other invisible fences are designed to emit a high-pitch noise that can only be heard by your pets. This noise will cause just enough discomfort to stop them from going any closer.

Final Thoughts

We all love our dogs, and their safety is very important! Digging holes in our fences not only looks bad, but it also puts our dog’s safety at risk. Each dog and yard is different, so it will take trial and error to determine which method works best for you. Hopefully, you will find what works best for you, and you will have a happy, healthy, and safe dog who no longer digs holes under your fence!