Why Do Dachshunds Dig?

If you are lucky enough to have a wee Dachshund as part of your family, you likely already know by now they are digging machines.

Unfortunately often this is seen in digging behavior all throughout your yard resulting in eyesores of messy holes, but it’s also seen when they dig incessantly at their bed. 

But why do Dachshunds dig so much?

Digging is a natural behavior for Dachshunds for resting and hunting but can be increased by hormones, boredom or separation anxiety.

Read on to learn more about this Dachshund behavior and how to handle it so it doesn’t become an issue.

why do dachshunds dig

Why Do Dachshunds Dig Holes In The Yard?

The backyard is arguably the worst place for your Dachshund to be digging (maybe rivaled by the front yard!) as it ends up creating an absolute mess of the lawn or your garden beds.

Not only does it look awful but holes in the lawn can end up being trip hazards and result in some real injuries such as sprained ankles.

To manage this behavior you first need to know the reasons why Dachshunds like to dig. The most common reasons include:

  • Protection instinct – digging stems from a natural behaviour of dogs ancestors to dig holes to rest in. This “denning” behaviour creates a spot to sleep in that is cosy, warm and out of the wrath of the elements.
  • Prey instinct – dogs are historically predators, searching for other little animals to eat! Little dog breeds have been bred especially to hunt pest species such as rodents. Dachshunds were specially bred to hunt badgers so digging into the ground replicates this bred behavior.
  • Hiding food – dogs that have excess food, tend to hide it away so that others cannot eat it. Digging a hole and burying it is the best way to keep it out of harm’s way and to know exactly where it is when they want to go back and eat it. Dachshunds don’t eat a lot so if given a big treat or bone they’ll likely try to find a place to bury it.
  • Escaping – digging around the fence line of your backyard could indicate to you that your Dachshund is trying to escape the yard. It may see or smell something it wants to go check out, or if an unneutered male it may smell a female on heat and will try anything to get to her.
  • Boredom – a high-energy little dog breed, Dachshunds need lots to do and opportunities to burn off excess energy. Digging can be an easy and natural way to get rid of some energy.
  • Anxiety – excess digging may be due to misdirected energy from a negative emotion such as anxiety. this may be due to other pets in the household or nearby or even from separation anxiety from you when you are away.

How To Stop A Dachshund Digging?

Keep Them Stimulated

Digging is a way to expend energy so use up all your Dachshunds energy in other ways so they are too pooped out to be bothered ruining your yard.

Lots of exercise is key. Take your pup on regular walks and spend lots of time playing and interacting with them.

Another dog might be beneficial for your dog if you don’t have much time to spend with them. Just be careful they don’t start digging together because then you’ll have twice the problem!

Lots of toys and activities for your dog to keep busy while alone are key to stop unwanted behaviors like digging.

Training

While digging is 100% a natural behavior, you can train this behavior out of them (or at least so it is less frequent).

It’s important that you don’t yell at or hit your dog while trying to train as it will create a fearful dog that will act out even more.

When you catch your dog digging, sternly tell them “No!” with a growl in your voice. This deep growl shows your dominance and negatively reinforces that behavior, resulting in them being less likely to do it.

Puppies dig more than adults due to all the extra energy and still learning right from wrong. Be consistent with your boundaries and your dog will soon learn what is not allowed.

Make sure you offer lots of positive reinforcement when they do the right thing. Lots of love, praise, and playing.

Supervision

If your pup can’t keep himself from digging in the yard, you should supervise all his yard time until he has learned his lesson. Watch him closely and stop the behavior before it even starts!

Designated Digging Spot

Digging is a natural behavior so it’s easier to direct the behavior than to train them to stop it all together.

Providing a digging spot for your Dachshund to dig in may help save your yard from getting covered in holes. A sandpit or an empty garden bed would be just fine for this. Tell your dog off when it digs elsewhere and praise it for digging in the digging spot.

Neutering

A Dachshund trying to dig their way out of the yard may just be trying to satisfy their natural breeding urges, especially if there is a female in heat or an intact male around nearby.

Neutering or spaying your dog will calm these hormones down and reduce digging behavior.

Why Does My Dachshund Dig At Its Bed?

Dachshunds don’t just dig in the yard, they are well known for the silly behavior of digging into furniture.

As mentioned earlier digging is used by wild dogs as a way to get comfortable. When your Dachshund digs into its bed it is just trying to get cozy and comfortable.

Providing a small bed with high sides or a little cave bed may help them feel safe and secure than a large flat sleeping area.

This behavior might occur more in winter as your little pup tries to find a warm spot. Make sure the house is warm and your dog has a warm place to rest. They may need a little jacket to maintain their body heat.

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