Dachshunds dig. It’s what they were bred to do.
But isn’t it frustrating when you’ve planted beautiful new flowers, only for them to be dug up by your furry friend?
Digging is a natural part of who Dachshunds are.
It’s difficult to put time and effort into making your yard a serene place, then watch your Dachshund dig through it.
Unfortunately, this is a common issue for Doxie owners, but it can be avoided and fixed with some simple solutions.
Why Do Dachshunds Like to Dig?
What we have to remember about Dachshunds is that this feisty pup was originally bred to hunt small game.
A Dachshund’s inherent drive for digging holes is just a part of who this breed is.
The game they were bred to hunt – badgers, rabbits, etc. – life underground so they were required to dig in order to discover and confront them.
The affinity for digging comes natural so they find it hard to refrain from this ever-so-enjoyable hobby.
While digging once served Dachshund’s well, this ingrained instinct often isn’t appreciated by owners today.
But we know that their jobs as hunters aren’t prevalent anymore, as the Dachshund is a common household companion.
So while your Dachshund is digging in your garden or yard, they may not necessarily understand why you’re trying to stop them from doing so.
Dangers of a Dachshund’s Digging
Your Dachshund is digging holes in the yard because that’s what they were bred to do.
However, it can be a dangerous and harmful pastime nowadays – not just for your dog, but for you also.
Consuming dirt can be toxic
If your Dachshund is eating their way through the yard, rather than digging with their paws, they may be ingesting harmful chemicals that you use to make your yard look beautiful.
These can include weed killer, soil with artificial ingredients, grass growing solution, and more.
Be aware your dog may ingest chemicals when digging in or eating dirt.
Also, if you’ve planted flowers or shrubbery that shouldn’t be consumed by pets, your Dachshund may become ill if they are eating that dirt and soil.
Eating dirt can cause an intestinal blockage
If your Dachshund is constantly eating dirt, it can get stuck in their intestines and become “impacted.”
If this happens, surgery will most likely be required to remove the blockage.
Eating rocks can cause dental issues
More times than not, if your Dachshund is eating dirt, they are probably also consuming small rocks.
This activity can cause serious dental issues, and also cause obstruction in the throat.
Creating large holes is dangerous for humans
Imagine it’s late at night and you’re accompanying your Dachshund in the yard for their last potty break.
Then, as you’re walking through the yard, you step in a hole and sprain your ankle.
Holes should be fixed routinely to prevent injuries.
Or imagine that you are having a barbecue and one of your friends steps backwards into a hole.
Not only may they spill their plate of food, putting a damper on their experience, but they may fall down and hurt themselves.
Having holes throughout your yard is a major hazard which can be avoided.
Your Dachshund may escape the yard
If you have a fenced yard and your pup is digging near the edge, as so many dogs do, they may be creating a hole under the fence.
They could be creating this hole with the intention of escaping or may simply get stuck on the other side of the fence, and freak out, because their curiosity got the best of them.
Either way, it’s a disaster and tragedy waiting to happen.
Why Is My Dachshund Digging Holes in the Yard?
Aside from Dachshunds naturally enjoying digging holes, there may be more pressing concerns to consider if your canine companion simply won’t stop.
There are several reasons your dog is digging holes in the yard.
A potential health issue
Some health issues that may cause your Dachshund to dig and eat dirt include:
- Low-quality food with insufficient nutrients
- Upset stomach or GI issues
If your Dachshund doesn’t have a tendency to dig, but they begin the habit out of nowhere, we suggest talking to your vet, as a health concern may be at hand.
To get attention or relieve stress
Your Dachshund may also be digging holes in the yard out of boredom.
Perhaps they are trying to relieve anxiety or stress.
If your Dachshund’s new hobby becomes digging, first make sure you’re offering your Dachshund plenty of mental and physical exercise.
Giving your Dachshunds plenty of exercise can decrease their need for making up their own way to busy themselves.
Simply doing this may be enough to stop their digging.
Since Dachshunds like to hunt and chase small animals, they may be attempting to find rodents that have been spotted in your yard.
Humanely taking care of rodent problems at your home can eliminate your Dachshund’s desires to kill what they see scurrying throughout their territory.
Some Dachshunds also love to eat, and roll in, worms so they may dig into the soil to find them.
Since earthworms are good for the soil and environment, and plentiful, you will probably not be able to, or even want to, get rid of them.
They may also be looking for rodents or worms.
But if you see a worm where your Dachshund was digging or rolling, at least you will understand their motivation.
Fortunately, worms are not generally poisonous nor do they stink, even when dead (not to humans anyway).
To find love
If there’s a nearby dog in heat, your male Dachshund may be attempting to leave the yard in order to get to the female and “sew their oats.”
If your female dog is in heat, she will also be feeling a little randy and may want to see if there is a potential mate next door.
Spaying or neutering can take care of this problem.
How to Stop Your Dachshund From Digging Holes in the Yard
There are several different solutions to stop your Dachshund from digging.
Figuring out the reason they’re digging will help you decide what action to take.
To find the best one, we recommend doing your best to figure out why your Doxie is digging and/or eating dirt in the first place.
1) If you think the cause is not due to a health issue, try increasing the amount of exercise your Dachshund is getting. A tired, relaxed dog is more likely to lounge in the yard, rather than dig it up.
2) If you think your Dachshund is bored or lacking stimulation, you can give your pup a meaty bone or fun treat puzzle in the yard to redirect their attention from the dirt to an enjoyable task.
3) If your Dachshund is digging at a wall or fence, you can install some plastic edging at the base. Make sure the material won’t harm your dog’s paws in any way, in case they do dig at it.
4) You can try creating a special digging area for your Dachshund in a sand box or sequestered area. Teach your Dachshund that they can dig in that specific area by burying toys under the sand or dirt.
5) Control any rodent problems you may have. Don’t use poison or traps that could potentially harm your dog. Instead, use live traps or consider professional services to help.
6) Keep dirt wet by watering it down. Dachshunds prefer to dig in areas where the dirt is loose. If you water down your yard and keep it moist, your pup will be less interested in digging.
If you try these simple ways to get your Dachshund to stop digging and they don’t, you may want to visit your veterinarian.
If you’ve tried the above solutions to stop your Dachshund from digging holes in the yard but they continue to persist, we recommend seeing your veterinarian.
There may be a bigger health or behavioral concern that needs to be taken care of with medical assistance.
We now know that Dachshunds were bred to dig and burrow, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.
We suggest pinpointing the true cause of your dog’s digging, then you can create the best solution from there.
Remember to consider your Dachshund’s natural instincts, while keeping any health concerns in mind.
Always ask your veterinarian about specific concerns you may have about your Dachshund’s behavior, diet and habits.
About the Author: Through her 17 years of owning and caring for Dachshunds, and almost 10 years researching and writing about them, JW has become a respected expert in the Dachshund community. Read more about her here.