How to Stop Poodle Digging: A Complete Guide


You just found the 25th hole in your back yard, and you can’t take it anymore! Why is my poodle digging so much, and how do you get him to stop? There’s a variety of reasons that a dog takes up digging as their favorite pastime, but in most cases there are ways to remedy the behavior.

First, you will need to discover why your dog is digging. Learning why your poodle digs will help you identify the proper solution for your poodle’s digging problem. So, how do you get your Poodle to stop digging?

Stop a poodle from digging holes in your yard by:

  • Providing ample exercise
  • Having toys for your dog to play with
  • Discouraging re-digging
  • Distracting a poodle from digging
  • Ridding your yard of vermin

Maybe your dog is just cooling off on a hot summer’s day, and he just needs access to some fresh water or the air conditioning. He also could be chasing vermin that you can’t see. You will need to take a close look at your poodle’s behavior to learn why he is digging and what the best solution is to fix it.

Read on to learn how best to stop your Poodle from digging!

Steps to Take to Stop Your Poodle From Digging

There are definitely a few things you can do to immediately plant the idea in your dog’s head that digging is bad, and he should be doing other activities besides digging a hole in your yard. Start with these ideas.

Make Sure Your Poodle Gets Enough Exercise

If the reason your Poodle is digging is that he’s bored, exercise is the answer. Some dogs need over an hour of exercise a day to stimulate their brains. “A tired dog is a happy dog”. If you’ve heard this saying before, there’s a reason. Tire your dog out so he doesn’t have the energy to dig any holes.

Make More Toys and Bones Available for Your Poodle

This also solves the problem of boredom. Give your dog something else to chew on besides dirt and grass. Find out what kind of bones and chew toys your dog likes, and make sure you always have some on hand and available. Don’t be afraid to use something like a rubber Kong, stuff it with treats and peanut butter, and freeze it. After it’s frozen, these are known to keep dogs occupied for hours!

In this article, you will find a giant guide to the best toys for poodles that I recently wrote, including examples of specific toys to curb poodle misbehavior related to digging.

Discourage Re-Digging in Your Yard

If your Poodle likes to dig in one particular spot, take measures to make that spot less appealing. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Fence off the area. Make it physically impossible for your dog to access the area he wants to dig in. If he can’t reach it, he can’t dig it.
  • Put down some citrus juice, cayenne pepper, or vinegar. It might sound hurtful to your dog, but it’s not. It’s more of an annoyance, kind of like it would be for you if some pepper went up your nose. One or two strong sniffs of vinegar and your Poodle probably won’t dig in the same spot ever again.
  • Plant some rose bushes. If fencing off the area isn’t an option, perhaps planting a thorny bush is. Like the pepper, it won’t take much to deter your dog. One or two brushes against the thorns, and he will be very cautious about approaching that hole again.

Distract Your Poodle From Digging

Be smarter than the dog. I say this from experience. It’s not as easy as it sounds. There have been many times when I’ve felt outsmarted by my dog! But, sometimes, you just need to catch your dog red-handed (or dirty-pawed), and immediately distract him and get him on a new activity. Does your dog like to play fetch? Start throwing a tennis ball around and make him forget about digging.

Rid Your Yard of Vermin

Maybe he’s not digging a hole. Maybe he’s catching a mole. Back to the question of, “why is my dog digging?” Make sure you don’t have vermin that your dog is trying to catch. If you do, if you eradicate them and you might eradicate your dog digging problem.

There are a variety of paths you can take to get your Poodle to stop digging. One of the most important things you can to get your dog to stop digging is to figure out why he is digging in the first place.

Why is my Poodle Digging?

Understanding why your poodle is digging can go a long way towards figuring out how to stop him from digging. If we can understand what is making him do it, then we can solve the problem.

Here are a few of the most common reasons your dog is digging and what you can do to remedy the behavior.

Your Poodle is Bored

This is a very common reason as to why dogs dig. Maybe you have a fenced in backyard, and you let your poodle have free roam of the yard. You might think he likes the freedom and he’ll just run laps to keep himself busy. Don’t be surprised if he starts digging. He has a lot of energy and needs an outlet.

This is where exercise comes into play. Just because you had a long day at work, came home and are exhausted, doesn’t mean your dog is. Give your dog so much exercise every single day that he is falling asleep easily. Give him too much exercise. Then see if he still digs. Your dog might just need more than 4 laps around the block to pee every day.

Your Dog is Digging to Catch Rodents

What looks like digging to you might actually be pest control by your dog. Is it possible you have a rodent problem? Look for mouse droppings in your yard. Look for those little tunnels under the dirt that moles dig. Do you see any signs of vermin? If you do, set some do-it-yourself traps to catch the vermin, or call an exterminator. Get rid of your vermin, and see if the “digging” stops.

He’s Cooling Off on a Hot Day

On a hot summer’s day, your dog could be digging because the dirt and clay underneath are cool. Does he dig a hole and then lay in it looking like he’s all proud of himself? He might have just found a cool spot to rest.

It might sound silly to ask yourself why your dog is digging, but it’s actually very important! Before launching right into being upset at your dog, take a look at why your dog might be digging.

Do Poodles Dig More Than Other Dogs?

Every time you see a new hole in your yard, you’re probably asking yourself, “do other dogs dig this much, or am I just the lucky that got a dog that wants to dig to China?” All dogs can be diggers. I’ve had three or four different dog breeds. Some were diggers, and some were not, and there didn’t seem to be much of a rhyme or reason behind why some never dug, and some I had to keep a watchful eye on.

Poodles are generally thought to be a little less energetic than some other breeds, so you probably won’t find out that your Poodle is digging specifically because he needs the exercise.

The other thing you have going for you, Poodles are highly trainable and thought to be more intelligent than a lot of other breeds. This means, even if your Poodle is digging, you should be able to train him fairly easily to stop digging.

One fact that could make them more prone to digging – Poodles do not like solitude, and can suffer from separation anxiety. This could come in to play if you leave your dog alone in your backyard. He could start digging because he misses his people, and doesn’t like to be alone outside.

Your Poodle May be Digging Because of His Environment

Your dog’s digging could be temporary. Did he just spend his first glorious day at the beach? I’ve seen many dogs at the beach, and they all seem to either be swimming in the ocean or digging massive holes in the sand.

I don’t know what it is about the sand and saltwater, but if your dog is just digging because of the excitement and fun of a camping trip or beach day, I think it’s just fine to let him have his fun for the day. Just make sure he doesn’t continue the behavior when you get home! And, if he does dig a hole at the beach, please make sure to fill it in before you leave for the day.

What if Your Poodle is Digging Just Because He Likes to Dig?

So, you hired an exterminator, and you don’t have rodents. When it’s above 80 degrees outside, your dog has shade, plenty of water, and access to air conditioning. You walk your dog for 10 miles a day. Your Poodle is still digging. Now what?

It is possible that your dog just likes to dig. I know you didn’t want to hear that, but there is still hope.

  • First off, don’t give your dog the chance. No more unsupervised yard play until you get him trained not to dig. At the first sign of your dog thinking about digging, stop him, and take him inside.
  • If nothing else works, there are some products you can put down on the ground to deter him from digging. We’ll discuss those below. They are designed to smell and taste bad, which will make your dog not want to dig, but they are harmless and will not injure your dog.
  • He might outgrow it. If your Poodle is still a puppy, and not yet even 2 or 3 years old, this could all just be growing pains. Remember that the whole world is new and exciting for your puppy, and he might just get bored one day with digging and never do it again.
  • He might just be a dog. There are some dogs that will just dig. It’s in their nature just as much as eating food or breathing air. Some dogs are more into digging than others. Terriers and other dogs who have instincts to flush out vermin and chase rats, for example, are known to like to dig. Since you have a Poodle, your Poodle might not have this natural instinct to dig, so you might still be able to treat your dog not to dig.

Don’t give up hope! There will be a way to get your Poodle to stop digging. If none of the suggestions work, give some of these products below a chance to work for you and your Poodle.

Products That Can Help Stop Your Poodle From Digging

There are a few great resources on Amazon that can help with digging. If you’re looking for something to help deter your pet from digging holes in your yard, there are a few great options available:

  • No Holes! Digging Dog Prevention – If you’ve tried everything else, and none of the home remedies like cayenne pepper work, give this product a shot. It’s harmless to pets and plants, but by spraying it, you are deterring your dog from digging holes.
  • How to Stop your Dog from Digging…And Escaping – If you’re looking for a book to read to get some more information, this is a good choice. It goes into detail about how to stop your dog from digging. If you have any other behavioral problems that you need addressed, there are some others like climbing and jumping that are covered in this book.

If you’re not having any luck with some of the methods mentioned above, it might be time to try some products specifically designed to deter your dog from digging. Give one of these a shot, and maybe it will stop your Poodle from digging forever!

A great behavioral training course can really help when training your dog not to dig. I found a fantastic training system called Brain Training for Dogs. I really liked the private member’s area where I was able to connect with other dog owners to get solutions to issues I had with his training. If you need any behavioral training at all for your dog, I would highly recommend this course! Check it out here

Videos on How to Stop Your Poodle From Digging

YouTube is great at providing solutions to a variety of problems. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out these videos on how to get your dog to stop digging.

https://youtu.be/mWkVrGh5ddw

The above video gives you a natural effective way to get your dog to stop digging holes using cayenne pepper.

This video is geared at viewer questions, and answers the specific question of how to get your dog to stop digging.

Videos are available on YouTube for just about all topics, and Poodle behavior is no different. If you’d like even more videos than the ones above, head on over and do a quick YouTube search!

A Word of Caution When Your Poodle is Digging

You’re angry. You can’t believe there’s one more muddy mess of a hole to deal with. Your Poodle is sitting there with muddy paws and a giant smile on his face because he’s so proud of himself!

  • Take a deep breath. Before addressing the problem with your dog, find a way to calm yourself. Dogs are incredibly sensitive and in tune with their owners. Before disciplining your dog, be calm.
  • Yelling is not the solution. You’re going to want to vent your frustrations and yell at your dog if this is the umpteenth time he has dug a hole. Don’t do it. It won’t be effective, and it will scare your dog and possibly impair your relationship.
  • Poodles have short attention spans.  If you did not catch your dog in the act, he already forgot he dug the hole. Disciplining him after the fact will not be effective.
  • Positive reinforcement is very effective. Remember, when dealing with training dogs and teaching them right from wrong, positive reinforcement is more effective than yelling at them. It might be hard, in this case, to say, “good job you didn’t dig a hole.” But, if your dog starts to learn that he is instantly taken inside the house after he digs a hole, but can stay outside as long as he wants if he doesn’t dig, he’ll start to get the idea.

Just be careful when your Poodle misbehaves. Losing your cool, yelling at your dog, disciplining him in a negative way, are not going to positively affect your relationship with your dog. Try to only address the issue when you have had a chance to breathe and calmed down for a bit.

In Conclusion

While you might be frustrated right now if your yard has 17 crater sized holes in it, rest assured, there are solutions available to you. After you find out the real reason behind your Poodle’s digging, you can begin to come up with a solution.

There are a few main reason your dog is digging… He’s bored, he’s hot, or he’s chasing vermin. There are solutions you can take for all of those scenarios! If you’ve ruled out all of those options, and your dog actually just likes to dig, then you can try sprinkling some pepper on his favorite spots. A couple of snouts full of pepper might just deter him from ever digging again!

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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