Why Do Dachshunds Dig?

Dachshund digging a hole in the sand on the beach

Are you tired of your dachshund digging up your lawn, or making huge ditches next to your garden fence? It’s time to find out why on earth he likes burrowing so much, and what you can do to save your lawn.

Why do dachshunds dig? Dachshunds dig because it’s in their nature. They were bred to burrow into the earth and catch badgers (hence their long bodies, pointy noses and big claws). Some also dig out of boredom or for fun.

If the sight of huge holes in your garden is driving you crazy, read on to find out why dachshunds dig and how you can stop them destroying what’s left of your garden.

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Do dachshunds dig a lot?

Yes, dachshunds are big diggers. Some dig up flowerbeds, others dig at their bed, and some try to dig their way under fences. Not all dachshunds dig, but some absolutely love it. And, once they start, they’ll keep going for hours.

Why Do Dachshunds Dig? Dachshund digging in the dirt by the side of a reservoir
A dachshund digging in the dirt next to the pond

We’re not talking about little holes either – these are full-on, body-size trenches! Why do they do it? It’s in their nature. You just have to look at their bodies to see they’re born to dig. They’ve got small, long bodies, pointy noses and big claws. They were bred as burrowing dogs for hunters. Their job was to sniff out badgers, scrabble down into the earth, grab the prey and bark until the hunters came and lifted them both out of the hole. With such a specific job to do, you shouldn’t be surprised domesticated dachshunds still feel the urge to burrow into the earth – it’s a natural behaviour for them.

Your dachshund may also be digging because he’s bored or has too much energy. Digging gives him something to do and helps him let off steam. He might also think it’ll win him some attention from you (yes, digging up your flowerbeds is guaranteed to get your attention!). If this is the case, you can easily sort out the problem by making sure your dachshund gets plenty of exercise each day and enough attention from you.

Why is my dachshund digging at his bed?

In the wild, dachshunds would dig a hole to sleep in, so he might be following that natural instinct when he digs at his bed. Or, he may just be ‘nesting’, where he fluffs up his bed to make it cosier and scratches at it to warm it up so he can curl up snooze in comfort!

Wire-haired dachshund digging at his bed
A dachshund digging at his bed

How do I stop my dachshund digging?

  • Increase your dachshund’s exercise
  • Supervise your dachshund in the garden
  • Build your dachshund his own digging area
  • Make your dachshund’s bed cosier

This is what you need to do:

Increase your dachshund’s exercise

One of the easiest ways to combat any excessive behaviour in your dachshund is to tire him out. It’s amazing how many destructive habits are down to boredom or pent-up energy. Miniature dachshunds need at least 30 minutes of exercise every day and standards need 60 minutes or more. If you give him more exercise or playtime, he’ll thank you by not digging up your hydrangeas!

Miniature dachshund out on a walk and doing some exercise
A dachshund being exercised on a walk in the woods

Supervise your dachshund in the garden

Your dachshund is less likely to dig if you’re around, especially if you’re playing with him. So it’s best to try and supervise him when he’s in the garden. This’ll keep him safe too, as he won’t be able to dig under your fence and make a run for it! Plus, if you’re there, you’ll catch him in the act and can stop him before he gets caked in mud.

Build your dachshund his own sand digging area

It’s really important for your dachshund to satisfy his natural instincts. His whole body tells him to dig – even the smell of the earth and the feel of the soil get him fired up. But what can you do? You can’t have him ruining the garden and traipsing mud all over your floors every day. So why not build him his very own digging pen? Something like a sandbox works perfectly. You just need to make it really clear where his pen stops and the garden starts. Fill it with sand rather than soil from your garden (because otherwise he’ll get confused about where he can and can’t dig). And bury his favourite toys for him to snaffle out.

Get your dachshund a ball pit

If you don’t like the idea of using sand because it’s too messy, get a ball pit. You can buy them on Amazon and they’re great fun. Fill it with colourful plastic ball pit balls and encourage your dachshund to get in and play! You can even hide toys inside. Just bear in mind, ball pits aren’t meant for dogs, they’re for babies and toddlers, so watch him at all times and don’t let him eat the plastic or run off with any of the balls.

Make your dachshund’s bed cosier

If your dachshund is digging at his bed, try and make it comfier for him. Fluff up his blankets and cushions to help him create a cosy den. Make it nice and warm for him too. Bed digging is natural and can be funny to watch so just let him do it. He’s not doing any harm and finds it comforting to dig before settling down to sleep.

Why Do Dachshunds Dig? Dachshund curled up asleep on a cosy bed of blankets
A dachshund snuggled up on a cosy blanket

Should I shout at my dachshund for digging a hole?

No, you should never shout at your dachshund for digging. They’re not trying to be naughty –it’s just natural behaviour. Your dachshund will just end up being scared of you and won’t understand why you’re shouting at him. Don’t react!

How do I train my dachshund to stop digging?

Catch him in the act and interrupt him. Say a firm ‘No’. If he stops, give him a treat. If he doesn’t stop, distract him and move his attention elsewhere. Then, fill in the hole! Be consistent with this and it should get better in time.

Will neutering stop my dachshund digging?

Neutering your dachshund should make them less boisterous and generally calm them down so they won’t dig as much. It should also stop roaming behaviour so he doesn’t keep trying to dig his way under the fence to follow a female scent.

Will my dachshund grow out of digging?

Dachshunds are a playful breed but generally settle down more as they get older. Puppies will obviously be much more active than older dachshunds. If you want to stop them digging, you need to wear them out and channel their energy in a different way.

Why Do Dachshunds Dig? Two dachshunds out on a walk sniffing and digging
Two dachshunds sniffing and digging in the woods

Now you know why dachshunds dig, it’s time to do something about it. Your dachshund will love being worn out with extra exercise, or having a special spot where he can dig to his heart’s content. And, remember, while digging is a natural behaviour for dachshunds, if he seems out of sorts, play it safe and pop to the vet.

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