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Why does my Labrador dig holes?

Why does my Labrador dig holes?

Many Labrador owners have Labradors that like to dig. They will often want to know why and how to stop it. This post will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might be digging and what you can do to stop it.

So, why does your Labrador dig?

The most likely reason is that it is in its nature to dig. Digging would allow their ancestors to find shelter in freezing temperatures and to keep their food protected which is why your Labrador is likely to have the habit.

There are some other possible reasons including to cool down, entertainment, separation anxiety and to get next door. 

And, how to get your Labrador to stop digging?

There are a number of things that you can do to get your Labrador to stop digging. These include giving it lots of exercise and attention, blocking off areas that you don’t want to be dug, giving it shaded areas, giving it lots of distractions, training it not to with “leave it training” and getting help from a dog behaviorist. 

It actually helps a lot to figure the exact reasons why your Labrador might be digging since it will help you a lot in reducing the behavior.

Possible reasons why your Labrador digs

Below are a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.

To get shelter

One way dogs, in the past, could shield themselves from the elements would be to dig holes that they could lay down in. It could simply be that your Labrador has kept this habit and is why it naturally seeks to dig holes.

To protect food

Another reason that dogs used to dig was to protect their food. By digging holes in the ground, they would be able to hide their food away from predators. Your Labrador might instinctively be doing this as well.

To cool down

Another possible reason why your Labrador might dig a lot is because it’s looking for a way to cool down. If your Labrador digs when it is hot outside and it does not have access to shaded areas then the digging could be because the soil below is cooler and it’s looking to lay down in it to cool off.


Labradors are meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get much exercise it can cause them to look for their own way to be occupied and it could be why yours has been digging holes. This would be more likely if it does it more on days where it is not able to get exercise.

Separation anxiety

The reason why it does it might be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts digging holes when you are about to leave or when you are not home.

To get next door

Labradors can be very adventurous dogs one possible reason that it is digging is to escape. If your Labrador does the digging near the fence then this could be the reason. If your Labrador is digging near the fence then it is something that will be very important for you to put an end to.

Ways to get your Labrador to stop digging

Below are some things you could do about your Labrador digging holes.

Give it a digging zone

An easy way to mitigate the negative effects if the digging would be to give your Labrador a zone where it is ok if it decides to dig there. To encourage it to dig there you can make the soil there looser, using a child-size sandbox and you can block off the areas where you do not want it to dig.

Give it exercise and attention

It would also help to make sure that it is able to get the daily recommended amount of exercise so that it is less likely to seek its own stimulation. Generally, it is recommended for adult Labradors to get an hour or more of exercise per day when they are healthy.

Block off areas

Another option you have would be to discourage it from digging in areas that you don’t want it to. You can do this by putting in underground fences in the areas or you can block them off with normal fences.

Give it shaded areas/keep it cool

If your Labrador tends to dig when it’s hot outside then it’s likely that it’s trying to cool down. To prevent this type of digging you can give it access to lots of shaded areas. You can also try grooming it more often since this will allow for its fur to be more aerated helping to keep it cool.

Give it distractions

It would also help to give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to seek its own way to be stimulated. Things you could give it would be toys and puzzle games.

Train it

It would also help to give it positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding it when it shows signs of displaying them.

To use it to get it to stop digging you could reward it when it does not dig and avoid rewarding it when it starts digging. It would also help to train it to come to you on command so that you can call it to you when it does start digging.

You can watch the video below for more tips.

Get help

If you are unable to get your Labrador to stop digging, you could get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so, you should be able to see why your Labrador has been doing it and how to get it to stop.