Call us: 555-555-5555


Beagle Digging Behavior


This section is dedicated to all of the elements of Beagle digging problems. And while it would seem strange to non-Beagle owners, we will not only discuss outdoor digging, but indoor digging as well.

So, whether your Beagle tries to dig his way under the fence in the yard to escape, digging a legion of holes in your outdoor space or digs at the carpets inside your home, we have all of the information and helpful tips that you will need for both young Beagle puppies and older dogs that just love to dig.
Beagle digging a hole
Clyde, approx. 4 years old (rescue dog)
Photo courtesy of Cary H. Scott
Why Beagles Dig

Is it in a Beagle's nature to dig? With behaviors being a canine instinct or a learned behavior, owners should know digging in general is a deep rooted canine instinct. Reasons for instinctual digging include hiding/stowing food (bones), a nesting instinct (to create a den or to secure a cooler resting area) which can be display both inside and outside and prey chase activity (tracking the scent of small rodents - some which are underground such as moles). 

With this said, a Beagle puppy or dog may dig for reasons other than those that come from these normal canine predispositions. A Beagle may dig for entertainment purposes or to gain access to perceived freedom.
Outdoor Digging

Let's first take a look at the reasons why a Beagle will dig when outside. Many owners will have a run in the backyard and this in and of itself is a good element for this breed. 

Beagles love to be indoors with their owners however spending time outside allows a Beagle to investigate all of the wonderful sights and scents, have room to romp and run and be in his element. 

Problems can arise when a Beagle puppy or dog is left to his own devices and has enough unsupervised time to dig holes.
The Top 5 Reasons a Beagle will Dig Holes & Steps to Stop Digging

1- Temperature - When the temperature rises and the sun is shining bright, many Beagles will instinctively dig into the soil in an effort to create a cooler, more comfortable resting spot. Most Beagles that do this will not have access to enough shade and be either on a run or in an enclosed fenced in yard without enough tree shading. 

What You Can Do - If your yard does not have enough landscaping, you certainly can't wait for planted trees to grow large enough! What you can do is to place a small kiddy pool with clean water in the yard, leave out plenty of water for drinking, set up a dog house (with ventilation!) and/or set up a sprinkler (one with an automatic timer to go off every so often will provide both a relief from boredom and a fun way to cool off).

2- Burying Treats - It's amazing how a Beagle is able to hide a treat, bury it and then dig it up again… all done with an owner wondering where that treat came from in the first place! It's an endearing trait (in a way)... "Oh, that sneaky, sly Beagle!"... But at the same time it can make your yard look like a mine field. A Beagle can have quite an amazing knack for quickly hiding a treat for future use.

And that treat does not need to be a bone, it can be any food item or it can be an object that a puppy or dog likes to chew on. Therefore, some Beagles will dig in an effort to hide a toy. No matter what is being buried, only to be dug up later.. this is done to "protect" that item and in a way, hide it like a treasure! It's a dog's way of protecting it from any other possible dog that would try to claim it…even if there are no other dogs in the area.

What You Can Do - This is a bit tricky, since you can't deprive your Beagle of food, of course! One of the most helpful tips is to create a designated digging area - more on this ahead. Another element that some owners have found helpful is to have 2 sets of toys - indoor toys and outdoor toys. This can weaken the urge to hide indoor toys outside. Keeping toys in a toy bin and making sure that no one touches them can also help, as it will provide assurance to a Beagle that his toys are his alone and he can rely on the fact that they will always be in the same place, untouched by others.

3- Hunting Behavior - Tracking after small critters (or even larger ones) is most certainly a Beagle trait. Digging problems can arise when those creatures are underground. Many owners have been shocked to find out that their Beagle that dug up the yard had actually tracked and discovered moles and their many tunneling holes.

With squirrels, birds, mice, hares and other woodland animals, a Beagle may dig up the soil around the tracks.

What You Can Do - Fixing this sort of digging problem is a bit tricky as well, since you can't block off nature. However, with some rodents, a pest control company can place SAFE products to repel them. You'll want to be extra careful that harmful chemicals and/or traps are not placed in any area that your Beagle may be in.

Keeping your puppy or dog to a slightly more confined area (but still large enough to be happy) and/or having a designated digging area can help.

4- Escaping (fence perimeter digging) - It is an extremely common problem for Beagles to dig along a fence line. Why? The #1 reason is to escape… and it isn't because your Beagle doesn't appreciate his house and human family! Un-neutered males can pick up on a female dog in heat from up to 3 miles away and with many male Beagles, nothing will get in their attempt to reach her, not even a secure fence.

For all Beagles in general, being outside means being bombarded with an overwhelming volley of scents and sounds that trigger the need to investigate.

Additionally, with some Beagles, a sort of panic can set in when left alone outside; this is a form of Separation Anxiety. While some dogs simply love the "freedom" of roaming in the yard, others feel extremely nervous and quite startled at the prospect of being away from what they consider to be their "safe home" and suffer panic when separated from their owners.

What You Can Do - For escape artists, there are 2 fixes that seem to work well for this type of Beagle digging. The first is to work chicken wire into the bottom of the fencing. You'll need a roll (or several) of metal chicken wire and some metal pegs, which you can easily obtain from any local home supply store. Cut the rolled wire to the length needed for each fence section.

If mulch or bark chips line the area, use a rake to clear away as much as you can. If there is only grass, you may need to use an edge cutter to make a small thin depression. Lay the wire along the fence with the upper edge resting against the fence and secure it into place with the pegs. Once it is in place, you can replace the bark chips or rake the soil back into place.

The other option is to use a SAFE substance to deter digging. A concentrated Citronella spray seems to work well with Beagles. You can find this at your local home supply store.

For Beagles that are suffering from Separation Anxiety, it is best to create an indoor area for them and to reserve outside time to the times that will be supervised by you - daily walks and play time/ exercise outdoors. A Beagle does not need to be outside alone; if a puppy or dog does not enjoy this time, there is no reason for him to endure it. With 1 or 2 nice jaunts around the neighborhood and some time outdoors for command training or playing fetch, being alone in the yard is not a "must".

If owners find that they need their Beagle confined to a certain area in the house (to limit chewing or for house training reasons) this can easily be done with a nice indoor playpen or gating that keep a Beagle in one area that can be filled with all sorts of toys, a nice comfy bed to rest, food and water. 
Beagle for blog
"Woof, rufff, rrrr...grrr... UMPHF!"

Translation: "Tweets for treats...? ... or share for... ahh... a pear??? 
Well, you get the gist! Show me some love & share this site before you read on."
5- Boredom - Last but not least, Beagle will dig holes in the yard simply because they don't have anything else to do. 

What You Can Do - You can stop a Beagle from digging by offering him other choices or limiting the area in which he will dig. Setting aside "outdoor only" toys can be helpful. Kongs filled with treats can keep a dog busy for hours.

Another option is to offer a raw, meaty bone. NOTE: Cooked bones are extremely dangerous! However, big beef bones (such a hip bones) that are filled with marrow are excellent for a Beagle to gnaw on. Not only can this provide stimulation and prevent boredom, it is also good for dental hygiene since chewing on this type of bone breaks off tarter and can be the equivalent to a thorough brushing.

Some Beagles find digging to be more pleasurable then chewing on a toy. Since you can't force your puppy or dog to enjoy or not enjoy a particular activity, what you can do is have control on where he digs.

Setting up a designated digging area works well for many Beagles. This can be a child's sandbox that is filled with soil or preferably sand (which is less messy) or any other area that is clearly distinguishable from the yard. To prompt a puppy or dog to use this area, begin burying all sorts of treats - toys, safe bones and treats (without your Beagle seeing you do it!) - And then encourage him to investigate the area. Allow this to be your dog's area only - show him that you and other family members can be trusted to keep their hands off "his property".

With many Beagle puppies and dogs, it only takes 1 to 3 days to become very attached to the selected area. Once you reach this point, freely allow your dog to bring a treat from the house to his area in order to bury it. This will reinforce the idea of digging and burying only there.

Unseen Digging Dangers

One danger of outdoor digging that owners may not realize until it is too late, is the element of bothering a nest of venomous insect.  Many bees, wasps, hornets and other stinging insects make their nest at ground level or below it, with the entrance in the grass or soil. Once disturbed, those insects can swarm a dog, often stinging many times. With that, is the risk of toxic buildup (more than 5 stings per pound of body weight) or allergic reaction. See also: What to do if Beagle is Stung by a Bee, Wasp or Other Insect

What Does Not Work

In an effort to stop a Beagle from digging, some owners will try just about anything! There are 2 offers of solution that we do NOT recommend.

The first is to bury the dog's feces in the area in which you do not wish for him to dig. This usually does NOT work, since a dog will lay claim to an area that is used for urination and bowel movements. Therefore, this is counterproductive. Additionally, even if it does deter a Beagle from digging in that one spot, he will most likely simply move over a foot and dig there, which does not remedy the foundation of the problem.

The other HUGE no-no is to burying a balloon. The idea behind this solution is that burying a half filled balloon and allowing a Beagle to uncover it, will lead to the dog's nails popping it, the noise scares the bejesus out of the dog and he will not want to dig anymore. What can we say, other than it is quite terrible to try and scare a dog to stop any behavior and if a Beagle is digging due to anxiety, scaring him is just awful and will only add to his misery. So, no. Simply no.

Indoor Digging

While your Beagle may not be digging a hole to China in your living room, it is not unusual for a Beagle puppy or dog to dig at carpeting or other flooring. Why do they do this? It is that same canine instinct to dig and bury even if it is not physically possible. 
Other Beagles will softly "dig" at blankets and other elements to "hide" toys or to create an area to rest and/or sleep… and as long as this does not involve the destruction of any bedding or other objects, there is no reason to deter this behavior.

To ward off this behavior and stop the destruction of carpeting and flooring, using an apple bitter spray on areas that a puppy or dog tends to dig at can be very helpful in addition to distraction techniques. If this is a moderate to severe issue, it may be necessary to gate off certain areas of the house.
For puppies, digging and often chewing at carpeting stems from teething issues, which can be very intense for some pups. See: Teething
A Final Word

Often, the saying holds true that a well exercised dog is a well behaved dog. While we all have busy schedules and your Beagle may not even appear to want to go for a walk, setting aside a bit of time each day for a brisk walk around the neighborhood can be quite helpful in allowing a puppy or dog to release pent up energy and tire himself out a bit.

In addition, walking keeps the body strong, promotes good health and allows a dog to learn socialization skills and heeling commands along the way.
Share by: