Do Pitbulls Like to Dig? 5 Reasons and How to Stop Them

Having a dog that likes to dig around in the yard can be frustrating for many owners; however, it’s a big part of its behavior, just like barking or sniffing.

Almost all dog breeds have the instinct to dig, but it’s more common with terrier breeds like Pit Bulls. So, do Pitbulls like to dig? 

Pitbulls like to dig for various reasons, including hunting small underground prey like critters, creating safe dens when nesting, hiding food or toys for safekeeping, regulating body temperature on hot days, or simply for fun. They might also dig because they’re anxious or have too much energy.

Keep reading to learn more about why Pit Bulls like to dig, when to be concerned, and how to stop your Pit Bull from digging.

5 Reasons Why Pit Bulls Like to Dig

Pitbull digging to show why do pitbulls like to dig

Most of the reasons why Pit Bulls like to dig holes in the ground have to do with their instincts.

It’s very important to know why your Pit Bull is digging so you can have a better understanding of its behavior and prevent it from becoming too destructive.

So, let’s take a look at the main reasons why Pit Bulls like to dig:

Hunting Prey

Like many other terrier breeds, Pit Bulls have a high prey drive. They can usually hear and smell small animals that live underground.

So, you might find your Pit Bull digging around in the yard because it’s trying to catch underground prey like critters or rabbits.

Nesting Behavior

Pit Bulls often exhibit some nesting behaviors when they’re about to go into heat or when pregnant and about to go into labor. You can learn more about how Pit Bulls behave while in heat in this guide to the Pit Bull’s heat cycle here.

Digging is a big part of these nesting behaviors, as Pit Bulls tend to dig holes in the ground to create cozy dens where they can comfortably give birth to their puppies and keep them safe.

Safekeeping Valuables

Pit Bulls also have the instinct to store things they find valuable, such as food, bones, or their favorite toys. So, they will often dig holes in their ground and bury their valuable things in them for safekeeping.

Temperature Regulation

Pit Bulls have trouble regulating their body temperature. They are prone to get overheated and sunburned due to having single-layered coats with short hair.

If Pit Bulls are out in the yard on a hot summer day, they will not tolerate sitting or lying down on hot soil. So, they will dig some shallow beds in the ground to turn up the cool soil underneath so they can sit or lie down more comfortably.

For Fun

Some dogs dig with a purpose, and others don’t. Your Pit Bull may be digging just for fun or because it enjoys the feeling of the soil on its paws.

When to Be Concerned About Your Pit Bull’s Digging?

Normally, you shouldn’t be concerned when your Pit Bull starts digging as it’s a part of their natural instincts, and it doesn’t harm them in any way. However, digging can also be a destructive behavior that your dog is exhibiting because it has an underlying problem.

Pit Bulls might start to dig frantically because they feel anxious and they’re attempting to escape whatever it is that triggered their anxiety.

There are various things that could trigger the dog’s anxiety, such as prolonged separation from its owners and not getting enough attention, being in an unfamiliar environment or around strangers, and getting startled by loud noises.

You can tell your Pit Bull is anxious by looking out for some signs such as pacing, trembling, panting, drooling, whining, hiding, cowering, having a stiff posture, avoiding eye contact, and having an unstable appetite. It’s important to understand what triggers your dog’s anxiety to help it cope better.

Pit Bulls might also start to dig because they’re under-stimulated or have too much energy. They will have no other source of stimulation or outlet to help them release their energy in a healthy manner.

If you notice that your dog is digging because of any of the previous seasons, it’s highly recommended to address the problem immediately to prevent their behavior from escalating further.

How to Stop Your Pit Bull from Digging?

Since digging is part of the Pit Bull’s natural instincts, you might not be able to stop your dog from digging completely.

However, there are some measures you can take to minimize your dog’s tendency to dig and address some of the problems that lead them to dig in the first place.

Here are some tips you can follow to limit your dog’s digging:

Don’t Leave It Alone in the Yard

Avoid leaving your dog in the yard alone for extended periods. If you’re not available to supervise your dog when it’s outside, then it’s recommended to leave it indoors.

Redirect Its Attention

If you catch your dog digging, try to redirect its attention to do something else by asking it to do a trick or throw a ball for it fetch.

Avoid using harsh discipline methods when discouraging your dog from digging, as this will cause it to feel anxious and will escalate its behavior further.


Make sure your dog is getting enough physical exercise, so it has a healthy outlet for its excess energy instead of digging. You can learn more about how much exercise Pit Bulls need here.

Self-Play Toys

You need to make sure it’s getting enough mental stimulation so it wouldn’t get bored and become destructive.

The best way to do that is to get your dog a toy it can play with alone to keep it entertained for some time.

My recommendation is this Wobble Giggle Ball on Amazon. It engages your dog’s instincts and curiosity by making noises when rolled or shaken. It’s a two-in-one deal as it provides entertainment as well as exercise for your buddy.

Digging Area

Your dog is going to want to dig no matter what, so you might as well provide an alternative to help it carry out its natural instincts without becoming destructive.

For example, you can set up a sandbox or designate a specific area in the yard where the dog is allowed to dig. You can also fence this digging area to prevent the dog from digging outside it.

Check out this dig proofer kit that can be installed on the top of the fence to prevent the dog from climbing or jumping over. It’s made from durable wire that will withstand different weather conditions, and it’s easy to install as it suits all kinds of fences. It also prevents them from digging under the fence.

Other Dog Breeds That Like to Dig

a photo of a pit bull in a hole to sho that pit bulls do dig

The dog breeds that like to dig the most are terrier breeds, such as:

  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Smooth Fox Terriers
  • Airedale Terriers
  • Bedlington Terrier

Other breeds that like to dig include:

  • Dachshunds
  • Beagles
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffons
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Malamutes
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Border Collies

These dogs are also known as earth dogs because of how much they dig.

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