Digging is a totally normal canine behavior, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. If your dog is spending hours tearing up the backyard, or attempting to burrow holes into your couch, you're no doubt anxious to find a way to make it stop. The most effective way to get to the bottom of the problem, and curb your pup's desire to destroy everything in the path of their overactive paws, is to first understand why they are digging, according to The Dog People.

If your dog is digging random holes throughout your yard, it is most likely because they smell or hear something underground and are trying to get to it. In this case, digging a larger hole where it is acceptable for them to dig can keep them from digging all over the yard. Train them to dig only there by burying treats in that hole for them to find.

Another cause of unwanted digging is boredom and a lack of exercise. Puppies and high-energy dogs need a certain amount of exercise to work off all the energy they have. If they aren’t getting enough, they might turn to digging to take care of that. Make sure your dog gets plenty of playtime and take them on walks when you can.

Like a toddler, dogs can easily be distracted by a toy. If your dog seems to be digging out of boredom, try giving them a new tennis ball or dental chew.

Dogs that have very specific spots in which they dig can be stopped by adding digging deterrents to soil, especially those that are strong-smelling or uncomfortable-feeling. Burying flat rocks or plastic chicken wire will make it uncomfortable for a dog to dig, for example, and burying citrus peels, cayenne, or vinegar will make the smell while digging very unpleasant to them.

A dog could also be trailing the smell of a gopher, squirrel, rat, or other rodent while digging up your backyard. One sign of this is if they are digging near trees or plants. If this is the case, try getting rid of the rodents and see if your dog’s behavior changes.

Some dogs will dig in order to find a spot to cool down during hot weather. By helping your dog cool off, you can prevent the bad habit.