Why Do Newfoundland Dogs Dig and How To Stop It?

Although Newfoundland dogs are sweet, family-oriented and happy to please dogs, they tend to display some of the less wanted behaviors like digging.

Newfoundland dogs may dig for various reasons. He might be looking for something he hid earlier or making a shallow hole to cool himself. Low-quality diet, lack of minerals can be the reason for digging and eating dirt. Boredom and poor mental stimulation may cause finding fun in digging. Even a medical condition like PICA may cause excessive digging in Newfoundlands.

What Are The Most Common Reasons For Digging in Newfoundland Dogs And How To Fix Them?

If your yard is full of holes, it’s obvious that your Newfoundland likes to dig. The thing is that he has some reason why he is doing that. The first step is to detect the reason and try to fix the problem.

It is true that digging is normal instinctual canine behavior and dog breeds do it. Some of them ( like Terriers ) are masters in digging, they were even bred to hunt rats in underground dens and were even called ”earth dogs”.

Newfoundland dogs are not Terriers ( obviously ! )and they are not even on the list of 10 dog breeds that dig the most but still, they do display this sometimes annoying and challenging behavior that you need to address and restrain otherwise it can become a major problem.

Newfoundland Dog is Trying To Get Cool

These dogs are made for a cool climate. That is pretty obvious, even if you don’t know anything about them. Although they prefer cool weather, snow, and everything that goes with it, they adjusted to life in warmer temperatures.

If you notice that your dog is digging the hole and then lie down most probably he is hot and trying to find a way to beat the heat.

How to Solve this Situation?

First of all if you live in warm areas with hot summers, make sure you get your dog trimmed for summer ( avoid shaving though,as his skin is super sensitive so he can easily get sunburns).

Even if you trimmed your Newfie summer style avoid letting him be outside if the temperature is around 90 F, this is already too hot for him.

If the temperature is below 90 F and your dog is spending some time in the yard, keep him cool by letting him fun in the kids’ pool or dog’s pool.

You can also purchase a cooling pad. A good misting system for the yard could also help but you can provide a less sophisticated option like a bucket of water. Don’t forget to make your dog happy and cool with some frozen treats ( fruit-based ).

Newfoundland Is Looking For Something or Trying To Hide Something

This is so typical for dogs. Newfies tend to dig holes in the yard in order to hide some precious bone or even a toy. Will they find it in a week or two is totally different story but at that moment they just want to move that thing to a safer place.

Later on, they can try to find the item they buried. They might have a dozen attempts before they succeed so you will end up with a yard full of holes.

Another thing -maybe your Newfie smelled some rodent and now is trying to get it, that’s why he is frenetically digging holes.

How to Solve this Situation?

If your dog has detected rodents, that means you have them in the yard. That further means that you need to get rid of them. There are some natural solutions that are better if you have a dog.

You can plant Sage, Rosemary, or Basil. Those plants are natural repellents for rodents.

Sage and Rosemary are recognized by ASPCA as non-toxic plants for dogs while Basil is also non-toxic but if a dog consumes a large amount of it may cause an upset stomach and digestive problems.

If you keep some food outside or inside the shelter, don’t do it, these things attract rodents to your yard.

If rodents are not a problem but your dog only buries some staff to have fun, then you should provide a different kind of fun for him.

Do play some games with your dog such as Tug of War, or Frisbee, or Fetch.

Give him some interesting food release toys that will keep his mind occupied. And of course, don’t let him be in the yard without your supervision.

Newfoundland Dog Has A Poor Diet, Lacks of Minerals

If you catch your Newfie digging holes with his tongue and eating dirt, that might mean that he needs silicon. Lack of silicon may cause teeth, bones, and joint problems, as well as harden the arteries.

The dogs might eat dirt even if they get all nutrients through the food. They simply can have a bad habit.

How to Solve this Situation?

If your dog lacks silicon the good source of it is in green leafy vegetables, beetroot, and alfalfa. If your dog tends to eat grass and dirt, consult your vet. He/she will run some tests and check if there are symptoms of mineral deficiency like lackluster eyes and a non-shiny coat.

If it’s about a bad habit, try to get him to stop doing it. Praise him big time when he stays away from dirt, do spend some more time playing with your dog, and provide some chew toys to keep him entrained.

Make sure there are no food leftovers in the yard. Dogs might smell some pizza or meat leftovers so try to eat them together with dirt.

Newfoundland Has Medical Condition Called PICA

Some Newfies may eat dirt as they suffer from PICA. PICA is a term the describes dogs that eat non-food stuff including dirt, rocks, and other things that have 0 nutritional value.

How To Solve This Situation?

PICA is a serious condition is should be taken like this. If you assume that your Newf suffers from PICA, rush to the vet as he can hurt himself tremendously by eating non-food stuff. He may eat something that can cause poising, internal ulcerations, intestine blockages, bloat, bowel obstructions…

Newfoundland Has Behavioral Problems, He Is Bored, Anxious, Scared

Newfoundland dog is a hardworking breed ( they were initially bred to pull the nets for fishermen and haul the wood from the forest). They are not meant to be couch potatoes, they need some job to do.

If you leave your dog without any entertainment, toys, attention, he might find some fun in digging numerous holes in your yard.

Besides boredom, anxiety and fear there may also be triggers for excessive digging. Dogs dig holes when they are trying to escape. Pregnant dogs tend to dig holes as a part of den preparation.

Newfoundland puppies have pent-up energy so if you don’t tire them properly they may find a way to release all energy by digging holes in your yard.

How to Solve this Situation?

Since your dog is hardworking bread you have to give him some job to do. Teach him some commands, enroll him in some group training program.

Dogs sports could be great entertainment. Take him to regular walks on daily basis, run with him, play with him. Provide some nice chew toys to keep his mind occupied. You can also treat him with nice marrow bone, it’s a great natural chew toy!

These dogs don’t like to be left alone, if they are, they display unwanted behavior like digging for example. They might dig as they are scared. Search for a cause, why they are scared. Chew toys can help here as well, as chewing releases stress.

What Not To Do When You Newfoundland Dog is Digging in Your Yard?

  • Don’t punish your dog, as that won’t help. You could even make the problem worse as your dog may start digging more due to fear and anxiety.
  • Don’t try to change the dog’s nature. Digging is a dog’s natural behavior. You cannot change that. If appears that your dog is digging because he likes to do it ( and has no other mentioned issues) then you should find a way to provide a designated place for digging. That can be one part of your yard where you put loose soil or sand. You can also put sand in a large kid’s pool. Make that digging spot more attractive by burying some toys or treat inside. Praise your dog every time when he digs in that spot and correct him verbally ( one firm NO-DIG) if he starts digging elsewhere. Interrupt him immediately and take him to the designated digging zone.
  • Don’t fill out the hole with soil nor pour the water in it, as this won’t stop excessive digging in your Newfie. I found in one article, that owner suggests putting the dog’s poop in the hole, of course, if your dog is not a poop eater. This might keep him away from that hole, but it doesn’t mean that will stop him from digging a new one.
  • Don’t use any product or method that could be toxic or harmful to your pet or any other animal. Whatever is toxic and dangerous for wildlife is also bad for your dog.

If your dog is really persistent in digging holes in the yard and nothing helps, try to keep him inside the house as much as possible and ask a vet for additional advice.


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