Why do Chihuahuas dig?

Great news: 

Here you’ll discover…

  • The psychology behind the dig.
  • Eleven practical tips to prevent your Chihuahua from digging.
  • How to recognize whether digging is a behavioral issue or a natural behavior of your Chi.
  • And a lot more…

Why do Chihuahuas search?

Digging is one of the most normal behaviors for Chihuahuas, and their instinct drives it to mark their territory and feel secure and comfortable. Wild dogs hide in dens to sleep, give birth, and dig into storing and finding food.

Not all owners enjoy this behavior, whether outdoors or inside the house. This raises more questions such as – can you stop it?

And most importantly – should you? 

To make the best decision for you and your Chihuahua, keep reading to learn more about the dog psychology behind this action.


Nine reasons why Chihuahuas dig


#1: A form of exercise

If your Chihuahua has a lot of energy that is not put into action, your dog can revert to digging. You see, all dogs need to have a job.

That’s why they might start with dig if they don’t spend time on anything like chasing balls, tug of war, or chasing each other with peers.

Curious fact: Digging is excellent for your Chihuahua’s upper body and legs. We do yoga, stretching, and gym training. Chihuahuas dig.

#2: Boredom

This is a bit overlapping with the lack of exercise. It comes down to your Chihuahua bursting with energy and searching for an activity that puts this energy into work.

Tip: One thing to circle out from the possible reasons is that your Chihuahua is making this out of spite. Dogs don’t know concepts such as ‘revenge.’ Even if you’ve done something your Chihuahua might not like, they’re digging for a different reason. Any other reason.

#3: Fun

Maybe not for you but your Chihuahua for sure.

When dogs dig, they find tree roots. Besides the fact that dirt smells suitable to gods (natural), they like to pull the roots. It’s similar to the tug of war game you two play together. The tree could be seen as a play buddy holding the other end of the roots.

If you haven’t taken a ball with you for the walk, probably your Chihuahua wants a toy substitute, and it’s understandable.

If you go on vacation and don’t have your laptop or phone, you’d probably take a book, wouldn’t you?

We’re wired like that – we don’t enjoy having anything to do.

#4: Prey hunting

‘Huh?! Prey hunting? But I give my Chi enough food… What’s this all about?’ you’re likely to ask.

Well, since dogs are way more alert than us humans, they might detect critters. It might not be evident to you, and that’s understandable, especially when you consider dogs’ hearing and sniffing abilities.

Yup, your Chihuahua might be onto something such as a bug, a worm, or even a gopher (critters of any kind, really).

Sometimes your Chihuahua could smell odors coming from the mud. These smells could be coming from a piece of trash buried some time ago or from dead animal carcasses.

If the Chihuahua finds such a ‘hidden treasure, they will likely bring it to you, and they’ll feel proud showing it off to you.

#5: Shelter

The saying ‘Some things will never change’ applies to all kinds of dog breeds throughout the years of evolution and dog domestication when it comes to digging.

Significantly when a dog does it to cool down during hot summer days.

Curious fact: Your Chihuahua has sweat glands on their paws pads. That’s one way to feel more relaxed during summer. As it’s often not enough, dogs revert to digging holes in the ground where the mud is more excellent.

#6: Attention

Digging for attention has its explanation, and it’s one of the fastest ways your Chihuahua can get you to focus on them. Yelling at them or raising your voice isn’t fun, but it’s better than not interacting with them.

To find out whether this is the cause for digging, try to see if they do that only when you’re around or regularly. For example, if you have a yard and let them roam free there, do you find any holes afterward?

#7: Anxiety

Scared Chihuahua

This one is pretty unpleasant. Anxiety, if not treated on time, could become worse.

Anxiety is triggered by the fact that dogs are social animals, and they’d hang out in packs like stray dogs often do if they were in the wild.

It’s not natural for a Chihuahua to stay home for around 12 hours per day. When a Chihuahua feels isolated, bored, or unstimulated, you can expect destructive behavior from their side.

Curious fact: In this case, digging is a palliative measure, and it helps the Chihuahua lower their stress levels and relieves anxiety. It could also be an attempt to go to you.

This digging happens indoors – in carpets, walls, and doors.

#8: Escape

This can be triggered by the anxiety the Chihuahua experiences. It’s stressful not to know if you’ll come back.

Or, it could be because your Chihuahua isn’t neutered and is bursting with sexual energy. The only way to find a mate would be to go outside.

#9: Exploring

It’s in your dog’s blood to be an explorer, and exploring is used to find food and expand the territory.

Should you stop your Chihuahua from digging?

It would help if you didn’t forbid your Chihuahua to dig. You can, however, use the below-mentioned tips to channel your energy to a substitute behavior. This will bring more variety to their daily routine and give you peace of mind.

11 tips to reduce digging behavior in your Chihuahua


#1: Daily play sessions with your Chihuahua

If your Chihuahua’s digging is dictated by the need to have fun, you can redirect that energy into playing together. 

Just make sure to spend more time with your dog. Go on an extra walk and take some new exciting toys, too.

#2: Get the suitable toys

When your Chihuahua is home alone, ensure they have new exciting toys to keep themselves occupied. Some good ideas to try with your Chihuahua are:

  • A giggle ball.
  • A stuffed kong.
  • Balls of different sizes.

#3: Don’t give all toys at once

It’s best to hide several toys while giving the others to your Chihuahua. Change the toys daily to ensure your Chihuahua doesn’t get bored with them. This will also help direct their attention to one or two particular toys.

#4: Make your Chihuahua work for their meal

When you give them dry kibble, you can put it into a Buster Cube instead of in their bowl as usual.

For your Chihuahua to get the food out, they’ll have to roll the Buster Cube.

 Then you will release the kibble from the hole. You could see this as a modern version of indoor ‘hunting.’ This toy is bound to keep your Chihuahua from digging.

#5: Spend more time with your Chihuahua

Bored Chihuahua

This is the cure for all behavioral issues in general. If your Chihuahua digs frequently, it might have to do with the fact that they’re frustrated you’re not around them more.

You don’t need to play all day with them. Keeping them close to you is enough for them to feel like part of your family.

Lying down on the couch next to you would do the trick.

Leaning on you while you’re reading a book or watching TV would also do wonders for how they behave.

#6: Teach the command ‘leave it.’

This is particularly useful when you want to take your Chihuahua home from their walk. Instead of having to chase them around, yelling, or just being frustrated, use this simple command and reward accordingly with a favorite treat.

#7: Work with a dog trainer

You could also enroll your Chihuahua in training classes. Then you could request the trainer to teach them this specific command.

#8: Doggy daycare

Another option is to leave your Chihuahua in doggy daycare. It’s an excellent way for them to socialize with other dogs and people, and this will drain the high amount of energy your Chihuahua has and help its social skills.

#9: Teach your Chihuahua to be alone

This isn’t as easy as leaving them in the house and hoping for the best, which means gradually increasing the time you leave them alone. First, start doing it by exiting the room for no longer than 5 minutes. Then, make it ten, and so on.

Always provide engaging toys before leaving.

Ignore your Chihuahua when you get back home. Please don’t leave them with the impression that what happened is a big deal. Going back home should be regular activities and nothing scary or ultra exciting.

#10: Neuter your Chihuahua

Besides the health benefits this can have for your dog, it will also regulate the hormones, and this, in turn, will make your Chihuahua calmer.

#11: Regular walks

Take regular walks with your Chihuahua. 

Please change the route a bit, so your dog gets to satisfy their curiosity and explore as much as they like without causing damage to your house.

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