Why Do Basset Hounds Dig



Has your dog just landscaped your yard with holes? Pet parents are often surprised at the passion their Basset Hound has for digging holes and often wonder the cause of the behavior. This natural behavior originates in a dog’s DNA that he inherited from his ancestors. While this natural instinct might be expected at some point during a dog’s life, it is usually bothersome for pet parents that are trying to keep their yard presentable and in good condition. If your dog is running around in the yard digging holes on a regular basis it could become expensive when it comes to replacing grass. The following information reveals the mystery behind this behavior and help you take measures to prevent it.

The Root of the Behavior

Dogs are den animals that used to live in the wild. Their ancestry reaches back centuries when dogs lived in the wild. In the past, wild dogs would dig dens to keep warm or cool, to have puppies and to protect themselves from predators. Dogs have the natural ability to seek out a specific area on the ground where they prefer to dig their den. It is usually a non-grassy area that provides a specific temperature the dog is seeking. Usually, the temperature is determined by the dog himself, depending if he needs to cool off or remain warm. Dogs feel safe and calm in dens which explains why you probably find your Basset Hound sleeping under your coffee table, bed, sofa, and other places that create a den-like environment. Most dogs enjoy sleeping peacefully and often find the perfect cozy place in the house to sleep on a regular basis. 

Dog owners like to see the peaceful look on their dog’s face when they are in their perfect environment. It’s only when the dog is destroying the yard by digging holes that alerts pet parents of the issue. Since your yard was most likely grass, chances are it is going to cost quite a lot of money to replace the grass. There is also a good chance your dog will continue to dig holes even after the grass has been replaced. Some dogs desire to dig holes due to their natural instinct to find a comfortable place to sleep. An excellent sign your dog is using this instinct is if you see him immediately circle the hole and try to put his body in it in order to find a comfortable spot. Other dogs just like to dig holes and it becomes a hobby of theirs until their pet owner decides the behavior needs to be addressed. 

Encouraging the Behavior

There comes a point when a pet parent chooses to allow their dog to continue the behavior or attempts to stop it. Dogs don’t usually need to be encouraged to dig holes. Some breeds are more prone to digging than others. Your Bassett Hound has the natural instinct and ability to dig holes so it’s up to him to act on instinct or not. Dogs have different personalities and some might enjoy digging holes while others prefer to play with their toys. If your dog enjoys sleeping under the coffee table, bed, sofa or other furniture in a safe environment you can encourage this harmless behavior by adding a soft blanket, doggie bed, and toys to accommodate your dog further. 

Occasionally you might observe your dog scratching the carpet or floor as if he was attempting to dig a hole. This behavior usually is followed by your dog circling the area and finally finding a perfectly comfortable spot to sleep. Dogs that scratch the carpet and flooring can cause damage. If this behavior is common for your dog you might want to consider discourage the behavior. There are a variety of things you can do to discourage the behavior and prevent your house and furniture from further damage. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Determining the cause is the first step to discouraging this behavior. Dogs dig holes for various reasons such as hiding food, cooling off, warming up, comforting himself because he feels sick, boredom, and simply a habitual action. Observing your dog’s behavior and pinpointing the reason behind the action will help you find ways to deter the behavior. If your dog is hot during the summer and digs holes during this time of year, he is most likely trying to cool off. You can provide your dog ways to cool off, including bringing him indoors to relax in the air conditioning, providing plenty of fresh water, and planting trees that provide shade in the yard. If you are unable to determine the cause behind the behavior it’s wise to consult with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. 


Basset Hounds have a natural instinct to dig holes. This behavior is harmless and innocent. As a pet parent, you do not need to be worried about the behavior. However, if it is bothersome to you and causing damage to your house and yard, you should consult with a professional to help stop the behavior.