Why Great Danes Dig and What You Can Do About It

Danes dig less often than other breeds, but when they do you notice. It’s typical for great Danes to dig and they can dig a pretty deep hole within minutes. Some breeds dig cooling holes while others dig in search of food. It’s essential for you first to understand the reasons why Danes dig to come up with solutions to the problem at hand. 

Great Danes dig when anxious, for comfort, when hiding food and when bored. Keeping your Great Dane mentally stimulated and busy, along with training and consistent reinforcement of positive behaviors will minimize its digging.

Great Dane playing

Why Great Danes Dig 


Anxiety is one of the main reasons why Danes dig, and it can be eliminated easily. If you usually leave your Dane outside while the humans live inside, it might get upset. If he is left out as others go out on vacations and long holidays, separation anxiety will lead him into digging. When Danes are suffering from anxiety, they need to be kept busy. A Dane should be with his family at all times, and he shouldn’t be kept out in the yard alone. 


Another reason that would be stirring your Dane to dig is to search for a comfortable bed. During summer, Danes drill holes since they are a bit cooler to sleep in. That was probably the reason why your yard had several monster holes during your first year after acquiring your Dane. Other breeds dig but mostly just to burry items. 


The primary motivator for digging is interest. Remember, Danes have initially been a hunting bred. If Danes see a mouse or a burrowing animal disappear into the grass, its first intuition is to dig it out. Do not hate Danes when they choose to dig, since they are only following what their intuition is telling them to do. 


Great Danes have a strong sense of smell, and they can easily smell things under the surface such as bones and toys. This does not happen regularly, but when they arrive, there is not much you can do about it. 


If your Dane is trying to escape from your yard, there must be several stress-causing factors affecting him. You should find out the causes of stress and take the necessary steps to eliminate the causes.

Hiding Food 

Your Dane may be digging to hide bones or other foods, possibly because you are giving them too much food. If you notice your Dane digging to protect food, you should minimize the amount of food you are giving them to eliminate this behavior. 


Danes sometimes can be triggered to dig by boredom. This can be corrected by acquiring some toys for the Dane to play with. Our precious beasts have attention spans which are usually measured in seconds, and if presented with items that attract their attention, they can quickly stop digging. They, however, can stay extremely focused for minutes, especially when they are trying to get food. Making him chew a meaty bone or chew toys is an excellent way to keep his mind occupied. 

Great Dane bored lying down

For Fun 

Danes like expressing themselves through digging holes. When they have too much energy, an excellent way to spend it is through digging. He may also just like the smell of the ground or even enjoy the digging process. 

To Make a Burrow 

Many Danes spend most of the hours in yards that’s why they construct their shelters by making a burrow. Even if you build a pen for your Dane and leave him out in the yard during the day, chances are he will dig up a self-made burrow for himself. Danes are social animals, and if you construct their houses way far from your home, then they will most probably build a hole next to your house where they can hear human voices. 

How to Stop Your Dane from Digging 

Dane digging can sometimes be terrifying, stressing and shouldn’t go unchecked. There are somethings that you can do to control and correct this behavior. The first thing you’ll need to do is to identify the reason as to why the Dane is digging.

If your Dane is digging during summer, try building him a cool spot. You could even get him his private paddling pool and locate it in a shady area, and he will be grateful. A sandpit in some cool area would also help in this situation. 

If your Dane is digging for fun, try showing him other ways of having fun. Provide him with lots of play and exercises. When he is extremely bored, provide him with food toys to keep him busy when you are not around. You can as well purchase another pet for him to play with. Try serving his daily meals in Kong toys and Busta Cubes, and you will see some reformed behaviors in him. 

Great Dane chew toy

You can also compromise a little and give your Dane one place to dig. It doesn’t take a lot of time to train him to only dig in that secluded area in the yard. The key to practical training is consistency and handling a Danes irresponsible digging is not an exception. It’s important to catch your Dane in the act and correct him immediately at the crime scene. Fixing him seconds later won’t be useful since your Dane won’t know what you are upset about. Some acceptable punishments include pulling on a stretched leash, turning on a sprinkler, covering the surface, booby traps such as water or rocks in the area where the pet digs or by placing chicken wire. These tricks, however, don’t prevent the Danes from digging other regions.  

Always supervise your Dane when it goes to your yard. You can stand by the door and watch what your Dane does. As soon as the destructive digging starts, catch him in the act and issue an instant correction. Once that is done, call him over, sit him, and praise him. The relaxing and praising him will keep him away from digging. Behavior issues can be corrected through consistency, repetition, and Dane training. 

Burying Dane stools on the ground is an effective method of discouraging Dane digging to some Dane owners. Danes hate the smell of their poos and cannot stand it. However, this method is not efficient, especially where the Dane is not digging in one area. The best approach is to bury bones in the area that he is supposed to dig so that when he digs, he gets both praise and a treasure. You can also place some electric fence some few feet underground to ensure that he doesn’t dig in the restricted areas. This method is efficient and expensive at the same time.

When your Dane has no one to supervise him, you can lock him up with his toys in the house to keep him off from digging. If your Dane is digging too much, you can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper in the area that your Dane likes digging. Danes hate the effects of cayenne pepper, and they are likely to stop digging.   

Your Dane can dig to escape from the yard. To curb this, you must find out why he is escaping. He might be leaving in search of a mate or to look for food. If he is anxious when left alone, consult a pet behavior consultant or a veterinarian for help cure the possible separation anxiety problem. If it’s leaving the yard to find its mate, neutering the Dane would be the most appropriate solution.

Great Dane running with other dog in a field

If your Dane is escaping to raid your neighbor’s garbage, purchase a Dane garbage receptacle for your neighbor. If your neighbor regularly feeds your Dane once it arrives in his compound, as him or her to stop feeding him.

Keeping your Dane mentally stimulated and busy will play a significant role in keeping him off digging.  

You can as well confine your Dane in a run or a pen if it’s always leaving the yard. The enclosure should be escape-proof and secure with lots of toys for the Dane to play with. You could establish a concrete pen, but the best way is to create one that has some digging area. 

Danes dig up plantations and flower beds in imitation of their owners. You should, therefore, not have your Dane around when undertaking your gardening or planting practices. It’s also essential to come up with ways of eliminating pests from your yard to prevent your Dane from digging. Excessive digging can cause damage and destructions to floors, shrubbery, and grass and should be handled immediately; it happens. 

I hope this article has given you crucial information on why Great Danes dig, and how you can stop them from digging. Great Danes will always dig. That’s how they are naturally channeled, but if you understand the reason behind the digging, you can correct them and ensure that they behave themselves out in the garden. The best tips that you can incorporate to make sure that your Dane digs no more is to provide fun and exercises, supervise him outside his pen, provide him with some cool shade during summer, give him the required amounts of food, training as well as neutering him. You can train your Dane if only you understand the reasons for its behavior.

Related Questions

Do Great Danes like to cuddle?

Most Great Danes are very affectionate dogs and love to be near people and cuddle up with their owners as much as possible. This may include sitting down on the couch or sofa with you to snuggling up with you in bed. When training be sure to set boundaries with them early about what is and what isn’t acceptable and be consistent with them.

Do Great Danes bark a lot?

A Great Danes bark can be load, deep and carry a long distance. Each individual dog is different, but a lot go through a stage of barking and it would be best to train them early; otherwise, the barking can become a disturbance.

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