Many breeds of dogs are known for digging, so if you find yourself wondering why do Chihuahuas dig, it could just be a ‘breed thing’.
Of course, there are other reasons behind this canine digging behavior. Sometimes, Chihuahuas simply dig out of sheer boredom.
If you find your tiny dog digging all too often, then it could be that it just isn’t mentally and/or physically stimulated.
In any case, there are several ways to get your Chi to behave and stop its unwanted digging. That is what this guide is all about!
Why Do Chihuahuas Dig?
Chihuahuas mostly dig when they are bored. If your dog isn’t getting adequate physical exercise and/or mental stimulation, then it could indulge in digging the carpet, the bed, and other surfaces.
Sometimes, Chihuahuas dig and burrow the blankets when they are feeling cold. They might dig up their bed to make a dent or a ‘hole’ to lay down in.
Then there are summer “diggers” too! Your pet Chihuahua might dig the cool mud in your yard and make a hole to lay down in the cool soil.
Thus, there are numerous reasons behind a dog’s digging behavior. Let us study them in detail.
Why Do Chihuahuas Dig? 15 Reasons behind This Chi Trait!
Dogs like Chihuahuas tend to dig for numerous reasons:
1. For entertainment
Most Chihuahuas left in the yards will dig the soil for entertainment.
The digging action alleviates boredom especially if there are no toys or other entertaining aspects to occupy your small dog.
2. Out of loneliness
Chihuahuas are indoor dogs and if you leave your Chi outside all day without friends or family by its side, then the digging might be a way of alleviating boredom.
Many indoor Chihuahuas also dig their beds or the carpets and rugs when their families leave for work or school. This type of digging is a way of ‘comforting’ itself and the action might help relieve some of its stress.
3. The breed is inherently destructive
A lot of destructive digging stems from Chihuahua’s inherent ‘destructive’ genes. Did you know that Chihuahuas rank second in the list of most destructive dogs?
Of course, a lot of this has to do with an individual dog’s training too. But historically and genetically, these small dogs are known to destroy rugs, carpets, and bed sheets with their digging and chewing actions.
4. As an outlet for their excess energy
A Chihuahua puppy has tremendous energy and if that energy isn’t released, it can manifest in the form of unwanted behavior. Adolescent Chihuahuas often dig to release their excess energy. This is seen in dogs that aren’t given toys or exercised adequately.
5. It is natural instinct
In the past, Mexicans bred Chihuahuas to dig out vermin and rodents from their homes.
Today, these domesticated dogs are mainly lapdogs and companion dogs. However, the instinct of digging might still be present in them.
6. To create a comfortable surface/nesting
Does your Chihuahua dig its dog bed and blankets? Does it burrow? Then this is usually for creating a comfortable den-like space or a nest.
Your tiny dog loves to sleep in a covered space and might even show a preference for hooded beds. This stems from its need to sleep in covered, protected spaces such as a den or burrow.
7. For warmth in winters
Your Chihuahua’s digging action works in two ways: it gets the blood flowing and warms up its tiny body which is almost always cold (and even more so in winters!). Secondly, it helps create a hole for it to lay in for warmth.
If you find your Chihuahua digging its bed or blanket, then it is very likely seeking warmth, comfort, and cozy atmosphere.
8. For cooling down in summers
In summers, the opposite is true. Your Chihuahua might dig and burrow into the soil or sand to expose the inner cooler layers in the cold mud. Then your pet might plop down in the hole to bring down its body temperature.
Many dog breeds display this behavior – not just the Chihuahua.
9. Your pet just needs a job to do!
The digging and burrowing dog behavior gives your Chi a job to do. Most Chihuahuas that are exercised for 30-40 minutes a day will not need a job. Chances are that they will happily sleep all day.
But an unexercised Chi will burrow and dig because it has nothing better to do and the digging gives it some activity and a way of releasing the stress and alleviating boredom.
Remember: Chis may be lap dogs but they also need exercise and activity to remain happy. In lieu of exercise, digging gives them that happiness.
10. For releasing its scent
Did you known that all dogs have special glands on their paw pads? Digging releases your dog’s essence or unique scent and transfers it to the surface upon which it wants to lie down.
The digging and scratching action releases your dog’s odor and helps it mark its territory as well.
11. Lack of socialization
An un-socialized Chihuahua will get stressed out and anxious at the smallest of noises and this too can lead to digging and other unwanted behaviors.
If there is thunderstorm or construction noises in its environment, a scared Chi might dig for solace and comfort.
12. For security
Small dogs like Chihuahuas are inherently quite nervous and anxious. Add lack of training and socialization to the mix and you have a bundle of nerves on your hands!
If you happen to leave your nervous and anxious Chi home alone all day, it might dig to relieve some of that pent-up stress and anxiety and give it a bit of security.
13. Small dog syndrome
Most Chihuahuas are known to exhibit the small dog syndrome. This syndrome includes a group of unwanted behaviors which many Chihuahuas and other small dogs like dachshund and miniature schnauzers display.
One of these behaviors is digging or burrowing. Often, pet parents find the action cute and encourage it. Later on, the bad behavior can get out of hand especially when your couch cushion become the victim of your dog’s nails. That is why it is very important to nip the behavior in the bud right from the start!
14. To emulate you
Sometimes, Chihuahuas simply mimic their pet parents when they dig. Your dog might have seen you digging in the garden or working in your yard and may be simply following your cues.
15. For attention
Many Chihuahuas dig at their owners or the bed for attention. Remember: even punishment is a form of attention for your Chi. So it is best to ignore your pet if you believe that it is digging for attention.
Why Do Chihuahuas Dig Before Lying Down?
Almost all dogs dig the surface on which they plan to lie down upon.
This has a very special reason. Dog’s paw pads have glands situated in them. When your Chihuahua digs or scratches the surface, it releases certain oils, sweat, and compounds with your dog’s unique scent on them.
By digging, your dog is transferring its scent on the surface upon which she/he sleeps. This gives it a comfortable feeling that it is laying in its own surface.
Also, digging in the soil exposes the warmer or cooler layers of the soil (depending on the ambient temperature). In summers, your Chi will dig to expose the cool layers of the soil whereas in winters, it might try to expose the warmer layers of the soil. This creates a perfect atmosphere for sleeping.
Chihuahuas also dig bed and couches to create a dent or hole and lay down in it. This may be for creating cozy and secure atmosphere.
Why Does My Chihuahua Dig At Me?
Chihuahuas often dig at their owners too!
My Chihuahua – Bella – also does this. I will be watching TV and she will suddenly jump up on the couch and start digging or pawing me. It is cute but it is infuriating too!
Many pet parents think that this is a form of aggression. However, that isn’t the case.
You pet might simply be bored or want your attention. Many Chihuahuas almost dig as if in a trance and they aren’t aware of what they are doing.
Should You Encourage your Chihuahua’s Digging?
No. You must not encourage this destructive behavior as the digging can get out of hand.
A Chihuahua owner might find it cute when their little puppy uses its tiny paws to scratch and dig.
However, as your dog grows up, the digging could end up tearing your bed sheets, clothes, carpets, and rugs. Worse, your pet might end up hurting you or drawing blood from your skin due to its sharp claws.
You might also have to buy dog bed after dog bed each time your Chi destroys it with its digging. That is why it is best to stop your Chihuahua’s digging behavior.
How to Stop Your Chihuahua from Digging?
Here are some tried and tested ways to put a stop to your Chihuahua’s digging behavior:
1. Expand its horizons
In short: socialize your pet.
Increase its exposure to people, other dogs, and give it more number of experiences. This will reduce nervousness, anxiety, and fear and make your Chi a braver, happier, and more social dog.
2. Exercise your Chihuahua
The best way to curb your Chi’s unwanted digging (and other annoying or destructive behaviors) is by walking or exercising your pet.
A tired dog will not have any energy left to indulge in unwanted behaviors. Lack of exercise is the leading cause of destructive behavior in Chihuahuas and other dogs.
So take your pet outside for a walk or run at least two to three times for 15 to 20minutes each.
This will help it expend that pent up energy.
3. Give it plenty of toys
Whether you keep your pet indoors or outdoors, place plenty of toys for it to play with. If possible, play with your Chihuahua using balls, Frisbees, discs, rope toys, etc.
Do encourage your kids to do the same too.
4. Teach it basic obedience
Right from puppyhood, teach your Chihuahua basic obedience commands like ‘Come, stay, heel, fetch’, etc.
Obedience training can also help in the following way: when you catch your pet digging, say Stop! If you have taught the stop command, your Chi will stop right away.
5. Give your pet a job to do
A busy dog is a happy dog.
Fill up some treat-dispensing toys, Kong® toys with treats and food. Give these to your pet – most will gladly spend all day trying to get the treats out.
This is a great way to keep your Chihuahua busy when everyone is at work or school.
6. Discourage digging in the yard by eliminating prey
Many Chihuahuas dig in one or two spots in the yard. It could be that these areas have squirrels or other vermin.
Use a fence or other humane ways to keep out these vermin. If possible, have these pests eliminated by hiring professional exterminator services. Make sure not to use any toxic chemicals as they could also harm your Chihuahua.
7. Make sure your Chi’s needs are met
Many forms of digging are a dog’s ploy to get its owner’s attention. Remember: even punishment is a form of attention and you don’t want to encourage your pet.
If your Chi is home alone all day, then make it a point to spend plenty of time with it while you’re home. Make sure your dog eats healthy meals and has access to fresh drinking water. Provide a secure crate for your Chi to sleep.
If needed, set aside a spot where it is OK to dig and encourage your pet to dig there.
Why Do Chihuahuas Dig?
Chihuahuas dig because of boredom, unmet needs, lack of mental and physical stimulation, for warmth or cooling down, and even for security, comfort, and safety.
Never encourage your Chi’s digging as it can get out of hand and turn very destructive.
Exercise your pet and mentally stimulate it using toys and puzzles. If needed, work with a dog trainer to get rid of the digging behavior in your pet.