Shiba Inu Digging Holes? Understand Why and What You Can Do

Digging is natural dog behavior and could be one of the most difficult to manage. Since it is embedded in their genetics since the beginning of time, it’s unfair to completely ask them to stop it. Especially with dog breeds like Shiba Inu. 

Shiba Inus were originally bred to be hunting dogs, more specifically, small animals that can hide inside burrows or holes, like rabbits, rodents, and moles. In current times, though they are no longer train to hunt, Shiba Inus are still active diggers. 

A Shiba Inu digging holes through the garden could be quite troublesome for owners. Don’t worry! You are not alone. A lot of gardens have been under the relentless digging paws of a Shiba Inu. 

Why Shiba Inus Dig? (+ what to do) 


Not just with Shiba Inu, dogs, in general, will retort to digging when they are bored, especially with no interesting toys in sight or when they are left alone for too long. To channel out their pent-up energy, digging seems like the best thing to do for them. 

If you come home to scattered digging holes with no pattern or reason to it, your Shiba most likely dug because of boredom. 

What to do:

When your Shiba Inu is bored, there could only be one thing to do: Spend time with them. This includes playing interesting and exciting games with them. If you are off to work and worried that your Shiba might ruin your yard with its digging, fill your yard with toys that will attract your Shiba Inu enough. 

Aside from that, walk them at least twice a day. Sometimes when Shiba Inu resort to digging, it’s because they have some pent-up energy and they channel it through doing something productive. So help them burn off that energy by walking and exercise. 

High Prey drive

Shiba Inus has a high prey drive. If your garden or yard is often a place for smaller animals like rodents, expect digging holes made by your Shiba. This dog breed’s prey instinct will automatically tell them to chase and dig into whatever hiding place these animals might hide into. 

You’ll notice prey-induced digging when you see hold near the trees or by the shrubs. 

What to do:

One way to do this is to control the rodents in your garden. You can call in the help of pest control services to do the work for you. You can also try it on your own, though it is not recommended, especially if you plan to use poison or any toxic substances. You might accidentally poison your dog too. 

Shiba Inu Digging

Too hot or too cold

Shiba Inus stand in the middle ground when it comes to temperature. They have enough fur to cover them from the heat but not enough to shield them from extremely cold weather. 

A hole can provide a Shiba Inu the right amount of cool during the warm summer season or the right amount of heat during the colder season. 

You’ll know if they are digging holes for this reason when afterward, you see them lying in the holes they’ve made. 

What to do:

If your dog is digging for this reason, one way you can avoid this is to provide what your Shiba Inu need. If they are digging holes looking for someplace cool, give it to them by making sure they are well-shaded with plenty of water. The same goes during the winter, give them a shelter where it is warm and cozy and they don’t have to think of digging holes to den. 

To escape

Shiba Inus are great escape artists. It could be to visit a dog friend a few houses down, or maybe just a stroll for a new adventure. They are very independent dogs and sometimes don’t need you to walk them. Literally, they’ll walk off on their own, without asking for permission from you. 

This could be a reason for digging, especially when they’ve realized that there’s a loophole in your fence and that digging underneath leads to freedom outside. 

What to do:

If your Shiba is trying to escape because it is bored, entertain them with toys and play with them. As mentioned, fill your yard with toys interesting enough to occupy them and forget the world outside. Aside from that, you can also try to bury your fence deeper so they won’t be able to dig through and create space underneath. 


Pregnancy is also a common case for Shiba Inus to dig. This is a natural behavior and part of their instinct. Usually, they’ll dig a burrow next to some thick bush to protect their puppies from others and hide them from predators. 

If you have a female Shiba Inu then you might consider this as a cause for their digging. 

Just let them dig

It’s nature’s calling, it’s their instinct, it’s embedded in them. These alone make it very difficult to ultimately stop digging. If your Shiba Inu makes it a point that nothing can stop them from digging, just let them dig. 

You can provide a specific digging zone for them and teach them that digging is only acceptable if within this part. Bury some treats or their favorite toy in that spot, this will more likely encourage them more to dig through that spot only. 

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