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9 Reasons Why French Bulldogs Dig + Simple Tips To Stop It

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Digging is one of the more frustrating behaviors french bulldogs can partake in. Not only does it make them a mess and need a bath, but it ruins your yard! Is it normal for french bulldogs to dig or is something wrong?

Why Do French Bulldogs Dig:

For many dogs, digging is instinctual behavior and it’s no different for french bulldogs. It’s a simple pleasure that unfortunately your french bulldog enjoys. Other reasons for their digging could be boredom, temperature regulation, feeling stressed out, or wanting to hide something valuable.

In this post you’ll discover:

  • 9 of the most common reasons for french bulldogs to dig
  • When you should be worried about your frenchies digging
  • 6 tips to reduce or potentially completely stop their digging behavior (tip #1 is the least known but most effective)
  • And much, much more!

Alright, let’s dig in.

9 Reasons Why French Bulldogs Like To Dig

1) Temperature Regulation

One reason why french bulldogs dig is to help regulate their temperature.

Unfortunately, your pup isn’t able to cool off as easily on warm days through sweating like people can.

While people sweat all over their bodies helping them release heat, dogs only sweat through their nose, mouth and paws.

Which makes it quite challenging for them to cool off on warm days.

And your frenchie has even more trouble dealing with heat than other breeds.

This is because they’re a brachycephalic breed (flat faced) which makes them struggle with breathing, even at rest.

And panting is super important to help dogs cool themselves down.

So what does this have to do with them digging?

Underneath the top layer of grass in your yard, the dirt/mud is much cooler on warm days.

So your pup is digging to get to this cooler dirt to help them cool off.

They want to touch it with their paws or lay in it to help provide some relief to the heat.

Be sure to watch your frenchie extra closely on hot days as they have even more difficulties regulating their temperature than other breeds.

Related Reading: 9 Simple Steps To Create The Obedient Dog Of Your Dreams

2) Hiding Things They Find Valuable

It’s hard to believe that little french bulldogs have wolf ancestors.

But it’s true.

And these wolf ancestors would dig holes and put things that were valuable to them inside the holes to hide them.

This would’ve likely been bones or extra food they wanted to save for later.

But for your frenchie this might be their favorite toy, treats or a stick.

This behavior is very unnecessary nowadays as they don’t have to worry about their things being stolen, but it’s instinctual.

They’re deeply attached to whatever they’re putting in their newly dug hole and want to make sure it remains theirs.

Finding it when they want it again is a whole other story.

3) ‘Nothing Better To Do’

When french bulldogs are bored, much like many other breeds, they may dig in an attempt to curb their boredom.

If your frenchie frequently asks to go outside, only to find them digging, they may simply be bored.

It could be because they haven’t been played with much lately or their toys have lost their spark to them.

Do what you can to limit their boredom and you may find their digging to slow down or even stop.

Related Reading: 10 Best Toys To Entertain Your Dog | Boredom Buster Toys

4) It’s a Fun Pass Time For Them

Wouldn’t it be great if your frenchie found it fun to take out the garbage or help clean up around the house?

Sadly, what french bulldogs find fun is far from being neat and tidy.

Usually their instinctive desires push them toward being mischievous little buggers because they find it fun.

And digging is definitely one of those instinctive desires that your pup may simply have a blast doing.

If you’ve ever dug a hole, you know it’s really quite the opposite of fun…

But for your french bulldog, digging may be one of their simple pleasures.

5) Stressed Out

If your french bulldog is feeling stressed out or anxious, digging can serve as a helpful distraction to these negative feelings.

The act of digging itself can take their mind off of whatever’s troubling them.

It can help them combat their nervous energy by blowing off some steam/lowering their energy levels.

Or if they get anxious when being separated from you they could dig in an attempt, in their mind, to get to you.

If you notice your frenchie is excessively licking themselves, whining/crying a lot, eating their poop, or pacing in addition to their digging, they may have separation anxiety.

Related Reading: 7 Ways To Eliminate Your Dogs Anxiety, Shyness Or Fear

6) Following a Scent/Sound

It’s hard for people to really grasp how much better their pup’s sense of smell is when compared to their own.

As well as their hearing.

It’s said that the portion of their brain that processes smells is 40 times larger than ours. 

Which means, in a very real way, their sense of smell is better than your ability to see.

And they can hear twice, if not three times, a higher frequency of sounds.

Which simply means they can hear the squeak of small animals or rodents from quite far away.

Because of their heightened smell and hearing, french bulldogs may dig because they’re following a sound or scent.

If your backyard has moles living underneath the ground and your pup is able to smell/hear them, they may dig in an attempt to get to them.

It could very well be a scratch that needs to be itched for them.

They can smell and hear something but can’t get to it. Which may cause them to want to dig excessively.

7) Attempting To Escape

Another reason for french bulldogs to dig is because they’re attempting to escape.

And since you provide such a lovely home for them you might wonder why on earth they’d want to escape?!

The reasoning is quite simple.

They want to chase something, or they want you to chase them.

“To chase, or not to chase, that is the question”

I think that’s what Shakespeare said, right?

If they smell or see a squirrel, cat, bunny, or chipmunk on the other side of your fence they’ll have a strong urge to chase it.

On the flip side, they know if they get out in the front yard, you’ll come running out to get them and they can enjoy being chased.

How childish!

8) Too Much Pent Up Energy

If a french bulldog has too much energy they may dig to give themselves an outlet for this pent up energy.

If your frenchie is younger you’ve probably noticed random spurts of very high amounts of energy.

Which is usually expressed in two ways.

One is running around like crazy.

The second is digging to the center of the earth.

This gets their heart pumping and helps burn off some of their pent up energy.

We have a few tips below that should definitely help if this is their reason for digging.

Related Reading: Top 15 Best Harnesses For French Bulldogs | Ultimate Guide

9) It Gets Them Attention

French bulldogs are smart and yours has probably picked up on your response when they dig.

If they feel like you haven’t been giving them enough attention in the last 13 minutes, they may do something they know has worked in the past to get your attention.

Many times they aren’t too concerned about whether it’s positive or negative attention.

As long as they get your attention, they’re happy.

So if each time they start digging, you go running over to them and/or shout their name to stop it.

This is another possible reason why your frenchie likes to continue to dig.

Because whenever they do, mom/dad always comes and gives them attention!

Related Reading: 12 Reasons Why Frenchies Are So Clingy & Needy + Tips

6 Tips To Reduce (Or Stop) Your French Bulldogs Digging

1) Secret Poop Trick

The secret poop trick isn’t well known and probably one of the weirdest ways to stop digging…

But it works.

And it works because dogs like to keep their den/where they live clean.

Next time your french bulldog digs a hole, grab some of their poop, put it in their hole then cover it up.

If they go to dig in the same spot, they’ll be repulsed to find their poop.

Which should stop them in their tracks.

However, some dogs may simply go find another place to dig, and that’s fine.

Simply continue to repeat the process of putting their poop in the holes they dig and covering it up.

Eventually they’ll stop enjoying digging because they’re disgusted by their own poop and everytime they dig now, they find their poop.

2) Increase Their Daily Exercise

Many french bulldogs will dig simply because they aren’t getting enough daily exercise.

They have too much pent up energy that they aren’t sure what to do with.

So they end up digging as a means of expressing this energy.

When you increase their daily exercise you’re making digging much less interesting to them.

If you start taking them for more walks, longer walks, hiking adventures, or longer games of fetch, they’ll be tired and uninterested in digging.

They’ll be more interested in resting to regain their energy for more fun activities with you!

3) Don’t React

One of the more difficult things to do when you see your frenchie digging is to not react.

This doesn’t mean simply let it continue to happen.

It just means when you do find them digging, don’t make a big scene by yelling their name and chasing after them.

You’re better off calming walking over, saying “no” in a firm, low tone of voice, and taking them to their crate.

This way they aren’t getting what they want from their digging behavior, your attention.

4) Become Sherlock Holmes

Pay close attention to what happens before your french bulldog starts to dig.

If you can find the trigger that seems to continuously result in your pup digging, do your best to eliminate the trigger.

For example, if every time your neighbor’s cat walks by your frenchie while outside they start to bark and dig, remove them from the situation.

This is a more obvious situation, and unfortunately not all triggers are as obvious.

But the point is, if you can find their trigger you’re better able to stop their reactive digging behavior.

5) Consider Neutering/Spaying Them

French bulldogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered are far more hormonal and have more energy that may make them want to dig.

If your frenchie hasn’t been fixed yet and you’re open to it, have a conversation with your vet.

Typically when dogs get fixed they become more calm and don’t have as many random bursts of crazy energy.

6) Consult With a Professional

If all else fails, it never hurts to bring in a professional for help.

If their digging is really making a mess of your backyard and you want it to stop, instead of doing trial and error yourself, consulting with a behavioral specialist can help get to the bottom of it fast.

Of course this method requires spending some money.

So it really depends how much you want the digging to stop.

Other posts you might find interesting:

12 Best Beds For French Bulldogs: Beds That Last

6 Surprising Reasons Why French Bulldogs Stare At You

9 Interesting Reasons Why French Bulldogs Sleep So Much

11 Reasons Why Your Frenchie Farts So Much + Helpful Tips


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How to Prevent a Dog From Digging