Puppy Digging in Crate – Why? And What to Do?

Digging is one of the most troublesome habits that dog owners deal with.  When attempting to regulate a puppy’s digging activity, it is essential first to understand why the behavior occurs in the first place. This is especially true when the digging is just a sign of a more severe problem. So why do puppies dig in crates?

Pups have an instinct to dig, so they dig in their crates. It is no need to stop this behavior unless it becomes harmful, but if you choose to do so, you should focus on diverting to something useful, maintaining a suitable temperature, providing exercise and mental stimulation, or seeing a professional dog trainer.

puppy digging in crate

This article will shed light on why your puppy is digging in their crate, whether or not this behavior should be corrected, and what the next step should be!

Why Do Puppies Dig In Their Crates?

Although this behavior may appear odd, it has a deep biological foundation in your dog’s ancestry. Puppies don’t have thumbs to handle tools; their paws make a den.

This instinct was passed down through generations, and it’s still there in domestic dogs today. Many natural characteristics have been lost via domestication, but digging and socializing will never disappear.

Your new puppy seems to think that its crate is a den; therefore, they are digging in. The crate is a warm, dark, and comfy space specifically intended for resting and relaxing; it imitates all the essential traits of a nice den! Digging might be a puppy’s bedtime habit.

Paws scratching at the crate floor or bedding might indicate that they’re too warm or too cold, as the inclination to dig is to alter their resting conditions.

Digging indicates pent-up energy, adrenaline, or worry. If it’s an anxious habit, it’s possible that your puppy is trying to escape their crate so they may be with you instead of being nervous.

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Common Reasons Why Pups Dig In Their Crate

Puppies will dig up their crates for a number of reasons, not the least of which is their instinctive want to create a safe place for themselves. Additional reasons for digging in pups kept as house pets include the following:

An Instinctual Behavior

Digging is an instinct for puppies, and they have a hard time focusing for long periods of time.

If you notice that your puppy is digging in their crate at bedtime or during the day, they may be attempting to create a quiet spot for themselves so that they can rest and relax. On the other hand, if they dig too deeply, they risk damaging the crate’s floor and injuring themselves.

Your Puppy Is Playing

Puppies are energetic and like playing. Your canine companion may be just trying to have a good time when they dig in their crate. You may try to keep them engaged by giving them toys or bones to chew on, and you should also make sure they are receiving plenty of activity.


You may also train them with rewards as they play, but don’t overdo it. They will rapidly learn that playing brings rewards, and the time that is spent with them will be more pleasurable as a result.

To Mark Territory 

Puppies have scent glands on the bottoms of their feet that release a pheromone. Your puppy may use digging to let others know they have claimed particular bedding by marking it.


Your puppy may enjoy digging far more than gazing wistfully toward the house’s back door. Your puppy may be just having a good time digging up your backyard for no reason other than doing so.

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Hiding Treasure

Some puppies hide their treasures—a beloved toy or a tasty treat—under the ground. Unfortunately, they do not always remember to produce a treasure map, which results in further digging while looking for their hidden treasure.

puppy digging in crate


Another reason for puppies to dig is to investigate something. If they think something intriguing is under their crates, like food or a toy, they may dig to find it.

Spent Too Long Inside the Crate

Lastly, you may be crate-training your puppy for too long. Puppies have short attention spans, a lot of activity, and an essential requirement for the care and attention of their human companions. It’s likely your puppy isn’t trained enough to stay in their crate for long.

Or, your expectations may be unrealistically high for a dog of their age. You’re being unreasonable if your dog is crated for more than two hours. Try having a family member or friend visit your puppy at work to avoid long crates.

Should I Let My Puppy Dig In Their Crate?

Some individuals feel that letting their puppy dig in its crate is fine, while others say that this behavior is unhealthy for the puppy and should be avoided. Each side of the issue has both advantages and disadvantages. People also ask should I let my puppy sleep in its cage with the door open?

It is up to you to decide whether or not to permit your puppy to dig in its crate. If you believe it will help them alleviate boredom or anxiety and that they won’t damage themselves in the process, then you should go ahead and let it. However, you should be careful of the habits that it will build for them.

However, if you are concerned about the mess they may produce, it may be advisable to prevent them from digging in their crate completely.

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How to Stop Your Puppy From Digging in Their Crate

There are several ways to discourage a puppy from digging in its crate. Although there are a few that are specific to the reason that your puppy is digging, the majority of these solutions apply to almost any situation!

Remove Sources of Stress

Find out why your dog digs because he’s nervous or feels threatened. An abrupt change in surroundings is stressful for dogs, such as moving. You may ease the adjustment by spending quality time with your puppy and setting up a ‘safe’ space in the new residence. It will be easier to transfer if you recreate their sleeping area in a setting that is as comparable as feasible. To stop a dog from digging, search for changes in its surroundings or habit.


Depending on your dog type, you need to ensure that your pup is getting the appropriate amount of activity each day. Different dog breeds demand different amounts of daily exercise. Therefore a little dog doesn’t always need less exercise!

Every day, you should be sure to spend at least thirty minutes walking and playing with your dog outside. Increasing their activity might help them burn off additional energy spent digging in their crate.

Keep the Temperature Comfortable

If you observe your puppy digging to sleep more comfortably (such as digging activity followed by slow spinning in circles and calming down), an inappropriate temperature may be the cause. Temperature drives puppies to dig into reconstructing their dens.