Do Border Collies Like to Dig? Fun Facts to Know

Border Collies are renowned for their intelligence, energy, and herding prowess, making them a popular choice among dog enthusiasts. As owners of these remarkable canines know, Border Collies possess a wide array of behaviors that can both delight and puzzle. 

One such behavior that often captures attention is their affinity for digging. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of Border Collie digging tendencies, exploring the reasons behind their penchant for digging, whether it’s a breed-specific trait, and how to manage this behavior without compromising your garden or yard.

Understanding the Instincts

To comprehend why Border Collies exhibit a strong inclination to dig, it’s crucial to delve into their genetic history and evolutionary instincts. 

Border Collies were originally bred as working dogs, primarily tasked with herding livestock, particularly sheep, in the rugged terrains of the English-Scottish border. This lineage ingrained in them a deep-rooted instinct to manipulate and modify their environment – a trait that often manifested as digging.

Instinctual Reasons

Predatory Drive: Border Collies share their ancestry with other breeds that have a strong prey drive. Digging can be an extension of their innate desire to hunt and chase small animals that might be hiding underground.

Temperature Regulation: In hotter climates, digging serves as a way to find cooler ground to lie in. It’s an instinctive method of regulating body temperature and finding relief from the scorching sun.

Hiding and Storing: Historically, dogs have dug to create hidden dens for shelter and protection. Border Collies might dig to create a cozy spot where they feel secure or to store toys and treasures.

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Boredom and Mental Stimulation:

Border Collies are among the most intelligent dog breeds, and they require substantial mental stimulation to prevent boredom and subsequent behavioral issues. 

When left alone for extended periods without mental and physical engagement, they may resort to digging as an outlet for their energy and curiosity.

Communication and Exploration:

Dogs communicate and explore through various sensory experiences, including digging. For a Border Collie, digging can be a way to interact with the environment, leave their scent, or discover hidden scents left by other animals.

Addressing the Digging Behavior:

While Border Collies’ digging tendencies can be rooted in their instincts, there are several strategies to manage and redirect this behavior to prevent potential damage to your yard and garden:

Provide Alternative Outlets:

Engage your Border Collie’s active mind and body with puzzle toys, interactive games, and regular exercise. Physical and mental stimulation can reduce the compulsion to dig out of boredom.

Create Designated Digging Areas:

Allocate a specific area in your yard where your Border Collie is allowed to dig freely. Fill this area with soft soil and bury toys or treats to encourage the dog’s interest in that spot.

Positive Reinforcement:

Reward your Border Collie when they exhibit desired behaviors such as staying away from restricted areas or using the designated digging spot. Positive reinforcement enhances their understanding of acceptable behavior.

Obedience Training:

Enroll your Border Collie in obedience classes to enhance their impulse control and responsiveness to commands. A well-trained dog is less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors.

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Supervision and Interaction:

Regularly spend quality time with your Border Collie. Interaction and playtime with their owner can help curb destructive behaviors driven by loneliness.


The digging behavior observed in Border Collies is a complex interplay of their genetic heritage, instincts, and individual personality traits. While this behavior can pose challenges for owners, understanding the underlying reasons is the first step toward effective management. 

By providing ample mental and physical stimulation, designating appropriate digging areas, and employing positive reinforcement techniques, you can ensure that your Border Collie’s energy and curiosity are channeled constructively. 

Remember, a well-balanced and engaged Border Collie is a happier and healthier companion, ready to share many adventures with their devoted owner.