Why Do Jack Russells Dig So Much?

If you own a Jack Russell, you may be thinking the same question. Jack Russell Terriers are a dog breed, specifically bred to hunt. However, they love to flaunt their skills. Not only do they love digging, but they also like burrowing under the blanket whenever they get the chance.

Here is what I found out when researching the topic.

What Makes Jack Russells Dig so Much?

Jack Russell terriers are confident and tough dogs. While they are small, these dogs are pretty active and love playing for hours. Dog trainers and pet owners believe that Jack Russells are brave and courageous dogs that don’t shy away from flaunting their naughty side. Your Jack Russells have a weatherproof coat, which can be smooth or rough.

Many traits of the hyperactive Jack Russell leave their owners with several questions. However, there is a reason why this breed has a natural tendency to dig and create holes.

Centuries ago, the purpose of this breed was to hunt vermin. Hence, owners of this dog breed should expect their pet dogs to dig the backyard frequently. This behavior is instinctual and may be hard to stop. However, there are a few things dog owners can do to help their dog’s desire to dig excessively.

How to Stop my Jack Russell from Digging?

Here are some tips to prevent your Jack Russell Terrier from digging too much.

The first step is to understand the reason behind your dog’s digging patterns. Other than their natural compulsion to dig, your JRT may be digging if he is:

  • looking for comfort
  • seeking attention
  • finding ways to escape
  • looking for protection

Since Jack Russells have high energy levels, they are always searching for activities that allow them to vent out maximum energy. If dog owners don’t entertain these dogs well, they will feel left out, bored, and isolated.

For that reason, never leave an anxious or bored JRT in your garden alone. He will choose to dig into calming his nerve or fulfill his need to move around.

Giving your Jack Russell a toy will not make much of a difference because digging is probably the only thing that gives him joy and satisfaction. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be firm.

Why do Jack Russells Dig So Much

Whenever you spot your dog digging, instruct ‘No’ firmly and redirect your JRT to an alternative such as chasing a ball, doing tricks, or playing tug with him.

In some cases, Jack Russells turn to dig when they are looking for comfort or because they are missing their owner. Spending more time with them can resolve this issue.

Owners can figure out if their JRT is digging for escape purposes if they spot him digging holes near the fence line. That is typically when your dog finds something outside of the fence and wants to chase it.

Don’t let your dog be alone in the garden and play out with him. Keeping your dog busy when he is digging for escape is the best way to revert his attention.

Tips for Preventing my Jack Russell from Digging

Here are some more tips that can help you prevent your Jack Russell from digging.

Provide Training

Allowing adequate exercise and playtime, along with spending valuable time with your pet, can help you prevent them from digging. Another way is to train them so they know when they should stop digging.

Although training Jack Russells requires experience and commitment, some dog owners can teach their pets basic commands such as ‘No digging.’ Your vet and a professional dog trainer can help you prevent your dog from digging in your presence.

Allocate a Specific Digging Zone

As digging is an instinct of this breed, providing a specific digging zone for your dog is a good idea, especially when your pet is not responding to instructions or training.

This zone can be a sectioned space of your backyard or an old sandbox. Dog owners can train their Jack Russell to dig this zone only by praising him and giving a treat every time he digs in that spot.

Keep up the interruptions elsewhere whenever he digs elsewhere.

Manage your Jack Russell

Don’t leave your pet in the backyard alone unless he becomes familiar with the specified digging spot or learns to follow your instructions. While this won’t happen overnight, you can start by interrupting digging and diverting his attention to other activities.

That’s only going to happen if you manage the need for your dog to let out his energy.

Since digging takes a lot of energy, many dogs choose to dig as a form of exercise. Taking your JRT to a local dog park or playing with him regularly will leave your dog with little energy to dig.

Self-play Toys For Jack Russells

Boredom is just one of the reasons why this breed wants to ruin your backyard.

While offering self-play toys for your dog allows them to take a temporary break, these dog accessories provide them some entertainment.

These small dogs have healthy teeth and love chewing on toys, so you can dog-friendly accessories that they will love to play with for keeping busy.

EarthDog or Barn Hunt

Since the Jack Russell loves digging and getting small animals out of the earth, dog owners can satisfy their desire by taking them to EarthDog training and barn hunts.

Not only are these safe sports that teach your pet to hunt on cue, but these fun-filled activities will also give an excellent outlet for your dogs to exercise.

If you wonder what happens in an Earthdog competition, these contests allow Jack Russells and other similar dog breeds to hunt vermin. Since that’s something that comes naturally to JRT’s, they are super-excited to participate in these competitions.

Your Jack Russell can compete in any of the three junior, senior, and master levels. However, before your pet participates in the competition, he must undergo a quarry introduction in which organizers lay down a rat trail into a 10-foot tunnel.

Caged rats are waiting for the dog at the end of the tunnel. Officials will introduce your dog to the tunnel, featuring a right-angle turn.

Why do Jack Russells Dig So Much

Your dog has to ‘work’ the rats by digging, barking, and lunging. These behaviors help judges assess the dog’s desire to get at the quarry.

A dog can move up the testing levels by working the rats within a specified time and through long tunnels. The competition is safe for both your pet and the rodents as they remain safe from any harm.

Why do Jack Russells Burrow under the Covers?

Apart from digging, a few other things may trouble dog owners. Many dog owners observe that their Jack Russells burrow under their covers or like tucking themselves into your bed as soon as bedtime approaches.

That’s not the case with just your dog. Many dog breeds such as Jack Russell Terriers love burrowing under the covers for various reasons. While pinpointing the specific reason is tricky, your dog may exhibit this behavior when they want to cozy up or seek protection.

Dog trainers believe that this behavior’s root cause is the dog’s desire to stay closer to his favorite human being. What could be a better way to be closer to someone than snuggling in under a soft and warm blanket?

For many dogs, there is no greater comfort or luxury than curling up underneath your plush and warm blanket. But that is likely to happen more with someone who is your pet’s favorite, such as your kids.

In some cases, your dog may be feeling anxious, nervous, or just sleepy.

While we would never be able to know the best answer, your dog’s burrowing antics could be due to any one or all of the reasons we mentioned above.

Although we may never know the answer for sure, there are many different reasons why dogs like to burrow under the covers. If we look at this trait from a dog’s perspective, burrowing under the blanket offers protection or camouflage from predators.

This trait could also signal that your dog feels cold and wants to protect its body from harsh weather conditions.

How to Prevent Burrowing under the Blanket

Nonetheless, staying close to your Jack Russells will strengthen your bond with your pet and provides the satisfaction and care he is craving. Although modern dogs do not typically fear predators, they need to cover themselves with a blanket due to their instincts.

Don’t consider your dog to be claustrophobic because what feels ‘suffocating’ to humans can be comforting and ‘safe’ for dogs. That is one reason why they feel safe in a narrow hole.

Bottom Line

Taking care of Jack Russells and nurturing their needs is an enjoyable and pleasurable experience.

But remember, these dogs have high energy levels and previously hunted foxes, so digging and burrowing are their most common behavioral traits. If you spend valuable time with your Jack Russells, train them well, and let them exercise, you can reduce excessive digging and burrowing.

Why do Jack Russells Dig So Much