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Why do dogs dig holes at the beach?


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I'm not a dog owner but just curious about the reasons for this behaviour, seen in many different breeds of dog on our local beach. Why do they dig holes when they're at the beach?

I would really like to understand the precise reasons. For example, if this is a remnant from an older behaviour, dating back to days before domestication, then what is that original behaviour based on? Or if they simply do it "because they like it", then where does the enjoyment come from?

Hope someone can help, and many thanks in advance!

Many dogs are bred to dig out quarry. Terriers in particular are bred to dig out rabbits and foxes etc that have gone to ground. The same thing for the hound breeds. It is a hunting instinct.

All dogs will have a hunting instinct to a greater or lesser degree. It is part of their survival instinct.

They might also dig holes to bury the carcase of prey that is left over from a kill.

Some dogs just love the digging experience! If anyone owns such a dog and denies it access to a place to dig the dog can become quite frustrated. In these cases a sand pit can be provided, filled with silver sand. for the dog to enjoy burying their toys.
My puppy Cockapoo loves digging in the garden. When given full access to the garden she makes straight to the flower borders and digs and digs - the deeper the better it seems. She hasn't yet experienced a sandy beach (only pebbles) so will be interested to see what she makes of a sandy beach.
If digging in the garden becomes a problem you could cover the area with chicken wire and let the plants/grass grow through it. It can be mowed over.

She could then have a sand pit (covered to prevent cats from using it as a toilet), to dig in, and find hidden treats and toys.
Thanks. We're not too bothered at the moment and happy to let her dig. It will be too cold and hard soon I expect. If she's still at it next summer then we may well take your advice and use chicken wire. Do you know if there's any product to save grass from 'wee'?
There is something called "Dog Rocks" (I think I have got the name right) that you leave in the dog's water bowl. It neutralises the acid, I think, in the dog's urine. You would need to do your research, though, to make sure that it is totally safe. It just worries me that it must be a chemical??

You could try watering the wee places to dilute the wee?
I've seen the product Gypsysmum mentioned but didn't like the idea of it so we just have brown patches on the grass. If we go away for a couple of weeks it grows back so it doesn't seem to suffer long term damage.
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Thank you both. I will do some research but as with you I'm not sure I like the idea of it. Grass is pretty resilient so I guess we'll just have to go away lots to give it time to recover!

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