1- Temperature - When the temperature rises and the sun is shining bright, many Beagles will instinctively dig into the soil in an effort to create a cooler, more comfortable resting spot. Most Beagles that do this will not have access to enough shade and be either on a run or in an enclosed fenced in yard without enough tree shading.
What You Can Do - If your yard does not have enough landscaping, you certainly can't wait for planted trees to grow large enough! What you can do is to place a small kiddy pool with clean water in the yard, leave out plenty of water for drinking, set up a dog house (with ventilation!) and/or set up a sprinkler (one with an automatic timer to go off every so often will provide both a relief from boredom and a fun way to cool off).
2- Burying Treats - It's amazing how a Beagle is able to hide a treat, bury it and then dig it up again… all done with an owner wondering where that treat came from in the first place! It's an endearing trait (in a way)... "Oh, that sneaky, sly Beagle!"... But at the same time it can make your yard look like a mine field. A Beagle can have quite an amazing knack for quickly hiding a treat for future use.
And that treat does not need to be a bone, it can be any food item or it can be an object that a puppy or dog likes to chew on. Therefore, some Beagles will dig in an effort to hide a toy. No matter what is being buried, only to be dug up later.. this is done to "protect" that item and in a way, hide it like a treasure! It's a dog's way of protecting it from any other possible dog that would try to claim it…even if there are no other dogs in the area.
What You Can Do - This is a bit tricky, since you can't deprive your Beagle of food, of course! One of the most helpful tips is to create a designated digging area - more on this ahead. Another element that some owners have found helpful is to have 2 sets of toys - indoor toys and outdoor toys. This can weaken the urge to hide indoor toys outside.
Keeping toys in a toy bin and making sure that no one touches them can also help, as it will provide assurance to a Beagle that his toys are his alone and he can rely on the fact that they will always be in the same place, untouched by others.
3- Hunting Behavior - Tracking after small critters (or even larger ones) is most certainly a Beagle trait. Digging problems can arise when those creatures are underground. Many owners have been shocked to find out that their Beagle that dug up the yard had actually tracked and discovered moles and their many tunneling holes.
With squirrels, birds, mice, hares and other woodland animals, a Beagle may dig up the soil around the tracks.
What You Can Do - Fixing this sort of digging problem is a bit tricky as well, since you can't block off nature. However, with some rodents, a pest control company can place SAFE products to repel them. You'll want to be extra careful that harmful chemicals and/or traps are not placed in any area that your Beagle may be in.
Keeping your puppy or dog to a slightly more confined area (but still large enough to be happy) and/or having a designated digging area can help.
4- Escaping (fence perimeter digging) - It is an extremely common problem for Beagles to dig along a fence line. Why? The #1 reason is to escape… and it isn't because your Beagle doesn't appreciate his house and human family! Un-neutered males can pick up on a female dog in heat from up to 3 miles away and with many male Beagles, nothing will get in their attempt to reach her, not even a secure fence.
For all Beagles in general, being outside means being bombarded with an overwhelming volley of scents and sounds that trigger the need to investigate.
Additionally, with some Beagles, a sort of panic can set in when left alone outside; this is a form of Serparation Anxiety. While some dogs simply love the "freedom" of roaming in the yard, others feel extremely nervous and quite startled at the prospect of being away from what they consider to be their "safe home" and suffer panic when separated from their owners.
What You Can Do - For escape artists, there are 2 fixes that seem to work well for this type of Beagle digging. The first is to work chicken wire into the bottom of the fencing. You'll need a roll (or several) of metal chicken wire and some metal pegs, which you can easily obtain from any local home supply store. Cut the rolled wire to the length needed for each fence section.
If mulch or bark chips line the area, use a rake to clear away as much as you can. If there is only grass, you may need to use an edge cutter to make a small thin depression. Lay the wire along the fence with the upper edge resting against the fence and secure it into place with the pegs. Once it is in place, you can replace the bark chips or rake the soil back into place.