Are groundhogs vicious, or is my nosy little dog safe?

We knew we had an animal living under our deck. The area under the steps is apparently hollow and I imagine makes for a quite cozy critter condominium. I can tell when an animal is under there because Arthur actively and thoroughly sniffs around the deck steps.

Last year we noticed a large hole, which Arthur was enthralled with, leading to the below-steps-haven. Mark plugged it with a brick. The next morning we found the brick pushed out of the way. So he plugged it with three or four more bricks and so far this barricade has held.

Last week we saw two groundhogs in our garden, so we’re pretty sure they are the inhabitants of our underground residence.

Plugging the hole with bricks was only a temporary fix at best. If the groundhog exhibit at the zoo, that I took my kids to all those years ago where they ran through tunnels and climbed ladders to pop their heads up above ground, was accurate in any way, these animals are perfectly capable of digging new holes.

Although my little dog has a moderate ability to dig as evidenced by little treat-bones buried in the mulch throughout our landscaping, I don’t believe he is capable of digging his way into an underground burrow. He is however, capable of using a hole which another animal has so kindly provided. Unfortunately, he apparently is not able to get out as easily as he gets in and we usually find him stuck in this “cage” under the deck.

I suspect Arthur is being something of a nuisance to the groundhogs. If they were smart, which apparently they aren’t, they would tunnel their way out of his electric fence boundaries before they surfaced.

I’m a bit worried that if Arthur takes the groundhog on, it will not bode well for Arthur.

32 thoughts on “Are groundhogs vicious, or is my nosy little dog safe?”

    1. Debra hi! Since this post started in 2011, and it’s 2015, I would suspect your problem is resolved, but for any one else asking the same question. It’s most likely a groundhog (woodchuck), While groundhogs are not normally dangerous, they are quite capable of defending themselves, seriously, but I’ve never seen our groundhog cornered as they have scoped out escape avenues. Our groundhog never had a problem with our shih-tzu. Giz never had a strong chase instinct, though he was curious, he became bored and just walked away.

      I don’t know what breed Arthur is, so I don’t know if he is a terrier or not. Terriers are quite capable of digging and going after rodents. That’s what they were bred for. Our goundhog, Chuck has been with us nearly 8 years and is a staple to our lives. I assume he is male as we have never seen any little chucklets, but a mother woodchuck will be protective to a degree, but will also teach their little ones to run.

      We have a new pup. Giz passed about 2 and a half years ago. Duncan is a Springer Spaniel. They are bred with a strong chase instinct. Chuck is hibernating, so come spring, it should be interesting and I wall need to be watchful. I will be training Duncan NOT to chase Chuck, but even if he did, Chuck has several exits that do not include his summer burrow under our gazebo.

      Chances are, your groundhogs have just moved to greener pastures. Chuck isn’t always in our backyard. He wanders to where the grass is greenest.

      1. Had a ground hog kill my Jack Russell. My dog was very protective and the groundhog slip her throat with its front teeth. Not wise to have them around dogs that are ground diggers and protective of their space…

    2. Hi it is 2017 aug I was just in my back yard and this groundhog ran after my dog from behind I saw it I ran toward my sreaming and it jumped over my dog a big fat brown big one I have seen it before and it attack out of from way arcross the yard thank god my dog did not c him he jump over my henry and I told him to run run and I was in back of my dog he was so scared barking and he was scared for like an hour after I can’t believe that happen thank god I was there

  1. It’s either a groundhog, or possibly raccoons. The dog doesn’t look very big though…

    Groundhogs tend to be pretty shy, and if the dog can’t get into the hole, it might be okay… all the same, it might be best to keep an eye on him while he’s outdoors.

    Raccoons are a different story altogether.

  2. You might also want to try to find out if there are other things that might discourage groundhogs from taking up residence… maybe a plant they dislike?

  3. I expect that most wild animals, when cornered by a dog, will fight to the finish if necessary.

    Hope that you can discourage the groundhogs from hanging around Arthur’s backyard.

  4. My grandfather had a pair of dogs who’d make sport out of hunting groundhogs on the farm together. Of course, they were German Shepherds, so their size was much bigger compared to Arthur.

  5. (Isn’t Arthur the cutest!?) I can imagine the damage caused by groundhogs because we are dealing with moles right now–incredible burrowing. They stay in the garden, thank goodness. I guess this is one of the costs of better weather, right?

  6. Groundhogs can be quite vicious. One of my cats was attacked by a groundhog that she had corned (she was a foolishly brave cat who thought she could chase anything and everything). She showed up back at the house looking as if she’d been hit by a car, one hip out of whack and bleeding. The vet said a groundhog had obviously chased her from behind, pounced on her, and then bit her. (She figured all this out by the bite and the injury.) Thankfully there were no broken bones. Just a very sore kitty on antibiotics for the bite.

    I have not been very fond of groundhogs ever since that incident and we have filled in some of their homes with concrete, and used other means to get rid of them when they are in undesirable locations.

    1. This comment is HILARIOUS! “One of my cats was ATTACKED by a groundhog that she had cornered”. Sounds to me like your cat as asking for it. The groundhog probably felt threatened and was trying to protect itself and its home. Sounds like your CAT attacked the groundhog first.

    2. My childhood cat who had her front paws declawd brought many ground hogs home. But she has a meanie. Always picked on the small ones.

  7. I love most kinds of wild critters. Not so sure about possums, however. Snakes are okay if they keep to themselves. But I’m not sure about having them take up residence.

    good luck with your boarders…hugmamma. 😉

  8. Arthur us adorable. I have 2 Yorkies and a groundhog that has taken up residence under my shed. He is rather cute, but I am afraid my little terriers might go after him and wind up getting hurt. I really don’t want any of them to get hurt, but I am not sure they can co-exist peacefully.

    1. I know we worried about it a lot at first. But the groundhogs have been back several years. I just saw one down by the creek yesterday. I think the dogs will be okay as long as they don’t corner the groundhog. We keep a closer watch on Arthur when the groundhogs are nesting and don’t allow him to go too close. We had baby groundhogs here last year.

  9. I read that groundhogs have an expectancy of 3 years. But then they do prduce at least 2 babies. Which means they too will live for 3 years. It’s a never ending battle. If a groundhog is cornered it will attack even a human. They can be vicious so be careful!

  10. If you have an indoor cat save the used litter and dump it in the woodchuck hole , they will abandon the hole and move to less smelly surroundings. When we had indoor cats I used to save the scoopable litter to deal with unwelcome woodchucks, it worked every time.

  11. All these groundhogs Just arrived In my development.There are at least six that I have seen And one I know lives in my backyard.My one year old puppy Loves to bark at him And when I go to walk her out back, She loves to chase him Under Our Deck Is she in danger of getting attacked.

  12. Had to rush my mom’s min pin to vet he was digging under fence in yard and we often have skunks and groundhogs any way what ever he was smelling clamped on his little paw and shredded it his bones were exposed and flesh hanging off he in bad shape we found a hole going under the shed hmmmm skunk or hog hurks doing ok vet was able to save foot his wounds are bad he is all stitched up now need to figure out what to do with the rodents poor pup I feel so sad for him

      1. Thank you for letting me join this group he is doing ok but he scared to go out side he in lil pain we have traps set but nothing cought yet 😦 mom has to little dogs min pin and Japanese chin and both love hunting stuff in the yard just will feel better when the critters are gone or relocated.

  13. We are living in their space just as much as they are living in ours. I found this conversation after googling “can my cats kill a ground hog” not the other way around. Traps? I hope they are humane traps. I allow my cats to go into outdoor space, as well as my two dogs, one of which is quite small. That outdoor space is the wild. Please respect all life even if it is a “nuisance” or “inconvenience” in our lives. Groundhogs are so darn cute.


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