Can Never Step in the Same River Twice •
ARTICLES & ADVICE
FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY
Digging is one of the top "issues" that I am asked about in classes and
dinner parties. There is hope for diggers, even those that are
genetically predisposed to trenching through your entire property. Most
diggers have some
things in common.
- The dog is left alone too much, and many are the only
home. This can cause loneliness, nervousness and anxiety. Increasing
their time spent with you and inside the house should help overcome
- The dog is left outside. Outdoor dogs tend to dig to
or den for cooling them of in the middle of the day. If this is the
at your house, create a shady spot and provide a shelter in a cooler
A doggy door into the house or into a garage out of the weather often
this issue. This is also an issue for dogs during the winter months
for a place to stay warmer. Make sure you have adequate food, shelter
water for outdoor dogs.
- The dog in not getting enough exercise. (This is common
the non-digging dogs.)
- The dog is two years old or under.
- The breed is known for digging. (Terriers, pinschers,
and northern breeds are notorious for digging.)
- The dog is punished for digging after the fact and probably
receives some harsh physical punishment that increases stress levels
and leads to more digging.
- The dog's diet is junk-food and they are trying to find the
and minerals in the backyard soil.
- The dog has little or no obedience training.
- The dog is overexposed to the sun.
- The dog is very active and/or nervous.
- Sex. Males often dig to find the neighborhood girl and
heat often dig as part of the den mentality. Spay or neuter your pets
reduce this urge. If you have a superior bitch that has earned her
championship and is truly an asset to the breed, consider keeping her
on a non-dirt area during her heat cycle.
For those breeds that love to dig, it is sometimes easier to redirect
that urge to an appropriate digging area. You can buy or build a sand
for your digger. Fill it with clean dirt rather than sand and bury some
toys and treats in it. Take you dog out to the new sand box and start
your pooch. Be certain to reward your dog for digging in an appropriate
with praise, petting and treats. A good size digging zone for most dogs
three feet wide, six feet long, and two feet deep.
ELEMENT of SURPRISE
To keep your dogs from digging in an inappropriate place, or to teach
them off-limit areas in the yard, you will need to sneak around and spy
on them from a hidden place. Think of it as a game of Mission
Let your dog out as usual. Grab your portable air-horn or other
that will startle them. (Your neighbors will be certain you are strange
now.) Begin spying on your dog from an open window where you can see
anywhere in the yard. Keep yourself hidden from view, but keep the
pointed out the window. When the dog gets within three feet of the
zone, sound the noisemaker. This will take more than one attempt, but
repeated training sessions will teach your dog to think there is
something watching that area and it is easier to avoid it than to try
and get in there and root around.
You can "plant" plastic construction fence under your landscaped areas
to prevent the dogs from digging. As they claw down into the dirt,
their feet will hit the plastic and most dogs don't like the feel of
plastic as they dig. It won't hurt their feet, but it will decrease the
desirability of digging.
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