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Old 05-19-2012, 12:08 AM
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maxfox426 maxfox426 is offline
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Default How to stop/redirect/correct digging

This is actually a question to help out my neighbors. Their dog is starting to dig holes around their yard and they came to me asking for suggestions.

Since Morgan has never been a digger, I was at a bit of a loss off the top of my head, but offered to ask around for advice.

The dog is a rescue. I think she's about 18 months old, though they've had her for a little less than a year.

Anyway, she has recently started digging in the yard. They narrowed it down to a boredom thing, and have been doing their best to redirect her with playtime, exercise, and mental stimulation. However, the second they stop to do something else (work in the garden, fire up the grill, answer the phone, etc.), the dog is digging up the yard. So it's something that happens when they aren't paying immediate attention.

She is not left in the yard alone. If she is out, at least one of her owners are out with her, even if just for a quick potty break.

We discussed the possibilities of giving her a sandbox/designated dig area. They seemed open to that idea, though I think they would rather find a way to have her not dig in general. We also tried to brainstorm some other games they could teach her to play by herself, basically find something MORE fun than digging while their attention is diverted. As great as that sounds, all of us were kind of at a loss as to what options there are in that regard.

I tried searching the forum, and learned about the poop trick. (Can I say... eww? LOL!) I'm hoping I might find a few more suggestions to give them before I turn into the weird neighbor that encourages them to bury poop around their yard.


My neighbors really, really, really want to do right by her, and are all about finding positive solutions. I really want to help them out!

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-19-2012, 12:11 AM
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Derp. Had one idea pop into my head just now... that they could tether her to themselves while they garden (or whatever) just to keep tabs on her. Maybe even a medium-length line so that they can maintain control, but she doesn't have the option to get AWAY to dig?

Could this work? If so, how would you do it?
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Old 05-19-2012, 12:22 AM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Yep, I'd keep her tethered, and when she starts to dig, redirect her. treat for attention elsewhere. Or, if she starts to dig, they turn around and go inside. Digging means fun stops.

Digging is a self-rewarding behaviour for some, and unless she is just not able to do it, she will keep at it
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Old 05-19-2012, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JessLough View Post
Yep, I'd keep her tethered, and when she starts to dig, redirect her. treat for attention elsewhere. Or, if she starts to dig, they turn around and go inside. Digging means fun stops.

Digging is a self-rewarding behaviour for some, and unless she is just not able to do it, she will keep at it
I wish I had been smart enough to think of that when I was talking to them today. LOL!
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:09 AM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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The poop trick works, gross as it is. Unless the dog is super determined and just picks other spots. What I really liked is when I read that someone made/designated an area where their dog was allowed to dig. A dog box. Made it interesting, burried toys or bones or treats in it every once in a while. They figured their dog needed an outlet, I thought it was a cute idea.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:35 AM
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So the dog starts to dig, they go get her and work/play with her and when they stop interacting with her, she goes back to digging? Sounds like the dog trained them when she wants attention and play.

I would suggest they teach the dog placement training and I would suggest that they don't play/work with her after/during she digs. However, if she doesn't dig, she can earn the attention.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:42 AM
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With Elsie, I taught her to dig on command, and she stopped digging randomly.

I'd imagine click/treating digging could backfire pretty quickly for a lot of dogs, though.
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:34 PM
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If they weren't thrilled about the sandbox, they might be willing to get a little kiddie pool that the dog can dig in. A lot of dogs dig to get a cooler place to lay down, so a little pool could help him cool down as well.
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:47 PM
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Fwiw, both of my dogs love to dig, and don't find digging in their sandbox nearly as rewarding. B loves digging and really doesn't care about the sandbox; G thinks the sandbox is fun but dirt is better. So it's worth a try, but I wouldn't go out and spend a lot of money on one.

Bailey does really like "digging" in the (water filled) baby pool. Lol.
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:21 AM
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When Fozzie was growing up, we had several acres, the border of which was foresty with red clay-like dirt and we had a couple of moles... Fozz became an avid digger! I filled the holes with poop (which does work), and got a sandbox which I buried toys and treats in and taught him to dig in it. He soon became obsessed with chasing & biting hoses, and playing in kiddie pools, so he lost interest in digging. A tired dog will not have the energy to dig, so tell them to exhaust her with long walks, dog park trips, and off-leash exercise. If they spend 30 minutes playing fetch, tug, doing recalls, flirtpoles, and practicing obedience in the yard she probably won't have the pent up energy to dig.
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