Success with a sandbox to get a dog to stop digging?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Bindi-n-Beastie, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Bindi-n-Beastie

    Bindi-n-Beastie New Member

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    Hi!
    My 1-yo corgi Bindi occasionally finds it fun to dig random holes in our yard. I know that the diagnosis for that is boredom, but the fact is that she has us and our other dog playing with her throughout the day, and access to plenty of toys.
    But I really need to fix this digging problem, and my dad basically said either I figure it out or I have to use an e-collar and try and catch her in the act. I don't want to do that, but the only other idea I was thinking of was giving her a sandbox and teaching her to dig in that. Honestly I'm kind of skeptical of if that would work, though. . . so I was hoping for some success stories? Anyone else had luck with that? Or other ideas on what I can do to get her to stop digging?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I don't personally know of anyone who has used a sand box, but it makes plenty of logical sense. If your dog digs for fun, then giving an appropriate place to do it will satisfy her. You will still have to encourage her to dig there instead of your yard though, and that requires supervision and training.

    I'm a bit confused though, why would you have to use an e-collar? If you catch her in the act there are certainly gentler ways to stop her. Your best bet is to stop letting her into the yard unsupervised for now. Always go with her. If you catch her starting to dig tell her to stop (if you need to, have her drag a leash so you can pull her away). Be consistent and quick (you don't want her getting 30 seconds of digging before you stop her, you want to be there asap). After a few weeks the habit should be broken as long as you are catching and stopping her each time. Having a sand box will make it even easier to end the behavior because after you make her stop you can redirect her to the box and encourage her to dig there. That way you don't have make her fight the urge to dig, she can feel free to satisfy it, but only in the box. It's a lot easier to give an appropriate outlet for an urge than to try and make the dog fight it.

    Do keep in mind this is only if the dog is digging for fun. If she spends long time periods out there she may be digging to make a cool sleeping place, bury toys, or even find rodents if you happen to have a gopher problem. So be sure there isn't another explanation.

    Make sure she is getting a good amount of exercise with you too. Just being in the yard with toys isn't enough, you need to get her panting hard. Ideally get her panting hard, allow a few minutes to cool down, and get her panting hard again a few times to really give her a workout. Feeding her out of toys rather than a bowl may also help occupy her and tire her out.
     
  3. Bindi-n-Beastie

    Bindi-n-Beastie New Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    The e-collar thing is just what my dad thinks would work. My family is very grounded in the 'logical, traditional method of discipline', so their solution to a bad behavior is punishing the dog for it so they don't want to do it again. On the other hand I've been trying the Positively methods (Victoria Stilwell), which was where I got the sandbox idea.
    It would take some effort to never let her outside unsupervised, since we're all in the habit of letting either/both of the dogs out whenever they want as well as leaving them out there when we go somewhere (if it's not for too long of course), but that makes sense, so thank you! I'll have to work on that.

    I am pretty sure the digging is just for fun. We don't let them take bones outside, because our other dog will bury them (but doesn't dig otherwise), unless they're supervised; and we don't have any rodents in the yard, and most of the time when she digs it's not even hot out.
    She does get a lot of exercise where she's panting hard, like you described. Her and our other dog play a lot, chasing each other around, and we also do regular games of fetch or tug-a-war, that sort of things. I was walking her every day, until I started just doing it in the backyard to work on loose-leash training, but I'll be starting again soon.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. MicksMom

    MicksMom Active Member

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    We taught our Lab/English Setter mix to dig in the sandbox when our boys were young. He was fairly soft, so it just took taking him to the sandbox when he started digging in the yard or flowers.

    You can encourage her to dig in a sandbox by burying some treats in it. Start out with them sticking up a little, or just lightly buried. Don't forget to praise her like crazy when she digs where you want her to. ;)
     
  5. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    A sandbox could certainly work, but you'll need to catch her in the act anyway. She won't just dig in the sandbox if it's out there, you'll need to teach her to do so, which will take a while of strict supervision outdoors.

    I would definitely try the sandbox before an e-collar. And even if you don't use an e-collar, simply interrupting and redirecting her would likely work without the potential negative side effects...
     

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