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Digging in the yard and eating sticks

March 7th, 2005, 07:11 AM
My 14 mo. old pitbull is a total sweetheart. However, as soon as the weather warms up a little bit, she loves to go out and dig holes in the yard and break sticks off of trees and eat them. The other day she came in and had a piece of stick lodged into her top jaw and I had to pry it out. That's the third time this has happened. It also doesn't help that she loves to eat the thornbush out there! As far as digging goes, I've done things like put dog poop in the holes, or put cayenne pepper in them but she'll just go dig somewhere else. I also tell her no when she tries to eat sticks and she will usually listen, but as soon as I'm gone she's back at it again. The only solution I can see is to supervise her at all times when she's outside, but realistically this will mean she has to spend most of her time in the house. Once we let her out we can't see her unless we actually go outside because our door looks towards the front yard and she's in the back. Giving her a toy out there helps a little until she gets bored with it. She's not a high energy dog and has never had any problems with destroying anything in the house, but when she gets outside she thinks everything is fair game!

March 7th, 2005, 07:30 AM
YOu could try a couple different things..
1. Give her a good strong tug toy. Build her drive up for it, make it the most exciting toy she has! AND she ONLY gets it when she goes outside (you will have to go out and retrieve it when she comes in)
As for digging, that will take persistence and training. She's a terrier and they are notorious diggers (it's just in 'em) :) But, you can retrain her to not dig up the whole yard. Some people choose a spot that they allow it, and the rest of the yard is offlimits.

OR... I prefer the method below as it gives her somethign to do/think about and exercise as well.
2. If you have a good strong tree limb to tie a strong cotton rope to, you could try to divert her attention by filling the large KONG toy with peanutbutter soaked kibbles in it and tying it to the rope in the tree. Make it possible for her to knock it by jumping up at it, so kibbles will fall out of it. Again, this will require you to go outdoors with her for awhile to 'show' it to her. Also, to refill it becuase she must always get somethign from it in order to keep doing it. Now if she's hopping around under the tree playing with this toy (if your lucky you'll get 20 mins of play doing this) It's better then looking outside and seeing dirt rooster tails being kicked up!
Good Luck

March 7th, 2005, 08:06 AM
Welcome to the world of puppyhood!

Pit bulls are very social animals and when they are left alone in the backyard while you're inside they feel as though they have bene banished. :sad: They need to have people around! When you're inside with the dog you teach it what is right and wrong. When they chew on something - they are corrected and given the right chew toy. Whe you send them out to the backyard, you close the door and forget about them for a little moment in time. They aren't taught that the backyard is not to be destroyed. Your dog needs to to spend time with her outside and for YOU to teach her that the digging and and chewing the branches is not what you want, you need to divert her actions.

BUT these are actions of a dog, you work at cubing them and distracting them from doing it, but it's instincts of a dog and it more then likely WILL happen unless they have constant supervision.

March 7th, 2005, 08:45 AM
Yes, the only solution I can see right now is constant supervision. But she doesn't feel banished when she goes out. She loves going outside whether other people are out there or not. She likes it when we go out with her too, but we never force her to go out and be by herself. If the weather is warm she is content to stay outside all day by herself, it's hard to get her to come in with us actually, and when we do make her come in she just sits by the door all day. Unfortunately what she loves to do outside is dig, eat sticks, and sleep in the sun (I don't mind the last one). She is very social but at the same time very independent and has no qualms about being alone for a while. It's strange because we never had one problem with her chewing up things in the house. She just never bothered to do it. She knew what her toys were and didn't bother with anything else (well, except the odd washrag, but that's because we gave her a frozen washrag for teething once and she got the idea in her head). But outside, if she can get her mouth on it, she'll not just chew on it, but eat it!

March 7th, 2005, 10:13 AM
Likes sticks and digging holes? Let there be no doubt about it. You definitely have a dog on your hands.

March 7th, 2005, 10:44 AM
Good answer db7.
She is still young and she knows how much fun it is to attack the yard monsters and win. I would give her lots of toys in the yard and some natural bones (acclimate her slowly to them). The bones will keep her busy for hours.
I would feed her outside and scatter her food across the yard. This kicks in the terrier hunting skills and exercises her mind and keeps her busy for a while. Or you could hide food/bones in the yard and give her a treasure hunt.
How much interaction and exercise is she getting? I think she could benefit from some exercise combined with play. She would also do well to do more work for you throughout the day (mental exercise is exhausting too). I would go out into the yard with her and teach her what she can attack and what she can't. The 'leave it' command is good for this one. It would be nice though to let her have one special area she can destroy - she is a dog!

March 7th, 2005, 11:57 AM
What would you suggest for natural bones? We have tried beef bones (packaged specifically for dogs) and she won't chew on them, she just barks at them. She loves cow hooves, but she is now able to break off chunks of them and swallows them, and throws up later so we can't give her those anymore. She is getting a lot of interaction with us, but maybe not enough exercise lately since the weather has been less than desirable.

March 7th, 2005, 12:17 PM
Get the raw soup bones from the butcher. Scrape out the inside of the defrosted bone and set the marrow aside.
Offer the bone - if she still barks at it (too funny), then try putting some peanut butter inside - it might smell stronger and get her more interested. You can also pretend that you are enjoying the bone to get her interested. Make her do a trick and then offer the bone as a reward, but only for a second - make it seem like a coveted treasure and she is more likely to want it.
Take the saved marrow and put a small amount in her food every day to get her system used to the richness. Eventually you will be able to give her a whole bone and she will devour it.

March 7th, 2005, 01:48 PM
Anything with a strong "other animal" smell, she pretends it's really an animal and wants to try to get it to play with her. She would even do the same thing with the cow hooves when we first gave them to her, but eventually she would chew them up. We even had a toy that came from my sister-in-law's house who has another dog, she loves that toy to death because it smells like another dog. We tried the peanut butter thing with the bone too, but she would still bark at it, or lick the peanut butter off and then ignore it. We use the bone for playing now, it's her cow imaginary friend. I'll take the bone and pretend that it's stealing one of her other toys, and she'll bark at it and run around attacking it, and gingerly steal back the toy from it like she's afraid it's going to come after her if she moves too fast.

March 7th, 2005, 07:36 PM
This dog is a hoot. She sure has fun doesn't she? Thanks for the pic shes looks wonderful.

March 9th, 2005, 07:39 PM
HAHHAHAHAH oh my goodness!!! look at that face!!
lol so cute!!