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Puppy digging

February 19th, 2004, 01:47 PM
Hi everyone-

I'm looking for some advice regarding my 9 week old Golden Retriever. We've had her about a week and everything is going well so far- crate training is good, housebreaking is getting better, car trips are quiet and walks on the leash are great. The only issue I'm having with her is digging, which I'd like to nip in the bud before it becomes destructive. When we play outside in our fenced in yard, she chases toys for a bit and then loses interest and digs in the dirt by the house, something which I'd like my landlord NOT to see.

How can I break her of this or get her more interested in her toys?

February 19th, 2004, 01:55 PM
What do you do when she starts the digging?

February 19th, 2004, 01:56 PM
I try to distract her or tell her a loud "Stop" and when she does praise her. but inevitably, with the goldfish memory that she has, she returns and digs

February 19th, 2004, 02:07 PM
Try giving her a stern "NO" then distract her to a toy and praise her.Even give her a treat.Keep doing this everytime she goes back to dig..This will take a bit of time.She's still a baby,and learning.So everything is new to her.And she will test you.LOL

You just need to be patient.

Is there anyway you can block off the dirt part?

February 19th, 2004, 04:01 PM
Why do dogs dig?
Digging behavior in dogs can have many motivations. Some breeds, such as the Northern breeds (Huskies, Malamutes) dig cooling holes and lie in them. On a very hot summer day any dog may dig a hole to cool off. Breeds such as the terriers have been bred to flush out prey or dig for rodents. With their ability to hear high frequency sounds, and their highly acute sense of smell, some dogs dig as a direct result of odors or sounds such as voles and moles that attract the pet from beneath the ground. Pregnant bitches dig when nesting. Dogs dig to bury or retrieve bones. Dogs also dig to escape from confinement. Digging may also be an activity similar to destructive chewing that occurs when pets are left alone with insufficient stimulation or attention. This is particularly so in puppies and in highly energetic dogs.How can I determine why my dog is digging?The first step in treating inappropriate digging behavior is to determine the reason for digging. Prevention, remote punishment, and booby traps may also be needed, but reducing your dog's motivation to dig, and providing for all of its needs are essential so that digging is not merely redirected to a new location. Inhibiting or preventing all digging, without understanding and dealing with the dog's motivation could result in new behavior problems such as chewing, excessive vocalization, or escape behaviors. Dogs that dig because they are pursuing prey will continue unless you can get rid of the prey. Dogs that dig in an attempt to get cool should be provided with a cool resting area with plenty of shade and water.
On very hot days, it may be best to bring your dog inside. For some dogs, digging may be an indication of not enough exercise and owner attention. Additional play and exercise times may be needed to keep digging behaviors under control, especially if your dog is young and very active. Dogs that continue to dig may require additional stimulation to keep them occupied when the owners are not around. If your dog is outside all day and digging is taking place, you do need to ask yourself if keeping the dog inside may be a better answer. This is particularly true for the dog that digs to escape from the yard or confinement area. If you are unable to keep the dog inside because of house-soiling or destruction, then you may need to address those problems first.
How can I stop inappropriate digging?
a) Provide a digging areaFor some dogs it may be useful for you to create an area where the dog is allowed to dig. This could be a spot in the backyard where you have placed soft dirt and perhaps railroad ties around the area to delineate the location. Next, make this place somewhere that your dog would like to dig in. Bury things there that your pet would like to dig up. This might be food, lightly covered. Then put things deeper into the ground. If you do that (naturally when your dog is not watching!) at irregular intervals, your dog should be more likely to dig there, than other locations in your yard. Another option is to allow the dog to dig in a spot where it has already chosen, and to prevent digging in other locations by supervision, confinement (prevention), or booby-traps.
b) Supervision and punishmentSupervision and direct intervention (shaker can, verbal reprimand, water rifle) can be used to prevent inappropriate digging in the owner's presence but the behavior will likely continue in the owners absence. Remote punishment (turning on a sprinkler, pulling on an extended leash, a remote collar), booby traps (placing chicken wire, rocks or water in the area where the pet digs), or covering the surface with one that is impervious (asphalt/patio stones) might teach the pet to avoid the digging site even in the owner's absence. These techniques do not however prevent the pet from digging in other locations. What else can be done if inappropriate digging continues when I am not around to supervise?When you are unavailable to supervise your dog, housing the dog indoors is the most practical solution until he or she has learned to stay outdoors without digging. If you would like to continue to leave it outdoors, it is best to confine the dog to an area such as a pen or run, so that it has no access to the digging areas. The run should be inescapable, and could be covered with gravel, patio tiles or have an asphalt or concrete floor so that it cannot escape or do damage. Of course it will be necessary to provide sufficient exercise and stimulation before confining the dog and an adequate number of treats and play toys in the run to keep the dog occupied. Another alternative is to provide an area within the pen or run where digging is allowed.

February 20th, 2004, 08:41 PM
I've been reading a lot about Goldens lately, and the books say that Goldens dig. I know for a fact, because I've seen it happen. Maybe you should try making a special place in the yard for him to dig. You could try adding sand, as this would make it even more fun. When you see him digging outside the pitt, tell him "NO" and lead him back to the digging area.

February 21st, 2004, 09:56 AM
cccc,you can't keep a dog in 24/7.Especially a pup that needs training.This is a 9 week old pup.He needs to be trained not to dig and it will take a bit of time since he needs to learn commands.Puppies can be tought not to dig.

My sister has 3 Siberians.This breed is prone to digging.Yes,it was nipped in the bud.Took some time as this breed can be thick as a brick.LOL.

Also my 2 GSD's where digging as pups.I got them to stop.:D

February 21st, 2004, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by mona_b
cccc,you can't keep a dog in 24/7.Especially a pup that needs training.This is a 9 week old pup.He needs to be trained not to dig and it will take a bit of time since he needs to learn commands.Puppies can be tought not to dig.

I agree that puppies can be taught not to dig, but I would also like to express frustration with the "you can't keep a dog in 24/7" comment.

I live in an apartment, and have for years. I have raised numerous foster puppies, and my own puppies, in the apartment. NO YARD. That means when we are outside, we are outside actively doing something, and no chance for the dog to dig anywhere. I keep my dogs on the move, and they don't have a chance to dig. If the OP doesn't want his dog digging, a simple solution is to make trips outdoors short, fun and really upbeat so the dog never gets a chance to dig. The fewer opportunities he gets to do it, the less motivation he will have to do so. The puppy can indeed be kept indoors most of the time, and outdoor times can be busy active times to keep the dog's focus off of digging.

The worst diggers I know are dogs who are left outside for extended periods with nothing else to amuse themselves. We rehabbed a chronic digger - who was turned in for her digging problem - by keeping her in the house, making outdoor trips interactive, and ensuring she was not left in the yard unsupervised. It's been a year, and no holes have been dug!


February 21st, 2004, 03:11 PM
RDM that's not what I meant about keeping a pup in 27/7.

That post said if all fails keep it in 24/7...Hmmm but that statement is not there anymore.

Trust me,I agree with the part you said about the worst diggers.The ones that are left out long periods of time with nothing to do.I have seen it.

Like I said,I stopped my guys when they were pups.Mind you they really didn't dig much.But it only took them a week to stop.And I was able to leave them out for a while unsupervised at 6 months.I kept an eye on them.They had their balls and toys.And they didn't even try to dig.I let them enjoy the backyard.

Yes it's different when you live in apartment.That I understand.:)