- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Digging at everything

December 4th, 2006, 07:32 PM
Sydney (6 months) has decided that she needs to dig. Dig at the rug, dig at the carpet, dig at the bed, even dig at my side! We live in a rental house, so she can not dig in the yard, and the only suggestion in the training book that I have is to make a digging pit in the yard, which is not an option. We go for walks in the woods, where I let her dig. When she starts to dig at inappropriate places, I tell her no digging, and put my hand on her feet to help her know what I mean, then distract her with a toy, or something. She is not getting it. Any suggestions on how to stop my little digger :evil: ?

December 5th, 2006, 02:36 PM
Is it possible that Sydney needs more exercise??

Most dogs do not generalize well so some people will tell you not to let her dig anywhere if its not a desirable behaviour. In this case, however, I would be inclined to encourage digging when you allow it (ie: on command) and no digging (even outdoors) when you give a command like "enough".
Keep her as busy as possible indoors so there's no opportunity for her to dig. Treat dispensing toys are great, training, playing or tethering her to you are also options.
Unless your pup is digging on you, this behaviour can't be ignored in the hopes of extinguishing itself because its self-rewarding to her. I would be more inclined to put her on-leash, remove her from wherever she was digging and do a few minutes of training... I know distracting a pup with a toy is recommended a lot but IMO, most dogs (but puppies in particular) think like this: "I dig, get rewarded right away with Mum's attention and then she even gives me a toy, she must like my digging"!! Which is why I prefer to not give the puppy/dog the opportunity to self-reward and if they do, I'd rather "discipline" them by removing them from the situation and/or ignoring them (which is obviously difficult with this kind of problem)... So my plan of attack would be to encourage her to dig outside and then say "enough" or "here" or "leave it" and reward big-time (put her on the long-line at first if you don't think she'll listen). Once she's abandoning her digging and sprinting toward you with the expectation of a reward, move indoors rewarding each time (start rewarding randomly outdoors).

As a last resort, you can try shaking a can of pennies to link something negative with the digging (but if you do this, its not really fair to let her dig elsewhere as it will confuse her).

Lastly, since she is still very much a puppy, I wouldn't be surprised if this is just a phase and the digging slowly stops on its own. I'd still be inclined to train "enough" or "leave it" because those commands can be used in a variety of situations.

December 5th, 2006, 06:07 PM
Thanks Lissa,
We go for about an hour walk every night, and it is a fast, up and down hill type walk. I think I will try adding a worning work out though. She is pretty good with the "leave it" command, but when she starts digging, she is "in the zone", and until I touch her, she doesn't seem to hear anything (selective hearing I guess). Once I get her attention I will have her follow some commands, instead of playing. I can't wait until we start school the first of the year!

December 5th, 2006, 06:12 PM
i would also suggest more exercise, digging inside is a sign of a bored dog. also i would not allow any digging. (just my opinion) i dont allow my dogs to dig anywhere, this avoids problems when visiting (they dont try and dig up other peoples gardens) and if for whatever reason they needed to be put in a yard unattended for a few mins they wont feel obligated to dig

December 6th, 2006, 08:06 PM
As dogs reach teenage stride they often revert to annoying habits ie chewing, digging, jumping etc.

Lissa has some great advice. Try letting her dig for just a second and then say 'enough' and do something else. Then let her dig for slightly longer and then say 'enough'. This way you aren't waiting until she is in the "zone" to try to reach her brain. Catch her early so that she has a shot at stopping herself without you having to touch her.

December 6th, 2006, 09:40 PM
Is there anyway to find out what she is digging for? My dog started digging like crazy when she got to be about one and a half. She made me crazy with pot holes all over the yard. Then I found what she was digging up. She had a silver spoon, a coat hanger, an old metal chain that was 12 feet long, a pudding lid, the head of a shovel and the metal property stake. If there is metal in the ground my dog can and will find it. Now I play a game of hide and seek with the objects of her desire and she seems to find this better than having to dig three feet down to find something.

December 7th, 2006, 06:09 PM
I think that when she digs at the floor that she is after the cats that are living under my house, that I am trying to catch (long story). She LOVES cats, just likes to sit and lick their heads for as long as they will let her. The only thing that I am sure that she digs for is old chewing gum, she finds it out in the woods, and I end up pulling it out of her mouth, yuck! I hate litter bugs!:mad: