General Question

Supacase's avatar

How do you stop a dog from digging?

Asked by Supacase (14533points) September 6th, 2009

Our dog is digging big holes in the yard and I have no idea how to get her to stop. She is mainly an outside dog (by her choice) and I never see her digging. When I am outside she doesn’t do it because she is busy spending time with me. I’m sure some of it is boredom, but she has bones and toys – I can’t be out there all of the time!

Any suggestions?

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22 Answers

bhec10's avatar

What I did with my dog was to drag her to the hole and get mad at her. Immediately she was aware that I was screaming at her because of the hole.

I’m sure your dog will know what she did wrong if you do the same.

asmonet's avatar

Your working against your dog’s natural instincts. They dig naturally, sometimes out of bordeom, sometimes not. Based on the fact that it only happens when she’s alone I’d say she’s bored more than anything else.

Dogs are social animals. She’s not an outside dog by choice, she’s an animal that enjoys the outdoors – because it’s natural. But it isn’t natural for a dog to be alone. Bring her in, hang out with her and replace the extra empty outside hours with long and fun walks. Your dog will be happier, and less prone to digging.

Sarcasm's avatar

Let her dig. Eventually, she’ll reach the bottom

SeventhSense's avatar

Sounds like a koan.

Supacase's avatar

She actually is outside by her choice. We bring her in and she almost immediately wants to go back outside. I want her to be inside more. In fact, I would prefer that she be in pretty much all of the time except when she needs to use the bathroom or run around with us and play.

I wish I could replace her “extra empty outside hours” with walks and such, but we already do those things at some point during the day and spend as much time out there as we can. The dog is great and I am not one of those people who puts their dog outside and forgets about her, but I do have other things to do during the day.

Maybe I should make her a dig box along the fence line and train her to dig there. Sort of along the lines of house training. Think it would work? I could bury fun things in there for her to find to get her going.

Bri_L's avatar

When you put her out, put her out upside down.

Actually that sounds like a good solution to me. And if they are things that she will want to play with that may be the killer. She will go out with intent to dig it up so she can play with them, then maybe you can eliminate the middle step.

gailcalled's avatar

Say “thank-you” and plant a rose. The instructions always say, “Dig a hole, A BIG HOLE.” Or a peony. They look beautiful by themselves. You can plant pansies or nasturtiums around it after the spring bloom.

aphilotus's avatar

Your question reminds me of that bad joke from White Christmas (during the Minstrel Number)

How do you stop an angry dog from biting you on Monday?
Around 1:10 .

Also, the rest of that number is great, though vaguely racist.

Bri_L's avatar

@aphilotus – “oh, Mr. Bones that’s terrible…” Great movie.

asmonet's avatar

@Supacase: I wasn’t implying you were a bad pet owner. But quite frankly, dogs don’t know what the hell they want. My dog wants to go out, then as soon as she does cries to come in. Back and forth all the time. She digs constantly on beds and floors – but never outside. If I were you, I’d just let the dog dig. It’s just a backyard.

wildpotato's avatar

Get her a sand box. I’m serious – this was a technique used on “It’s Me or the Dog.” You can hide dry biscuits inside sand toys and Kongs, or just loose in the sand, and she’ll get much more interested in digging in the sandbox than anywhere else. Also, at first you might watch her out the side windows of your house. When she digs in the yard, she gets a “No!” plus physical removal from the area if necessary. Loom over her with your hands on your hips, and be loudly displeased. Any time she digs in the sandbox, give her praise, the reward of your presence, or a snack.

sunshine123's avatar

Do you walk and exercise her every day? That’s first…if she is still digging try (and this is going to sound yucky but..) bury some dog poop where she digs…she will not want to dig there… good luck!

YARNLADY's avatar

Keep her in a pen with a concrete floor. I don’t think there is any other way.

Supacase's avatar

@asmonet Thanks. I think I am a little defensive because I’m so confused by her and I honestly don’t know what to do a lot of the time. I have never had a dog and this is quite the learning curve. She is stubborn! Very loving and smart. I almost think it would be better (easier, anyway) if she were a bit of a dumb dog. :)

I don’t really care if she digs as long as my daughter doesn’t break an ankle running around the yard. As it is, my daughter just goes and stands in them – they are that big! My husband complained tonight, though, so I thought I would ask.

@Bri_L She sleeps upside down, so I would really be doing her a favor by saving her the effort of rolling over.

rooeytoo's avatar

sunshine told you the secret, bury poop in the holes she digs. She will probably dig somewhere else but eventually run out of spots.

If she is digging under the fence and you are afraid she is going to escape, dig a trench under the fence line as you would for a footer and drop cement blocks into the trench.

asmonet's avatar

@YARNLADY: That’s probably the least kind option.

sunshine123's avatar

I think rooeytoo has a great idea…

SeventhSense's avatar

Well you certainly won’t have to worry about clipping her nails. ~_~

OpryLeigh's avatar

My Staffi is a digger and if I catch her doing it I just redirect her attention to a toy or something. A lot of the time dogs will do things like digging as a force of habit and so it means you have to get them out of that habit. As soon as you see your dog digging take his attention off it and onto something else. It’s working for my Staffi, slowly but surely she is digging less and less.

Supacase's avatar

Bury the poop! How did I miss that? Great idea @sunshine123. Thanks!

YARNLADY's avatar

@SeventhSense We have a real problem with my dog and his nails. He loves to dig, also, but I just let him. The yard is mostly his, anyway, so I just let him have at it. He seems to automatically stay away from the manicured parts I like to use. I have a lawn patch outside both of the patios, and along one side of the house. We have a stone/concrete edging around three sides of the pool, and thick ivy across the back.

I did put in stakes and boulders where he tried to go under the fence. Recently I put plastic bender board all around the perimeter of the fence, and then had a stone berm shoveled on it, and he hasn’t disturbed it, yet.

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