How do I stop my dog from digging?!

posted 2 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
Member
710 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

You are probably leaving him outside alone too much.

Buy lots of toys. Kong’s and stuff. Fill a Kong with wet food and kibble and freeze it. It becomes a giant long lasting treatment for the pup. You need to do an much as possible to burn his energy as well as stimulating him mentally. He’s only young and needs a lot of attention.

If all else fails there’s a product called scram. It’s a bag of granules you spread which smells unpleasant. That worked well for my dog. But not all dogs will stop. 

Post # 3
Member
558 posts
Busy bee

Mollie-Rose:  This can be a very frustrating behaviour for the human, but a very natural behaviour for the canine. To accommodate his natural behaviour and keep your sanity, create an aria where digging is permitted. You do this by building him a sandpit, as you would for a child. Ask you DH to build a box, approximately 1 and a half times the length of you puppy’s back from head to rear-end (excluding the tail) square (arguments sake 1,5 X 1,5meters)  and fill the box with play sand – the same used for children. It is important to use clean sand, and keep the sand clean as this could become a breeding ground for disease if not maintained. Put the box in a shaded aria, where the temperature will not get to warm and fill it up with sand. After the box has been filled with sand bury a few favourite toys in there along with a few treats evenly distributed in the box. You or your DH could then introduce a game of ‘seek’, sit next to the box act as though you are digging and get the pup excited. Once he starts digging praise and encourage, as soon as he digs up a treat introduce the word seek and praise. Remember it takes time, and patients are key. To your puppy this is normal and he needs to spend his energy, what better way than to do what comes naturally. You could take him on walks often and play physical games with him too. A GSD is a very active breed, and have been known to get destructive if not adequately stimulated. This is a working breed, able to think and assimilate situations, widely used in service. If you have not yet gone to a trainer you might want to consider this and maybe participate in agility with your pup. But I would definitely go the sandpit rout, one more thing on that always make sure you leave him a few toys in there, the toy acts as a reward when discovered, in your absence this is a brilliant way to encourage the behaviour.

Hope this helps! Good luck!   

Post # 4
Member
825 posts
Busy bee

Both advice from previous posters are fabulous. GSPs are widely thought to be one of the most active and energetic puppies/dogs — we have a field-lab — also very energetic — and our breeder said the only dog she would never get because they were too energetic was a GSP. 😉 They have energy long after you’re ready to be done. Here are some suggestions:

1. Right now, your dog is entering a ‘terrible twos’ phase that could last up to about a year from now depending on the dog. My lab started digging at this time and stopped around 14 months like it had never occured to him to start digging. So a sandpit idea works well beause dogs learn a lot faster what TO do instead of what NOT to do. 

2. If you haven’t gone to puppy classes, now’s the time to go. Because your dog is a working breed, it’s not uncommon to have them in classes long after puppy-k is complete. Find a trainer certified by the APDT — your local humane society would be the best place to look for suggestions. Look into puppy agility, getting his CGC, dock diving, nose work, really anything that structures time to make him tired and make you practice. 

3. Bump up the exercise. Because he’s still young and his hips are still developing, you can’t take him on 7 mile runs — but buy a chuck it if he likes fetch. Look into an IQ ball, particularly if you have hardwood floors in your house to make him work for his meals. 

Post # 5
Member
643 posts
Busy bee

I would stay outside with him and watch him. Every time he goes to dig, give him a correction. If you do it right, I promise he will stop. 

I love my dog like a child but I don’t let him run my household or make his own decisions. Dogs repeat what they are rewarded at. 

When he was a small pup, his dog mom didn’t reward him with toys when he was bad – she bit him! No, I’m not saying you should bite him (or even hurt him). But you should “speak” his language and communicate in ways he understands. 

I’m giving you honest advice that has worked for me for years. I know anything other than cuddles for puppies isn’t received well on this site but the fact of the matter is, strictly positive reinforcement doesn’t work on every dog. I believe in a balanced approach. 

Having a well behaved dog will hopefully keep more from being given up for being “unmanageable.” It’s the owners who are usually the unmanageable ones and need to be trained, not the dogs. 

Absolutely I agree that he should be well exercised and mentally stimulated. If he’s too tired to get into trouble, great! But dogs will still be dogs and get into what we see as mischief but is normal to them. More than anything, most dogs want to please their people so teach him how.  

Post # 7
Member
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

He needs more exercise and mental stimulation, bored dogs tend to dig.  Playing fetch & walking isn’t enough, make sure you do things that work his brain.  Training, treat dispensing toys (like the kong), playing games like hide & seek or hide the treats, etc.  Doesn’t take a lot of time to do some mental exercise and it really tires them out.  Also longer walks with different routes so he can sniff (sniffing also works the brain). 

Post # 8
Member
989 posts
Busy bee

Mollie-Rose:  you need to have somewhere he can dig. Our malamute loves to try digging in the lawn, when I see him do it, I say ‘NO’, and lead him to where he can dig (About a 3m x 10m section). When he starts digging in the right area, I give him treats and praise him. If he’s being really stubborn, he goes in to ‘time out’ for 15-20 minutes. He’s usually more inclined to listen after that! The problem is, he can smell bugs in the lawn and that’s what he’s trying to get at. 

Post # 9
Member
989 posts
Busy bee

Mollie-Rose:  also, it sounds gross but anywhere he has dug a hole and is inclined to go back to, put some of his poop in the hole. This will only work for dogs that don’t eat their poop though.

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