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Digging!


Guest Tequila
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Guest Tequila

Tequila likes to dig, apparently.

 

We have tried everything under the sun (all the usual remedies like tiring her out with long walks, etc), and se will still dig sometimes. The problem is, she has access to the fenced-in yard during the day via a doggie door, and when she digs, she will track dirt & mud back into the house.....on the rug, the couches, the beds....everywhere. I have spent hundreds of dollars already on professional carpet shampooing to get the mud out, and also on landscaping materials to repair the damage in the yard. We will usually fill the holes in with stones (so she cannot re-dig the same holes)....and we have separated the yard into two areas now: one with grass, the other is rubber mulch. She was completely destroying the grass, so we paid to have a fence built to separate the yard. I thinkw e're up to $3K or $K on this yard, along with similar expenses to clean the mud/dirt that she tracks inside.

 

We don't want to restrict her access to the yard during the day -- it, so I'm just wondering, does anyone have any suggestions on how to discourage a digger?

 

One day, I was lucky enough to catch her in the act -- I looked outside and saw her digging right below the window, so I banged on the window loudly (which frightened her, and she ran away). I wish I could catch her in the act more often because I could probably take a water pistol and spray her with water to discourage her (like keeping a grey away from a cat). But she usually digs while I'm out. It's not SA -- I think she just likes to dig. (since she has also done it while I've been home). Some days, she's a perfect angel. Other days (like yesterday), I come home to a mess....and I need to do the following:

 

1) Fill in the hole with stones

2) Wash the sheets from the bed, clean the carpet, the couches

3) Wash HER feet!

 

It's getting exhausting.

 

I know some people build a sandbox for their grey, to give them a "designated" place to dig, but I think she'd still end up tracking sand (or mud if the sand is WET, if it rains) inside the house.)

 

I've read that burying balloons in the holes can work, if the dog POPS the balloon while digging, it can be enough to frighten them and keep them from digging again.

 

Any/all ideas appreciated! Thanks!

 

Kathy

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The simple answer is to shut the dog door when you're not home. But you stated you don't want to do that, you don't want a sand box 'cause you don't want sand in the house either. Hmmmm. No ideas whatsoever. But then again, I'm more of "the obvious answer is often the best one" kind of gal! Maybe some REALLY good "mud rugs" surrounding the dog door area? Or baby gate her into one room, the room that has access to the door?? That's how our old dogs were set up; they had their dog beds in the laundry room--there were actually TWO dog doors, so they came and went as they pleased, but there was a dutch door closing off the laundry room from the kitchen. So they could go outside, or in the laundry room with their beds/water/toys, but no where else (the entire house was burglar alarmed so they had to be restricted anyway).


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest Tequila

Thanks for the reply. If I'm going to be gone for more than 9 hours, I like to allow access to the yard (to go potty). I don't think it's fair to expect a dog to "hold it" for more than 6 hours, let alone 9. She probably could hold it.....but I don't feel right asking her to. Any dog we have ever owned has had full run of the house, with access to the fenced-in yard all day long, and it's been fine. Teqyila is our first "digger." Sigh.

 

I guess I could baby-gate the doorway from the laundry room into the house, but I think she'd be miserable and might dig even MORE holes out of frustration from being restricted access to the house.

 

I guess the other solution would be to hire a dog walker to come take her out in the middle of the day, but I really don't want to have to do that. I'm hoping ghee digging phase will pass. Maybre once I've filled in all the holes with stones, she won't have any other options 9can't really dig through stones. After filling in the holes with stones, we cover them with rubber mulch (have you ever seen this? it's great! No mud!!! and it's easy on their feet to walk on!). of course the rubber mulch is more expensive than regular mulch, but it lasts forever which is great.

 

i guess there isn't an easy solution here....I was just hoping soemone might have an idea I hadn't thought of yet.

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Guest hattiepumpkin

Hi,

I know a woman who has several greyhounds, and in her "greyhound designated" section of yard, she actually filled the entire thing with stones/pebbles. The entire purpose of that area is just for them to do their business--I know you said you take Tequila on long walks every day, so it's not like she NEEDS the yard to run around/get exercise. She said it's easier to pick up the pooh, too. I suppose if you've already spent the money on a fence, then why not the stones? Hopefully it will be the last time you have to spend money on her digging issues! Then again, you're talking to a woman whose husband just put down beautiful, hardwood floors throughout our townhome, and now lives in mortal fear of Hattie getting the urge to do zoomies down the hall :)

Good luck!

Alex

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Guest tinams8

Maybe you could do a training period to try to break the habit. Pick an amount of time like three weeks maybe. Don't let her out unattended during that time (maybe a temporary dog walker). Go out with her every day and try the water gun. Kind of a pain, but it would be worth it if it worked.

 

Other than that, all I can suggest is right outside the dog door put a huge piece of indoor-outdoor carpet or astroturf. That way she will wipe off a bit on her way in.

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Oh boy. I don't have a doggy door but can imagine your frustration.

 

Honestly, I don't have any eureka! suggestions. I conceded defeat years ago and deeded the backyard to the hounds. Minimal landscaping in the back - just trees and shrubs, no flower beds. Both like to dig random potholes. Occasional serious backhoe excavation but no craters, just smallish holes here and there. Once they dig the hole, then they eat the clay soil. Dirty paws = dirty mouths = dirty water bowl. Oh joy. :P

 

Sometimes I have to whip out the "swishy bucket" to wash their paws.

 

Truthfully, if digging is the worse thing my hounds do - it's fine with me. I suspect it's fun and releases some tension. I would suggest trying to find a solution that makes YOUR life easier yet keeps the hound happy.

 

BTW, I have a petsitter who comes and lets my hounds out midday when I am at work. Has worked out greyt!

 

Good luck! Sounds like you're a wonderful dog mom. Hope you can find a workable solution. :)

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Guest Tequila

Thanks very much for your replies.

 

Thursday night I came home from work and Tequila was not in the house. I looked out the window into the backyard, and there she was./......relaxing happily in a hole she had just dug. I stood there at the window for a moment and just observed. She was quite content. Relaxed, and happy, laying in the cool dirt. So that told me maybe she just wants a comfy place to lay down on outside. Since the yard is now separated by a fence (half is grass, half is ruber mulch and stones), she doesn't have a "soft" place to lay down on if she wants to. She always loved to lay in the grass, but when n she started digging holes and basically destroying the yard, I began restricting her fro the grass when I wasn't home to surpervise.

 

So, I had an idea. I just ordered her a new indoor-outdoor "patio bed." It's made out of the same material that lawnn chair cushions (or deck chair cushions) are made of, so it resists mold and mildew. It even has a removable (by zipper) cover than can be washed. I'm thinking that maybe if I provide her with a comfy outdoor bed, that maybe she'll lay on the bed instead of digging a hole to lay in. Of course, I could be completely wrong and might have just wasted $199 (ordered the bed from the Drs Foster & Smith catalog....it was $179 plus $20 shipping)....this is how much I really want to try to do everything to help her be comfortable. Oh well, if she still digs I can always use the bed for her on our deck. She loves to be outside when the weather is nice, so she'll probably enjoy laying on a comfy bed. :)

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Guest PiagetsMom

I wish you luck with the new dog bed - I hope that works for you. FWIW I always have beds down for the dogs outside, and yet Mirage still prefers to go and lay in the dirt. Piaget is such a girlie girl that there's no way she's going to get dirty, but that's the first place Mirage heads. Around here I always tell myself, "Boys will be boys" rolleyes.gif

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Guest Ashleigh

Mine is really bad for digging, but right in front of me! He's a real jerk, so what I do is boot his front paws before going outside. He'll try to dig, but fails. Plus any mud or dirt doesn't get tracked in as bad because it doesn't get in-bedded in his nails. It's boot season all year round in my house!

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Guest Swifthounds

Dogs like to dig. They get enjoyment from digging. Like other things they enjoy, it's often not appreciated by the human contingent.

 

You absolutely can teach a big time digger to no longer dig. My Vixen was a champion digger as a younger dog. She got three 45 minute walks (as a speedwalk pace), plenty of toys and chews (including special outdoor items) and still was a digger.

 

The simple fact is, that you have to be there to correct and redirect unwanted behavior. Things that occur when you are not at home can't be corrected and serve to reinforce the behavior. Dogs learn though consistency and reinforcement. With your current restrictions, the best you can do is maybe teach her to not dig while her humans are home.

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Guest hattiepumpkin

Hattie loves to dig, too. We never knew this because we don't have a yard. Last summer, my mom got her backyard fenced in for Hattie, and we looked out one afternoon to find that Hattie had transformed the yard into what resembled the surface of the moon. Craters . . . EVERYWHERE. She was happily lolling around in the dirt! Good luck with the bed--let us know how it goes!

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Guest kydie

I think some of the ideas are really so inventive, and would try any and all, but my years have taught me a digger, is a digger,is a digger,, and so what, better than a rock eater, that would really cost you money, I gave up having any type of nice backyard years ago, and no rug in the kitchen where they enter, old rags to wipe feet at the back door, and a hose ready at all times please keep us posted on your success :)

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Guest Tequila

The boot idea is brilliant!!!

 

I have Therapaw booties -- think that would work?

 

When I'm home, I'm going to be keeping a water pistol handy so I can squirt her with water if I see her starting to dig. I also once read that keeping a lawn sprinkler nearby is a good way to train them not to do.....you simply have it turned off, but you must be standing near where the on/off watewater spigot is....when she starts to dig, simply turn on the lawn sprinkler and she'll think that digging make it happen.. I wish I could set up some type of booby trap where a loud noise would sound, or SOMETHING, to make the digging seem like it generates an unpleasant outcome.

 

ie:

 

Digging = being squirted with water

Digging = lawn sprinkler drenching her (watch, she'd probably ENJOY that!)

Digging = loud, scary noise

 

I will keep you posted!

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Guest kydie

I used a high powered squirt gun to stop my grey from snarking at my GSP, and it worked, as far as a sprinkler, my lab thought this was big FUN, and soon figured out he had to attempt a dig for me to turn it on, just standing there waiting for me to do so didn't work :lol

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Guest Ashleigh

The boot idea is brilliant!!!

 

I have Therapaw booties -- think that would work?

 

When I'm home, I'm going to be keeping a water pistol handy so I can squirt her with water if I see her starting to dig. I also once read that keeping a lawn sprinkler nearby is a good way to train them not to do.....you simply have it turned off, but you must be standing near where the on/off watewater spigot is....when she starts to dig, simply turn on the lawn sprinkler and she'll think that digging make it happen.. I wish I could set up some type of booby trap where a loud noise would sound, or SOMETHING, to make the digging seem like it generates an unpleasant outcome.

 

ie:

 

Digging = being squirted with water

Digging = lawn sprinkler drenching her (watch, she'd probably ENJOY that!)

Digging = loud, scary noise

 

I will keep you posted!

 

I think any boot would work! And it wouldn't have to be for her entire life, just until she gets the digging idea out of her head! I don't agree that you have to live with a disturbed and unpleasantly landscaped backyard. The boots will be the distraction until you come home! Just make sure they're nice and secure!!

 

The water idea is great as well, until water and wet grass gets trampled into the house...

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  • 2 years later...
Guest PaulEmandStan

Mine digs the carpet when he gets over excited (ie when he's about to be fed or we've had a particulary energetic fetching session, and also when we're out) leaving unsightly marks in the carpet which you can brush out but as we rent we're concerned he'll negate our deposit. We try to put mats down where he does it most often but he just keep changing spot!

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Maybe some REALLY good "mud rugs" surrounding the dog door area? Or baby gate her into one room, the room that has access to the door??

 

Susan, what are mud rugs, and can you recommend a good one?

OP, we also have a dog door. My dogs aren't diggers, but with the snow melting they track mud in the house constantly.

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Guest Scouts_mom

I consider a mud rug to be a rug that is fluffy enough to catch some of the dirt on the feet and that is easily washable.

 

I hate to be discouraging about training a dog not to dig, but both my Scout and Tia loved to dig and I couldn't get them to stop--It was just too much fun. Also in the heat of the summer, they lliked to get down to cool soil to sleep on. I gave up on grass in my backyard and covered it with barkdust and raked it back into place after they dug. I put rocks, logs and fences around plants I valued and my veggy garden.

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