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I need to stop smalldog digging

(26 Posts)

I never have posted in this bit of MN before, well not looking for advice but I am at the end of my rope with smalldog.

He digs. All the time. He's a small terrier. I have just planted lovely borders in my garden and he has dug them all up. DP just laughed and said "that's what terriers do" but is there anything I can do to stop him digging?

Would bark help? Since it would be spikey on his paws?

Please help! I'd like a sort of a half nice garden with no big holes dug in the borders smile

Marne Wed 08-Jun-11 12:46:26

that is what terriers do grin, our Staffie digs, luckily now we have moved house she no longer digs as we dont have any borders, i have one raised bed which i have dog proofed and any other plants have to go in pots. You could try wood chip around your plants?

Marne - grin I've had terriers all my life, and I've never ever had one that digs like he does it's insane. Woodchip was what I thought, or maybe those wire fency type things? You know, the hooped things that you get in poundland and similar?

He's adorable and very lovely but driving me nuts wink

Marne Wed 08-Jun-11 13:07:17

We have wire around out veg patch, she has broke through it a couple times but has now got fed up with trying. You could also try shooting him with a water pistol each time you see him dig (only works if he doesn't like water), you could turn your flower bed in to a rockery grin.

Terriers have great character, i bed he gives you the cheeky terrier look after he has done it smile.

Oh he does grin or comes in with his tail down and the dc's go "mum he's been digging again" before they even need to look outside grin.

That's the irritating thing - he's bright (not like my last dog) and he knows he shouldn't do it, but he just can't help himself

NunTheWiser Wed 08-Jun-11 13:13:37

A friend of mine swears by burying some of the dog's poo in areas where they are prone to dig. As they dig down near it and get a whiff, they stop (apparently). My own failsafe is Vick's Vaporub. Never met a dog that likes the smell so if you spread it around the areas you don't want him to dig in, they leave it alone.
You could also get one of those plastic clamshell sandpits, fill it with sand and bury lots of interesting toys and treats there so he has a place to direct his digging energy.

minimu1 Wed 08-Jun-11 13:40:54

Some battles you can win and some are harder! If he is a determined digger I would set an area where he can dig. Maybe under a bush that is not to visible so he can positively be encouraged to dig in this area but told off for digging in other areas.

I would also look at his general day and exercise/training schedule. Digging can be a sign of boredom or stress so is he kept active generally? Can you give him a bone to chew at the times that he would be digging. A shattered dog will not dig so can you up the exercise a bit.

Some wood bark/mulch is poisonous to dogs so if you do go down that route be careful with what you choose

He is only a westie, he gets 30-40 minutes walk first thing, normally an hour around 10am (and if not walked then he goes and gets his lead and looks accusingly at me) which he didn't get todaDPy because it was bucketing then the kids take him out after school normally only 15 or 20 minutes and he gets another quick walk before I go to bed.

However, he also goes up and down to my ex's when I'm out/away and I don't think he's a good with walking, so it could be related to that.

The specific area to dig is a good idea, I'll definitely try that.

If I give him a bone or a rawhide chewtoy, the first thing he does is heads off to dig! He wasn't too bad until I dug the bed over and put down new soil - it's almost like all the new dirt to dig in blew his wee mind grin

Oh please ignore my spelling mistakes in that last post blush

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 15:18:46

grin i have two jrts. one likes digging the other doesnt. the only way i could solve it was to use 'leave it' command and she gradually got out of the habit. she still loves digging but waits till we get to the beach (a few times a year) and then digs a hole so big you cannot see her!

if i gave her a bone she would immediately go to bury it. i find kong toys the best as she will attempt to get the food and keep doing so until it is empty. it is then picked up until the next time.

i havent tried bark but i would think a terrier would just see it as an added bonus grin more to dig

K9999 Wed 08-Jun-11 15:50:13

This may sound odd but it's worked for my friend. She taught her Lab X a "dig" command. He was a terror for digging up her garden, particularly if he saw her tending it, so each time she caught him digging it up she would say "Dig" and reward him for doing so.

The upshot was that, like teaching the "speak" command to stop a dog barking, she found that having taught him to dig she could stop him just as easily - it's not something just done on a random, aimless basis but something done deliberately and so can be far more easily stopped with a strong command word and a reward. She now can point to a spot, say "dig" and he will, then say "enough", at which point he'll stop and she'll plant her flowers in the freshly dug hole.

It might be time-consuming and you'll have to tolerate encouraging digging for a while but it may be worth a try.

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 16:05:34

ooo grin could i get my dog to dig the garden for me?

ellangirl Wed 08-Jun-11 22:07:54

Ha ha I love the idea of the dog digging a hole for planting flowers- genius!

K9999 Wed 08-Jun-11 22:09:53

Said owner is a bungee jumping, abseil teaching, plane flying, fast motorbike riding nutter so her methods cannot be claimed to be conventional. grin

K9999 - grin

No digging today but the ground is very wet and he really really doesn't like wet paws.

Actually I've had a brainwave. Please tell me if I'm being nuts.

He hates the ground when it's wet and never ever digs in the border when it's wet, only when it's dry. So, I have one of those hoses with loads of wee holes in for watering plants. Is it totally nuts to thread it all around the border and keep it on enough that the border is pretty wet for the next couple of weeks to break the habit?

Or is it just a stupid idea?

K9999 Wed 08-Jun-11 22:43:48

It's a great idea but, bearing in mind that I'm no gardener, will it not encourage weeds and overgrowth of grass (grass being my pet hate)?

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 22:44:29

a. it breaks the habit
b. he gets used to it and then digs when garden is wet as well as dry

grin

(sorry, dont know if it will help)

K9999 it might I suppose but I can pull the weeds out, I had to dig the whole border to get the grass out from the previous owners shittiness at gardening which is what has encouraged the wee blighter to dig in the first place.

(BTW I adore him really he's a real treasure, but oh dear lordy the digging...)

Chick - that isn't very helpful now, is it wink

He's a wee bugger for digging - although if you saw him curled up on the sofa fast asleep right now you'd never think it.

NorksAreMessy Wed 08-Jun-11 22:49:52

Brilliant idea about the wet soil, good for the plants, too.

I am sorry to take issue with you, but there is no such thing as 'only a westie'. I have only half a westie (!) and she is queen of this and many other worlds.

She is also a digger, and we have a washing up liquid bottle full of water that I squirt her with if she is digging in the wrong place. Puts her off her stroke for long enough ti forget what she was doing!

But i have found that knackering the poor little bugger with two hour walks every day has nearly taken most if the dig instinct out of her.

Good luck!

I just meant he's not a big dog, he's only little but dear lord he can dig fucking enormous rather large holes grin

He is also the king of the house and is well practised at The Look of total disdain. But oh the digging is such a pita - wee bugger is about right wink

He's knackered right now and asleep on the sofa. grin

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 22:55:43

aww like kids they always look cute when asleep grin

dontcha just love terriers

gegs73 Wed 08-Jun-11 22:56:31

You could try a pet corrector spray. It is just a noise aerosol and makes a loud hissing sound which startles dogs. I used this in the end to stop my dog chewing, wait til he's digging then spray in his direction.
Spray

Gegs- that looks excellent.

He's adorable he really is, I love him to bits and he's very good in every other way, except for the digging.

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