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Dog digging up a rotten tree on a walk

(7 Posts)
scothols Fri 03-Nov-17 16:22:27

My dog is a year old but we've only had him for a few months. He likes to dig in certain areas of the garden mainly around a rotting tree stump and sticks his nose in the hole and sniffs deeply.

Today at the end of a long walk in the woods when he'd been happily running around and was really tired, he suddenly stopped and started frantically digging, sticking his nose in the ground again. It turned out that there were rotting tree stump where he was digging.

Does anyone know what he might be smelling or looking for? It might help me stop him digging in the garden - I had assumed it was just puppyish behaviour or a bit of boredom.

Sadly there were no truffles that I could spot, nor juicy insects etc .

missbattenburg Fri 03-Nov-17 16:34:59

What breed is he?

scothols Fri 03-Nov-17 16:38:09

He's a rescue mongrel. Lots of terrier, but not sure of the rest.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 03-Nov-17 16:55:41

Rats, probably.

missbattenburg Fri 03-Nov-17 16:59:19

The terrier is the key there. Many terriers were bred to 'go to ground' which is to dig to catch any prey (rats, badgers, foxes). My best guess is that he saw or heard something that you didn't. Their hearing is especially astute. A small vole that scarpered almost immediately, would be enough to trigger a dig in a terrier long after it had gone, for example. In some cases, just the memory of having seen it there last time or having seen something exciting near another rotten stump might be enough that he thought it worth digging up this one.

In your garden is a different matter. Because terriers are so hard wired to enjoy digging it can be very difficult to make them stop and doing so deprives them of an activity which they deeply enjoy. An idea might be to give him somewhere he can dig. For example, a small square of earth or sand pit in which you secretly bury treasure such as treats and toys. By encouraging him to enjoy digging there you can hope to save the rest of your garden smile

scothols Fri 03-Nov-17 17:36:57

Brilliant, thank you both. I'm going to pretend I didn't read the bit about rats in my garden, a vole sounds much nicer! But otherwise it all makes sense.

I don't mind him digging around the stump now that he's dug up all the plants that were there. I'll work on the stump being the allowed/fun place and hopefully stop him elsewhere.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 03-Nov-17 23:05:14

Apparently there are so many rats in this country now that every single person may possibly live within six feet of a rat.

At least you have a terrier, which is preprogrammed to kill anything small and squeaky and furry. I have a Labrador who wouldn’t take any notice.

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