Digging Dog: Case Study

By Daniel Stevens and Martin Olliver

At Kingdom of Pets we pride ourselves on the attention we give our clients through our detailed email consultations. But every now and then, despite our advice and instruction, it takes a bit of creativity from a really bright owner to confront the problem with a really bright dog. Here is the story of Tyson, a Pit Bull Terrier with a habit his owners just couldn't dig:

"Tyson was a bright Pit Bull Terrier who fancied digging holes in the lawn and garden. In fact, it was his most favorite pastime. Tyson had two other doggy companions, so he was not bored or lacking in any way, he just simply loved to dig!

Naturally, his owners did not care to put a lot of time and effort into their lawn and garden, owning three dogs and all. However, they wanted to keep the yard tidy and well maintained, which meant preferably hole free!

They had tried filling previously dug holes with the dog’s poop, as others has suggested to them. However Tyson was too smart for that trick. He would just make a new hole somewhere else!

It is important that an intelligent dog like Tyson receive a good amount of mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Obedience training is an excellent form of mental stimulation. It can tire out high-energy dogs in a way that physical exercise cannot.

As for the digging, Tyson's owners tried everything from burying balloons in previously dug holes (Tyson didn't mind the resulting Pop!) to dousing the holes with cayenne pepper (Tyson quickly started new, non-spicy spaces for holes).

Then the owners built a special sand pit just for Tyson’s digging desire. They buried a few of Tyson’s favorite toys in there to encourage him to use it. He used it a lot but he liked a change of texture now and again and would go back to the garden on the odd occasion. He only seemed to do that when his owners were not looking, because by now he was clear on the fact that he was not allowed to dig in the garden.

Finally, the owners found a solution that worked, and that involved turning the most appealing digging location for Tyson into the least appealing one. They proceeded to lay down chicken wire underneath a few inches of top soil in the areas where Tyson most often dug holes. Tyson did not like the feel of his claws striking the chicken wire and resigned himself to his sand pit, where he could dig and be rewarded for it too!"

About The Authors

Daniel Stevens is the renowned dog trainer and author of Secrets to Dog Training: STOP Dog Behavior Problems!, one of the leading dog training guides on the market today selling over 25,743 copies (and counting). He currently heads the Kingdom of Pets dog training team.

Martin Olliver has over 12 years experience in dog training and is a proud member of the Kingdom of Pets team. He is the author of the newly released Ultimate Guide to House Training.

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