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why is my puppy digging around trees etc?


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We got a puppy last summer and he digs holes all over the place and a lot of them are right around pine trees, sometimes exposing the roots.  What is he looking for?

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Just now, Trigger Mike said:

We got a puppy last summer and he digs holes all over the place and a lot of them are right around pine trees, sometimes exposing the roots.  What is he looking for?

Squirells, chipmunks, ect!

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This is gonna sound gross, but its what puppies do.

 

I've had many a puppy dig for the sole purpose of finding and eating cat poop. Its a thing.

 

Really though, they dig to explore. Their noses aren't used to the world and they're trying to learn it. Best to curb that behavior now though or your yard will be full of potholes in 2 years.

 

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I used to raise Labrador retrievers, and trust me when I say I used to have a yard that looked like a blown up mine field. I now am putting up with a German Shepard that digs.  They dig for many reasons, cat poop, boredom, exploration, and to cool off. 1. Walk the dog often to get rid of energy. Keep plenty of outside toys and chews. Get some dog mace and spray the yard. It does work with most dogs. If the dog is on a run, ( tied up). The spray is a must. In this situation, I have found that the dog will dig out of anger and attention seeking behavior .  Hang in there, you can break him.

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12 minutes ago, Trigger Mike said:

He roams free with 2 of our other dogs so I will get him more toys and spray mace.  You just cover the ground with it?  

You use the mace to spray your eyes, then you don’t see the puppy dug holes?

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7 hours ago, Trigger Mike said:

How do you break him of it?

 

All of Trapper Toms suggestions are great. The only thing ill add, sometimes no matter how much you walk them, play with them etc they just do it anyway.

 

The best tool you can use for training is called a 'remote collar'. Its basically a collar that goes from 1-100, and when you press a button it sends a shock.

 

https://www.chewy.com/educator-by-e-collar-technologies/dp/166792

 

It sounds barbaric but hear me out.

 

Do not ever use the collar as a punishment. Only keep the collar just high enough for them to barely feel it, like a tap on the shoulder. Stubborn dogs respond poorly to negative reinforcement and you dont want to hurt the pup.

 

Hold the remote collar in your hand and starting at 0, buzz yourself. Start turning it up 1 by 1. You wont feel anything, until you feel a tickle. Thats your number. Everyone has a different number; mine is 15 and Mrs Snakejaws is 6.

 

Do the same with your pup. Start at 0 and slowly go one by one until you see them react to it. It could be an ear twitch, head tilt etc. My JRT is a 9 and my westie is a 12.

 

Then use the collar multiple times a day to practice only four commands -

 

Place - get a place pad and have them sit on the place pad until you release them by saying 'go play!'

Come - have them come to you

Sit

Off - only used in bad situations. Turn it up and say this if your dog is being aggressive to other humans or dogs.

 

How you use it is, ONLY buzz when you say one of the commands. Youre basically tapping the pup on the shoulder and saying, hey, this word means something.

 

Then, when you see your pup doing something bad, you redirect the pup with either place or come. The point is to get the pup to recognize that youd rather him be doing something other than what hes currently doing.

 

Its a bit of work and theres more tips I can give but thats a start. If you want more tips just let me know. 

 

Most dogs want to be good. They just dont know what being good means.

 

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I have raised quite a few dogs and had a couple that were diggers. I cured them of it by scolding them, but I had to catch them in the act and scold them with a stern voice. Only one dog was harder to break than the others. She liked to dig at the fence line of the yard, like she was trying to escape or maybe the wall dirt held some attraction not found elsewhere in the yard, I don’t know, but Cayenne Pepper was the cure. She also liked to dig up my wife’s flower garden. I would go to Smart & Final and get these huge cans of cayenne pepper and sprinkle it in the flower beds and along the fence line about once a week and after it dried out from rain. After a couple of weeks digging was cured. 

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I had a dog that was a chewer.  He ate everything, mattress, sofa, carpet, asphalt... everything.  Somebody suggested bitter apple spray, so I put some on the sofa end he was eating and he liked it.  Caught him licking it wagging his tail.  I was at my wits end with this puppy.  I grabbed the bottle of cayenne pepper and sprinkled it heavily over the couch cushion he had been chewing on.  He licked it, stepped back licking his lips and looked at me with the biggest happiest smile I have ever seen on a dog and practically pounced on the cushion licking all of that cayenne pepper.  He loved it, and apparently thanked me for properly seasoning his cushion for him.  I am surprised this dog and I both lived long enough to see him past his puppy years.  This is the same dog that pulled a knife on me... true story.

 

Of course this is the same dog that later in life discovered toads.  He would find one and pick it up in his mouth and hold it there until the dog was practically foaming at the mouth.  Then  he would spit the toad out and enjoy the toadness in his mouth for a bit, then he would pick the toad back up again to refresh the flavor.  He just plain wasn't right... I sure do miss him!

 

 

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I use a collar for training purposes. Every one I have used has a setting that is either  vibration or noise and not shocking. Usually that will take care of it without the use of the shock option. The thing is you must catch the dog in the act to get the association of the objectional distraction every time they do the act. They associate the vibration, noise or shock with the act (in this case digging) with the "punishment". As a last resort, I use the shock option and start out at the lowest setting.

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Place wire fencing flat around the tree. He'll discover there are better places to dig.

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15 minutes ago, Go West said:

Place wire fencing flat around the tree. He'll discover there are better places to dig.

But that doesn't keep him from digging.....other places.

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I have a very large back yard , but tye tree he is digging the most is right by my pump house.  I don't want a damaged tree by my pump house.  I used the cayenne pepper trick once and it worked.  A dog kept pooping in the church parking lot that was grass instead of cement.  

 

I spread red pepper all around the church and out to the road and it stopped.  I will do that in my yard

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The good news is if he continues to dig you won’t have to trim his toenails; he will keep them worn down!  :)

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My heelers dig up all the dandelions in my yard to eat the roots.  I love not having the dandelions, but it sure has torn up the yard over the years.  

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I have an older dog who digs because she likes to eat  tree roots.  It's good soft wood.  Our puppy is digging too, we're pretty sure the older dogs are teaching her.  We asked a trainer about it and she suggested a kiddie pool full of sand or dirt with toys buried in it.  Scold her when you catch her digging elsewhere, but she will naturally want to dig in the pool because it's easier and will be much more productive with the treats and toys. 

 

 

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