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Thread: At wits end with my dogs digging!

  1. #1

    Default At wits end with my dogs digging!

    Hi all,

    I've got an 8 month old Cattle x Kelpie (my other half decided on the breed) and he doesn't stop digging!
    We are only renting and I'm stressed about the amount of damage the dog is causing...
    We enjoyed him as a puppy and reglularly take him for walks... well I do and as he's growing up I take him more and more.
    The dog was bought because the other half desperatly wanted one... he hasn't walked him since he was a puppy!

    The dog is slowly destroying the yard and relationship... and for some reason the other half doesn't think the sandboxes will help the situation...

    I've burried his poo in the holes, put pepper in them and squirted him with water everytime he digs... nothing works (funny thing is though, i knows when he's in trouble for it).

    Dog lovers... please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    sounds like a bored dog...... apart from walks are you mentally stimulating him? tricks, training, etc?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    I love 2 things in this world. Spandex and reyzor... not necessarily in that order.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2012
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    There are many different reasons for a dog to dig, from boredom to separation anxiety to overfeeding or maternal instincts. You need to work out what your dogs reason is for digging.

    If it's happening late, in the afternoon/evening, then it is possibly due to boredom. Some do it to try to escape the backyard (possibly a female in the neighbourhood in heat, but less likely).
    Others do it for shelter/protection. They will dig one hole in spots such as under trees or near fences to block weather. In Summer to cool down or in Winter to block wind cold weather, etc. Does your dog sleep outside? If so, does it have a suitable kennel? If so, is it positioned in an appropriate spot in the yard (yes, there are right and wrong spots).

    Once you work out why your dogs is digging it will make it easier to determine the best way to resolve it. The sand/dirt pit can work well for some dogs. Putting treats/bones/toys in it and covering them for the dog to find. The dog will slowly learn that digging in the backyard doesn't get them much but digging in THAT SPOT will get me lots of toys, treats, etc. and will eventually stop digging everywhere else. Other toys will also help keep them entertained and less likely to dig, but you have to make sure the toys are rotated on a daily basis or the dog will lose interest.

    Tiring a dog out is also a good way to stop it. A tired dog is less likely to get up to mischief. You said you take your dog for walks regularly but how often and how long are each walk and is the walk structured or does he just go crazy and run off lead sniffing around frantically? Structured calm walking helps tire them mentally as they have to focus on walking properly, which can help. Tiring a dog mentally is better than just physically. What would make you more tired? Running a kilometre or having to walk/run 500m solving a difficult mathematical equation every 10metres?

    Filling the holes up with poo only works if it's fresh poo so you have to rotate the poo to ensure it's fresh all the time.

    If you squirt him with water you are punishing him, which is fine, but you also have to immediately show him what he IS allowed to do. This will help with learn what he can and can't do and what to do to avoid punishment next time.

    Hopefully this helps you. If you find out why he is doing it, we can all throw more ideas your way to help stop the behaviour

    KEEP US UPDATED

  4. #4
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    I have a pure Kelpie and was I raised with cattle dogs all my life and I can tell you with confidence this is most likely due to energy levels, hormones and boredom all combined. Working breeds really need abover an hour of exercise everyday and to top it off he is pretty much a teen as well so he doesn't want to listen to anyone but himself. His breeds are designed to do 8-10 working shifts chasing stubborn (and IMO stupid) cows.

    If you live in an area near bushland, the best way I have found to exercise high energy dogs is find a secluded bush track that you know is free of baits, kick the dog out of the car and carefully drive off at 40+ km p/h and encourage them to follow behind the car (my girl can sustain 58km p/h for up to 20 mins when she is really energetic) If you can do this 2-3 times a week with hour walks every day other. I also find Guys prefer this method so they can go bush bashing
    If you live in a built up area 1hr + everyday of exercise plus lots of stimulation at home. If you don't have the time for the walks maybe look into hiring a dog walker for the days you and your partner can't walk him.
    Also as Pawfectionist mentioned sometime they dig for shelter so double check that his current outdoor accommodations are warm in winter and cool in summer, because if not a kelpie will dig HUGE dens to sleep in.

    Also is he sterilized? If not might be a good idea that should settle him down a bit. Also remember he is the equivalent at the moment of a teenager, so make sure you really stay ontop of his obedience training.
    But as a general rule if you can get his energy levels under control cattle breeds will settle down and become your best mate.
    Best of luck and keep us updated

  5. #5

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    Hey all! Thank you so much for your advice! He’s got a lovely large kennel to sleep in… which he is currently chewing to bits as well! Haha!

    When I take him for a walk a usually have him off the lead as it gives him a chance to run and sniff like crazy… But he always comes back when I call him (unless there is another dog, then he is GOOONE!). I try and walk him for 45mins in the morning and 1 hour in the evening… but things come up and sometimes we can’t get the time.

    We take him to puppy Daycare at least once a week for socialising and exercise… we aren’t owners who buy a dog and leave them in the yard all day… we are trying our best to keep him stimulated both mentally and physically… He’s certainly part of the family… it’s just hard seeing the back yard being demolished lol.

    Will keep you up dated

  6. #6
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    If he is chewing that much he might be still teething as well, maybe try him with a kong or similar I find they are great for his age and an extra game for him too LIke I said he is also a teenager so if you keep up the excersice and training he should grow out of it. I have been through and watched this stage with heaps of working dogs, My girl even does it occationally when she gets bored to. It is frustraiting and some days soul destroying but the day he stops and finally relaxes into a calm adult dog is extremely rewarding.
    It is great to hear tho you really are trying to help him to many people with similar breeds just stick them in backyard and forget about them. You have one very lucky pooch to have such a dedicated owner also maybe give your OH a kick in the behind and remind him to help.
    When ever my OH 'forgets' about his puppy I tell him that if he can't look after 'his' dog I'll get rid of the dog and his ute (his pride and joy lol) needless to say Ute still here and he helps look after puppy hehe

  7. #7
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    I had this same issue with my kelpie... i'd put poo in the holes, didn't get around to the sand box idea, do you put treats and bones etc in the sandbox to encourage him to dig there? I had a massive bone for my dog every few days, aswell as the kong, No matter what i did it was never enough for her, she just had to much energy even if i took her to my friends 25 acre block and walked around the whole thing, around the edges of the fence, off lead, after that she still had alot of go in her. How about swimming? Is it possible for you to take your dog do a dam or a creek? Do you play fetch with your dog? Tug a war? Another i dea i've seen on this forum that i never got to do was to buy a bungee cord and put a ball on the end and tie it to a tree. that would use up alot of energy, do you have an automatic treadmill? maybe you could wear off some energy on that when you don't have time for a walk? Expensive but worth it.
    No one loves you like your dog does.

  8. #8

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    Sounds like a bored dog with lots of energy needed to be burned. I'd teach the dog to play fetch or go bike riding and teach the dog to run along behind. That plus spending time doing trick training and the like to excersise its brain. Also having the dog indoors might help if its currently an outdoors dog.

  9. #9
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    Our cattle puppy lived with us in suburbia, however the whole back yard was paved.
    We did have a nice little dog park within walking distance that had a river frontage.
    So he was able to swim twice a day as well as play fetch etc and play with the other dogs.
    I took him EVERY day twice a day, I got up very early but I did not mind, I enjoyed this time with him.

    Is he allowed inside? (in a tiled area maybe) If the house is open plan you can use baby gates or similar.
    I made my own to keep him out of the bedrooms etc which were carpeted.
    If you look in the loading dock out the back of Harvey Norman or similar you can find pallets, packing
    crates etc. instead of buying wood.

    Hope it works out for you.

  10. #10
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    Long walks can just lead to a fitter dog who is just as bored.

    You really need to up the trick training or obedience training - first good trick would be a really reliable recall aka conditioned recall - come no matter what - no questions asked (like do I have to now? I've got better things to do)...

    Ie mental stimulation is as important with a farm dog as the exercise... or they will still be bored, but twice as fit for digging.

    I second getting a sand box and burying kongs filled with frozen kibble and water or chicken bits or whatever - the black kong is best for an ACD. Red ones will die fast.

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