Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Digging

Spring has come to the Poconos at last! The daffodils are in bloom everywhere, they're so pretty. I was at the garden store today and it was busy - everyone's getting their gardens ready.
I was puttering in the backyard this weekend and noticed our dog Annabelle was sniffing and pawing around the perimeter of the fence. Sure enough, when she found a spot she liked, she started to dig, and it didn't take her long to get a good-sized hole going. I stopped her before she could make it any bigger, but I know she'll be back there when my back is turned!
Digging is a problem for some of us who have fenced yards. So what can we do?

Ideally, when you construct your fence, it's a great idea to bury the fence a few inches (even deeper for busy diggers) into the ground. That can make it a lot harder for a dog to escape under the fence.

My fence is already built, so I work around it in some creative ways.

Rocks of all sizes are abundant in this area, and they have been a good temporary solution for blocking up holes.

A trick I have used to great success is to poop-scoop the yard and put some in the digging spot. That can deter dogs from digging in that area. Make sure to observe, however - some dogs will not be bothered and you'll want to keep an eye on your dog and the hole over a few days to see if it's been disturbed.

My husband dug a shallow trench under the section of fence where the hole was, and squeezed in a piece of 4"x4" wood that he spiked into the ground, and secured to the bottom of the fence. He filled dirt in over it. It would take a very motivated dog a long time to get under that thing. Our dogs have left that area alone since making the change, which tells me that it was a successful experiment.

Dogs are smart and can be taught not to dig. A quick call to a local dog trainer for a few no-digging sessions can solve your problem for good and save a lot of frustration and anxiety. I have heard of dogs being taught to dig only in a special area, for example a sandbox exclusively for the dog, or a certain part of the yard. While I haven't heard anyone's first-hand experience with this method, I think it would be challenging to teach. My gut tells me that it might be easier to just train the dog never to do the unwanted behavior. I'd be interested in hearing others' thoughts on digging dogs and how you deal with the challenge!

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