Can You Dig It?!

Spring has sprung here in OK!  Eddie and I started our garden planning by growing some seedlings and decided how and where we want them planted.  One sunny Saturday, Eddie went into the backyard with the mindset of digging up a patch of grass for a garden, but his plan was sidelined after seeing Bernie in action!  Bernie is an expert digger.  He can practically create a hole as big as he is in minutes.  He loves digging for the energy release and how it creates a cool place for him while he’s sitting outside.    Like Bernie, most dogs possess the desire to dig.  Dogs bury and unearth bones or other valuable resources, they dig if they sense little critters roaming their yard and yes they dig out of boredom.  I’ve seen dogs dig underneath fences so they can have an escape route.

Eddie and I understand and appreciate Bernie’s expert abilities, so we decided rather than reprimand him for digging, we will use this as a training opportunity and redirect Bernie’s inappropriate digging into an area where it is appropriate like a digging pit.  The digging pit then became the area of focus and the garden was put on the back burner.  The main reason for changing our mindset in the short term was we looked to set Bernie up for success.  Since the digging pit is what we would use for redirection, we needed the pit built before we started planting.  This way if Bernie began digging up our plants or creating holes in our garden, we would have the opportunity in encouraging him in moving towards the digging pit.

This began our Home Depot trips.  Eddie decided on having wood cut into 4×4.  He bought some screws and we wanted it to look decent in the backyard, so he picked up some polyurethane and wood stain.  We know Bernie loves dirt, but he goes crazy for sand.  I’ve taken him to beaches and into the desert and once his paws touch the sand, he takes off! He romps around in the sand and quickly digs and sniffs and digs and sniffs and then darts off sprinting.  As Eddie was digging up the backyard for the garden, he placed the chunks of grass into the pit.  He leveled off the first layer and added a second layer all the way until it was 3/4 full.  He topped it off with a few inches of sand.  In the matter of a weekend, Bernie had his very own digging area and he couldn’t be happier.  Eddie even said to me, “its as though Bernie knew it was for him”.

Jack and Bernie having fun in their DIY digging pit!
Jack and Bernie having fun in their DIY digging pit!

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Even though Eddie built this on his own, a digging pit can be as easy as filling a kiddie pool with dirt.  You can also bury raw bones and treats in order to encouraging the digging in this area.  Remember, also give praise when your dog is digging in his/her designated area!  This will establish boundaries and rules with your pup!

Now, the next thing is a top for the pit!  To be continued….

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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