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Question
Posted by: LINDY | 2011-07-26

German Shepherd killing moles

My 8 year old femal German Shepherd has the sweetest nature but she is besotted with seeking out moles and killing them. She constantly digs up our garden when we are not at home in order to search for moles. Please let me know what we can do as we don''t like smacking her and she only does it when we are out.Thanks very much

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Lindy, nice to hear from you and I know how annoying this can be especially if you are a keen gardener!
My first suggestion would be management where the moles are concerned. There are now many products on the market that does not kill them but discourages them from 'visiting' your garden. Just google and see what's avaialavle. Additional things to consider:-
1. Make sure the dog is getting sufficient mental and physical exercise by way of long and varied walks and plenty of varied chew toys and enough physical stimulation.
2. The behaviour happening only when you are away could be a sign of seperation anxiety, so watch out for this, not a place you want to end up and if you suspect it is beginning get professional help immediately. One of the main signs that is apparent when sep anxiety is present is that the dog engages in the destructive behaviour ONLY when the owner is away.
3. Supply her with a nice big digging pit which is especially for her. Put this in a shady part of the garden and for the first few days leave in an Ox femur and help her to 'dig' to find it. A dog will always repeat something that is rewarding and after the initial few days, you can stock it up with some chewy toys, stuffed Kongs, biscuits etc when you do go out to keep her busy.
4. You can teach her to use her nose to 'seek' out hidden treasures in the garden.
4. From a management point of view, it would be difficult to place chicken wire over your whole garden, pin it down and then cover with soil and/or grass, so rather look at keeping the dog in a tiled/cemented area when you are out.

Smacking her will have no effect at all and only break down your relationship. Punishment is an 'exact' art and has to be done 'while' the dog is performing the inappropriate behaviour and the timing and intensity of the punishment has to be spot on.
Thanks Scotty

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011-07-26

Hi Lindy, nice to hear from you and I know how annoying this can be especially if you are a keen gardener!
My first suggestion would be management where the moles are concerned. There are now many products on the market that does not kill them but discourages them from 'visiting' your garden. Just google and see what's avaialavle. Additional things to consider:-
1. Make sure the dog is getting sufficient mental and physical exercise by way of long and varied walks and plenty of varied chew toys and enough physical stimulation.
2. The behaviour happening only when you are away could be a sign of seperation anxiety, so watch out for this, not a place you want to end up and if you suspect it is beginning get professional help immediately. One of the main signs that is apparent when sep anxiety is present is that the dog engages in the destructive behaviour ONLY when the owner is away.
3. Supply her with a nice big digging pit which is especially for her. Put this in a shady part of the garden and for the first few days leave in an Ox femur and help her to 'dig' to find it. A dog will always repeat something that is rewarding and after the initial few days, you can stock it up with some chewy toys, stuffed Kongs, biscuits etc when you do go out to keep her busy.
4. You can teach her to use her nose to 'seek' out hidden treasures in the garden.
4. From a management point of view, it would be difficult to place chicken wire over your whole garden, pin it down and then cover with soil and/or grass, so rather look at keeping the dog in a tiled/cemented area when you are out.

Smacking her will have no effect at all and only break down your relationship. Punishment is an 'exact' art and has to be done 'while' the dog is performing the inappropriate behaviour and the timing and intensity of the punishment has to be spot on.
Thanks Scotty

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