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Question
Posted by: K | 2004/10/12

Digging - Help

I have 3 foxies and have always had a problem with them digging in the flower beds and when we moved from a small garden to a house with one 4 times bigger two weeks ago I thought that the problem would resolve itself as they have more space and would not be so bored.

How wrong I was... it is 10x worse. I am still not sure who the culprit is but i suspect it is the older female as she often has mud on her nose.

We are not talking about little holes, they are massive crators....... What can I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi K
As you have observed, it's not about space. Many factors can cause dogs to dig: certain breeds dig more than others; anxiety about owners or other animals; attention-seeking; boredom etc. The fox terrier is a digging breed, but is also very intelligent and thus needs lots to keep it occupied or it will find things to keep busy, like digging. Having a lot of space is not the answer. You need to get the dogs outside your property for daily walks and give them lots of interesting toys to play with. Don't reprimand or punish them, even if you catch them in the act as this could be seen by them as entertaining (even if they appear scared at the time) - reinforcement, rather than punishment. Ignore all holes and fill them in when the dogs are not around to see. Water the holes afterwards (to remove your scent) and put some of their faeces on top. At the same time I would suggest you give them a digging pit or area where you don't mind them digging. Encourage them to dig there, keep it damp, bury some of their toys there and try to fence off or cover other areas with mesh to discourage them. Separation anxiety may be another reason they are digging so be careful not to give them too much attention when you are home - encourage independence. However spend a few minutes each day with each dog (e.g. grooming, playing calmly, massaging, talking) and giving each one your full attention. These are just a few ideas and you may need to contact an accredited animal behaviour consultant if you require a full consultation: www.animal-behaviour.org.za
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Katie | 2004/10/13

Hi,

My father had the same problem with his foxie - he put a mouse trap in the dirt. I think it gave her more of a fight than anything else, but she's stopped digging since then! Good luck.

Reply to Katie
Posted by: Chill | 2004/10/12

Annoying, isn't it?

Here's what helped when one of my dogs did it: put a little heap of their own poo in the places you're trying to protect. And then remember to wear gloves when you do your gardening!

Other solutions which are more complicated: you can get scent pellets (try a pet shop) which are supposed to repel dogs. Some people swear by leaving plastic colddrink bottles half-filled with water lying around - you're probably seen this on peoples' lawns - no idea how it's supposed to work. In extreme cases, you could place chicken wire over the ground in your flower-beds - plants will grow through it.

It will be interesting to see if other people have other ideas to contribute...

Reply to Chill

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