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How do I stop my Great Dane from digging holes in the yard

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

How do I stop my Great Dane from digging holes in the yard - I have attempted to soak the hole with water; put stakes around it; and use a shaker, firmly saying no when I see him digging.

Nothing is working!


Answer

Digging is one of the most common behavior problems in dogs. The best thing to TRY to do, is finding out why your dog is digging and fix or correct that problem. If he's digging to find a cool spot, try offering him his own paddling pool. Keep it in a shady area and he will probably be most grateful. A sand pit in a shady area is another solution.

If your dog is digging to escape from the yard, try to figure out why he wants to escape. If anxious when left alone, see your veterinarian or a behavior consultant for help in treating possible separation anxiety.

Your dog may be trying to leave the yard to find a mate. In that case, neutering may help. If he is leaving to raid your neighbor's garbage, buy your neighbor a dog proof garbage receptacle. If you have a benevolent neighbor who is feeding your dog whenever it arrives on the doorstep, ask your neighbor to stop feeding your dog.

Whatever the reason for your dog's digging, it is essential to ensure a reliable containment system. The addition of an underground electric fence or a fence that extends under the ground for a few feet may help. Leaving your dog in the house when he or she cannot be supervised is another solution.

If your dog is digging to have fun, show him how to have fun in other ways. Provide lots of exercise and play for him. Food toys are a great way to keep a dog busy when you can't be around. Try feeding him his daily meals from a Busta Cube or Kong Toy.

Consider providing a special area of the yard for your dog to dig and teach him that it is acceptable to dig there but not in the rest of your yard.

Here are some other tips to keep your dog from digging:

  • Provide fun and tiring exercise for your dog every day. Always keep him busy and mentally stimulated!

  • Supervise your dog when he is out in the yard. Reprimand if he starts to dig. Get him interested in doing other things instead, like playing with a ball.

  • Make sure your dog has shade and a place to cool off on hot days (paddling pool).

  • Have your pet neutered.



    Our question this week came from Nicole, from North Bay, Ontario.


    Dr. Debra


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