The diggin dog

We had a great weekend; with our time spent mostly in the backyard working. We've recently taken down a fence that was a between our grassed yard and a dirt slope. With the slope now in full view we are fix'n to plant. Trees, grasses and flowers but for now it is simply dirt and it is very inviting for a good dig. Jessie is our true digger but she has pretty much given up the dig unless she finds a hole that is currently occupied and that she stands a good chance of catching the critter in the hole; otherwise she's pretty much over it.

In her younger days Jessie was a mad digging machine; this was what she lived for so we made sure that she had an outlet for this energy driven obsession. She was bred to go to ground; this is what these little terriers love. So to ensure that she did not single handedly destroy our yard we took her to dig regularly. The canyon close by was a great place for her to expel energy and get her fill of digging and dirt. I could watch her dig for hours at a time; she was a digging machine. Not only were her tiny little feet strong and precise; her mouth was the shovel she needed to remove much of the dirt. Yep; she used her mouth, often it would be so full of dirt that she had a difficult time dumping her load. With her mouth open as wide as possible and packed tightly with dirt she often looked to me for assistance. I would hold open her jaw and scoop then she was right back at it.

Tilley only digs if a shadow lingers; it may be on the grass but if it happens to land in the garden then she'll go for it. For this reason there are fences where the birds make regular shadows in the garden. This is enough to deter her digging and she is content to just watch the shadows. Then there is Luke who is a casual digger; he isn't driven to dig, it just sort of happens. And this weekend was the sort of scenario where it happens. Luke loves to accompany us as we work in the yard; especially if we are digging. He likes to check out each new hole, freshly turn dirt and the plants that are going in. He stands staring at the ground as if waiting his turn. He inhales the wonderful smell of dirt and every so often it stirs something in him and he digs. Once started he can wreak havoc with those feet of his; so you have to be quick to stop it.

When Luke digs you can see that it almost out of his control; there is a certain smell that gets him going. He also sees us digging and is very much a lead by example sort of guy. He is easily deterred which is a good thing; but it has to be caught at the very onset of the dig as that first toe takes the dip. Otherwise he really gets into it and the digging becomes more frenzied and the dirt flies. So what do you do if you have a digger and you don't particularly want your yard dug up? You must release the energy elsewhere. The main cause for a digging dog is excess energy. It may be caused by a lack of exercise or boredom; or the fact that they saw a critter go into a hole.

Often a fence is all that is needed; making it very clear that this area is off limits. If you have a dedicated digger then you may need to make sure that they are getting enough exercise; both for their body and mind. A dog left to their own in a yard with nothing to do; will definitely find something to do. So do not leave a digger unattended in your yard; they need feedback. If your dog is left to dig alone in the yard with no feedback; they quickly learn to love this energy releasing activity. They should only be in the yard when you can let them know that digging is unacceptable. Teach them that the yard is for other activities like fetch, chase, water games or learning new behaviors.

The old saying "A good dog is a tired dog;" still stands true today.

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