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Is Your Dog Digging a Hole to China?
Ed note: I've had dogs that have dug holes (and thoroughly enjoyed it!). Sometimes to just dig, possibly eating the dirt in the process, and others have taken a treasure, like a beef bone and found the best spot to bury it. Generally, I don't think dogs will obsessively dig unless they're after a critter underneath the ground or possibly just suffering from boredom. If you just can't seem to stop your dirt diggers, here are a few suggestions (taken from the WWW) on ways to end the backyard “path to China".
The Whole Hole. There are dogs that dig one hole and just keep re-digging it and there are those that dig many holes. If there is more than one hole, fill them with the same dirt, packing it down tightly with a shovel, but do not put dirt in his favorite. Fill it with water and keep filling it at every opportunity. Most dogs do not like that and get discouraged. They do not like getting their feet wet.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Place a large rock in your dog's favorite hole. Pack it loosely with dirt. (All other holes should be filled in and packed tightly with a shovel.) When he begins digging again the rock will have a built-in correction waiting for his paws and will discourage him. A variation of this technique is to place chicken wire, gravel, crushed pebbles, or aluminum foil (or combinations of all four) in the hole instead of a rock. They are just as unpleasant for a dog to dig into. If the hole is wide enough you can place a metal or plastic lid from a garbage pail halfway down and cover it loosely with dirt. Hitting the hard surface and hearing the noise his paws make against it should discourage him.
Nasty Business. It is possible to discourage a dog from re-digging the same hole by placing his stool in it and filling the rest of the hole with dirt. He will not like it.
The Corrective Squirt. An effective method of correcting a dog when he digs holes is to catch him in the act and squirt him with a garden hose. He must be taken by surprise or the correction will be unsuccessful. Dig a narrow, shallow trench from the edge of your dog's favorite hole to a water faucet that is out of sight. The trench does not have to be longer than six feet. The point is to hide the presence of the hose in the hole. Place the nozzle of a garden hose in the side of the hole four or five inches down and point it upward. The dog must not see the nozzle or any part of the hose close to the hole. Lay the rest of the hose in the trench. Cover the trench with dirt. The dog must not be able to see the water faucet. Bait the hole by placing food inside. Cover the food with a thin layer of dirt. Allow the dog access and leave. Station yourself at the water faucet. Turn the water on the instant he begins digging and let him have a full squirt. Go to him quickly and shout, "NO! NO! NO!" Once he has been corrected, praise him as a matter of reassurance. If you cannot see the dog from the faucet, have someone watch from a window and give you a quiet signal. Repeat as often as necessary.
Bad Taste. Place newspaper at the bottom of the hole. Generously sprinkle alum, cayenne pepper, and Tabasco sauce all over the paper. When the dog returns to continue digging, he is bound to taste or whiff the three unpleasant substances. He may get them on his paws and lick them. The taste or scent should deter him from continuing his project.
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