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Excitement digging

December 10, 2011

For months I have been feeling badly because I am sharing a house and I understood that my dog was digging holes in the backyard. I never actually caught him in the act, but when the older dog was there alone there were no holes. So it stood to reason that it was a bad puppy.

I sat on watches and never caught him digging, but he did have moss in his paws, so again he was the suspect. Finally one day I saw both dogs working together on a hole that a rainspout created.

Outside of this time I never saw digging happen again. Fig is very exercised and his off-leash dog pack leader said he has never tried to dig…so what the heck?

I decided to stage a stake out this morning after my roommate accused Fig of digging up the compost bin. I put Fig out and watched from the bathroom window where they could not see me (they check for humans often). I finally got lucky. Digging commenced after 15 minutes – BUT WAIT – IT IS NOT FIG IN THE HOLE!!

I ran for my video camera because I knew that my roommate was not going to believe me. What I caught on film was excitement digging. The older Shepherd wanted to get Fig Schnauzer to play and would go to the tree and violently dig for brief seconds and bark to get Fig excited. Then the Shepherd would leave the hole, fig would walk up to look, and the Shepherd would rush back happy and defend the hole happily. All this worked and moments later they were rushing around wrestling.

When I put Fig in the yard often they do not play. It takes a long while for them to get started. It would take months of full time watching to stop this behavior because the digging doesn’t happen every day. Because my housemate is very involved outside the home, I would have to do the work. Otherwise I would need to keep Fig indoors when I am not with him. I don’t want to feel like my pup can’t go out and play, but my pup’s presence is inspiring this behavior.

I watched the video clips and thought to listen for the play bark. Then I would be able to stop the digging without watching all the time. Unfortunately, that will not work in this situation because the Shepherd is a chronic barker. She yips at squirrels with a play bark and barks at people passing the house all day.

I suggested that my housemate put her dog’s poop in the hole to see if that would work, like I thought it was working for Fig. Honestly I am not sure her dog is really thinking. It looks like a wild instinctual snap of the brain.

I differ from my housemate when it comes to dog ownership. I pay for service midday to keep Fig fit and happy. Not everyone is willing to come home or pay for an exercise service. This must change. Dogs need to run and be dogs every day, not just the weekend. In my opinion, leash walking is great, but it doesn’t do the job well enough. Owners must keep high energy activity part of the daily routine.

Back to crossing my fingers that the “poop in the hole trick” will work.

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