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Seasonal observations of the UCCE Master Gardeners
by Dottie Deems
on August 18, 2018 at 11:25 AM
Hi Erin!  
I don't believe that all dog breeds are "hard-wired" to dig. I really think we teach them to do it and that we encourage it.  
For the past 40 years + I've had various terrier breeds, all of which are "hard-wired" to "go to ground". That means that typically a terrier is born to dig, it's in their genes. They just have to dig!  
Maybe I've just been fortunate with my 7 terriers, but none were diggers. I honestly believe it is because they were all born to dig, I never encouraged it.  
None of my dogs are allowed in the yard or to even look in the yard thru a sliding door or a window while I dig. So although nature has them born to dig, nurture has never shown them how or where or that it is a praise worthy thing to do. If any were even inclined to dig I'd just take them in the house so they couldn't watch me do it. Yelling at a digger, chasing them away from a hole they have dug, or bribing them into the house with cookies is a reward, after all, they've gotten your attention, something they always want! Honestly, it's worked with all seven of mine.  
However, I have to tell you that my 2 year old Irish Terrier has been allowed in the garden while I did my pruning and dead-heading. He is now better at both than I am! He brings it all in the house and then becomes a chipper leaving twigs and leaves all over. My other dogs haven't witnessed pruning and dead-heading and were never guilty of doing either.  
What do you do with a dog that has witnessed a human digging and pruning and has started doing one or both? I don't have an answer to that. Sorry.  
Dottie Deems
by Monique
on August 20, 2018 at 1:35 PM
Great Story! Thanks for sharing!
by Launa Herrmann
on August 21, 2018 at 6:43 PM
Erin, you mean you traded in that laid-back Labrador for this darling digger? What a delightful fun read. Enjoy that cutie pie. Dog lives speed by way too quickly.
by Erin Mahaney
on August 26, 2018 at 7:43 PM
Launa- we still have our laid-back Lab! He is quite a gentleman, although he has taught our digging dog to harvest blueberries and strawberries and to bring us slobbery plush toys. He has slowed down quite a bit now so we are enjoying every moment with him as much as possible.
by Ericka
on April 4, 2021 at 9:06 PM
We have a puppy who's not yet full sized and yet he's larger than our other two big dogs and he digs and chews. We've never experienced this before either and we're learning a few things the hard way, but with the digging we've found we have to be outside with him 100% of the time. With the chewing we've had to start kenneling him if we're not home. I don't really like this as we've never, ever had to kennel a dog, but it's working for him. Now we just have to redo the backyard.
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