How To Get Your Dog To Stop Digging Holes… - Brandon McMillan's Canine Minded
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How To Get Your Dog To Stop Digging Holes…

How To Get Your Dog To Stop Digging Holes…

Ask anyone in America (or the world for that matter) if they’ve ever had a dog or knew one that turned the back yard into a makeshift graveyard and they’ll undoubtedly say yes. Most people simply go outside with a shovel and fill in the holes the dog has made. This is teaching the dog nothing but you’ll clean up their mess after they make one. Most of the time it’s just a puppy being a puppy. Other times the puppy personality never left that dog and now it’s a 3 year old with a really annoying habit. It often comes from boredom, pent up energy or even a natural instinct in the dog. Whatever the case may be there is a quick and effective way to stop it dead in it’s tracks in just a few days. This technique is one of the oldest tricks in the book and hasn’t changed in decades because of its effectiveness. Believe it or not the best way to stop your dog from turning your yard into swiss cheese is…(drum roll)…their poop! Most people laugh when I say this but when they try it themselves that laugh quickly turns into a victory dance. Lets break this down…

For this the only tool you’ll need is their poop so save a little stockpile somewhere, preferably in a bag or bin to avoid flies and the bad smell. This will be the magic weapon to combat the bad habit. Next thing you’ll need is a yard with holes dug as the training process happens after the fact.

Step 1. Locate every hole they’ve dug. Holes to a dog become an art project that they constantly come back to and work on. It becomes more fun the deeper and wider the hole gets. Now we’ve located every hole let’s make the magic happen.

Step 2. Put a piece of their poop in each and every hole. Be sure the poop is at the bottom.

Step 3. Lightly cover every hole up with dirt. You’ll only cover it with an inch or two of dirt. This will create a camouflage to what’s underneath. If you skip this process it’s often less effective as the dog becomes savvy to the game very quickly.

Now here’s where we let the dog back into the yard and simply watch the magic happen. Many dogs will begin digging at one of the holes not knowing what’s underneath. When they do they’ll hit the poop with a tip of their paw and instantly stop. Dogs hate the sight, smell and taste of their own poop. Once they get a little on their paws they’ll surely wipe it off on the grass. From there they might explore another one of their holes which is now booby trapped. It takes a number of times for them to grasp this. Once again the process will repeat itself letting the poop do all the work. All the while you’re simply watching from the kitchen window while the habit is being eliminated. Some dogs will get savvy to the situation and start new holes. This is normal and expected so when they do you’ll simply repeat the process. What you’ve done is simply turn the tables on them, transforming their game into your game. Dogs learn by trial and error so once they find out time and again that underneath their hole is something they don’t like they’ll surely give up. Most dogs will give up completely after a few days while other take a little longer. 90% of the dogs I’ve done this with seem to get it in less than a week but you need to be consistent. Don’t let them start digging new holes and work on them for too long. The quicker you can fill the holes the with magic ingredient the faster it’ll stop. It’s a simple process with amazing results. Oh and one more thing…be sure to check your dogs paws before coming back into the house 😉 … Try it out and let me know how it goes. Ruff.

– Brandon

  • lee
    Posted at 20:08h, 07 July Reply

    Hey what about a dog that eats poop? One of her trainers said to give her a place to dig. That works well with a few reminders when she is not where she should be. Thank you for all you do and your show. Tia recommend you and I really learn a lot from you. Thanks again Brandon

    • Angelito
      Posted at 03:00h, 19 February Reply

      Venkata Subramanian: True. Except the smell that is! Worse still if one were to step in it when walking!Merisi: Unless of coruse the dogs can read and pretend not to understand :-)I’m fine. Thank you. Wish you a happy new year too.Sarah Laurence: Thank you for the concern. I’m doing fine. Just got back from traveling. It’s good to be back. Thank you.

  • Maria
    Posted at 21:02h, 13 July Reply

    Yes, what about a dog that eats poop? I have three puppies that have taken up this horrible habit, so I’m not sure what to do next. Honestly, they can dig up the WHOLE yard if they would just stop eating the poop!

  • Hyde
    Posted at 16:02h, 02 August Reply

    Oh, this is great, I need this for my Dox Rescue.. he loves to make my yard a mine field! haha
    But IDK if he’ll attempt to consume either, but def worth the shot. Thank you, Brandon! ~h

  • Jenny
    Posted at 02:32h, 18 March Reply

    I guess I have the weirdo dog that doesn’t mind digging up his own poo. For now the only answer I can think of is only strictly supervised yard time.

    • SheekHair
      Posted at 01:21h, 11 May Reply

      Anjuli: Thank you. There aren’t many such signs around in Bombay. This was the first time I saw a board in the city, akisng folks to pick up after their dogs.Many gates had the same board. It’s likely some agency mass produced it and distributed it around the neighbourhood in Bandra.But elsewhere, around the world, the signs are more common. akisng folks to clean up the ‘mess’ their dogs leave behind.Neha Vish: Poetic justice indeed :-)Nancy: Israel is trying to make dog owners accountable for the presence their dogs leave behind. FB: Maybe the lighter side has got to do with the onset of winter in Bombay. 🙂

    • Deepak
      Posted at 02:55h, 19 February Reply

      I’m happier when dog owrnes clean up after their dog…it just makes life better somehow. Some people in the US post those signs to deter burglars. I don’t know if that works, but I heard a story about a little widow who put some really large work boots on her front porch and a very large shirt on a peg. That did work as a deterrent…so a police officer we know told us. She was a smart lady we thought.

  • Sam Bracken
    Posted at 11:59h, 03 September Reply

    I tried fresh lemon in the holes. It worked for a few days.

  • Matt
    Posted at 21:34h, 24 November Reply

    Our youngest and oldest dogs both were digging holes to China and back, and we finally just covered the narrow dog run area which was supposed to have grass planted but clearly wasn’t going to happen effectively, so we bought indoor/outdoor green put put golf like carpet and tacked it down both sides wuth metal stakes, and that pretty much ended holes to china from our two dogs. Plus easy to clean, just spray it off with hose nightly, pending we are picking up poop every evening. 😝

  • Toni
    Posted at 23:06h, 24 November Reply

    If they eat their poop…try a generous squirt of lemon juice on it …worth a try

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 01:40h, 25 November Reply

    I have tried this, chicken wire and hot peppers. Nothing seems to work any other suggestion.

  • Nadine
    Posted at 03:24h, 07 December Reply

    How about a Yorkie that digs at th carpet and ruins it! What do I do?

  • Subhas
    Posted at 02:44h, 19 February Reply

    Obedience classes are alyaws good for you dog! Even if you think he doesn’t need it, you might learn things you didn’t know. Plus, you never know when a problem might appear later, and you could have prevent it with obedience class.If you want to walk with him off leash, you’re gonna have to work about when he get hyper with other dogs, or you’ll lose him when there’s another dog on the road. He might get difficult to call back.If your dog is already almost perfect, then obedience classes are gonna be a piece of cake! References :

  • Pam Penttinen
    Posted at 16:12h, 04 April Reply

    Our dogs dig up mice & mole tunnels in the dog pen, so once it’s empty they don’t usually go back, so this won’t work in this instance.

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