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Does anyone have any advice on how to get my Doberman to stop digging holes in the back yard? She is just over 1 year old, and we go on runs until she is tired 3-4 times a week PLUS obviously she has access to a large backyard. We also have a neighbor-friend who brings his boxer over a lot to play. I thought that exhausting her would deter any need for her to dig, but she has dug 32 holes this past month, about 10 of which are a foot and half in depth. Any ideas/tips on how to curve this behavior?

Note: I am currently on a rental property so this destruction is not going to go over well with the landlord if I cannot get this problem fixed!!!
 

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Small Handful of Woman
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They need to be mentally tired, as well as physically tired.
Maybe she is just giving herself a "job."
Perhaps if you step up the training, it will wear her out mentally and she won't feel the need to "search and destroy!"
Good luck.
 

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Christina
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Like they said, mentally she may not be tired. Dobermans are working dogs, they were bred to work and keep busy. She's just doing somethings to get her mind active. They have great mind stimulating toys that the dog must work to get pieces out. Such as kong ( put treats inside and she constantly rolls, flips, chews until she can figure ways to make the treats fall out) they have stuffed animals that have smaller stuffed animals inside and the dog must figure out how to get them out. They have a really cute beehive one and the dog works to get the bees out. They also have a tree with squirrels, a log with frogs, etc. very good toys! The kong would be best if she is a strong chewer because they are hard to tear up!


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32 holes in one month! I think you need to supervise at all times in the backyard and correct when you see her digging. Do not leave her alone in the backyard until you have the digging problem fixed. Maybe don't leave her out long enough to dig? Also, some members here have said to put their poop in the hole and they won't dig in it. I have tried this and it worked, but my dog only dug 2 or 3 holes. You would have to have a lot of poop to fill 32 holes.:D
 

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The only solution I have found is to not give them ANY outside access without supervision while working on the issue. You need to break the habit/cycle. Redirect her or say no if she tries to do it while you are out there. Lather, rinse repeat and it may take a few months. Digging to me is one of the harder things to break once they start. That’s one of the biggest reason I don’t let mine outside unsupervised when they are younger.
 

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Wow, surprised at the amount of GREAT ideas. I think you all hit it on the nose about being "mentally tired"... I have already taught her sit, stay, down.... what else is there?

But seriously, lots of creative ideas, especially that poop in the hole thing haha.
 

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Christina
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Leave it, come, stay, shake, wave, even start hand signals! Training is great to tiring them mentally. :)


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But seriously, lots of creative ideas, especially that poop in the hole thing haha.
Poop tends to work if you have a dog working on one or two project holes... your dog is digging a minefield LOL!

What a couple of folks said about supervision. Everybody KNOWS that one needs to supervise inside so the couch doesn't get eaten by young dogs... and, then they're all surprised when a young dog peels the siding off the house or gnaws down small trees or digs to China... it's all the same deal.

Get a whole, raw steer femur bone and pitch it outside for her. Slightly deflated soccer ball or kick ball. Freeze a milk jug with water and a handful each of a bunch of tasty things (chopped hot dog, treats, blueberries, whatever)... cut the plastic off and put that outside (she will pee lots extra on days she has this... be alert!). Holee Roller balls with big biscuits jammed inside. Play with her!

Correct the thought of digging. If she has downward focus and tenses her shoulder muscles, jump on her case! If you have a small yard and she hates water, nail her with the hose...
 

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Ringmaster
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We have moles and cicadas and scout loves going after them. Maybe thisis your problem. I can assure you, ours is not bored, but the chance to catch live prey trumps most toys and activities. Plows through the ground muzzle first half the time, biting her way through. Remarkably successful, unfortunately. If this also might be you, just remove the access. Use a long line for bathroom trips. Also helps to cover the digging zone in poop. The moles tend to pick an area in our yard. Scout hates feces so much that if she steps in it, she often limps for a second as though injured on that paw. Prissy girl. So this works for us in the summer while these critters are active. Fall through spring, no digging happens.
 

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Riley's Mom
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We had a mole problem this summer and found out that Riley was not digging out of boredom, he was trying to get to the moles, usually by digging out the holes they had already started! We had to keep flooding and plugging up the mole holes with rocks and things until they finally gave up, and now Riley doesn't dig by himself anymore - except when he's in the woods and finds more places to be a "home wrecker" in, lol, but I let him dig in the woods because I feel like it tires him out some and doesn't hurt anything, so long as he only does it out there.
 

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I agree with others that you probably shouldn't leave her alone in the yard...not for long anyway.

You probably don't want to do this, but I know some people designate a digging area, if they have a dog just likes to dig. You can bury toys/treats and praise her when she digs there, but correct her if she tries to dig elsewhere.

My dog is not much of a digger but I've taught her to do it on command. It's helpful for gardening. ;) Last year, we were landscaping and pulling out weeds by hand. For the bigger weeds that I had to dig out, I would just point and tell her to dig, lol. She got so enthusiastic that she started pulling out the weeds herself! :D I thought it was hilarious that she figured out we were trying to pull weeds. Of course, it probably would've been faster to to not have her "help" but she just loves joining in on whatever we're doing. ;)
 

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Wow, surprised at the amount of GREAT ideas. I think you all hit it on the nose about being "mentally tired"... I have already taught her sit, stay, down.... what else is there?

But seriously, lots of creative ideas, especially that poop in the hole thing haha.

There are many, many, many other things you can teach your dog. You can even teach her to read, lol. At one point, I was working on that with my dog but I got bored hah. I may start it up again because it's funny.

There are also training classes for CGC, agility, freestyle (you can get really creative here).
 

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We have a Dobe that we rescued. He has 2 bad habits, digging and running off when he's outside fenced Pottyland. We tried everything, poop in the holes, water in the holes and then holding his nose in the hole until he thought he was drowning, even balloons in the holes. None of those worked. Unfortunately the only thing that has worked is an electronic collar that we can signal him that he's doing something wrong. He only gets the shock when he doesn't respond to the vibration or the tone. Sometimes I think he has a brain short where he just can't control himself.
 

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Got mutt?
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- - - water in the holes and then holding his nose in the hole until he thought he was drowning, even balloons in the holes. - - -
That is abuse, plain simple, no ifs, and, or buts.
 

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We have a Dobe that we rescued. He has 2 bad habits, digging and running off when he's outside fenced Pottyland. We tried everything, poop in the holes, water in the holes and then holding his nose in the hole until he thought he was drowning, even balloons in the holes. None of those worked. Unfortunately the only thing that has worked is an electronic collar that we can signal him that he's doing something wrong. He only gets the shock when he doesn't respond to the vibration or the tone. Sometimes I think he has a brain short where he just can't control himself.
In terms of effectively training a dog to NOT do something you've picked some things that I wouldn't use on a bet--sticking a dogs nose into a water filled hole until he thinks he's drowning? I agree with Rosemary--that's just plain abuse.

For the running off when not in a fenced area. Try training. Teach a recall--use leashes and long lines and exciting treats to reward correct performance (coming when called) and keep he untrained dog on a leash or long line until he is trained. Takes well over a year usually to get it perfected.

As for hole digging? The only thing I've ever found that always worked was to hang out with the dog when he was in the yard. Yards are boring all by yourself if you are a dog who prefers to be in the company of his people.

Good luck.
 

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Big Lil pup
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@ mhebner

So.... I've owned a lot of Dobermans over the years. Even the mellowest of them had some very persistent habits which tended to be very annoying. My current youngest thinks he is a grazing ruminant.

Punitive measures to mitigate unwanted behavior have never worked satisfactorily. All that happens is that the dog gets frustrated, scared and upset. I don't know about you, but the last thing that I want is a frustrated, scared and upset Doberman. Keep it up and you will end up wit the dog from hell....

JMO
John
Portland OR
 
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