Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
This is not a huge problem for Aussie owners, but it does come up occasionally. If your Aussie keeps digging up your back yard or garden, there are a few things you can do about it.
First of all, if you're giving her items she might want to bury, such as bones, try to avoid this. Give her nylon boys and other toys, and keep them inside.
Digging, like chewing, is often caused by boredom and a lack of exercise. So again, if you find this problem happening a lot, up the exercise or use some of the higher intensity exercise methods we'll cover in Chapter 7.
One technique that can be effective is to give your dog his own designated patch of soil in the corner of your yard where he's allowed to dig. The method for training your dog to dig there but nowhere else is essentially the same as the method for teaching your dog not to toilet inside. Here's how it works:
You'll need to put your dog in the back yard and watch her for a while. Keep an eye out for digging or any behaviour that indicates she's about to dig. Such behaviour includes actions like pawing the ground or sniffing a certain spot.
Call her over to the designated digging area straight away.
Keep her on her digging patch until she starts digging. When she digs on the patch, reward her and give her praise. Every time she starts digging anywhere other than her patch, immediately interrupt her and call her over to the patch.
Stopping Digging Completely
In some cases the patch method can't be used or doesn't work. In this case, some of the basic commands we learned in Chapters 2 and 3 will start to become very useful. You can use words like "No" and "Leave It" to stop your dog from digging – the only problem is, you may still get a few patches in your yard when you're not around to police the problem. But after a few weeks of catching her in the act and stopping the behaviour, she'll start to get the message that digging isn't okay.
Next time: Eating Poop
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