How to train dogs to not escape or dig - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Angry How to train dogs to not escape or dig

I have two german shepherds, one is a female who is 9 mo. and is EXTREMELY hyperactive. She can't sit still and loves to be involved in everything. I also have a 5 mo. old male, who is just the opposite. He is mellow and loves nothing more than to eat, sleep, and snuggle. For most of our dogs lives they have been w/me 24/7 in the house, going places in the car, etc. When they are left alone they are put in their kennel and behave well.

We recently purchased (because we don't have a fence since we live on a military base) a chicken wire, really tall fence so that when we're gone during the day they can run around outside, use the potty, etc. We spent a few days letting them get used to the cage while we were at home and corrected their behavior when we saw them digging. However, when we returned home tonight after being gone for a few hours, they had dug HUGE holes and escaped. They somehow (I say they, but this is a behavior that I know our female would do and the male probably just followed) had broken the bottom of the chicken wire off the metal posting and escaped. When we got home they were in our front yard, but who knows how long they were gone for.

Please, please help! We need any suggestions to keep our dogs from escaping as I don't want them getting themselves into danger and any recommendations on the digging (we tried feces in the hole, it didn't work)

Thankyou in advance,

Becka
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 02:18 AM
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Simply, don't leave them outside unsupervised. Some dogs might be content to stay put, but if they got out once, they will try again. Again, for the safety of the dogs, do not leave them outside unattended.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 05:17 AM
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crate then when you're away. find someone to come
and let them out when you're away for a long period of time.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 07:46 AM
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I work from home and the only time any of my dogs is unattended in the fenced back yard is when I am home and can check on / play with ever hour or so. (and see if there are any signs of mayhem)

If you want to leave them outside while you are gone, I would get a dog pen and a concrete floor or lay down HEAVY* fence and cover with gravel AND cover the pen..but I had one dog who wound up in a chain link fence upside down by her foot so......I am more inclined to just crate.

*Beau thought the light fence under my mulch was a fabulous tug toy one day..looked out and saw him running around the yard with fencing.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 09:38 AM
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You mentioned car rides, snuggling, crates, eating, etc... but never mentioned structured exercise time.
Do you knock them out with exercise?

I find a lot of the bad behavior goes away, when you take away their boredom and anxiety.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony8858 View Post
You mentioned car rides, snuggling, crates, eating, etc... but never mentioned structured exercise time.
Do you knock them out with exercise?

I find a lot of the bad behavior goes away, when you take away their boredom and anxiety.
This!

And on top of that, structured training/mental stimulation time goes an even longer way than just exercise. Kill two birds with one stone and incorporate them together. If you run a dog silly but don't train it, all you're doing is increasing his endurance to be a butthead A GSD without mental stimulation is a bored, anxious dog who will look for other things, such as digging. Training not to dig is treating the symptom, not the problem.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank-you for the advice, since we will be unable to lay down concrete because of where we currently live, we will return them to the crate unless we're home to supervise. I did forget to mention that we do run/walk almost everyday and our female loves to run, run, run with me riding the bike. I swear, she has the most energy of any dog I've ever met. The boy is much more content to be a little bit lazier, although he always wants to keep up with her. We will try to add more mental stimulation in their daily routine! I think they're a bit in shock since I was home with them all summer, but now have returned back to school. Thanks again for the advice!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 12:24 PM
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I've heard that burying the dog's feces in the holes that they dig will stop the digging behavior. (Assuming, of course, that your dog isn't one who actually eats the stools...then that would probably be more like a party!)
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 12:42 PM
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We had a digger once and a hotwire stopped him cold. From then on anything that even looked like a hotwire he stayed well away from.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 01:03 PM
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I recommend a shock collar to train a dog not to dig. You will need to invest some time in this. Read the collar instructions and watch the instructional dvd THOROUGHLY before using it. Put the collar on your dogs for several hours a day without using it at all so they get used to it as a non-event.

When you begin training, put them in the pen as you normally would with the collar on the lowest setting that will get their attention. Watch from a place where you absolutely cannot be seen or detected. You may have to sit and watch for several minutes or hours. You cannot leave or miss any digging--the inconsistency that results if you do will ruing the training. You cannot leave your dogs in that pen without watching them for training purposes, as if they are left alone there before being trained they will dig without consequences, again, ruining the training. Once you start this training, every single digging event that occurs in that pen must be met with a correction until they completely drop the habit.

When your dog clearly begins to dig, correct him. Do not stim for normal random pawing the ground or other activity. Your dog should react to the stim without yelping or pain but should jerk back and look around with a little confusion. In a few minutes he may try again to dig. Stim again only once you know it is digging. Keep this routine up until they stop trying to dig.

Remember to remove the collar hours after this training so they don't become collar savvy. Remember to keep putting the collar on them without using it between training sessions so they still don't associate the collar with training.

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