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Cocker Spaniel Digging and How to STOP IT!
Is your Cocker Spaniel digging up your yard and making it look like the surface of the moon or a mining excavation? Changes are that you probably feel frustrated, annoyed and helpless as you watch your puppy do his thing. Digging is a natural instinctive behavior. All breeds of dogs have pit fixation, some more than others. Before we can begin to solve the problem, we need to look at the reasons why your Cocker Spaniel digs.
Why Does My Cocker Spaniel Dig?
It is important to understand that your Cocker Spaniel is not digging up your yard to upset you or to purposely make your life difficult. We have to look and determine the reason for the digging. Ask yourself the following questions to determine where the digging behavior is coming from.
1) Where does my Cocker Spaniel dig? Is it one or more points?
2) What is it digging for? Old bones, buried rawhide chews, tree roots?
3) Does your Cocker dig when left alone?
4) Does the Rooster dig under a fence?
5) Does your Cocker bury its rawhide chews and toys?
Reasons for Cocker Spaniel Digging
1) Cocker Spaniels, especially young ones, are bursting with energy. If you don’t provide them with a proper and sufficient outlet for it, they will find their own. Your yard contains dirt, bugs, and maybe even small burrowing animals. It can become a playground paradise for the young puppy.
2) Your Cocker Spaniel loves to be in your company. This breed of dog craves a lot of human companionship. If you leave your puppy alone in the yard (or even with another dog) all day, the Cocker may dig due to loneliness, boredom and/or separation anxiety.
3) Cocker Spaniels were originally bred to be sporting dogs used to hunt birds. That’s where the name “Cocker” comes from, because they were particularly good at hunting beaks. Dogs that are bred to hunt or herd have a greater need for occupation and are more susceptible to boredom.
Ways to Stop Cocker Spaniel Digging
Now that we have discovered the reason, we can begin to correct the behavior. At first, don’t leave your dog outside unsupervised while you try to correct the digging behavior. Watch your dog and distract him if he starts digging. Since this is a natural instinct for your puppy, you may want to establish an area where your dog is allowed to dig. The area can be made of sand and soft dirt. It’s a good idea to bury treats and toys so your puppy can dig them up.
Correct the Behavior
When you catch your Cocker Spaniel digging where it’s not supposed to, look at what it’s digging for, remove the object if possible and replace it in the allowed digging area. Pick up the puppy gently and place it in the permitted area. Only praise and give your dog treats when the appropriate behavior has been demonstrated. This may take a few times, but it’s worth the effort. Your Cocker is intelligent to begin with and will catch on quickly. When you see the dog in the permitted area, it’s time for treatment.
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Distracts your Cocker Spaniel Digging
The good old can seems to work for many dogs. It is simply an empty pop container filled with some pebbles, marbles or coins. Whenever you see the Cocker Spaniel digging, shake the can vigorously to distract the puppy and stop the digging. Introduce your dog to the allowed digging area and only reward the dog if it digs in the allowed area. The can can be used to distract your puppy from other undesirable behaviors. Just use the can to distract the dog to signal that its behavior is unacceptable.
Stop digging in flower beds
Do not leave the dog alone until the digging behavior is corrected. If your puppy bolts for the flower beds immediately distract and put the puppy in his own digging. This system is simple and it works, the only problem is that people seem to give up after a while. If you don’t follow through, you’ll end up fencing the next bed.
Use your yard to play with your puppy. Play only no aggressive games like fetch; teach new tricks, and good behavior reinforcement. This will fulfill the Cockers exercise and companionship requirements. Playing aggressive games such as “tug of war” allows the dog the opportunity to try and exercise his dominance over you. These types of games should be avoided at all times. You do not want to encourage aggressive behavior is your Cocker.
Take your Dog for Walks
Walking at least once a day is good for you and your Cocker Spaniel and will help your dog expend some of that energy.
The above tips and tricks will help solve the boredom, separation anxiety and depleted energy that cause the Cocker Spaniel to dig.
Never punish your dog, it just makes things that much harder to correct. A good coach can provide assistance if needed. Positive and gentle commands work best with your Cocker spaniel
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