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Can anybody tell me how to get our 7 month old purebred german shepherd female puppy to stop digging holes in our living room carpet?

She actually has dug and shredded in several spots down to the carpet pad. Its going to cost us around 5000.00 to replace the carpet now. She also digs holes outside, but we can live with that. We put poop in the holes outside but she just moves to a new spot.

We love her very much. We have several soft squeaky toys. Give her rawhide chews. Give her chicken jerky treats and dog bones. Lots of hugs and kisses and play time.

They have a huge fenced yard to play in. She has a sister that has never dug at all. They both have big soft beds inside and nice warm dog houses outside. We feed then twice a day plus keep dry avail. Throughout the day.

When they come inside she will be fine for about 30 minutes, but if we don't watch her 100% of the time she will sneak off and we will hear her start to dig and shred the carpet. By the time we jump up and go to her she can have a hole already started. We hate to have to tie her up in the house. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • Sadly, this is a case where "ignore it" will not work without loosing more carpet... a few questions: Would it be possible to have the living room with the partially ruined carpet for a while, at elast during training? You said you put feces in the wholes... have you ever checked if "diggign holes" somehow got connected to "poop" to her? To check this: If you take her out after she did inside-digging, will she poop outside? Also, woudl it be possibly to get her an "inside-digging-spot" set up somehow? A closed area with something she is ALLOWED to shred? – Layna Nov 4 '17 at 20:45
  • My GS puppy did things like this when she was young when we didn’t walk her enough. Without enough exercise ( our dog gets two walks each day for 40+ mins each) and mental stimulation ( we did tricks training) she would do naughty things around the house. You did not state how long you walk the dog for each day outside. Perhaps this is something you could think about. – RDub Nov 8 '17 at 4:12
  • How much exercise does your dog get? Not 'yard time' but actual walkies? In my experience digging and other destructive behaviour is often the result of a dog not being tired enough or getting bored. – Sobrique Nov 20 '17 at 13:50
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German shepherds are an incredibly intelligent and energetic breed.

Not only will it be important for you to be active with your dog more frequently to wear her out (so that she doesn't have the energy to be digging at your carpet), but you will need to introduce variety into these routines.

I have a 4 year old German Shepherd/Husky mix that I adopted as a puppy. Every task that I taught him to perform became increasing easier for him the more times he performed it. Mental exercise can be just as important as physical exercise for intelligent breeds.

Challenging your dog mentally (as well as physically) can be achieved in a variety of ways without costing you too much in time/resources:

  • Change up your walking routes
  • Dedicate time each night to train your dog tricks
  • Give your dog a job/task, such as wearing a dog pack with weights while you go on walks (article linked actually discusses how this can help reduce the length of your walks and achieve a tired state!)
  • Visit a dog park once your dog is old enough

If there are days you do not have time to do this and you are concerned your dog may tear up your carpet, kennel her while you're unable to watch her. I hate kenneling my "baby" as well, but it's as important for her as it is for your belongings that she not be allowed to continue repeating the behavior.

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    crate training can be invaluable. We're looking at canicross too, as a way to burn off some of that energy :0 – Sobrique Nov 20 '17 at 16:17
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    I've actually never heard of canicross before! But from initial research, that also looks like a promising way to challenge a dog to new ways to burn off some energy. – Jess K. Nov 20 '17 at 16:21
  • I'm still trying to summon up the courage - I'm not sure how well I'd commit to it, being not particularly fit in the first place. – Sobrique Nov 20 '17 at 16:36
  • @Sobrique , it's a bit more of an investment if you don't already have a bike, but I prefer biking to running and they also make attachments that allow you to safely* attach a leashed dog to the bike. This can be a bit easier on someone who doesn't have much endurance for running. * safely because if your dog is large enough or sees something tempting, I'm sure they could still down the bike – Jess K. Nov 20 '17 at 18:38
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My first thought would be - your dog is bored.

There's an old adage - a tired dog is a happy dog. Whilst it's not the only cause, the highest probability is that your dog is not getting enough physical and mental stimulation, and is finding their own entertainment. Which is digging.

Fortunately, the fix is a fairly easy - if time consuming one - interact with your dog more. Increase the amount of walkies you do, and consider going to something mentally stimulating, such as training or agility classes.

You may also find that going to daycare if such things exist near you, also helps. I know it might sound daft, but we have made use of daycare providers who end up being a mix of 'play date' and 'extra walkies' because our dog has separation anxiety problems.

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