Hi, I'm looking for some help in dealing with a problem we have been having with our nearly 5 year old male Labrador.
He seems to have developed quite the taste for digging along the back of our house and we aren't having any luck whatsoever in discouraging this habit. He is very new to digging (only started within the past couple of months) so we can't figure out why he is doing it.
A little extra info about us -
We have recently moved to our third house - which will be our permanent one. The first place we were at he did not dig at all and was mostly an outside dog. He's generally an excellent dog - minimal barking and good behaviour all around. The second place we moved to he dug a little, maybe once or twice, however it wasn't happening to the point that it was a problem. We have finally moved to our new place and he just won't stop digging along the house.
The grass doesn't grow as well along the side of the house so there is a bit of dirt as the sun doesn't hit is as much so at first we thought it was the loose dirt that was encouraging him to dig. We have since built garden beds to cover it up all along the house and also we rolled down some deterrent mesh that is supposed to stop dogs from digging - instead of stopping he just digs at the edge of it however. We are trying to use stern voices whenever we see that he has dug however it's not effective as we never catch him in the act. Whenever I try to catch him in the act and he is alerted to my presence he immediately comes over to me and won't move from where I am until I am completely gone (even if I am standing behind the back door, he will continue to sit there waiting for me until he thinks I am gone). As a Lab he is really affectionate and won't dig when we're outside but does it when he thinks we're not around. Can't quite see the area from the back windows either as the view is blocked.... Um, what else. He is mostly an inside dog now and get's plenty of attention. He goes for a walk in the morning and evening so I don't think it is a boredom thing. He is able to dig a hole in under thirty minutes when I let him outside just to use the bathroom.
We've also tried putting down deterrent smells like citrus sprays and other pet deterrent gel's, and those little smelly gravel beads that are supposed to smell bad to dogs and cats but they are not working very well. We are at our wits end! We can't possibly spend any more time with the pup and I love him to bits but he has never acted like this before and I can't find a reason for it!
I feel like deep down he might be doing it for attention because lately he has been getting pampered and receiving lots of love so when he goes outside and we are away, even for a very short time, he starts acting up and it is so unlike him. I believe he knows it's the wrong thing to do as he starts avoiding me when he sees that I notice the holes and get upset although I've never done more than get stern with him, he is usually so lovely but when he sees me notice the hole he acts like a guilty child who knows they've spilled juice on the coach and now he's going to get into trouble from Mum!
Please any help or advice would be great as we really need it! It's becoming very frustrating and I've researched the topic a lot but not seeing a lot else I can do at this point. I am worried about going off to work during the day, my partner and I both have full time jobs and simply can't watch him all the time. We have considered keeping him as 100% an inside dog but I really want him to spend time outside as well without having to worry about watching him constantly. I know that dog's dig and that's it's natural but I'm worried as it's never been a problem before....
He's really a beautiful dog and this is really the only problem we've ever had with him (: Thanks everyone.