They Dig It!

2 golden retrievers in small area of a large yardI recently had extensive landscaping done in Cali’s yard. In naive hope of keeping the dogs out of the new beds, and to provide them stimulation and fun, I had a digging pit put in.

Don’t get me wrong: They love it! It just doesn’t keep them out of the beds … or keep them from digging in the lawn (at least not yet).

2 golden retrievers dig in a sand-filled pitThe digging pit lets them follow their noses to find buried treasure. It is fun and lets them do natural doggy stuff (dig, make a mess, eat stuff they find) in a way that doesn’t cause conflict with their human.

If you live someplace where you see lots of free-roaming cats, it would not be a good idea though … the sand might draw the wrong kind of crowd. While we have many roaming neighborhood cats, not a one has been seen in the yard since Cali and I moved in. It appears that Cali made some sort of agreement with the cats early on, and our yard is a cat-free dog and bird haven. (Actually, that’s not quite true: There was one cat, once, in the yard, stalking the birds at the feeder. Cali chased him out and, I don’t know what she said, but that cat has not been seen since, not even in the back alley.)

Our digging pit is far enough back in the yard that any sand on the dogs’ paws and coat drops into the grass as they run back to the house. There is some spillover into the yard, but so far, it’s not too messy.

The digging pit is only interesting when stuff is buried in it, though, which requires the human to keep it going. I bury, they uncover; as often as I bury, they will dig. So there’s always some pressure to come up with stuff to bury. I bury dog biscuits, bones, and tennis balls. No soft toys or small or soft treats. I admit that I do not keep up my end of the deal every single day.

The pit has failed in its mission to keep the dogs out of the new beds. There are too many enticing smells in there, apparently. And (see above), often, the pit lacks buried treats to find.

It does not help matters any that Cali is convinced that there is buried treasure in the yard. There’s a particular spot next to my garden shed where she cannot resist digging. She digs; I fill; she digs, etc.

We’re working on all of that: The lawn is green; the dirt is soft. The landscaping is still new and exotic. The blackberry bushes draw the girls in with a few late-season berries, tantalizingly close to the ground. For the moment, the dogs are winning most of these battles.

I have high hopes for spring, when I will seed the bare patches on the lawn, block dog access, and keep them entertained in their digging pit until they forget all about how much fun it is to dig in the grass and get their paws good and muddy. Yeah, right.

Newly planted shrubs and mulch in a newly landscaped bed