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Hello. We have a female JRT puppy, 9 weeks old. Despite the common warnings of getting a JRT, we decided to bring one home last week because we find them very adorable. We are aware of the time dedication and the training required and ready to take on the challenge.

As expected, she is a handful but overall things are going well. One question I have is regarding JRT’s proclivity to digging.

I don’t want to dampen her natural instinct to dig. When I take her out to my yard, she likes to dig at chipmunk holes and pull on the grass. I don’t mind her digging up my yard at all. I want her to do all those things outside. But when inside, she likes to do the same thing to my carpet. Is there a way to discourage carpet digging while not discouraging her natural instinct?

Could I approach it much like potty training? That is, when I see her trying to dig my carpet, give a stern “ah ah” and take her outside, as well as continue to give her much outside time as to preempt her desire to dig on my carpet. And hopefully over time she will be house broken on carpet digging?

Here she is going at it in my yard! She found a chipmunk hole is trying to dig her face into it.




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This is the nature of Terriers.

Yes, you can train the dog not to dig in the house. You could pattern your training based on potty training techniques.
 

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You could treat it the same way you would biting and mouthing. If she starts, interrupt her and redirect her to something she is allowed to do. If she persists, the pop her in her crate for a few minutes.
 

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I have found with our Jack Russell that it is important to give her real work, otherwise she will find a job SHE prefers, and it is usually full of drama. Ours is a great rodent hunter as well. As long as weather permits she is allowed to spend a lot of time outdoors worrying away the squirrels, rabbits, voles from our property. She will spend hours sitting next to a rodent burrow waiting for the next one to pop out. She will also spend hours staring under a piece of furniture in the house until she is able to catch the rare mouse who dares to try living indoors. We have all hard flooring but I would discourage the digging behavior in the house and be sure that she has enough mental stimulation to tire her out every day. A tired dog is a good dog.
(If fleas are a problem where you live be sure to watch the burrows and rodents closely that your dog may be interacting with. We have fleas that carry plague where we live.)
 

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Good advice here! In my personal experience with a digging breed puppy, digging inside on rugs, blankets, etc. can also be a sign of being overtired. Our boy needed enforced naptime when he was younger (and still does occasionally at nearly one year). If you notice the digging happening when your puppy hasn't slept in an hour or two (longer as she gets older, but baby puppies need something like 18-20 hours of sleep a day), you can try popping her in a crate or pen with a chew to help her self-soothe and hopefully have a snooze.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good advice here! In my personal experience with a digging breed puppy, digging inside on rugs, blankets, etc. can also be a sign of being overtired. Our boy needed enforced naptime when he was younger (and still does occasionally at nearly one year). If you notice the digging happening when your puppy hasn't slept in an hour or two (longer as she gets older, but baby puppies need something like 18-20 hours of sleep a day), you can try popping her in a crate or pen with a chew to help her self-soothe and hopefully have a snooze.
I think there may be something to this. Everyone in the family is so excited to have the puppy so right now she gets interrupted a lot during her day time nap.

But regardless. I think it is also by their nature they do this. Someone suggested a time out in the crate. I tried that last night after a stern “ah ah!” and that seemed to calm her down.

So much to observe and learn from her.


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Discussion Starter #7
What about digging on her bed? Should I be discouraging that too? I’m thinking digging on her bed is OK since it’s her furniture and also because it’s their instinct to fluff up their bedding.


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