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Canine Behavior/Pawing/Digging on Walls


My 9 yr old female Schipperkee has started digging at the walls. I cannot find anything "in" the wall that she should find interesting...this just started about a week ago...she goes behind the couch at night and starts digging at the wall...or she will go into the den and go behind a chair and do the same thing...she is not spayed and gets plenty of exercise..we recently adopted a dachshund about a month ago...any insight on what the problem might be?  Thank you for your assistance!!

Before addressing your question let me strongly advise you: do a MONTHLY CHECK of your Schipperkee's mammary glands just as you would yourself (should you be a female Human).  Be absolutely certain there is nothing at all to feel except the nipple itself.  A malignant tumor can arise in a few weeks and, if not found and removed, can kill your dog in six months.  I suggest you have her spayed.

The adoption of the Doxie most likely has nothing to do with this unusual and sudden "digging" behavior, but not having any information regarding how the two are getting along this is just an educated guess. Second educated guess is that, although YOU can't "find" anything in the walls, this does not mean your DOGS cannot.  A dog's sense of smell is so much greater than our own it is hard to even statistically compare them.  Winter brings in all sorts of little creatures and inside walls is where they travel from one place to another.  You cannot SEE inside your walls!  Let's assume you have little unwanted "visitors".

Make the places your 9 yo Schip is digging totally inaccessible to her for the next TWO WEEKS.  Do not allow her in those areas unless you are at home (btw, night time is when the little visitors are most active!)  Find an exterminator who can assess the possibility (and knows what to look for) that you do have little visitors.  DO NOT ALLOW HIM to use poison of any kind in your home or in areas where your dogs can access this poison or you will lose your dogs.  I wager the exterminator (pest control specialist) WILL find little visitor activity.  Even if these visitors are eliminated, the Schip might still persist in digging so keeping here away from these areas (unless you are at home) is the best way to help her behavior to self extinguish.  

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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