PETS Q&A: Digging dog loves dirt

Q: Our otherwise well-behaved 6-year-old female miniature schnauzer has taken to digging into our potted floor plants.

The plants are 4 to 5 feet high and it creates a huge mess. We crate her when we leave the house because we can't trust her to leave the plants alone. She never has done anything like this even when she was a chewing puppy.

She gets lots of attention.

- J.B.

A: Your terrier is a "ground dog," says Ken McCort, animal-behavior consultant. Her breeding makes her mad to root vermin out of their underground holes. Short of that, she has fallen in love with the waft of the soil or scent of the fertilizer in your floor plants.

"She's investigating smells and she gets an endorphin release from it. There's no amount of correction after the fact that will stop her. It's a management issue," says McCort.

Continue to crate her when you're not home and cover the base of the plants with wire mesh so she can't get at them.

Some dogs are satisfied to dig in a sandbox outside -- with pea gravel instead of dirt -- but that will be a crapshoot.

Try filling a Kong toy or Busy Body with yummies when you go away. It'll take some exercise to get the toy to cough up the goodies.