Dog digging in his water dish

My three-month-old malamute seems to be settling in at last, but he’s just started playing with his water dish - sometimes by splashing his paws in it, mostly by trying to dig in it. Nevertheless, it’s got much the same effect. The dish is empty by about 9 a.m. and I’m not getting back from work until about 6:30.

We’re moving into summer - we’ve just had a couple of 35-degree days, and I’d really prefer not to have a fairly hairy dog try and handle that sort of heat without water for most of the day.

I’ve tried giving him a bucket, but he tips it over and then uses it as a chew toy. I’m a little leery of paying through the nose for a plasticky covered water dish for much the same reason.

From speaking to my pup’s breeder, et al., it seems that this sort of thing is pretty common to the breed. Has anyone had any experience and found a promising solution?

Leave the toilet seat up?

Really, just sounds like you need to train him not to do this and should be treated like dealing with any other unwanted behavior in a dog.

Any suggestions as to how? Y’know - as I’m at work when he does it?

My dog digs in her water dish, but only the outdoor one. Usually the outdoor one is a bucket of some sort that is full to the top that she can’t tip over. Recently I switched her to a super huge plastic non-skid bowl for outside.

Inside, her dishes are ceramic and on a stand. I’ve never seen her attempt to put her foot in her indoor dish - it’s just too high. Her spine and head are almost perfectly aligned when she eats, maybe with the head slightly lower. Have you considered raising his dish?

I’d thought about it, but he’s still growing fast so a more permanent solution might need to wait. His dish is ceramic, so I might have to think about what he couldn’t knock it off.

I don’t know if you have room in your backyard, but what about one of those little ‘shell’-type baby pools which will give him the opportunity to wet his paws (and have a wallow if he feels so inclined) and that might keep him from desecrating his waterbowl.

It’s gonna be a long hot summer, and to have him go all day without any water might be deadly, especially for a dog with a coat like the Malamute.

Good luck.

It’s not really big enough for a big clamshell pool (but I can’t find one at the moment anyway, and I’ve been looking). I did buy one of those plastic storage trays deigned to go under your bed ($12 at Go-Lo, Broadway) and tried this trick yesterday. It didn’t stop him from dogging either of them out, but at least he didn’t empty the tray. When I came home, though, he was trying to drag it around with his mouth and when he grows larger he’ll probably just tip it over.

Splash, splash may be all good and fun times, but try to get him into a bath? Yeah. Best of luck with that.

How about one of those water bottles like they hang in hamster cages? Only bigger, of course. I’d bet someone makes one.

Is this an outdoor dog (hope so, otherwise your house must be a disaster with the water everywhere)? This could work.

Where’s his picture?

I found dogs are idiots when it comes to water. I had a dog and when I take care of my neighbor’s dogs it’s the same thing. I give them a nice clean bowl of water and it’s fresh and cold. So the dogs look at it and say, “Gee I’d rather drink out of the big puddle of muddy water, with leaves and bugs in it.” :slight_smile:

Bit worried BigNik that if your backyard isn’t big enough for a clam-pool, how in the hell are you going to keep a malamute entertained whilst you’re away at work.


The hamster thing’s a nice idea, but I’d need to find one made out of stainless steel because he’s currently chewing everything he can get his mouth around. The tap thing isn’t a bad idea - I could cut a length of hose to reach from the backyard tap to his level.

And, Kambuckta the flat part of my backyard is about 4x6. The flat, concreted area is about 2x3 with a clothesline slap-bang in the middle of it. Not my choice of design, but it’s what’s there. If a clamshell pool’s roughly 1.5m diameter (which is a guess - I haven’t seen one at the local variety shops and an excursion across town to a toy shop is somewhat more of a logistical exercise than I’ve had time for of late), it’s going to essentially cut off 1/4 of the yard, and require a fair amount of reconstruction work (removing brick edgings, etc. than I can commit to until it gets lighter, later.

I’m a little leery of sending pictures of my dog to someone called “Markxxx”, but I don’t have a web-image account (or, for that matter, a camera - digital, phone or otherwise), but I’ve got a few on file. If you want to PM me with an e-mail address, I’ll shoot them through.

At the dog park about half the labs seem to do the dig in the water dish thing…a few other breeds, but it really seems to be a lab thing. My lab (sadly gone) ruined a couple of plastic wading pools with this behavior.

My Wheaten Terrier does this! The solution I’ve found, like ZipperJJ, is to raise his water up high enough that he doesn’t think to splash it out. I have both his indoor water bowl and his outdoor automatic waterer up on Rubbermaid stools like this . I put a washcloth underneath the containers to keep them from sliding off the stool. He will occasionally still splash out the water outside, but the automatic waterer holds 5 gallons of water and there’s usually enough left in it for him to get through the day. Good luck with trying to train him not to do it. It’s like trying to teach a dog not to dig. I doubt you’ll be able to. At the dog park I go to, there are quite a few dogs who do this. If you look at a Petco or Petsmart, they probably have dishes designed for dogs who do this, since it’s common.

Thanks. It looks like the kind of thing I need - I’ll keep an eye out for it.

The local Petbarn has a dish that sells for about $130, and looks like a large, plastic doughnut filled with water feeding a small, open bowl in the centre - in essence, only allowing a small area for the dog to drink from but not a large enough one to dig out. The problem is that I realise that this will quickly turn into a $130 chew toy, which will no longer be capable of holding water.

He does something similar with all water bowls - I don’t know why. I took him to a local cafe the weekend before last and the waitress brought him out a plastic take-away container full of water. A nice gesture, quickly ruined when he picked it up by one edge, tipping water all over his head, and then started chewing like a dog possessed. The ceramic bowl he’s drinking from is too heavy to pick up (although he pushes it around with his paw) and too smooth to get a good grip on anyway. The last plastic bowl that he had wasn’t so lucky.

Get out the video camera. I expect to see him on the BigNik YouTube channel forthwith.