Dogs can be your garden’s worst nightmare. They dig, they chew, they use the yard as their bathrooms. You need to find out how to keep a dog from digging in flower beds and destroying your landscaping.
Here are a few easy ways you can make sure your plants and gardens continue to look as nice as the day you put them in.
How to Stop a Dog from Digging
Yard borders are one of the main areas that dogs like to dig in, mostly because the soil is soft and free of plants. You have a few options here to help stop your dog from digging.
Use a mulch that is not fun to dig in. Pecan mulch, made of broken pecan shells, is an attractive choice. Its sharp edges make it uncomfortable for dogs to dig in, and it is not a toxic substance.
Bury your dog’s waste in the area he is digging. Dogs will not want to dig in their toilet area, so this can be a very effective method. Don’t do this in a fruit, vegetable, or herb garden, though. It can be unsanitary for any food crops.
In a new planting, lay chicken wire under the planted area. This is an effective physical deterrent because it makes the soil much harder to dig and it is an uncomfortable sensation on the dog’s paws.
If you have a determined digger your other option is to redirect the digging into an appropriate area. Prepare an area with a good digging medium, like the sand used in children’s sandboxes, and bury toys and treats there to reinforce the idea that this is a good area in which to dig. If you catch your dog digging in an unauthorized area simply redirect him to the digging area through fun, playful action.
How to Keep a Dog from Eating Plants
You can stop a dog from chewing your foliage and eating plants in a couple of ways.
Hot sauce is a great deterrent for even the most aggressive chewer. You can use Tabasco or another hot sauce on low-growing plants or small areas.
For larger areas, shrubs, or fruiting trees, you can make your own hot pepper spray. Make a natural dog repellent for lawns by blending a couple of habanero peppers (the orange balloon-shaped peppers) or small red chilis with water. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth and pour into a spray bottle.
Spray it on leaves, vegetables, fruits, or branches – wherever your dog is chewing or eating plants. One coat should work, but if your dog is still chewing you may need to make the spray stronger by using more peppers or less water or spray more on each area. Re-apply if needed after rain.
Also, make sure your dog has some toys in the yard so he isn’t bored. Boredom leads to many of the destructive behaviors. Make sure your dog has enough mental stimulation and you can prevent destructive behavior.
Control Your Dog’s Bathroom Breaks
The easiest way to make sure your yard is free of dog waste or urine spots is to train your dog to potty in one specific area of the yard, preferably somewhat private and free of grass. That way you only have to clean-up in one area and you will prevent urine scalding your grass.
If your dog does urinate on the grass you need to wash the area as soon as possible to help dilute the urine. You can also try feeding your dog tablets or tomato juice to stop the problem. Tablets claim to change the pH of the urine. Tomato juice causes the dogs to drink more water which results in diluted urine.
Is Your Pup Getting Enough Exercise?
A tired dog is a good dog, so often the solution to behavior problems such as digging and chewing is to add more exercise. Make sure your dog is in good health before changing his exercise regimen, then pick an activity that fits his personality and breed characteristics. The club for your dog breed is a good way to find appropriate activities, or you can ask your vet or dog trainer for some ideas. At the very least, nothing beats a nice walk.
If all else fails you can get your dog a portable fenced exercise pen or simply fence off the areas you don’t want your dog to go.
Dogs and yards can co-exist with a little planning. Happy landscaping!
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