Gardening is a hobby which has the ability to be very therapeutic and equally time consuming, not to mention its ability to add life to your home. Maintaining a garden can become very discouraging when our four-legged friends decide to assist with this maintenance. Many may be disheartened by the destructive gardening efforts of their dogs and have come to the conclusion that the two can’t coexist. They can, and with a bit of planning you can turn your garden into a dog-friendly one.
The first and most important thing to do is to see your garden from the perspective of your dogs. They are born protectors and are on constant alert for any intruding birds and insects. In order to help them in their very important tasks, make the environment conducive to their patrolling.
In order to avoid dogs creating their own pathways in your garden bed and trampling delicate plants in it, it is advisable to put some paths into place. When doing this, look for the paths that your dog has already laid out in the yard by using pavers, solid stones or some other type of hard path material to cover them. This way, they’ll already know the path that you have defined more clearly, and will be less likely to create tracks in other areas. Dogs instinctively follow the same trail time and time again and you can use that to your advantage.
Create a dig-zone
Digging is a one of the most common problems experienced by the owners of green-pawed dogs. Firstly, you’d need to cordon off the area where you have planted flowers and special plants with a small fence. Bigger fences can be used to create a barrier of entry to very delicate areas such as a vegetable and herb garden.
Once the fencing is done, establish a special digging area for your dog complete with all of the loose dirt, bark, mulch or gravel that you think they’d like to dig. In order to get them used to this area, bury their favourite toy or bone in this area and watch them entertain themselves for a while. It is very important to keep the digging area far away from your garden as they may conveniently confuse the two areas. If your dog ever makes a move towards your special planted garden, you can quickly redirect him to his own digging spot.
Most dogs are very happy to know they have a place where they can get their noses dirty and dig to their heart’s content. As a result they will quickly learn to stay away from the flowers.
By nature, dogs are very territorial and mark their territory around every corner. Generally, dogs prefer lawns and open spaces to do their business, but if your dogs tend to go in your garden bed, watering the area to dissolve the effects will help to get them out of this habit, but it can also dissipate the effects before plants wilt or turn brown. For male dogs, it may be a good idea to erect a post or two around the property which gives them a designated area to mark their territory. A good way of doing this would be to use gum poles and sink them into the ground about 60cm deep. If you work clever enough, you could turn this into an abstract feature in your yard.
Get them on the shoo-shoo train
The wonderful thing about dogs is their ability to alter their behaviour through training. In order to get them used to your garden and teaching them respect for your plants, they need a bit of training which requires some time and patience from your side. A firm “no” or a hand gesture repeated a good few times will definitely make them get the message.
In addition, you can try act out an angry facial expression which is likely to bring across the point to them too. It is important not to physically move the dog from a spot as this action is tormentous and may just end up being dismissed by the dog.
This article was written by Daniel Stevens who is an avid reader and gamer. He’s also a fan of the great outdoors and when he’s not writing up a storm, that’s where you’ll find him