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If you love gardening and own a dog, you may know that those two don't always go hand-in-hand. This is because many pups like to get into the garden - whether it's to dig in the dirt, chew on some greenery or eat your veggies. Here's how to keep your dog out of the garden and save your plants from becoming just another snack.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent your dog from accessing your garden is a fence. Setting up a fence around the perimeter provides a physical barrier for your dog, helping them understand that this is not an area for them. You can choose from a variety of types such as metal, wood, plastic or chicken wire. Just make sure you get the right length and height.
You can also create your own natural fence using plants with thorns or spikes to deter your pup from entering the garden. Dogs don't like being poked, so this will help them learn where not to go. Options include rose bushes, cacti, plants with a lot of twigs or even a moat of pine cones.
Many dogs don't like being sprayed with water or getting wet, and if yours is one of them, this method could be the trick. Just make sure the sprinkler is motion activated so it actually goes off when your dog approaches.
Dogs aren't fans of spicy tastes, so you can try putting some spices in or around your garden as a natural deterrent. One commonly recommended combination is mustard powder mixed with red pepper chili flakes. This option isn't a good one if your dog will put anything and everything into their mouth (even spicy food) though.
Pro Tip: This method works best in drier climates. Rain will reduce the potency of the spice mixture and require additional applications after the showers.
Dogs also don't like bitter tastes, so you can try dissolving bitter orange or sprinkling used coffee grinds throughout your garden. This method works better in wetter climates because bitter orange has a lot of oil. Again, however, don't use this method if your dog will put anything in their mouth.
Pro Tip: Coffee grinds make for a great fertilizer, so there's a second bonus to this method.
Dogs also don't enjoy nasty smells. You can create a barrier by pouring vinegar into coffee filters and placing them around the perimeter. Some recommend using ammonia in the coffee filters, but just remember that it's toxic to dogs. Another option is to spray plants with white vinegar or apple bitter, as well as plant marigolds between vegetable rows.
Pro Tip: Don't use rabbit or deer repellents that contain coyote urine as that will attract dogs and entice them to pee on or roll in your plants.
You can also consider container gardening to prevent your dog from getting to your plants. Using containers would force your dog to jump into them to reach your garden. That extra step alone will deter many dogs. Just make sure to use the right size containers, with medium or large recommended most.
Digging is a natural instinct for our dogs, a behavior that dates back to their ancestors. Sometimes, no matter how hard your try, you can't deter a dog from engaging in this instinctive behavior. In that case, you may want to give your dog their own place to dig. It could be a sandbox or dirt box if you have the space, as well as a large shallow hole filled with soil or sand. This provides them with their own digging space to play in and bury belongings, instead of your garden.
Pro Tip: Keep your dog's digging zone as far away from your garden as possible so your pup doesn't associate the two.
If your dog gets into your garden simply to get to another location in your yard, you can create a pooch path. Lay down outdoor carpet, mulch, dirt, sand, or another outdoor material so they can get where they want without destroying your plants and flowers. Of course, this method only works if your dog leaves your garden goodies alone.
Sometimes dogs get into gardens out of boredom. If your dog isn't getting enough mental stimulation or physical exercise, he or she may resort to other (often more destructive) behaviors to expel the extra energy. Burying items and digging can be signs that your dog is bored or asking for attention. Combat their boredom by making sure they get enough mental stimulation and physical exercise. Try regular and scheduled walks, playing together or giving your dog brain games.
Pro Tip: Keep toys in and around the backyard to distract your dog, which will help keep them preoccupied and out of the garden.
One of the most effective ways to keep your dog out of the garden is by training him or her. Of course, this method takes the most time. To train your dog to stay out of the garden, interrupt the undesired behavior and redirect them to another activity. Don't just walk away after halting the problematic behavior. Reward your dog any time they listen or obey your commands, as well as any time you see them avoiding your garden.
Pro Tip: Keep some treats outside so they are easily accessible for quick and immediate rewarding. Just make sure to keep them in a sealed container to prevent spoiling or bug infestations.