Dog Friendly Gardening Tips
By Arlo the Hound with help from Honor Tarpenning
You all know what a pleasure it is to have a dog in your life. I know I provide my mom with protection, companionship, a fuzzy shoulder to cry on, a consistent reason to laugh, and unconditional love (not to mention velvety-soft, floppy ears for miles!) However, sometimes it takes a little thought and planning to make every aspect of your life dog friendly. This definitely applies to those who love to garden. An untrained dog and poorly planned garden can mean endless frustration for you and your dog.
Before you plant a garden, take some time to observe how your dog uses your yard. Is there a certain area he tends to pace? Does he like to run along the fence? Is there one area in which he prefers to dig or go potty more than others? Take note of these areas and bear in mind that they are the least ideal areas to start a garden. Follow the path of least resistance—if your dog is used to running through a certain spot every day, it will be much harder to train him to stay out of a garden you put in that path.
The Beaten Path
Speaking of paths, if you already have a garden, and your dog insists on running through it, think about putting in an attractive stone or brick path, or even a little bridge. These aesthetically pleasing safeguards keep your dog out of your plants, add character to your garden, and still allow him to follow his favorite beaten path.
Set your rules and maintain consistency. Train your dog to stay out of the garden completely and never allow him to stray within its borders. If you allow your dog to play in your garden when it is weedy and unkempt, and then are suddenly upset when he runs through it after you’ve spent all day weeding and planting, he isn’t going to understand why. Establish a “get out of the garden” command, and praise your dog ecstatically when he obeys.
Exercise your dog! Take him for a nice, long walk twice a day. Play with him. Provide him with tons of safe outdoor toys. These measures will help to alleviate the boredom that often leads to destructive behavior in your garden.
Share Your Gardening Time
Bring your dog outside to hang out with you while you garden. This gives you ample time to enforce your “no dogs in the garden” rule and “get out of the garden” command. Besides, we want to be with you as much as possible, and what’s better than a lovely summer afternoon outside with your best friend?
Made in the Shade
Provide shady spots for your dog that aren’t in the “no dogs allowed” zone. Your dog may be laying and digging in your garden cause it is the coolest spot in the yard.
Protect Baby Plants
Fences and cages are your friends. There are tons of attractive cages you can place around baby plants to protect them from bounding pooches. Think about putting a picket fence around your vegetable garden. It will keep your dog out and has a nice, classic look.
A Garden Meant to be Respected
Planting larger, more sturdy plants will help your dog understand that it is not a play area. He will most likely rather go around than try to compete with substantial shrubbery. Building a raised garden will also help your dog respect the garden boundaries.
Bare Soil is Tempting
Try to avoid large patches of bare soil in your garden; it is quite tempting to dogs who love to dig. Think about planting groundcover plants like thyme, plantation lily or coral bells.
If you have lots of dogs who love to get rambunctious in your yard, but you still want to have some plants to be proud of, think about a container garden. Fill your yard with Bermuda grass or another rough and tough grass and plant your flowers, herbs, and shrubs in pots. Put these pots on your deck, along stairways, in corners of the yard or anywhere your dogs don’t play as much.
A Potty Place
Designate a specific place in the yard where you always take your dog to go potty. Once he understands that that is his potty place, he will be less likely to go on and around your plants.
Fido’s Treasure Trove
If your dog is a digger, you might want to provide him with his own place to do just that. Soft soil or sand with safe toys and tasty treats buried just beneath the surface will encourage your dog to use that area to satisfy his digging urges, rather than your carefully manicured garden. Read more about Dog Digging
Don’t forget that you must keep your garden and the rest of your yard safe for your dog. You should also avoid chemical pesticides and herbicides if you can help it.
The weekend is fast approaching! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s article about your dog and boats!