12 tips for gardening with dogs | Living the Country Life
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12 tips for gardening with dogs

Dogs and gardens don't necessarily mix, but with a little planning and training, you can keep your dogs safe and your gardens beautiful!
  • Start young

    It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, but it's also never too early to start training your puppy. Even as young as six weeks, puppies can learn basic commands. Let your dogs know where they are and are not allowed, and nip bad habits in the bud. Teach them basic commands like "sit" and "stay," and they will be easier to control in the garden as well.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Don't expect too much

    Remember, dogs are basically furry kids, and if you leave them alone for long enough, they will get into trouble! If you let your dog run free all day, the chances are very good he will dig in the dirt, roll on your flowers, and generally have a good time destroying your gardens. Providing your dogs with plenty of exercise, and a kennel or dog run with food, water, shade, and toys should help keep them entertained. A flat-topped doghouse is also a good idea, so Fido can get up on top and survey his domain.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Good fences make good dogs

    Even a short fence around your most prized flowers can keep your dogs from trampling them. Check fences regularly to make sure the dogs haven't gnawed a hole in them or dug an escape route underneath.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Use mulch to keep dogs on track

    Dogs can be trained to stay on pathways paved with brick, gravel, or mulch. Avoid using cocoa bean hulls, though, since they can make your dog sick if he eats them. You can also use a mulch that's uncomfortable to walk on -- like pinecones -- to keep your dogs out of certain areas.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Digging is fun!

    Dogs love to dig, and once they find a "digging spot" in your yard or gardens, it can be hard to break them of the habit. Fill holes in problem areas with bricks, then fill in with soil, and add sod if needed. You also might consider putting chicken wire down under sod or over bulbs, but don't forget to remove it before tilling or using other tools! An even better solution is to set aside a special sandbox-type area filled with toys, where the dogs can dig all they want!

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Let the plants do the work

    Growing barrier plants around your more tender flower gardens will help keep the dogs out. Barberries, roses, Joe Pye weed, bamboo, and euphorbia are a few examples of rugged plants your dogs will most likely avoid. Don't plant yucca or other plants with long, lethal spikes, though, since they could easily hurt your dog.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Flowers to avoid

    Some flowers can make dogs sick or even kill them if eaten. If your dog enjoys munching on plants, avoid these flowers:<BR>
    <UL><LI>Autumn crocus</LI>
    <LI>Azaleas</LI>
    <LI>Bleeding heart</LI>
    <LI>Foxglove</LI>
    <LI>Iris</LI>
    <LI>Larkspur</LI>
    <LI>Lily of the valley</LI>
    <LI>Monkshood</LI>
    <LI>Rhododendrons</LI>
    <LI>Star of Bethlehem</LI></UL>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Other plants to avoid

    <UL><LI>Rhubarb</LI>
    <LI>Cherry trees</LI>
    <LI>Elderberries</LI>
    <LI>Jasmine</LI>
    <LI>Onions</LI>
    <LI>Wisteria</LI>
    <LI>Yew</LI>
    <LI>In your pastures, watch out for jimsonweed, nightshade, and poison hemlock.</LI>
    <LI>In wooded areas, keep dogs away from jack-in-the-pulpit, mayapples, and mistletoe.</LI></UL>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • When a dog's gotta go ...

    Your dog can be trained to use (most of the time) a certain area of your property for doing his business. Planting a row of hedges or putting up a small fence between his "special place" and your outdoor dining area, for example, might be a good idea. Pick up the poo on a regular basis, but don't use it to mulch your gardens, as it can contain worms or harmful bacteria.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Marking his territory

    Your dog may mark your plants so other dogs will know they belong to him. Choosing border plants that are tolerant to salt can prevent him from killing them off. Juniper, rugosa rose, and blue lyme grass are good choices. Water his "frequently visited" areas regularly to help dilute the urine, and sprinkle affected spots in your lawn with gypsum and grass seed. If the dog won't leave a particular plant alone, consider applying a spray repellent like Liquid Fence.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Consider containers

    If you've tried everything and your dog still destroys your gardens, switch to container gardening. Your flowers and vegetables will thrive in large pots or raised beds, where they're less likely to be trampled by little paws.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
  • Have fun!

    Remember that you are your dog's best friend. He loves you and wants to make you happy. Play with him and enjoy his company! Keep a bucket of doggie toys in the garden, or take a break from pruning for a quick game of fetch. Even the most expensive flowers will grow back or can be replanted, but the love of a dog is priceless!

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 31, 2013
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