11 Tips for Gardening with Dogs

If you are a dog owner who loves gardening, it is well known that both do not mix well at times. Hence, here are a few simple tips for balancing the needs of both pets and plants.

1. Start Teaching the Dogs When Young:

When dogs are young, we ignore such training as they cannot spoil the garden much because of their size. They look cute trying to chew on a plant as a puppy. For example, let us consider male or female cane corso. As puppies, they look super cute, but as they become full-sized, they can do grave damage to your garden because of their size.

The earlier you can start training your dog, the better. Young dogs are easier to train and are willing to learn new rules more than when they grow older. Imagine you are letting your puppy chew on plants and not be bothered for an entire year when you suddenly realize they are spoiling your garden and want them to stop. This will confuse the dog, which does not understand why you suddenly are asking them to change its behavior.

Having said that, it is not impossible to train your older dog to understand that the plants in the garden are off-limits.

2. Teach Your Dog Obedience:

Teaching your dog basic commands so that it understands when it needs to stop doing something is important. You should either train the dog yourself or take your dog to an obedience class to learn from experts. This will help your dog be your gardening partner and hang with you rather than causing trouble or getting in the way.

3. Use a Fence:

Fencing the plantation area in your garden is not a bad idea when you have a dog running in your backyard. It does not just keep your plants safe from the dog, but also helps in keeping the dog safe, as a few plants are dangerous for the dog if it ingests them. A simple fence can help your cause as a visual barrier at times helps the dog restrict itself from jumping over the fence.

4. Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone:

It is safe to say that the best way you can avoid the dog from spoiling your garden is by actually being present outside with the dog when the dog plays in the garden. When left alone, the dog may get bored and find ways to amuse itself, which means digging up the lawn and tearing up the plants. Even the most disciplined dogs do not understand that digging up a lawn is not allowed, as it is just their instincts. Better accompany them in the garden.

5. Create a Separate Dog Area:

If you are lucky that the garden is large enough, you can limit your plantation to one area and create a dog play area in another corner. Maybe put up a partition between these two areas. You obviously cannot ask your dog not to play in the backyard just because of your plantations, as dogs need a lot of outdoor exercise. By creating a separate area for the dog, you need to restrict its play behavior, and your plants remain safe too.

6. Know the Breed:

Different dog breeds have different instincts that you should be aware of before you let them loose in your backyard. For example, terriers love to dig if unattended and can turn the garden upside down. Retrievers are known to be goofy and may topple over one or two pots if left alone in the backyard to place. When you know the characteristics of the dog breed, you can make wiser decisions. For example, I recently got a cane corso for sale and learned that the breed can be energetic as well as gentle hence I am training the dog accordingly to ensure that it understands not to destroy my garden in my absence.

7. Grow Barrier Plants:

Even larger dogs avoid garden beds that are thorny and planted tall. This creates a natural barrier in the garden, while the look of your garden does not get spoiled as well. Dogs may walk around these plants but avoid walking through them, which can be used to your advantage to create plant barriers in the garden.

8. Avoid Poisonous Plants:

Do not choose any plant just because it looks great, but first learn how safe it is for your dog. The main aim to create the garden is to make the yard look beautiful, but not at the cost of your dog’s health. If the plant is hazardous for your pet, do not opt for it.

9. Provide Water:

When left in the backyard, dogs can become hot easily thanks to all the running around. The availability of freshwater in the garden is essential to quench its thirst to see if your dog may fall sick. You can use an artistic bowl that doubles as the garden yard. Adding a running source of fresh water also can help to keep the garden looking beautiful and help your dog access clean water to drink.

10. Pave Pathways

When pathways are paved, the garden looks complete and beautiful. Making a brick or gravel pathway teaches the dog to stay on the path hence this prevents them from going inside the garden. This will keep their paws clean and protect your garden as well.

11. Include Your Dog:

Make your gardening time fun for the dog too by throwing a ball to fetch the entire time. As you keep the dog engaged, it becomes least interested in your plants and gets tired in the process. This will make the dog calmer and they become less destructive. Additionally, you do not just enjoy the gardening time, but it doubles as quality time spent with your pooch.

The Bottom Line:

While all the above tips can help the dogs stay away from your gardening area, do not get upset if you find a pot knocked over or a plant killed. Remember, you are dealing with a cute little fur ball that might not be aware of its own dimensions at times or is mischievous. Plants grow back and it is ok. The garden is created to be enjoyed by you and your family members, which includes your furry friend as well.

Megan Liu

Holding a Master's in Animal Science from Texas A&M University, Megan Liu has spent over 15 years in animal behavior research and rehabilitation. She joined our editorial team in 2020, bringing a wealth of knowledge from her field experiences and academic studies. Megan is also a certified dog trainer, offering a unique pet care and training perspective. Her off-duty hours are spent volunteering at animal shelters and enjoying long nature walks.

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