Tips To Easily Create A Dog Safe Garden
My dogs are always with me. In the house and in the garden, I always have at least one dog at my side. Sometimes I'll find Wynter digging when the heat has warmed her up too much and she starts looking for a cool place to plant herself.
Our yard and garden are built with our dogs in mind. We know that we can't always have our eyes on them, and we want them to have the freedom to hunt, explore, and play safely in our yard. We built dog-free raised beds to keep them from snacking on our food. Riley LOVES fruit and veggies, so keeping him out of my strawberries was a trick we had to master quickly.
How To Keep Dogs Out Of The Garden
Protecting your garden from your dogs can be a little tricky in small spaces. In larger spaces, there is plenty of room for our canine friends to wander and explore without digging up our prized tomatoes. Training is key to keeping your dogs from tearing up your beds and stealing your berries.
We use raised beds in our gardens. When the dogs get too close to the beds, we give them a quick “No” and remind them to stay away from my things. Teaching your dogs where they can and can't be is key to a happy yard. When there is a clear understanding of where they can and can't be, the dogs learn quickly to stay away.
Raised beds are great and easier than fencing off parts of your yard.
Safe Dig zones
Wynter is our digger. She's a hunter and instinctively she loves to dig, bury her favorite things, and loves to feel her nose in the soft dirt. We have several areas in the yard where she's permitted to dig. She has areas in the shade with soft dirt that she loves to sleep in, areas in the sun that we often catch her rolling in, and areas that have rocks that are safe for them to explore.
You can teach your dog to dig in safe digging zones by playing games of hiding treats and toys in their safe dig zones. Let them see you digging in those zones, or even adding cool water in the dirt. They will quickly pick up that this is for them and you can reward them for digging there.
Create A Dog-Safe Garden
One of the most crucial parts of dog-safe gardening is to make sure you secure fertilizers away from where your dogs can get to them. Toxic chemicals and pesticides should be avoided. But you also want to make sure you are locking up things that they are naturally drawn to.
I discovered that my dogs will be sneaky about digging up my roses when I used an organic fertilizer at their base. Both dogs would ask to go out late at night, then dig up my new roses to get to the yummy smelling dirt. Lesson learned… now we use wire to keep them away from the new roses until the fertilizer has gone.
But most of us do use some pest deterrents in our garden. Even in organic gardens, you need to spray fungicides and some bug repellants.
So when you are spraying, this is the time to keep the dogs indoors until the spray has dried. We also don't use these garden products in the dog zones.
There are plenty of animal-safe products you can choose for your garden, but all of them need to be stored away from where they can be found by children or pets.
Also, make sure you are checking every plant that goes into your garden to make sure they are not toxic to curious pets. Even simple things like potatoes can be poisonous. This is why we keep plants like Rhubarb out of our garden, trees that have toxic bark like cherry trees are planted in the front yard away from the dogs and we are always reminding our dogs not to nibble at the bushes that we have planted. Even though they are dog safe, we don't want them chewing on them. The ASPCA has a great list that you can look at before planting.
Give Your Dogs Plenty Of Exploring Time
Lastly, understand that dogs need time to learn, explore, and burn off energy in safe ways. Dog parks are great for giving your dog safe off-leash time to get a little crazy. Many dog parks have areas for dogs like Riley who need safe areas to interact with other dogs while safely inside a fenced-in area.
Riley has Addison's Disease, he doesn't have adrenal control. He has learned how to play with Wynter, but he isn't good with dogs who don't understand his condition or that he doesn't know how to calm down when other dogs are aggressive.
While we love that we can give him a dog-safe garden, we also highly suggest that all dogs are taught how to socialize with other people and dogs in safe ways.
Wynter, being a Jindo is a hunter who needs time to wander, chase her dog friends, and burn off some of her energy. Giving your dog plenty of exploring time will help keep them from tearing up your garden in search of adventure.
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