|Friday Five: Dog-Proofing the Garden|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Friday, 23 March 2012|
Assuming the dog is not a stray or feral (in which case you’ll want to call animal control right away) and you’ve already spoken to the offending dog’s owner--yet want to remain on friendly terms with him or her--what can you do when your neighbor’s dog decides to dig holes in your garden or use your lawn as a bathroom?
A fence is probably the most effective tool for keeping dogs out of your yard, but it can be expensive. A cheaper alternative is to surround vegetable and flower gardens with a four-foot high chicken wire or mesh fence buried about a foot into the ground.
2. Pine Cones and Gravel
Dogs like people prefer to walk on smooth surfaces, so a surface of pine cones or gravel may be enough to discourage dog traffic. You can also fill holes with gravel or pine cones to discourage repeat digging.
A motion sensor sprinkler or throwing warm, not hot, water if you see a dog wandering over to do its thing sometimes works to keep dogs away. And while we’re on the subject of water, if you know where dogs have urinated be sure to water it thoroughly to dilute the urine and prevent those brown spots on the lawn.
4. Distasteful Deterrents
Dogs like new scents and a newly landscaped yard or garden is a prime target. If you see a dog checking things out, prevent bad behavior from becoming a habit by using a deterrent. I can’t vouch for this myself, but apparently dogs do not like citrus in any way shape or form, which is why there are a number of citrus repellents on the market. If anyone has tried citrus to keep dogs away, I’d like to know if it works. There’s also Ro-Pel, which is a vile tasting (for dogs) but environmentally friendly repellent that should not be used on organically certified crops. Some people use hot pepper spray as a deterrent as well (not to be sprayed but to discourage bad behavior like chewing because of the taste).
5. Raised Beds
If dogs are digging in the dirt of your vegetable or flower garden and you’ve tried everything short of calling animal control, as unfair as it seems you may have to resort to raised beds or container gardening.
Owners that let their dogs do their business on your lawn or in your flowerbeds should be reported to animal control. Take pictures if necessary. After a few fines, owners may be more vigilant about cleaning up after their dogs.