Once you've got your gardens and flower beds done up all nice, it's a shame to have your dog start digging it up. Alas, dogs sometimes want to get into things you don't want them to get into, including the garden! If you're having problems keeping your dog confined to different areas of your yard, we consulted two experts who can help solve the issue. Both Jodie Havens, CPDT-KSA PetSmart's Training Expert, and veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Yi, DVM, DACVECC, from Metropolitan Specialty Animal Hospital, shared insight on why your dog loves to get into the garden and how to break this bad habit.
Why Should You Keep Your Dog Out of the Garden?
There could be a lot of toxins in your garden that are dangerous for your dog. Dr. Yi recommends you always be aware of everything you plant in your garden and the products you use, just in case. She told POPSUGAR, "Sago palms or any plant of the cycad species are very liver toxic and are common ornamental plants. Most other ornamental plants may also have mild toxic effects, getting to know your plants is a good idea."
It's also important to familiarize yourself with the pest control you're using. It can be toxic to your dog, should he manage to get into the garden. Sticking with pet-friendly products is the best route.
What Can You Do to Keep a Dog Out of the Garden?
Havens highly recommends using gates and fences to keep your dog out of the garden. "Block off areas using gates, fences, or pens when you can't supervise and heavily reward your dog when they're in another part of the yard, away from the garden," she told POPSUGAR. There are a lot of fencing options to keep your dog out of the garden, but if you're shopping with your dog in mind, make sure to consider any places your dog could get stuck (like if the slats of the fence are spread wide enough for your pup's head to get stuck).
Dr. Yi added, "Really supervising and positive reinforcement of good behavior can go a long way" when it comes to keep your dog out of an area you don't want them in, but she pointed out that if a dog is really determined, they will still find a way. So make sure to keep a close on your pup while you're outside and always reward them for not going in the garden.
How Can You Stop a Dog From Peeing in the Garden?
Once your dog has started peeing in the garden, it could be difficult to get him to stop. Both Havens and Dr. Yi recommend using treats as positive reinforcement any time your dog pees in a different part of the yard. If you're with your dog and you see he's headed toward the garden to go to the bathroom, redirect him somewhere else and make sure to give him lots of ear scratches and play time to show him what a good job he did.
How Can You Prevent a Dog From Digging Up the Garden?
Some dogs just really love to dig holes, and if your dog won't stop digging in the garden, Havens recommends providing him with an alternative. "If you're in the garden digging soil, guide your dog to another spot where they can dig freely. If you don't like your dog digging in the yard at all, try providing an alternative digging spot by filling a kiddie pool with play sand, bury a few treats and toys and watch the fun!" she told POPSUGAR.