For as long as I’ve been gardening, I’ve shared my love of the outdoors with unique dogs (“nuts” to most). I absolutely cannot imagine gardening without a dog to keep me company. Here are some tips to help you make this work for you too.

Put the ground rules first

  • Be clear about how you want your dog to behave in the garden. Set the ground rules for your dog from the start. As with people, pet habits, once established, can be a challenge to change.
  • Remember that bored dogs are most likely to get into trouble, so use walks and games to use up excess energy that might otherwise go into destructive yard behavior. (Your dog burns calories this way, and so do you!)
  • Decide where your dog is allowed to go and where you don’t want him to go.
  • Be consistent. It doesn’t help if you let the dog do as he pleases when the flower bed is weeded, but then expect him to respect the garden when it is cleaned up.

Dogs and gardens – training tips

Dogs like to be where people are, so when you’re in the garden, take your dog with you at least part of the time, and when you’re not, keep your dog indoors.

  • When you are with your dog, you have many opportunities to encourage and train behaviors you like and discourage activities that are destructive to the garden.
  • To keep dogs out of flower beds, use a verbal signal such as “out of the yard.” This works best if you are actually in the garden with your dog.
  • It may be expensive, but a fenced yard is a godsend for dogs and gardens.
  • Some use an invisible fence – a system that delivers an electronic shock via a receiver in a special dog collar. Actual fences are more effective because they both keep your dog in the yard and other animals out. Your dog can’t run away either, ignoring the electric shock when chasing a squirrel, for example, and then getting shocked when it tries to re-enter the yard.

Garden safety and your dog

When you have dogs or other pets that spend time in the garden, choose alternatives to chemical lawn and garden care.

  • If you use pest control products, even organic ones, keep pets out of the yard when you use them.
  • Keep the dog away from treated areas for as long as recommended, usually until the treated area is dry or 24 hours.

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