Even if your dog is eminently well behaved when inside of the house and never tries to dig up your carpet, chew your furniture or pee in places that they shouldn’t, some dogs see the entire outside world as fair game for their doggy entertainment and destructive play! This will often include your own garden, and it can be very frustrating if you are trying to keep your garden neat and in good condition! If you have a dog that is persistently looking for new and exciting ways to wreck your garden, lawn and plants, you have two basic options: Give up on your garden and surrender it to your dog in its entirety, or work on ways to correct the problem!
If you don’t fancy looking out onto a wasteland of uprooted plants, chewed garden furniture and piles of dug up earth, you will likely be looking at option number two. Read on to learn about the best ways to deal with a dog that is trying to destroy your garden!
A dog that is let out into the garden on their own to entertain themselves for any reasonable period of time will undoubtedly be able to find more stimulation for themselves than they will in the house, but sooner of later, your dog is going to get bored all on their own! This is when the normally well behaved dog will begin looking for sources of amusement, and may turn their paw to digging things up or destroying garden furniture or flowerbeds.
Ensure that you supervise your dog in the garden if they are out there for any significant period of time, and make sure that you do not use the garden as a place to send your dog away to when you need to get them out of your way.
Your dog needs to be walked and exercised properly every day, and while play in the garden can contribute towards this, on its own, this is not enough to fulfil all of your dog’s exercise requirements. If you use time in the garden in place of proper exercise, your dog will likely have a lot of pent-up energy to burn off, and will be looking for ever-more exciting ways to do this, putting your garden at risk of destructive behaviour.
Whether indoors or in the garden, your dog should have access to a range of toys, games and other means of entertaining themselves, or they will almost certainly make their own fun! Provide toys and games that are suitable for outdoor usage and let your dog play with them in the garden- but remember not to leave them outside after your dog has finished with them, as slugs and snails might come into contact with them and potentially transfer the dangerous lungworm parasite onto your dog’s toys.
If there is one particular hotspot area in the garden that your dog is obsessed with, such as a flowerbed, muddy area or other particular spot, look into how you can fence off or keep your dog away from that specific spot. As well as physical boundaries such as fences, remember that you can also think about using unpalatable dog-safe deterrent products such as citrus sprays and balms, which may go some way towards keeping your dog away from them.
However, make sure that you do not end up inadvertently moving the problem on to another area; physical deterrents alone are unlikely to solve the problem, and should be used in combination with the other steps outlined above.
Some canine behaviours that are undesirable or problematic to us, such as chewing, digging or rolling around in stinky stuff are perfectly natural to dogs, and you are unlikely to be 100% successful at preventing them. Rather than trying to stop your dog from doing these things altogether, it is important to work with your dog’s needs in mind, and make appropriate provision for their natural behaviours. Some dogs have much stronger urges to display certain behaviours than others; for instance, some small terriers such as the Jack Russell were historically used to flush out prey from underground burrows, and so retain a strong impulse to dig!
In order to keep your dog from digging up your entire garden, consider allocating a certain corner of it to them that they can dig up to their heart’s content, and they will be much less likely to keep looking for new spots to destroy! If your dog likes to roll around or bury things, think about adding a small sandpit to the garden, to allow your dog to hide their toys and roll about happily without looking for something mucky or stinky!
Finally, if your dog likes to chew garden furniture or fence posts, try to divert them onto other chewable items, perhaps even installing something especially for them to use.