We find that the most effective way to protect your garden from your dog is to take preventative measures before the problems arise. Some dogs just dig because it’s fun, but it can also sometimes mean that there’s a little something wrong in your environment.
Prior to trying any alternative tips, first pamper your puppy a little more. Buy a new chew toy, spend some time playing fetch, or take longer walks. Your dog might just be feeling lonely and trapped, and helping him or her out could stop the destructive digging behaviour entirely.
It’s better to find a solution to a destructive dog problem instead of making the garden off limits and the dog only getting it’s exercise at a Melbourne dog park.
Help your dog feel secure at home
If your dog doesn’t have a kennel or nook where they can feel secure, it might just feel stressed from having to constantly watch its back. Build or buy a kennel where they can relax, and see if the digging problems decrease.
If a dog is digging because he’s feeling anxious, unloved or unhappy, then overly punishing the animal might only make the pup want to dig even more.
Make certain it’s clear to your dog that he shouldn’t be digging, but don’t go to extreme lengths or it might lead to an endless cycle of digging.
Make a stink!
Dogs have extremely sensitive noses, and usually they can’t stand overly bitter or spicy scents.
One of the old gardener’s tricks that we use is to mix up a concoction of water with a hint of chilli, mustard, or pepper, and spray it around your plants.
For something stronger, create a less diluted mixture and spray it around the garden bed and on leaves to also keep away aphids and other creepy-crawlies.
Build a barrier
Walls don’t have to physically be larger than your dog just to prevent them from getting into your yard! A simple, short, garden wall can be actually constructed from chicken wire or spiky posts, helping to make it even harder for dogs to climb over than usual. Just make sure that it’s high enough to stop them from getting over; some tiny dogs can actually jump very high compared to their size!
You can plant some spiked or thorny bushes (like roses), or try sprinkling some branches and nubs around less defended plants. By doing this, your dog will then have to traverse a veritable minefield just to get close to points of interest in the garden! They’ll soon realise that there’s not enough reward to outweigh the risk and retreat to playing elsewhere.
Have you ever observed how dogs won’t try to walk on semi-gravelled surfaces? Pebbles of just-the-right-size are agony for dogs to walk on as the pads of their feet get a little stuck. Throw some pebbles around your plants; it won’t be as big of an obstacle as spikes or thorns, but it’s still an extra precaution for a nosy mutt snuffling about.
Barrier plants, like hedges, have long been used to keep Fido out of floral beds. They physically lock off your plants, acting like a fence and keeping things structured while still looking more natural than fence posts. Juniper and Boxwood are two good hedge plants to try.
Marigolds are a classic barrier plant with a scent that repels animals and insects. These flowers produce chemicals that reduce risk of a nematode attack on your surrounding plants, and they look gorgeous doing it! You don’t even need to sacrifice looks for security.
Accept the inevitable
Why not create a special space just for your dog to dig? Installing a sandpit or filling a shell-pit with sand can give your dog a fun alternative to digging up your plants. Bury parcels of fun toys and odorous treats in the area to entice them.
If you catch your dog digging in the designated space, reward them with treats or attention. If you catch them digging outside the spot, just tell them to stop and take them over to their designated area. Don’t admonish them too greatly, however, or you’ll be sending them mixed messages.
Accept that you might just have to give up a corner of your garden to the destructive tendencies of your beloved dog. Your dog will reward you with all the love and attention it usually gives you!