Gardening with Dogs

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It is possible to have a garden and have dogs--even large dogs.
We have a 5 year old Eskimo dog, Brinkley, who we are happy to call a member of the family.
When we got Brinkley, he was a 10 week old out of control untrained puppy.
With the help of positive obedience training, he has turned into a wonderful family dog.
This didn't happen overnight, but it is the case today.
He still has accidents and he isn't perfect, but overall he is great dog.
Below, you'll find some of my tips to help you establish your garden and still live in harmony with your dog at the same time.
  • It is ideal if you first see how your dog uses your yard.
    Dogs may be attached to certain pathways, and may even have a specific area that they choose to eliminate in.
    If that is the case, work with it.
    Avoid planting in areas that your dog will want to use regularly.
    If you dog are "hogging" the whole yard, now is the time to establish your space and his space.
  • Plant in beds.
    Single trees/plants are more vulnerable to damage when dogs play.
  • Dogs are wired to not eliminate in the same place they sleep or play.
    This is why crate training is often successful.
    If possible, get your pets off the grass when they eliminate.
    Provide a mulched area and encourage them or retrain them to eliminate there.
    This may be like going back to the days of potty training your dog not to eliminate in your home, but it can be done.
  • Pets can be trained to treat garden walkways, trees and shrubs like they treat furniture and hallways in your home.
    If you expect them to have the same good manners in your garden, and your obedience training is consistent this can be very successful for you.
  • If you've trained your pet not to eat your couch or coffee table, you can train him not to eat your plants.
    Use the same approach.
    This is great not only for maintaining a pretty garden, but some plants can be toxic to dogs.
    If you make yard obedience training a goal, it will benefit you and your dog.
  • Do leave an area for your dog to play, run, and relax in.
    If your dog enjoys dog houses, you might put one here.
    You might also offer good chews or bones in this area.
  • Try to keep an area such as a deck or patio between the yard and the entryway into your house.
    This can be a place for pets to clean their feet.
    You can teach a dog the circle command and he will walk around in circles and some of the dirt will come off his feet.
    You can keep an old towel or rag here to wipe off paws.
    It will reduce the amount of mud your pet tracks into your home.
  • Digging is a problematic behavior.
    It's more challenging to get a dog to stop digging than it is to train them to eliminate in a certain area.
    You will want to establish a command for "no dig".
    When the dog stops digging, reward them with a treat or petting.
    If they continue to dig, consider investing in a water squirt bottle or a sqirt gun that has a lot of range.
    Squirt the water at them--preferably in their face when they are digging.
    Never hit your dog.
    Positive reinforcement and gentle, but firm and consistent discipline are the best approaches.
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