Teaching your dog to not destroy the garden can be a herculean task. Dogs dig. It is that simple. Not only that, they see to especially like any areas of your garden in which you have recently worked – especially when planting bulbs or new flowers. So, how can you protect your garden? From garden planters to chicken wire, here are some great tips for dog-proofing your garden.
Reasons For Digging
Sure, we know that dogs are going to dig, but do we know why? Many times, the dog is digging to escape. But there are other reasons, as well. A dog will often dig in order to get comfortable. It will dig a “den” where it can warm up or stay cool. It may simply feel more secure if surrounded by a berm of earth.
Dogs may be after prey. We had divots all over our garden – just little holes that literally looked like someone had been out with a gold club, chipping at the garden. But, where were they coming from? Our Siberian Husky was detecting grub worms – a mighty source of protein. She would dig little divots in the garden and eat the grub worms! You will find the same problem if mice, moles, gophers, or even sweet roots from a maple tree are hidden underground in your garden.
Finally, don’t overlook the possibility that your dog is simply bored. The vigorous activity of digging serves to tire him out and keep him occupied. He may have no intention of going anywhere, he just wants to dig.
If boredom is the problem, there are several things you can do. First of all, make sure your dog gets enough exercise. If he gets tired out, he won’t be as likely to dig. You can also provide toys. Dogs that are quite “jowly”, such as pit bulls, bull dogs, and boxers, may like dangling toys that they can bite and tug on. Dogs that have finer snouts and long legs may like a chase-type toy that is strung across the garden while you are away. Terriers may want simply to dig, so provide them with their own sandbox. Bury treats or toys deep in the sand, and let the little terrier dig to his heart’s content.
Chicken wire is another way to inhibit digging. When you plant your bulbs or bedding plants, lay a length of chicken wire over the area before you lay mulch over it. As the dog encounters the wire, it is often enough to discourage him from going any further with his destruction.
You can also use planters in your garden to stop the digging. By elevating plants above the dog’s eye level, it often becomes a matter of “out of sight, out of mind.” Also, the narrower confines of the garden planters often present a restriction to their enthusiasm that the dogs would rather avoid. They want space to throw dirt and go somewhere, not end up at the bottom of a planter.