If you’re like most dog owners, you like doing everything possible with your dog. And your dog loves doing activities with you even more. One of the greatest benefits of owning a dog is that it encourages you to be active and to get outdoors.
Gardening can be a great way to enjoy time outdoors. It’s relaxing, rewarding and it can be a great activity to do with your dog. That said, dogs and gardens do not always mix. Follow the tips below to make sure that you and your dog can garden together in peace.
Why Garden With Your Dog
Enjoying time in the garden has countless benefits for you. Not only does it encourage you to spend time outdoors, it can be relaxing and it helps you connect with nature. The feeling of pride that comes from growing your own food or flowers can’t be beat.
Gardening can be just as good for your dog. Outdoor time is important for them, and spending time together in the garden is a great opportunity to play and practice obedience. Plus, your dog makes a great companion while you’re working in the garden.
Before taking to the garden with your dog, there are a few things you can do to make sure it’s a happy, safe and enjoyable experience for both of you.
Keeping Your Dog Safe In The Garden
Gardening with your dog can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors together.
Your first priority in the garden should be your dog’s safety. It’s important to make sure that your garden is a safe environment for them. Read on to learn how you can create a dog-safe garden, and how you can work in the garden safely together.
Start Young: It’s never too late to start gardening with your dog, but if you can start when they are young it will be easier to teach good garden behaviour. Older dogs will require more consistent work, but they can definitely get used to being in the garden with you.
Practice Obedience: Good training is essential to gardening with your dog. You need to be sure that they will stay near you, keep out of the garden, and be safe around gardening equipment. Make sure your dog has a strong recall and will come when called, even if you’re busy in the garden. Other commands that come in handy in the garden include “stay” and “leave it”. Time spent outside in the garden is the perfect opportunity to practice these skills, and is the perfect excuse for a break from the hard work of gardening!
Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water in the garden.
Sun and Heat Safety: When spending time outdoors with your dog, it’s essential to make sure that you are providing a safe environment for them. Provide plenty of fresh water, make sure your dog has a shady spot to lay, and consider a dog house to give them a place to relax.
Make a Containment Plan: If you have a fenced-in yard, make sure all gates are closed and latched, and check the perimeter of the fence to make sure there are no gaps that your dog could escape through. If you don’t have a fenced in yard, keep your dog on a leash or consider a dog kennel. You can also make a homemade barrier on your deck using patio furniture. Never leave your dog unsupervised in the yard, and make sure they are in a safe, secure location when your attention is elsewhere. Even if your dog is well-trained, there may be times in the garden when you don’t want them underfoot.
Dog-Proof Your Garden: Before bringing your dog into the garden, take a walk around the garden and identify any hazards. Remove any sharp barriers or stakes, and make sure breakable pots and ornaments are out of your dog’s reach. If you have a pond or other water feature, make sure a safe barrier is in place to keep your dog away from the water and any electrical components. You’ll also want to make sure that none of the plants in your garden are toxic (more on that below).
Safe Gardening: Keep gardening tools and materials like nutrients and fertilizer out of reach of your dog when not being used. When using sharp tools, such as clippers and spades, keep a close eye on your dog or keep them contained away from your work area. Many gardening materials and plants can be toxic to dogs – be sure to plan ahead when choosing plants and materials for your garden, and avoid these toxic items:
- Some fruits and vegetables like Rhubarb, Onions and Garlic can be toxic to dogs
- Flowers like daffodils, lillies and tulips can make dogs sick
- Cocoa mulch can harm your dog if ingested
- Compost material can smell attractive to dogs, but can present a choking hazard and include toxins
Protect Your Garden From Your Dog
Keep your dog’s leash handy when gardening, especially when they are learning their boundaries.
Now that you know how to keep your dog safe in the garden, how do you keep your garden safe from your dog? There’s nothing worse than finding out that your dog has dug holes in your garden bed, or chewed up a recently planted bush. Read on for tips for creating a dog-proof garden.
Pathways: Creating clear paths through your garden will encourage your dog to stay off the plants. Your dog will naturally follow the path and leave your garden beds alone. Line the path with dog-safe mulch or gravel, and try to match your dog’s favourite routes.
Yucky Smells & Tastes: Certain smells and tastes can discourage your dog from making a salad bar of your veggie garden. You can spray vinegar or apple bitter on plants to keep dogs away, or plant marigolds between rows to discourage dogs and other garden pests. Just don’t use urine sprays – that will likely encourage your dog to roll around in your garden.
Border Plants: Creating a planted border to your gardens can be a safer and more attractive barrier for your garden. There are some plants that act as dog deterrents. Prickly plants like rose bushes or blackberries work great as border plants, discouraging your dog from stepping into your garden bed. Other plants like citronella and rue put off an odor that dogs don’t like.
Keep gates closed and your dog contained while gardening.
Barriers: Physical barriers can keep your dog out of your planting areas, but care should be taken to choose safe materials. Choose flexible material with no sharp edges, build raised beds, or plant a border.
Container Gardening: If you are short on space for both a garden and your dog, consider container gardening. Choose dog-safe containers made of plastic or other unbreakable materials. Make the containers large enough that it would be impossible for your dog to knock over the containers, or consider hanging baskets to keep plants out of reach.
Obedience: Remember that obedience is the best way to keep your dog out of your garden. Use your time together outside to practice commands such as “stay”, “leave it” and “out”. Be consistent with your commands, and don’t leave your dog alone in the garden until you are sure that they will stick to the grass and pathways.
Involve Your Dog
Use care when operating garden equipment around your dog.
To make the most of your time in the garden with your dog, look for ways to involve them in your gardening activities. Gardening together is not much fun for either of you if your dog is stuck in their kennel or leashed up away from you. Use these tips to safely involve your dog in your gardening activities.
Have Plenty of Toys On Hand: Your dog will be excited to be spending time with you, so it’s important to show them some love and attention to keep them from becoming destructive. Make sure you have plenty of safe and exciting toys available for your dog, and take frequent breaks during gardening to play a quick game of catch or tug-of-war.
Training: Practicing obedience is another great excuse for a break. Take a moment between gardening tasks to practice common commands, and when you are doing simple tasks like weeding, let your dog “help” while reinforcing boundaries.
Involve Your Kids: Involving your kids in your garden is great for many reasons, but if you also have a dog, you can enlist your kids to help keep the dog under control while you focus on your garden. Kids can play with the dog and practice commands while you work.
Keep toys on hand for fun breaks from gardening.
Remember to Have Fun: Always remember that gardening with your dog is supposed to be fun and relaxing for both of you. Some issues are inevitable, and it’s important not to get upset or angry with your dog when they forget the rules and jump into the garden or knock over a pot. Remain calm, be consistent with your commands and discipline, and focus on enjoying outdoor time together.
Indoor Gardens and Dogs
Many of us don’t have the outdoor space to create a large garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a dog-friendly indoor garden. Container gardening, hanging baskets and window systems can help you take advantage of small spaces, and keep plants out of reach of dogs. Any pots with trays to catch water runoff should be kept out of reach of your dog to keep them from drinking the contaminated water. Be sure to keep breakable materials, toxic chemicals and dangerous tools out of reach of your dog. Some popular indoor plants can be toxic to dogs – avoid plants like aloe, some ivies and ferns, or keep planters out of reach of your dog.
Happy Gardening With Your Dog
Happy gardening with your dog is possible!
Gardening with your dog can be a rewarding experience for both of you. Not only is it the perfect excuse to spend some time outdoors together, it’s also a great opportunity to play together and practice obedience. Involving your dog in the gardening process will help them understand the garden boundaries when they are exploring on their own.
It’s important to plan a dog-safe garden, free of sharp objects, dangerous materials and toxic plants. Plan ahead for your dog’s comfort and safety during gardening sessions, including providing plenty of fresh water and shade, and keeping your dog contained.
Protect your garden from your dog with good planning, effective pathways and barriers. Plant dog-deterrent plants and consistently practice obedience to ensure your dog behaves appropriately in your garden.
Find ways to involve your dog in the gardening process by providing toys and taking play and training breaks. Involve your kids to make it a family affair and give yourself more time to focus on the garden. Consider alternatives like container gardening and hanging baskets to make the most of small spaces.
By following these steps, you can be sure that you and your dog will enjoy countless hours together in the garden. Remember that having fun and bonding with your dog is the most important thing – don’t worry about a few holes dug or a broken pot or two. Work with your dog consistently and calmly, and you’ll have an ideal garden companion for years to come!