Creating a Garden for Your Dog

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Favorite Dog Garden Pastimes

West Highland Terrier dog digging dirt

Let 'em Dig – To deny your dog the pleasure of digging would be unthinkable in a dog garden. The key is to built your dog his very own sandbox filled with a mixture of play sand and soil and encourage digging in this convenient spot rather than elsewhere in the garden. You can even bury a new toy for him to discover and praise him for using his dig space. The “box” can simply be a contained area bordered with stones, cedar blocks or bricks. You can still protect your most precious plants or those he and his feline friends can’t resist, by laying chicken wire over the soil around the plants. Cover the chicken wire with cedar bark or small gravel mulch.

Chewing is Only Natural – Everyone knows that dogs, especially puppies, love to chew things, so make sure there are lots of chew toys in your dog friendly garden. Many chew toys on the market are owner/pooch interactive toys. Those are great for having fun with Fifi, but make sure your dog has plenty of “solo” toys as well.

Pooch on Patrol – Dogs love to patrol their territory, and your pet will soon begin to make the rounds to guard his new doggie garden. One activity is running along the fence line. If you have grass growing along the fence, it won't withstand the paw traffic so you might as well switch it out for something soft, such pine needles.

To discourage this kind of activity in you own part of the garden, plant shrubs against the fence.

Another way to prevent him from trampling your most precious plants is to stake them. Use a sturdy plastic supporter. Wrap the stems to the stake with a colorful piece of cloth to warn off unwary canines.

Sunning/Sleeping – Many dog breeds like to sun or sleep outdoors in an elevated area. Prepare a special place just for Snoopy. You can shorten the legs of an old table, or you can put a soft, weather resistant cushion inside a decorative planter. Choose a planter that is a good fit for your pet's proportions.

When your dog needs to cool down why not offer him his own wading pool or garden sprinkler? If that's not an option, make sure he has a shady area that will prevent him from digging one of his own or walking over plants to find shade.

A Little Training Goes a Long Way

Train your dog to enjoy his own space in the garden. The idea is that if you give Fifi a place to dig, she won’t dig up your prized perennial bed; if you give her a place to sleep, she won’t make herself at home in the hostas; if you give her a place to run, she won’t trample down your tulips or your new grass. As in all good design, you'll both learn that form follows function, making for a more harmonious environment.

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