Dogs and Gardens – Enjoy Them Both!
Our Newfoundland lived to be eighteen and was never a problem for our plants even though we gardened intensively; therefore, it was shocking to see a friend's garden wrecked by her tiny basset hound. We practiced organic gardening and our dog was inherently sensitive to what was approved of him, but not all gardening practices are the same and neither are the behavior patterns of the pets.
Despite the beauty of the gardens and the docility of our dogs, we may sometimes find them to clash and make our lives bitter. Dogs have certain needs, their own personalities, and their instinctive curiosity for exploring and experiencing the things their owners do.
An unruly dog may need a fenced area away from a tended garden, whereas a tame dog will fit in the garden very well, not only enjoying it with his owners but also protecting it from harm. If the garden is not large enough for a separate playground for the dog, then the plant beds could be fenced off.
Raised beds for flowers also work well for curious dogs who like to become familiar with plants by chewing them. Quite a few plants are harmful to pets. If you have ever done your dog chewing a plant, then do not plant harmful plants like crocus, yew, castor beans, hellebore, oleander, lily-of-the-valley or foxglove, and dig and eliminate the wild mushrooms if they appear.
Preferring trees and large bushhes and pet-friendly plants is an option. In addition, staying away from thorny plants is a good idea, because they can cause eye injuries to the dogs. Before planting anything, you might consider referring to ASPCA's list of toxic and non-toxic plants.
Even with an obedient dog, you have to consider the dog's instinctual needs and take precautions accordingly. If you use mulch, choose mulch with pieces large enough that will not cling to the dog's hair. If you have a small yard, find and design a separate space with a marking post as a spot for the dog to relate himself. Give the dog some space like a deck, an open porch, or a piece of lawn to sunbathe on and a shelter or some room in the shade to rest.
If your dog likes to dig, he needs his own digging area with soft uncoiled sand or soil. If you find it difficult to restrain your dog's digging to his space, then mulch heavily around your prized plants and do not leave any open soil.
An important point to remember is to avoid leaving toxic chemicals and fertilizers around in places where your dog can gain entry easily. Put the toxic chemicals and sharp garden tools in a shed with a locked door or a container impossible for the dog to open. A healthy choice can be to practice organic gardening, which is beneficial to people and pets alike.
Not only the gardens can be made fit for dogs, but also, the dogs can be trained to fit the gardens. Spending time to train your dog will strengthen your enjoyment of your garden and will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Learn the difference between unwanted behavior and instinct, so you can have a splendid garden and a happy dog.