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Is Your Dog Ruining Your Beautiful Backyard?

If your dog is anything like our English Bull Dog, Toby, our once beautiful backyard has turned into a wasteland over the Fall & Winter seasons. Now that Spring is here and Summer is fast approaching we want to get our backyard into ‘party hosting’ shape again!

The first thing to do is to take an honest look at your backyard and ask yourself, “What needs to be done?” Our backyard needed to be cleaned of leaves, pieces of doggie toys, other items, and poop. We also needed some new flowers and shrubs because our beds are empty! You also want to make sure your backyard isn’t hazardous to your dog. Some hazards to look out for are paint chips, stray hardware, trash in piles or open containers, fertilizers, insect or rat poison, or other such chemicals and things lying about that could potentially cause your dog harm.

So with a broom and trash bag in hand, we started the clean up process. Our dog has managed to chew up dog toys, plant containers, cushions, wood, drainage tubes, our spa cover, and our rose bush! Who knew Toby would chew so many different types of materials. There seemed to be a million pieces to pick up! To help the clean up process to go a little faster, and to prevent harm on our ageing backs, we held a contest between a few of our preteen relatives. We gave them a plastic sack and had them pick up the pieces and whoever had the most trash in their bags got a $20 bill!

Now that all the possible hazardous items are gone and the chewed up things picked up it’s time to add some color to our empty flower beds! To keep Toby from digging in our flowered beds, we purchased some garden borders to help keep him out. We weren’t 100% sure the borders would keep him out so we mixed one part vinegar and five parts water together and sprayed it all in and around the flower beds and the garden border. We also sprinkled cayenne pepper on the garden border to keep him from chewing on them. The vinegar has an offensive smell to dogs and they do not like the taste of cayenne pepper, but it will not bother humans or plants! There are also some small holes that he had dug in various places around the yard. So we filled the holes and put some of the vinegar mixture over it. We had to recover the lawn furniture cushions, but we put the new cushions in storage when not in use. Toby loves to swim in our swimming pool during the summer, so we make sure all pool toys are properly stored when not in use.

Now to make sure our yard does not become a wasteland again we are doing a few things to make sure Toby does not ‘Take Over’ again with his chewing and digging. Dogs chew when they are teething, playing, or bored. We do not want Toby chewing our plant containers, cushions, or wood so we’ve bought him some really durable chewing toys that stay outside. If we spot him chewing on something he is not suppose to we either spray him with a water pistol, as a shock factor, or divert his attention quickly away from whatever he is not suppose to be chewing on to one of his toys. Dogs dig because it’s rewarding to them to find concealed objects in the ground or if they are bored. We created Toby a section of the backyard that is “A Place of His Own”. We put his dog house and a sand pit in the area. We’ve also hidden a few ‘rewards’ in the sand pit to reward him for digging in the sand pit instead of our yard. Two out of our three ‘backyard neighbors’ have dogs. To keep Toby from digging under the fence to play with them, we’ve moved some of his poop around the perimeter of our yard by the fences so he can only pick up his own doggie smell and not the other dogs’ smell.

In just a few weekends worth of work, we have managed to make our backyard enjoyable again. After cleaning up all the trash, replacing our swimming pool liner, planting flowers, and hanging a few party lights in our tree, our backyard is ready for a party!

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  1. Katelyn B says:

    That’s the best thing to do with a dog prone to digging. It’s an instinct, you can’t stop them! May as well give Toby a place to dig freely.

  2. I had to laugh when I first read this article. I have two dogs in my yard and they destroy anything in their path. From the Pool to any plant that dares to survive. I have tried every product and command available and no result. They are getting out of the Puppy stage so I’m hoping this will solve the problem. Great article!
    Pool Service Miami

  3. Brandy Q says:

    I had to do the same thing! Dogs are great but their digging can ruin a perfectly manicured lawn!

  4. Christy says:

    Good ideas that I’m going to implement w Ruger our 11 month old lab/ blue heeler. He’s great w our 3 young children. He is smart, wants to please you, but he’s the most energized dog ive ever had. I grew up w labs & a springer spaniel, but our new dog is off the chart w energy! We have a large pile of fire wood stacked on the back decks, upper & lower. He somehow gets the large pieces in his mouth & has wood & bark dispersed all around the yard. I clean it daily, he has chewed up every plastic planter (the ones wo new plants thank goodness) he pulled a rose bush from the pot, got it root & all. He’s chewed up 3 rugs, 2 of his dog bed pillows. My husband looked outside asked me “What has Ruger chewed up now? It’s all over the yard…have you seen this?” I told him “more firewood & a ceramic pot but I thought I cleaned it all up” (which was not even 30 mins ago). He said “This is not wood”. Well w in the time from my last clean up Ruger chewed up 2 dog bed pillows, little pieces of white fluff everywhere! Oh we have a dog run w a link chain gate that we keep closed because Ruger climbs on his dog house & peers over the fence (I’m concerned he may jump so we keep the gate locked) he chewed through the gate to get on his dog house, I guess to see what’s going in the world. I asked my husband what do we do to get him to stop chewing? “dogs chew, that’s what they do”. He replied. I want my yard back so to speak, we have a pool & beautiful view of the lake, & empty lots on both sides. So accepting his his chewing as a forever thing is not an option. I’m going to cayenne pepper the wood & vinegar the planters & flower beds. And forget about the rugs. I’ll post any positive results.

  5. Chris says:

    Wow, that sounds like a party. Fortunately for my family our pet is a tiny little chihuahua. Only have to worry about large birds taking her away.

  6. Lisa says:

    I have six dogs. I make sure they have plenty of toys to chew on. Toys that hide treats inside are good. A dog chews because it is bored. I make sure that I stimulate my dogs on a daily basis. Going for walks, playing frisbee or ball are some suggestions. Make sure they can’t chew up the toys. Horse balls bought from a co op or tractor supply last the longest for my dogs. Rope toys can get stuck in the intestines and should never been given to a dog without supervision. Giving them a small kids pool to play in will also help. I also “walk” my dogs by allowing them to follow me on my bike. This tires them out. Creating a place for them to dig is an extremely good idea. Vinegar will kill plants if sprayed directly on the plant full strength. Vinegar will need to be reapplied at least bi weekly or after rain. I use it often for the cracks of my sidewalk. I was told by my vet to never use Cayenne pepper because it can cause severe stomach problems. Putting poop in a hole where the dog has been digging also keeps them from digging there again. There are sprays at pet stores that do work keeping a dog from chewing on things.

  7. swimming pool toys says:

    I think less people take care about the back yard, most of them generally focus on the house care and decorating them. Back yard is as important as your house. Very good article.

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