Where has the time gone? It’s been a while since I’ve written but I’m back. I read with amusement this article about dogs and the garden click here and realized that one of the biggest behavioral problems encountered is the destruction that dogs often cause in the gardens. I know my dog is no exception but he’s mellowed in his age and with the plants getting more established, it’s less of an issue if he opts to dig a hole or 2 here and there.
There are a couple of general rules that I set out for pet owners and their dogs when it comes to gardens. This is especially true for puppies who are more likely to be chewing on bark etc but it also applies to adult dogs. Avoid these plants/trees in the garden :
4. macadamia nuts
5. wandering jew
6. yew tree
There’s an exhaustive list of plants in the garden to avoid and I guess as with most owners, it’s not something that you can just say, ‘now that I have a dog, I’ll rip up the entire garden and replant.’ Although some have, a lot of us just live with what we have and not all dogs will chew plants. If they are given ample stimulation in other ways in the form of toys, play time with you etc, they will be less likely to be chewing on plants to pass time. I rarely if ever see poisonings from dogs eating plants in the garden (that’s not to say they don’t occur) but more often than not, the poisonings that frequent the vet clinic are usually related to dogs ingesting snail bait (there are dog safe ones), rat bait, raisins, grapes, anti-freeze (it tastes sweet and dogs love it but it does horrendous things to their kidneys), chocolate.
Realize that dogs use the backyard more than you do and I guess if they have their own idea of what ‘landscaping’ should look like, then well, you may need to accept it for a while until they are more mellow in age. If you are establishing a certain part of the garden and want your pet out of it, then I would suggest either fencing it off until the plants are large enough to stand up to the occasional stomp or to train your pet to stay out of that area of the garden. Use flower pots – they are less likely to be trampled on, the larger ones will stand up to more than smaller plastic ones which could get knocked over.
And if you find that the backyard looks like a bomb hit it at the moment, take heart, that little puppy will grow older and learn to respect the garden more and feel less inclined to have urges to redecorate and you could end up with a ‘nice’ garden in time. Meanwhile, just relax and enjoy the time you have with your puppy – it’s priceless.