Gardening Dogs

floraphile(z8 AL GulfCoast)April 26, 2003

I'm sure that many of us have dogs, cats, and other beloved pets who enjoy "helping" us as we garden. My two dogs (Molly the cocker spaniel and Daisy the Eskie) certainly do! Of course, sometimes the help isn't very... *helpful*.

Like this week, when Daisy shredded some newspaper I'd carefully placed under mulch to deter weeds. (By the time I saw what she was doing, there were shreds all over the place!) Or last week, when Molly decided that my new mint plant smelled *so* good-- and subsequently tried frantically to reach it through the fence. (Thank goodness I hadn't tried to plant it *inside* the fence!)

What are some of things your own thoughtful pets have done to "help"?

Oh, and if you care to see my two adorable pups, check out my husband's newest Flash experient, which shows them dancing:

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Wendy_the_Pooh(z5/6 NY)

Thanks for the laughs. They dance very well... My cat J.C. (Jazzy Cat) only tries to mows the lawn, one blade at a time, whenever she escapes. It would be helpful, and since I am the one who ends up mowing, I always ask her nicely to mow the lawn for me, but she is just SO SLOW!

She chases her tail like a dog - that's almost like dancing!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2003 at 7:42PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

My Bichon Frise has to give the dirt, grass or mulch some HUGE shoves with his feet, where ever he piddles. I end up carrying a wisk broom on our walks around the neighborhood, because he pushes the mulch out onto the sidewalk. Arraugh!

When he is done at the groomer, and looking and smelling so beautiful, he cant wait to rush to the flower beds and roll around and get all smelly again. Only one of the reasons I keep him in a 'puppy' cut.

Bogey would adore your Molly and Daisy. They sound like his kind of ladies.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2003 at 8:41PM
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rhine59(5 WI)

I have had dogs since I was a little kid. Our current dog is a mutt, a Dingo/English Bulldog mix. This dog is far and away the strangest I have ever had. He is totally devoted to my wife and me and will not leave our side, but at the same time he is the stubbornest animal I have ever came across. I can call him in from outside and if he doesn't want to come in, he will just stand there and stare at me, not challenging but just acting like he doesn't understand me. Whenever we call him to do something that he doesn't want to do, that's how he acts, like he has no idea what we are talking about. Now, this might sound kind of gross but he also has a thing about his poop. In the winter when we can't get out in back and clean up after him as often as we should, he remembers where every pile is that he's ever dropped and takes precautions to avoid them. By the end of winter, he will walk what seems like miles, dancing around his droppings to get back to the house. This year he seemed to come up with a new idea and he made a T shaped path from the back of the house where he would not poop and just kind of branched off from the ends of the T to do his duty. When he was done he would skip and hop back to the tip of his T and follow the path back to the house.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2003 at 12:22AM
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drtynails(z6 MD)

I potted up one purple Wave Petunia and five Marigolds in one of my containers and set it on the back porch so I could keep an eye on it to make sure it took. That night, I let my three dogs out for the last time before bed. I swear, they we only out for about two minutes. When I went to let them in, that pot looked a little odd. On closer inspection, I realized that all the flowers had been eaten off and two of the Marigolds had beed uprooted and chewed up. Dirt was everywhere. Of course none of the three would fess up but I knew who the culprit was. My one year old Corgi, Mina had had a one minute feast. I admonished her with names like "plant eater" and "plant killer" but she just smiled back and asked for another yummy flower to eat.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2003 at 9:16AM
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I have a black standard poodle named Lila who also has a puppy cut and who LOVES to garden. Generally, she does her best to avoid trampling the plants as she chases a tennis ball around the yard, but this year she helped out by munching all the tulips! They must taste good because I caught her eating them with relish more than once!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2003 at 9:46AM
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Our 120 lb.German Shepard adores flowers. As a baby she uprooted everything in the backyard. It's only now that she is nearly four that we have been able to safely replant the back yard. She loves fragrant flowers - understands now that they are to smell and not to eat. Last month I bought her her own Osmanthus which she absolutely loves! She spends all of her free time with this bush now - her body pressed up against the pot and her face in amongst the flowering branches. She's a weird one...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 6:15PM
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I am so glad you started this. Oh, yes, my 7 month old Boston Terrier puppy, Zoe likes to "help" her momma. I recently bought a scented geranium and planted it. I turned my back to put down the potting soil and when I turned around the plant was gone! She had pulled it out with her teeth and took off running. Fortunately I was able to get it away from her undamaged with a treat.

Now her newest thing is trying to get into my strawberry patch. She grabbed one of the biggest green ones on Sunday and chopped it down. I have a net over the plants so the birds can't get to it, but little miss thing keeps trying to get out the plants. I go over and find her trying to get under the netting. She is such a mess!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2003 at 1:05PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

My jack russell seems to think that my newly planted annuals make the most comfy places to nap. I find her streched out on top of them with all that soft begonia cushioning.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2003 at 9:33PM
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springcherry(6/7 Philly,PA)

Pondwelr, my Bichon, Core, does the same thing as ours, with shoveling everything back with his back feet after pooping. Obviously, we try not to let him poop in the garden.

One of the happiest romps in his life was when we got ready to spread out leaf mulch one autumn. We had some big piles in the back yard and he went wild in full Bichon blitz mode - jumping up and down throu it barking like a crazy dog, rolling in it, squirming in it, sticking his face into it, rubbing it in his face with his forepaws. Of course my husband and I joined in, chasing him thru it all and wresteling him in the piles.

And amazaingly enough, when it was all done, our mulch was pretty thouroughly spread out. But Corey, oh my, did once lily-white Corey ever need a bath:-)


    Bookmark   May 15, 2003 at 3:37PM
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daisydolphin(7b GA)

My Norfolk Terrier, Kirby, really helped a lot last fall by chasing those theiving squirrels away from my newly planted bulbs. She's not fast enough to catch them, which is good, but it's great exercise for her and saves me headaches!

I still don't know what the deal is with scratching & flinging dirt after she poos. We call it "peeling out" and she does it every time. ;)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2003 at 10:19AM
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Great dancing doggies !
I've also someone I can't do without, but it's a cat !

Eclipse loves flowers.

Here is a link that might be useful: To my balcony ...

    Bookmark   May 17, 2003 at 10:01AM
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I have two greyhounds, one who LOVES raspberries. As I pick the raspberries from my bushes she's right there getting one for every two I pick. She's a smart dog and realized that those yummy treats were coming off the bush. She promplty picked one off the bush, then spit it out because it didn't taste very good. It was still green, not yet ripe. She hasn't touched the bushes since.It's a good thing she's colorblind or I wouldn't have any raspberries!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2003 at 11:39PM
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We have a cat, Stinky (he passed gas a lot as a young kitten and we never got around to changing this name, arg.... His mother was run over when he was a baby and he and his brothers and sisters were found almost dead by a friend. She nursed them to health with a vet friend (little kitty IV's and antibiotics). They got lots of love and all were ready to go to good homes when her malmutes got into her house and killed two and mangled two. After several hours of surgery and $1000 later, the two kitties came home. Stinky hid behind the couch and was unscathed. Consequently, he is very needy. He has to be held a lot and needs to suck all the time - he's 4 years old. And, he frightens easily.

So, I'm outside in the yard on my hands and knees weeding and Stinky jumps on my back and starts to suck my shirt. LOL This has happened several times, and once I was talking with an older neighbor outside and I saw Stinky eyeing him then he jumped into his arms.

He's a great friend, though, because he follows me everywhere in the yard, and I can ask him gardening questions, like, "Stinky, what flowers do you think I should plant to attract the hummingbirds?" He never ignors me like my teenagers, so I'm quite in debt to him.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 12:58AM
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undercover_owl(8 Pac.NW)

What a lucky cat, PNW!
LOL! I have garden-pets too!
Mobius: My small dog also eats freshly picked grapes & raspberries.

The big dog is a "hard worker", digging up newly planted things. I'm sure he thinks he is helping. LOL

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 2:37AM
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Be careful with the grapes. I read about half the dogs that eat grapes have kidney failure. Something about the seeds - it happens with raisins too.

My girl Heidi stands over me, watching everything I plant then when I turn my back, promptly digs it up!

I also have cats that love the garden. We even cut a small hole in the fence so that "Gizmo" has her own doorway so she won't have to jump the fence! Last year, though, she pulled up every catmint plant that I just planted and she loves rolling around in the mature catmint plants. Next spring, I'm planting a kitty cat garden, with catmint, cat thyme and catnip. Hopefully, this will keep her out of "my" garden.

Oh, my other girl dog, Tori, digs a hole then lays in it, but only the front part fits so you see just the back end. My neighbors must think I'm crazy for burying my dog that way. So, I am putting in a sandbox for the dogs. Someone told me that if dogs have a soft place to dig, it keeps them from digging in the rest of the garden. You can also hide treats in it to keep them going to it. We'll see if it works!

By the way, many people think that Greyhounds don't get along with cats, but about 90% get along with cats fine. Outside, my cats have learned that they don't RUN. My cat Fritz learned the hard way, by running across the lawn. I watched in horror as Tori bolted for him. Poor Fritz thought he was the fastest thing alive but then he looked up to see Tori right over him and I swear if he could have talked he would have said "Holy S***!!!". Then he ran for his life! Tori's mouth came down and I thought that was the end for Fritz, but she just made one big lick down his back, as if to say "I could have eaten you if I wanted". He made it into the house with only his pride hurt (and all wet of course) and Tori was as happy as a clam, she was still the fastest! Fritz NEVER runs in the yard now, he just walks and everything works out fine.

Tina (mobius)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 6:02AM
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well, she's not a dog, but my rabbit Fanny is my gardening buddy. She tastes all the new plants to make sure they are proper additions to her garden.

She also helps me germinate sweet peas.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 2:59PM
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She is wonderfully cute! I've always liked rabbits but with my cats I'll pass for now (My Greyhounds would not be a problem, in fact Heidi is so gentle, and loves baby animals- we ended up getting her a kitten - she adores it.)
But Fanny in a pot is adorable and makes me want one!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 8:50PM
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Hi Mobius,

i read somewhere that cats and rabbits can get along fine. She's very much like a cat in her habits... and she is paper trained as well.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2003 at 1:54PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

We are getting a dog monday. We have never owned one and my biggest fear for the garden is the dog peeing in it. Will that hurt anything?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2003 at 6:20PM
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Is it a male or female? Female dogs urine is stronger and can make burn marks in the lawn. For this you can try and do a few things. One thing that works for some is feeding your dog a 1/2 of tomato juice a day - it seems to lessen the acid in the urine. There are also pills you can get from your vet. As for males - I have no idea as I've only had female dogs.
You'll find that dogs will make their own paths, may dig and pull up plants and eat things that they shouldn't. They do NOT have an instinct to leave toxic plants alone.
Take care with any rose bushes (possible eye scratches) and any metal edging (cuts on the paw).
Make sure you don't have any poisonous plants in your yard. There are plants that are toxic (make pets sick) and ones that can kill.
I have a few things that might be toxic but I leave them in if my dogs leave them alone. But I do NOT leave in any plants that are fatal if eaten.
Plants that can kill are: foxglove (it has digitalis in it), moonflowers (datura), yew, Delphiniums (Alkaloids), castor bean, oleander, nightshade, monkshood, Lantana, hemlock, Nicotiana, and there are more. Below is a great link on poisonous plants (of North Carolina, but very useful no matter where you live).

Here is a link that might be useful: Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

    Bookmark   September 28, 2003 at 12:46AM
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dereks(6 Utah)

Mobius, thanks for the tips. We will get the dog from the shelter tomorrow. She was severely abused by her previous owner, nearly starved to death when she was brought in. We will give her a much better life.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2003 at 11:01AM
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Dogs who have a rough time make the best friends. They are so grateful for your kindness and love that they bond completely. I have two greyhounds, rescued from the track and they are so wonderful. Don't be surprised if your new dog goes through a "second puppyhood" once she trusts you completely. I think many dogs who have bad experiences when young go through this play stage that they could not do before. Luckily, they already have gone through the potty training stage. I am so happy for you.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2003 at 1:25PM
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Hi again Tina -- a friend of mine is adopting a greyhound from a rescue organization. She already has a part greyhound named Lucy. A wonderful dog.

Dereks, best wishes for you and your new family member!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2003 at 1:59PM
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Otto, my 10 month old pup helped my husband in the garden during some fall clean-up. Otto saw my husband clearing out old dead plants and stacking them in a pile to haul away. So, Otto being very eager to please, decided to help by pulling out a 12 ft tree to add to the pile.

Unfortunately for my husband, I hadn't yet told him that the tree in question didn't leaf out this summer and I was going to get rid of it. My husband re-planted it before I got home.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 3:26PM
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A good gardening dog!!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 8:05PM
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lynne_melb(z9b Melb FL)

My westies:

- digging up the grass for no reason other than that they are terriers
- trampling flowers to chase lizards
- attacking sprinkler heads
- rolling in the dirt

They make up for it by being therapy dogs. They are all rescues.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 12:14AM
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TexasTina(Z8b San Antonio)

I have little to contribute as my 9 year old, 60 lb. lapdog (mutt named Sherman, as in Sherman Tank) whom I've had since he was abandoned at about 5 months of age, doesn't really "help" me garden. He's just out there with me. On second thought, maybe that's how he helps. Just bonding with me and not getting in my way. Great thread.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 3:34AM
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Your disco doggies are so cute, Floraphile!!

We have 2 dogs: a border collie and an english springer spaniel. They are very helpful when it comes to planning. They trample grass to death to suggest possible new bed locations, and if they think I've planted something in the wrong location, they will cheerfully dig it up for me. :-)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 7:56AM
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My cat, Frankie, prefers to take a more supervisory role with gardening....

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 11:35PM
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My dog Sonny, a yellow english lab, loves to frolic in my garden beds... To bad I love him.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:54PM
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