Help! I can't keep my dogs out of my flowerbeds. Does anyone have any techniques or concoctions that keep them out?
My technique is a fence. ;-) The dogs get the back yard, and I get the front yard. :-)
I know a family in Michigan that uses their invisible fencing to keep their dogs out of the flower and vegetable gardens. Its about 100 dollars and they say it works every year. They have been doing that for 4 years now and say it has paid for itself since they do not have to replace plants. Good luck with whatever you end up doing.
My problem was that my dogs loved to lay in my flowerbeds or roll around in them. So I made them as uncomfortable as possible by placing large rocks where they liked to lounge around. Also, I would cut tomato cages down into 3 or 4 mini cages and place them around smaller plants. The dogs couldn't walk through them or lay on them. They soon learned to find a better place to snooze.
Maybe try squirting with a hose?
Camping out in the flowerbed with a hose might get a little old, but maybe this would work....
Here is a link that might be useful: Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler
I have the same technique as the first who responded: Dogs get the back yard, I get the front yard! The back yard is fenced, and I just keep the flowering stuff in the front.
I'm also a dog trainer, by the way (positive methods only). I can imagine that you could develop a training program that would keep them out. Teaching "Leave it," and being out there with them, supervising, for several months, repeating "Leave it" when they near the beds, and rewarding them leaving the beds alone. But it would take a lot of time, reinforcement and dedication. I think it's easier to just garden in the front yard. :)
If you want to give "Leave it" a whirl and need info on how to teach it, I'd be happy to try to help. :)
What worked for us was the pet electic fence. It is about $50 and comes with everything you need. you can buy more wire to expand it as needed. We start with a small garden area and she then learned what the wire was and stayed away from it. We now have our veggi garden with it but it is not hooked up and she stays out of it.
Another way to do this is use one type of border around all your beds you want dog out of and then use the leave it command and train dog to reconize the border as a no pass zone. I find when training the leave it the first time you need to startle the dog with the command. So getting close to the dog and saying it loud and comanding gets that done. After that you do not have to be so forcfull. If your voice is too soft find a friend to help do it that talks louder. You need to make it a comand not a question and when the dog does leave it give a good food reward some kind of soft treat with alot of praise. And Never leave the dog unsupervised till they have learned to stay out of the beds.
I gave up. My dogs (yep all 4 of them) get the house. They are much happier in the A/C. They dont go out alone to do their business, cause I have one that is an escape artist then I can also watch to make sure they aren't in the flower beds. (they would rather be in my bed anyway)
If you start small with "Leave It," you won't have to be forceful. It will also make "Leave It" a thing that they will do for you very willingly and happily.
Hold a small treat in your hand, fist closed over the treat. The dog will sniff and lick your hand, trying to get at the treat. As soon as the dog loses interest and looks away - the INSTANT the dog looks away - open your hand and give the treat. It doesn't take a dog long to catch onto the fact that they only get the treat when they are not actively pursuing the treat. Once you have gotten this behavior pretty reliably (backing off the treat), pair it with the command "Leave It."
"Leave it" can then be expanded to a treat in an open hand, then a treat placed on the floor in front of them. You still have close enough access to the treat to place your hand or foot over it if they go for it. You are helping them generalize "Leave It" to other locations and situations. Whenever they successfully leave the treat, reward them with another treat that you produce from your hand or a pocket and praise them like they have just won the Nobel Peace Prize. It also helps if the treat you reward them with is more valuable than the one you were asking them to leave (ask them to leave a piece of kibble, reward with a piece of hot dog). Thus, they learn it is more rewarding to them to leave the treat, because you are going to give them something even better!
This takes a lot of repetitions, but it pays big dividends to train it correctly. It is a very valuable command - right up there with "Come," "Sit" and "Stay." There are so many situations where this phrase can come in handy, way too many to name.
Example: I have a Lab who is a walking stomach. He has eaten, or attempted to eat, some very inappropriate things in his lifetime. We soon learned that he needed a solid "Leave It" if he was going to survive past a year. :)
The other day we were at a training class. The instructor had brought some wrapped chocolates for the students, and left them chilling in, of all things, a DOG BOWL! I should have known this was going to be a problem, but I didn't say anything and before I knew it my dog was on the other side of the ring with his face hovering over a bowl of chocolate. Chocolate is, of course, toxic to dogs. Scared me to death. But I issued a quick, "Leave it!" and he came bounding back to me. Phew! He got a lot of cheese for that one.
The point being, when you get a solid "Leave it," you can transfer it to anything. I highly recommend training it this way, as it gives the dog a better, more universal understanding of what you want.
We adopted a blue heeler this spring, who enjoys chewing everything, including a newly planted apple tree. He also loves digging. The tree was planted in the backyard, and the back yard is fenced - it's dog territory, but our other 2 beagles have never shown an interest in destroying my plantings so I didn't even think about it. So the heeler dug the tree up and carried it around the yard - using it as a chew toy. I was determined to grow one more apple tree, as I needed a polinator for my other apple tree (planted just outside of the fence). So, we bought a new tree and planted it, then put chicken wire down on the ground around it. We staked the wire down then mulch over the wire. We used steel fence posts on two sides of the tree, so the 4-legged destroyer can't get his mouth around the trunk. It worked! He raked back all the mulch but of course couldn't dig deeper and couldn't get a hold on the tree. I don't think something this drastic is what you're looking for in a planting bed, but it worked for our tree. Now I just gotta work on breaking him from chewing up chairs...
Fence posts on either side of the trunk is genius! Never would have thought of that!
Thanks for all the input guys!
Hey could the "leave it" guy or gal come stay at my house for awhile? We have my daughters 2 boxers and a collie and a couple of beagles. The boxers and collie do the run through with my flower beds and break stems but the old beagles like to make their bed there. They only lay in there at night when nobody's out there so it's really hard to catch them. When I go out in the morning they're gone but leave a big indentation where they spread the mulch and lay down. The boxers and collie usually stay in the back fenced yard but my dear hubby thinks they need to get out ant run in the front. Anyway, I think we need training for the dogs or us, not sure which...
ha ha Kathy! That's quite an assortment you have there!
Dog trainers like to say that it's always the people who need the training. ;)
The thing about "Leave It" is, it takes a lot of repetitions and consistency. If the dogs are out in the yard on their own with no one there to guide them, they are going to make up their own rules and there's not much you can do about it. You would need to be supervising them whenever they were in the yard to be successful.
One thing you might try for the Beagles is to make them their own bed. As you probably realize, they are attracted to the coolness of the dirt. If they are older, their joints may be a bit stiff or sore and a soft bed is the most comfortable place to rest. Maybe you could find a shady area, loosen the dirt or fill it with nice, soft new dirt, and see if they will adopt it as their new lounging spot. This is a good strategy for recreational diggers as well: Make them their own "digging hole" with loose dirt, burying a few of their favorite toys or treats to get them started.
You're right...we are the ones who need the training. The most common command from me is "get out of my flowers!!!" and they don't pay attention at all and my husband really doesn't care till they get in his vegegable garden...like I said we really need a trainer. It's like a circus most of the time.