Dog Friendly Garden: Four Elements

Every dog deserves a safe place to run, play, explore and nap. You can create a pet friendly yard that is both beautiful and functional for every member of the family. There are many low cost ideas to coexist peacefully with your furry pals.

The first planning step to resolving any behavior challenges is to study your dog’s personality and how it likes to use the landscape. Where does he like to nap? Where does she play? What are his favorite spots to “go potty”? What views does she like to sit or lie down and watch?

Here’s one of the mistakes I made landscaping and our dog, Daisy the hound-lab mix, set me straight: I thought it was a good (clever?) idea to plant a shasta daisy plant near her favorite place to sit in our sideyard. Well, she told me otherwise. She wanted to plant herself in that spot so she had an unobstructed view of the street scene and our neighbor’s yard. She repeatedly sat on the poor daisy plant to get her point across and express her displeasure.

I eventually moved the plant to another spot in the yard where it thrived, and Daisy could again enjoy her perch. I simply put mulch and a stepping stone in that area – it was a pet friendly solution and attractive to humans as well… a win-win for everyone.

Here are four elements to consider when creating a dog friendly yard:

1. Designated Potty Area – To limit the aesthetic impact to your lawn, encourage your pet to eliminate in the same area each time. Choosing a “potty spot” in an out of the way corner of the yard can hide the damage. Encourage your pet to drink more water which naturally dilutes the nitrogen concentration (cause of lawn urine burn). For boy dogs, there are plants and shrubs that are more forgiving such as flowering, woody shrubs like spirea, viburnum, shrub roses, and weigela.

2. Exercise and Running Area – Most dogs love the exhilaration of a full-speed gallop! For a champion sprinter or ball catcher, make sure to include a long, narrow area of turf to indulge your pup’s need for speed. This strengthens their muscles, banishes boredom and most of all is fun!

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3. Shade – A spot to keep cool is a must for dogs that enjoy time in the garden. Your best friend needs a place to escape from the hot sun so a shady area is a very important element to a dog friendly landscape. Make sure your pup has a comfortable spot to rest such as an outdoor dog bed, futon, or cooling mat. Quality and attractive products available at the link above.

4. Water – Dogs need a spot to hydrate in the yard. A source of cool, fresh water they can drink when the need arises especially after a vigorous play session You can easily create a freshwater fountain for your pooch using the popular water garden accessories, or simply bring out a large bowl of fresh water when you sit in the yard together.

In summary, design the landscape with your canine companion in mind and provide plenty of exercise and a few creature comforts. That way, your dog pal and landscape will thrive and co-exist in beautiful harmony.

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Category: Dog Behavior and Training, Dog Friendly Yard Ideas