By: Judy Luther
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
For Pets Best Insurance
Originally this article was going to be titled “Gardening with your Dog”, but as I started to write, I realized, I don’t actually garden with my dog. For the most part gardening and dogs don’t mix well. There are several reasons why, but the main reason is that dogs tend to mimic. Dogs are extremely observant and often mimic or copy movements and behaviors they observe.
Have you ever planted a beautiful flower bed, only to later seen your dog or puppy proudly running through your yard carrying the geranium, you just planted? Well, he just saw his owner digging a hole and planting a flower, so why can’t he do the same?
Since this is not the type of gardening help I prefer, I keep my dogs safely away from the gardening activities and dangerous gardening tools. It is a good idea to consider pet insurance if your pet will be spending a lot of time outdoors with you. Once I am finished planting, my dogs are welcome to join me as I relax and enjoy my garden.
Even though I take precautions to avoid digging and planting in my dogs presence, they are still dogs and occasionally like to dig in my yard. Dogs just like to dig, and it is a normal part of being a dog. So how do you stop this unwanted behavior? I give my dogs a digging area. This is a place where my dogs are allowed and encouraged to dig. A digging pit is easy to make. You can use a small child’s swimming pool or sand box, or simply designate a small area of your yard to dig in. Fill with potting soil ( use a basic potting soil without added chemicals) and a small bit if sand to keep the soil from clumping up. Hide tennis balls, chew toys, rope toys, Kong toys, and anything else your dog may be interested in finding.
When I catch my dogs digging, I simply direct them to their own digging pit. After several times of redirecting them to their digging pit, they stop digging in the yard and go directly to their digging pit. And since their are fun toys in the digging pit, your dog will happily dig there.
Another gardening tip is to make sure the plants you include in your garden are safe for dogs. There are several sources on the internet that list plants that are toxic to dogs. Avoid these plants to keep your dog safe and healthy. If your dog does come in contact with toxic plants, take them immediately to the veterinarian for a pet health evaluation.
Keeping your pets out of the garden may also be an issue to you. The easiest way to handle this is with management, you can put up boundary fencing around all of your gardens. There is another option. Teach your dog to stay out of the flower beds by using boundary training.
My final suggestion regarding gardening, is to be very aware of the pesticides and weed killers you use. There are many pet friendly options to control pests in your garden Your local garden center is a great source of information. They can help you find good safe options to keep your garden looking great and your pets happy and safe.
Even with the best safe guards in place, I always feel confident that Pets Best Insurance is there to back me and my pet up. Whether it is a puppy getting tangled in a thorny rose bush or my older dog getting mixed up with a swamp of bumble bees, I can depend on Pets Best Insurance.