Protect your landscape and maintain a happy haven for your pet with these tips.
Pets just wanna have fun.
But if Fido is rollicking through the garden and lawn digging craters and squashing seedlings, he’s definitely a party pooper, or just a backyard pooper. Your landscape is the loser.
But, say Oklahoma outdoor experts, happy pets can coincide with a well-groomed landscape if you have the know-how. The solution is training your animals and planting the right plants in the right places.
Sue Gray, Oklahoma State University Extension horticulturist in Tulsa, has a favorite trick to keep dogs from destroying a landscape. Dogs, she says, like to patrol the perimeter of a yard and, as a result, leave unsightly, pounded-down trails. The solution is simple: Plant shrubs about 3 feet from the fence line. The dog is happy on patrol, and the plants are spared a daily battering.
Gray says most of her tips come from friend and fellow Oklahoma horticulturist Albert Sutherland. They are Oklahoma specific.
Training your dog on good outdoor manners is a must. And remember that a bored dog is a destructive dog that digs and tears at plants. The best solution is taking regular walks with your pet. A 20-minute walk every other day is the minimum; once a day is best (and good for you!). If you don’t have the time or inclination for regular walks, a goldfish would probably be a better pet.
Dogs should not be allowed the entire yard to do their “stuff.” Create a “favorite” spot with a layer of pea gravel or mulch. Training involves multiple leash trips to this doggy potty and many treats to reward good behavior. The effort is initially time consuming, but in the long run is well worth it.
Curious though it may sound, if you are doing major gardening, such as digging in new shrubs, keep your four-legged buddy indoors. You don’t want him to get the idea that this is a dandy pastime.
If all training fails, Dr. Robert Poteet, longtime Tulsa vet, suggests installing a strategically placed, radar-controlled “invisible fence” to keep dogs in their place.
Sutherland provides many more tips in his publication “Dogs in the Landscape.” Copies and computer access information are available through the OSU Extension office in Tulsa.