Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dogs and Gardening: The Larger Four Legged Pests

I nearly cry....

nearly scream.

A strange sensation comes over me, a sinking feeling with an odd mixture of righteous anger.

After hours of searching for the perfect plants, enduring numerous frustrating online checkout sessions, digging, laying, digging, layering, and finally placing not just seeds and flowers, but dreams and visions into fertile dirt, it comes to THIS!!

A hole.

A big whopping, dog sized hole right in the middle of my hard work. Not to mention disturbing the area where my disappointingly minuscule and precious few Wishbone and Perennial Primrose seeds were planted.


I had doubts they would grow as soon as I pulled out the tiny, Barbie doll sized envelope containing 25 (yes, they specified 25! How they counted I have no idea) seeds the size of a grain of salt...smaller, actually. And NOW, I might as well give up watching for them.


All is not lost!

After a good 4-Wheel ride, a walk in my cowboy boots (an empowering feeling I must say, why don't I wear them more often?!) the ingenuitive fighter arose in me once again!

Knowing I wasn't the only one to have struggled with this, I turned to the ultimate source of information....the Internet.

My findings were very interesting and gave me hope that I could solve this problem without giving up on my flowers OR banishing the dogs.

10 Tips for Keeping Dogs Out of Flower Beds

One of our three dogs, Joyce, enjoying some shaded seeting.
1. Mothballs-  Dogs apparently hate the smell of mothballs, but then again, doesn't everyone!

2. Their own poo-  I found lots of sources that said this worked great for them. The reason being is dogs will not do their duty in the same place they sleep and lie down, so if they are laying in your flower beds, this is a good way to keep them out. I'm not entirely fond of the idea of doggy poo in my flower bed tho 0_o

3. Orange Peelings-  another scent repellent dogs don't like, however this one is much easier on our own noses, and probably pretty good for our growing flowers. Just throw your orange peelings around the flower bed and reportedly dogs should stay clear.

4. MOUSE TRAPS!- I'll admit, this one sure caught my fancy at the time, granted I was still a little perturbed. People say they have used this trick for teaching dogs to stay off their furniture as well, although in those cases they hide the mouse trap under a couch pillow so when it goes off it won't hurt the dog. I'm not sure how one would accomplish that in an outdoor garden setting ( I have yet to see someone use pillows in their flower bed decor.) One person suggested tying string to the straps and somehow rigging it so the dogs would trip the string before actually sitting/stepping on the trap, merely providing the scare and startle of the trap without the pain.

5. Chili powder, Cayenne or Black Pepper- Dogs always sniff out an are before laying down. Sprinkle a bit of one of these three hot choices in your flower bed and the dog will go away pretty quickly. (Mom thought this was mean, I though, hey, dogs are smart, once may be all it takes, and if it works, then good.)

6. Rocks- This is actually the method that my brother (the official garden guru around here) uses in his flower beds. He fills them with old farming equipment and rocks. These uncomfortable

7. Sticks-  To make your flower beds less inviting and comfortable to your pooch, grab some twigs or skewers (as used for making kabobs) and poke them into the flower bed, spaced close enough together so there isn't a comfy dirt patch exposed. You don't need sharp sticks, just a protruding object so the 'bed' isn't comfy (think the Princess and the Pea).

8. Vinegar-  Again, dogs don't like the strong smell of this all around wonderfully useful liquid. Simply spray undiluted vinegar around the perimeter of the flower bed. I went ahead and sprayed it lightly on the soil inside on the 'problem area', the special spot they like to return to. I don't know if the vinegar would harm the plants or not, so I didn't spray it all over inside.

9. Half full water bottles-  This one sounds pretty strange, but I came across person after person that swears this works! No idea why, but over and over it warded off unwanted puppy dog in their beds and on their lawns. All they did was take old water bottle (pop bottles) filled them half full with water, then laid them on their sides scattered around the flower bed or around the perimeter of their yard to keep out strays who liked to leave little gifts.

and finally....

10. Give them their OWN place- The reason our canine friends are sleeping in our flower beds is because they are looking for a cool, shaded place to nap. Create that same environment somewhere they CAN lie down: wet down the grass under the shade of a tree, create a separate plant bed for them that you don't mind getting a little tousled, or make up a sand box in a shaded place and keep it moist.

So there you have it!

I have already implemented orange peels and a vinegar spray around my afore mentioned flower bed. It has been a whole day and so far the perpetrator hasn't returned! It was only 80 degrees F today (a cool spell!) and cloudy so it doesn't mean much just yet. The real test will be a hot, sunny day when the temperatures reach a squelching 100+ F!

I'll let you know how goes the battle in the near future! In the mean time, good luck and happy gardening!


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