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How to Keep Dogs Out of Your Garden: 11 Ways to Protect Your Plants

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Dog Care By Kate Brunotts 7 min read April 11, 2022

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how to keep dogs away from garden

Dogs are often drawn to gardens, which can result in quite a bit of damage to your plants. So, whether your own pet is tearing up your garden or the neighborhood pooch pack is crushing your crops, you need to find a way to protect your plants. 

Don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to safely keep dogs out of your garden. We’ll share some of the most effective ways to do so below!

11 Ways to Keep Dogs Out of Your Garden

Here are a few of the best strategies for protecting your plants from pupper problems. Just understand that  you may have to test out a couple methods to find what works best in your specific circumstances.

1.  Install a Fence

ways to keep dogs out of garden

Installing a dog-proof fence isn’t just great for containing your canine – fences can also protect your plants. Just make sure the fence is high enough to prevent dogs from climbing or jumping over it, and you may need to extend the fence below-ground a bit to deter digging attempts. 

You can also use a more temporary modular fence, if you think you can train your own pooch to stop entering the garden over time. This will require more effort and time spent training, but it’ll save you some money and labor in the long run. 

2. Build a Natural Boundary

ways to keep dogs off your garden

Many pups won’t bother getting into a garden if it’s bordered by thick bushes or some dog-repelling plants.

Just note that  you’ll want to keep an extra eye on your dog when employing this approach. A lot of the best dog-repelling plants have sharp spines or leaves, and you don’t want to unintentionally injure your pet.

You’ll also have to weigh the potential danger these plants represent for other dogs who may be interested in your garden.

Nevertheless, this method can be very helpful and also spruce up the overall apearance of your garden. 

3. Motion-Activated Sprinklers

how to keep dogs away from garden

Motion-activated sprinklers may give some dogs the slight jolt they need to leave your garden alone. As a bonus, the additional water the sprinklers spray may help your plant-watering needs! 

Just note that some water-loving pups might not be deterred by sprinklers. 

If you think this strategy might be a good fit for your furry friend, we think the Orbit Motion-Activated Sprinkler is clearly one of the best. It comes with a built-in spike you can use to install it in your garden, and it has an adjustable range, so you can aim it in the most effective direction. 

4. Canine-Repelling Smells 

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Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, and they are more sensitive to certain scents than we are. So, you may want to try making a DIY dog repellent spray to keep local doggos out of your garden. 

Some of the best dog-repelling ingredients include things like apple cider vinegar, citrus, and small amounts of cayenne pepper (just go easy with the cayenne – it can be incredibly irritating to dogs). 

5. Train Your Dog

keep dogs out of garden

Unfortunately, this method will only work with your furry friend – it won’t work for the other dogs in the neighborhood. But you can definitely train your dog to avoid the garden area completely. 

Whenever you spend time outside with your furry friend, offer a stern “No” when your dog approaches the garden area, and redirect him to a preferred play area. Once he moves away from your garden, reward him with plenty of praise and treats. 

Your dog will get the message eventually, but it may be helpful to set up temporary barriers, such as a fence in the meantime. 

6. Layout a Pooch Path

keep dog away from garden

Some dogs definitely seem dead set on damaging your plants. They may tear off leaves, nom on tasty fruits and veggies, or dig up plants entirely. But others just cause problems by running through your little plot of plants. 

In these cases, you might just need to create an alternative path through or around the garden to prevent your pooch from running into your plants. You’ll have to figure out the best path to lay out, but make it pooch-appealing by using a soft material, such as dog-safe mulch or AstroTurf to create the path.  

And you can further discourage dogs from setting foot in the garden area by creating a rockier texture with pebbles or other substrate around your plants. Given the choice, most dogs will stick to walking on soft, paw-pleasing surfaces. 

7. Install a Dog-Friendly Digging Area

keep dog away from garden

Some canines seem compelled to dig in your garden, which can cause all kinds of headaches.

So, if your darling dog loves to dig, you may want to try providing a designated digging area that’ll serve as an alternative.  By purchasing a pre-made sandbox or creating your own, you can likely stop your dog from digging holes in your garden and other delicate areas.

This may involve a bit of training though. Just encourage your dog to dig in the designated spot instead of the garden by redirecting him there anytime you catch him in the act. Then, provide him with praise and treats whenever he spends time in the box. 

8. Install Signs

keep dog out of garden

Dogs obviously can’t read, but some “keep out” signs may help encourage other owners to keep their dogs from peeing on your lawn. Signs are also a pretty inexpensive tool, compared to some other options.  

You may also want to consider pairing a sign with a visible barrier (such as a fence) to make it easier for your neighbors to see what is off limits. 

9. Install a Video Camera

how to keep dogs off my garden

It’s definitely a provocative move, but installing a video camera can definitely help you identify the dogs and owners who’re trespassing in your garden and put an end to the problem. 

It’s important to note that this will often lead to an eventual confrontation, but some basic footage can help when contacting the police or your local homeowners association. 

10. Protect Plants with Chicken Wire

how to keep dogs from garden

If fencing is outside your budget or you want a temporary aid to protect your plants from pups, pick up some chicken wire. Just make sure the wire covering the plants doesn’t have any sharp edges exposed so that you don’t accidentally injure dogs – you can even find plastic-coated varieties, which will provide additional safety. 

Another option are premade chicken wire enclosures. These can help protect your plants from pups, as well as bunnies and rodents who may be interested in perturbing your plants. And, of course, because they’re pre-built, they’ll save you a ton of time. 

11. Ultrasonic Deterrents

keep dog out of my garden

Dogs have excellent hearing and are able to pick up higher frequencies than the human ear. Ultrasonic deterrents are designed to work by playing these ultra-high frequencies that may repel your furry friend without waking up the rest of the neighborhood. 

Now, these ultrasonic devices don’t appear to deter all dogs, and owners have had mixed results using them. But they still may be worth trying. If you’re going to do so, this ultrasonic animal deterrent is solar powered and waterproof, making it a convenient choice for outdoor use. 

Other Dog-Friendly Gardening Tips

how to keep dogs from my garden

Some pet parents are equal parts plant- and pooch-lover. Here are a couple of other dog-friendly gardening tips to consider:

  • Seek out dog-friendly plants. Avoid poisonous pooch plants like tulips, English ivy, and Sago palm. Instead, consider dog-friendly shrubs and other dog-friendly yard plants like tropical hibiscus and basil. There are also plenty of dog-safe flowers you can plant, such as baby’s breath, carnations, and sunflowers.  
  • Consider container gardening. Simply put, container gardening is electing to grow plants in pots and raised containers rather than directly into the ground. In addition to deterring your dog from digging, containers can also be easier to take inside during the colder months to save your budding botanicals. 
  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Some pesticides and herbicides may make your furry friend sick. Practice organic gardening as much as possible, and if you do need to kill some undesirable plants, stick to pet-safe weed killers.  

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Plants and pets don’t always mix, but hopefully these tips can help you protect your garden from curious canines. 

Do you have a green thumb? How do you make your garden pet-friendly? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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