Dogs In The Garden
In deciding to share our homes, lives and gardens with a dog, we accept that adaptations will have to be made.
There are many ways that these changes can be positive ones - having a dog as a companion can open up a whole world of new experiences and enjoyments. We have certainly found much pleasure in designing and developing beautiful, safe, gardens to keep our dogs and ourselves contented and happy.
Dog ownership involves compromise, and finding a balance that allows us to enjoy our gardens together with our dogs is our main goal. We have found over the years that it is best to recognize the natural behaviors of our dogs, and try and accommodate them in the design of our garden.
Some dogs are, of course, more demanding than others. Many dogs will want nothing more from the garden than a sunny spot to laze around in and a kennel to shelter from the rain. Other dogs will have lots of energy and enjoy running, digging, chewing and partaking in other 'doggy' activities that may upset the sensibilities of many gardeners.
By creating specific areas of the garden where our dogs can play and run about, we have found that damage elsewhere is kept to a minimal. This has proved much easier, and made us and our dogs much happier, than would be the case if we were engaged in a constant battle trying to prevent any kind of 'natural' behavior on the dogs' part.
It must be realized that if you want a dog to refrain from certain activities, you must provide it with an alternative option to keep it happy and entertained. Lots of suitable, fun toys in the garden should keep your dog occupied and prevent them from finding other thing, such as plants, to chew on. Make sure you spend time with your dog in the garden and engage them in play and games.
Ultimately, we must accept that instinctual behavior is a natural part of our dog. Behavioral traits were the reason specific breeds of dog were developed. All dogs, cross-breeds and pedigrees alike, will tend towards certain behavior, be it digging, hunting, pulling, herding, guarding etc. Without these traits, they would not be the dogs we know today, and we must respect this. We find it is easier and more satisfying for all involved to allow our dogs to enjoy being ‘dogs’ and doing what comes naturally. This means giving them time and space in the garden to play, burn off energy, investigate new and interesting things, and laze around in the sun. This is not in any way incompatible with having a beautiful, interesting garden for humans to enjoy too.
MAIN POINTS TO REMEMBER
Your dog has some basic garden requirements that you will need to meet as a dog owner.
These can be taken as a starting point when thinking about adapting your garden to include your dog:
You must make sure your garden is secure.
Make sure those areas your garden your pet has access to are free from poisonous plants, toxic chemicals, and other hazards (see our safety pages for more details).
You must ensure your pet always has access to clean, fresh drinking water, and shelter from the sun, wind and rain.
Two additional general points to be made are that:
The more garden space you can provide for your dog the better.
You should provide toys, play and stimulation for your dog in the garden. The more you entertain your dog, the less likely they are to get into mischief! This means your own time and attention, as well as toys and treats.
Further to these basic points, the adaptations necessary to provide an appropriate, safe garden for your pet will depend very much on the breeds, ages and numbers of dogs you keep. Read through the pages in this section of the site for more information...
As with all the contents of these page, the above is intended for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as medical advice, and should not replace veterinary consultation or treatment.