Training Your Dog to Respect Your Gardens and Lawns

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Coming when called is a really valuable command to teach your dog to maintain your own property line, and to keep him from getting at your own or your neighbor’s garden and shrubbery.

If your place is large walk along the edge once or twice a day; first having your dog on a long leash, then later without the leash. When he begins to go toward the street or into the next yard, say “No!” Curtly, then call him to you and praise him when he comes. Do this many times. If the dog doesn’t obey your command when he’s off leash, get back to using the leash once more.

If this does not work, get someone to assist you. Have him stand outside your hedge, or someplace in the disallowed territory, armed with a shake-can (put five to ten pennies in a clean empty soda can and tape the top) or a couple of empty tin cans. When your dog disregards your command and goes beyond the “boundary line,” have the assistant cry “Go back!,” clatter the cans, and even throw some towards the dog. You’ll, of course, welcome your dog heartily when he comes back to you for “protection.” Such steps, however, are generally unneeded if you take regular boundary walks. Call him to you, on the walks, for a pat or a tidbit every once in a while. Naturally, you should keep in mind that a passing dog or cat, or a female in season on the next block, could cause even the best-intentioned dog to wander from his own yard. Therefore, if you can’t furnish an enclosed area, your dog must never go outdoors unsupervised.

Dogs acquire spring fever and nothing is better to roll in or dig up than the soft earth of a newly sown lawn or a flower garden. If dogs are regularly warned “No!” and called back when they go for your flower garden or special shrubbery, they’ll soon give it a wide berth. A few dousings using a water pistol, a plant mister, or a garden hose will deter not only your own dog, but any strays as well.

The commercial dog repellents or cayenne pepper spread out around plants and shrubbery also will help deter a dog’s attention. The repellents have an odor that a dog disapproves; the pepper will bother his nose and make him sneeze. All such material has to be renewed often, especially after rain. And, naturally, the least trouble is to put up a low wire fence around a garden to keep it from dogs.

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