If any of you out there own a dog, or perhaps two dogs under 18 months of age, like we do, you will know that they may well be cute but they sure are little monsters.
Ever the dutiful guard puppies, they will notify us of all manner of breaches of perimeter. On one memorable occasion, the larger of the two took offence to a wayward cockroach, attempting to bark it to death. I don’t even want to know what happened to the slug that I discovered on their bed. Let’s just say I mistook it for a piece of raw chicken.
They are especially ferocious wherever grass or plants are involved. I’ve not met two dogs who have such an appetite for Australian natives.
While I can do my best to chicken-wire off plants until they’re big enough to fight back against the dogs, the lawn is another matter. They are dead-set on destroying Jame’s pride and joy and he’s having to resort to desperate measures in order to keep those pesky paws out.
So, in the spirit of sharing-is-caring, here’s what we know:
- Dogs are definitely smarter than they look. Ours have learned that we’re quite distracted any time the TV is on. They use this opportunity to dig a quick hole, eat a small pot plant, or chew a piece of outdoor furniture.
- Dogs have great hearing. They know it takes us about 15 seconds from the time the TV turns off to get to the back door to inspect the damage. They also know they have about 10 seconds from the start of someone descending the stairs. In that short amount of time they will have innocently positioned themselves in their kennel. Someone else must have done it, we’ve been here the whole time.
- Good hearing does not equal comprehension of the English language. Boy, I wish I knew dog language for “GET OUT OF THE DAMN GARDEN!”
- Make sure you play spot-the-difference when buying wire to keep the mutts out. There are a lot of interesting variations on the good old “chicken wire” with special products on the market for “animal wire”, “puppy wire” and “dog wire”. For example, you could easily make the mistake of buying animal netting for $39.97 when all you really need is chicken netting for $16.99 .
- On the topic of chicken wire- they will dig under it if they can. We solved that problem by getting the staple gun out and stapling the wire to some leftover timber lying around. Sleepers worked a treat. They can’t seem to lift the timber to get under the wire. Muahahaha!
- We’ve had some limited success with Skedaddle. It seems to work best in small spots, like inside one or two holes but not over large patches of lawn. That said, it definitely does not create a magical dog-repelling force-field. Shame, really.
- We’ve also had some success with reducing pee-stains on the lawn with Dog Rocks. You just put it in their water bowl. One of our dogs insisted on taking it back out again but she gave up eventually.
- They don’t seem to like spiky plants. Funny that, hey? Hence, my favourite type of plant at the moment is the grevillia!
- They LOVE vegies. They will know when your tomatoes, berries, snow peas, lemongrass, and anything else edible is ready for picking before you will. Excellent noses. Our dogs even occasionally take a lemon leaf for a chew.
- Not all plants are safe for dogs, many are even toxic. The RSPCA has a link to the US Pet Poison List which will tell you all about it. Jump on there and tick the “plants” box to be amazed. Burke’s Backyard also has a neat list. Of course, chat to your vet to get the best advice.
Maybe the future of dog ownership will be less frustrating with some new products hitting the market. Check out this idea by Ozbreed, called Scuff Turf.