How to Prevent a Puppy From Eating Bushes

Play with your puppy outside to distract her from your tempting shrubbery.
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You planted bushes to beautify your yard, not to provide snacks for your little four-legged friend. Apparently, she doesn't get that. She also doesn't realize that some plants can make her sick. It's all up to you to prevent your puppy from eating the bushes.

Provide Stimulation

If you turn your fuzzy friend loose in the yard with nothing to do, she's going to make her own fun. After all, she has a lot of energy and curiosity that need outlets. She might start digging holes, uprooting your garden veggies and, yes, chowing down on your shrubbery. Whenever possible, accompany your puppy outside and play with her. Sedentary and active dogs alike should spend minimal time outside alone anyway; they're social creatures who belong in the home with companionship most of the time. Leave a few chew toys of different textures around the yard, as well as some balls and other fun stuff. If possible, provide your puppy her very own sandbox or designated area for digging. Have toys inside, too, if she's an indoors dog.

Spray Taste Repellent

An easy and effective way to keep your fuzzy buddy from eating your bushes is to make them taste gross. Mist the bushes with a canine-safe taste repellent. Buy a commercial cayenne pepper spray, or chop some fresh cayenne peppers up and scatter them around the bushes. The scent is irritating to your puppy's nose and eyes, and should encourage her to keep her distance. A citrus scent spray may work, too. Ammonia and vinegar are commonly recommended as highly effective homemade taste repellents for dogs -- but they can hurt plants, so skip them for this purpose.

Fence Off the Bushes

Sometimes, a simple physical barrier is the easiest way to prevent your puppy from snacking on the shrubs, especially if she isn't deterred by taste repellents. Consider erecting a nice decorative fence around the bushes she's attracted to. Invisible fences are an alternative that don't affect the look of your yard, but many types aren't safe to use with young dogs or effective for determined ones. Talk to your veterinarian about your options to ensure your puppy is old enough for invisible fence, and about brands or types he recommends.

Train Your Puppy

Training is the essential way to convey to your furry buddy what you expect of her. Use gentle corrections when she starts eating the bushes by firmly saying "no" and gently moving her away. Do so consistently. When she's able to approach the bushes without apparent interest in putting her mouth to them, offer a treat and praise. Needless to say, you'll also teach your puppy other basic commands you can use to head off her foliage consumption. "Down," "Stop," "Sit," "Come" and the all-important "Leave it" are primary obedience commands every dog should know. Train her to obey commands one at a time using positive reinforcement methods. Intersperse training throughout the day, including during play outside.

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