To you, those prized petunias in the garden represent a labor of love; to your dog, however, the spot in which they are planted is the latest and greatest place to bury a bone or two. You can outsmart your dog and save your flowers by employing a few dog-proofing tactics.
If you build a flower bed, expect four-legged intruders to find it. But if you employ the use of raised planters, your friend will have a tougher time making it his own. Depending on the size of your dog, you may need to create a flower bed on top of a side table or tall bench, or use landscape timbers or concrete blocks to make a flower bed taller. Create a flower bed that is smaller than the dog: a large dog is not likely to jump up into a planter that won't accommodate his body.
Place fencing around your flower bed where you don't want your friend to dig. If it's high enough, the dog may be afraid to jump or just not want to make the effort. You can also try stringing heavy twine across the top of your flower beds inside the fencing to create a grid through which the flowers can grow. The twine acts like a roof which may feel uncomfortable if the dog tries to jump into the bed. Another approach is to lay chicken wire or hardware cloth on the bed, then stake it securely to the ground with landscape ties. Make sure to turn under any sharp edges so your dog doesn't get hurt.
Alternative Dig Site
Give your dog his own "digs" by creating a pit that's just for him, then teach him to dig in that area by placing his favorite treats or toys just under the dirt. Show excitement or praise your dog enthusiastically when he finds his treats so he knows he's doing something that pleases you. As the dog becomes more adept at finding the treats, try burying them even deeper. The idea is to show your dog that digging in his own spot brings special rewards.
Safe Snapping Device
Use a mousetrap alternative, which is designed to make a snapping noise that deters your dog but does not hurt him. When he steps into the flower bed a sudden snap will startle him. You can find these trainers online.
Place items in the flower bed that are undesirable to your dog, such as pungent rosemary or sage. Dogs have a very heightened sense of smell, and odors that don't bother humans are generally intense to dogs.
Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.