It can be annoying when your own dog turns your garden into his favorite bathroom spot. But it's downright infuriating when a neighbor allows his dog to make your tulips his squat spot or when stray dogs leave presents of poop in your carefully tended space. Consider your options for deterring dogs from defecating in your garden.
Putting a fence around your garden is a way to prevent dogs from defecating there, and it simultaneously protects your tender young plants from being eaten by local wildlife. Use a fence height of at least 4 feet to dissuade dogs of most sizes. For full protection, put an enclosure of chicken wire over the top of the fence, leaving enough room for plants to grow.
You can purchase commercially produced dog repellants designed to keep dogs away from garden areas with a strong, unattractive odor. You can make your own repellent by simply placing moth balls around your garden; by sprinkling mustard, red pepper or cayenne pepper around the garden border; or by soaking rags or cotton balls in vinegar and placing them around the perimeter of your garden. You'll have to reapply the substances frequently to ensure the odor doesn't dissipate.
Install motion-activated sprinklers around your garden. Any time the perimeter is breached, the offender will get a splash of cold water that will send them on their way to do their business elsewhere. Strategically place the sprinklers and you can simultaneously water your garden and keep your plants healthy, fresh and blooming.
Install an in-ground electric fence if your only concern is your own dogs defecating in your garden. A shock collars gives a mild jolt if the dog wearing it attempts to cross the radio-signal-emitting in-ground defense. Dogs new to e-fencing require training; you'll place flags around the perimeter temporarily during training. An advantage with this is that you can set up flags without the zapper to show the dog a “no go” zone. It's not foolproof, but it's worth trying before applying the electronic elements.
Training and Communication
If your own dog is pooping in your garden, you may be able to break him of this bad habit through strict obedience training. Designate a bathroom area in your yard and retrain your dog so he understands where you want him to go. Take him for bathroom breaks on a leash until he is accustomed to using only his designated spot. If your neighbor allows his dog to run free in your yard, have a heart-to-heart conversation, explain the problem the dog is causing, and ask your neighbor to help you keep the animal from continuing to damage your property.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.