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How to Keep Your Dog Out of Flower Beds (8 Easy Ways)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

irish setter dog in the garden

You work hard on your flower bed – whether you’re raising daises or expensive petunias. However, a dog can easily undo all your hard work, especially if they are a larger dog that likes to dig. Even if your dog is smaller and not a fan of digging, they can romp all over your flowers and quickly destroy them.

Keeping your dog out of your flower bed can be difficult. However, there are a few methods that can be utilized to keep them away. Often, these work best when you use a few methods together. That way, they make the area a place your dog doesn’t want to be.

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The Top 8 Tips on How to Keep Dogs Out of Flowerbeds

1. Use a Fence

The easiest and most straightforward way to keep dogs out of flower beds is to use a fence. All sorts of fences are made to keep dogs in a yard, but they can also keep dogs out of a particular area. The fence should be sturdy and tall enough to prevent your dog from merely pushing it over.

Often, dogs wander into the flowerbeds simply because they don’t understand that they aren’t supposed to. They’re just walking around. Merely putting up a fence will prevent your dog from wandering in.

However, many people don’t want to put up a fence around their flowers. It can ruin the aesthetics of the flower beds and make them more challenging to see. Luckily, there are some other ways to keep your dog away from your flowers.

2. Use Barrier Plants

Barrier plants are plants that are placed around your flowers. They should either be tall, thick, or thorny plants that your dog won’t want to walk through. Because your dog will avoid these plants, they’ll also decide to avoid your flowers.

This is an easy method, though you will have to find a plant that your dog won’t like that can fit in next to your flowers.

Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

3. Add Unappealing Smells and Tastes

Often, you can make your flower bed a place your canine doesn’t want to be by adding things that make the area smelly or taste bad. Many things are very stinky to dogs, but they are completely fine to our noses. For example, you can dust your beds with red pepper powder, which will discourage digging. You can also use strong-smelling liquids like vinegar.

Don’t use commercial deterrents that are made to keep deer or rabbits away. These products contain coyote urine, which will keep prey animals away. However, these products may attract the interest of dogs.

4. Put Your Beds Somewhere Inaccessible

If you can, consider placing your flowers somewhere your dog can’t go. For instance, you can put them on top of a rock wall. If your flowers are out of the way of your dog, they will likely leave them alone. You could also think about confiding your dog’s outside roaming area to somewhere away from your flower beds, such as installing a fence in your backyard to contain your dog.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to limit where you plant. However, you should use a bit of common sense. Don’t plant the flowers in your dog’s favorite outside spots.

german shepherd leaning over the fence
Image Credit: Nate Tribbs, Pixabay

5. Use Containers

If you’re planting susceptible flowers, consider using containers. Often, dogs will leave container plants alone. This may not be the exact look you were going for, but it can be an easy way to keep your flowers safe.

Raised beds are also a reliable option, though some dogs will terrorize these as well. Your dog may not, though. It’s one of those situations where you have to find out.

6. Train Your Canine

You can also train your dog to keep out of your flowerbeds. There are a few ways you can do this. They all work, but you may get the best result if you use more than one method. That way, you’re covering all your bases.

Use Boundary Training

Boundary training involves teaching your pup not to cross a particular line. This may seem like a difficult command, but it is often relatively straightforward.

This involves teaching your dog to touch a flag. Here is a quick, step-by-step explanation:

  • Teach Your Canine to Target. You’ll need a flag or a bit of cloth. Show your dog the flag and treat them when they show any interest. Eventually, you want to work it up so that your dog will touch the flag for the reward.
  • Move the Flag Further Away. Next, you’ll want to tie the flag to something. Tell your dog to target the flag so that they touch the flag and then come back to you. Treat them. Increase the distance until your dog is pretty good at it.
  • Place the Flags Around Your Flowerbed. Take your dog outside on a leash. If your dog knows what’s going on, they should automatically touch the flag and return to you for the treat. Only treat them when they return. You want to reinforce moving away from the flowers.
  • Add Some Distractions. Put some things your dog likes in the flowerbed as a temptation. Reward them when they return to you without entering.
  • Allow Your Dog Off-leash. Finally, you can take the leash off your dog but continue to supervise. Treat your dog anytime they target a flag and come back to you.
  • Remove the Flags. After your dog has done this for about six months, you can remove the flags. Your canine has learned that going away from the flowers is good. Even without the flags there, your dog should remember that they should walk away from that area of your yard.
Image Credit: conbey, Pixabay

Teach Them “Leave It”

Leave it is an excellent, all-around command that you can use to tell your pup to leave just about anything alone – including your flowerbed. “Leave it” is pretty simple to teach too and works for a wide variety of things.

  • Teach Your Dog to Ignore Food. Your first step is to teach your canine to ignore food. You do this by placing food in your hand in a closed fist. Kneel in front of your dog so that your face is pretty close to yours. Anytime they look away from the food and at your face, treat them. As they figure it out, gradually make it more challenging by standing up and moving your hand further away from your face.
  • Practice with an Open Hand. Next, you should practice with an open hand. Instead of having your hand closed, hold the treat between two fingers. Repeat the same steps as above to slowly make it harder.
  • Drop Food on the Floor. Finally, you’re going to purposefully drop the food on the floor and tell your dog to leave it. They’ll probably go after it the first few times, so we recommend kneeling down and slowly laying the food on the ground first. If they go after it, cover it up with your hand and re-command them. When they look at your face, treat them. You slowly want to work up to being able to drop food in front of them and having them leave it alone.

Once your pet knows this command, you can use it for anything – not just food. For instance, you can tell them to leave your flowers alone, other people, and things they shouldn’t be chewing on.

7. Ensure Your Dog Has a Place to Play

two dogs playing
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Your dog needs to play and run off its energy. Even if you do many of these steps, your dog may still play in your flowers if they don’t have their exercise need met otherwise. It is essential to designate a place where your dog can exercise and provide them with fun toys. Otherwise, they may go looking for their toys, which may end up being your flowers.

You may want to take your dog on daily walks, even if they have space to run around outside. Not all dogs will exercise appropriately when left to their own devices. Plus, you don’t want your dog deciding that running through your bushes looks like a lot of fun. Instead, aim to exercise your canine so that they feel too worn out to mess with your bushes, to begin with.

8. Use a Commercial Dog Repellent

They do make commercial dog repellents that smell bad and repel dogs. These are an easy way to keep your canine out of your flower bed, but they may not work well unless used alongside other methods.

Never spray the repellent directly at your dog. Dogs often have a hard time connecting the spraying to their actions, which won’t solve any problems. Instead, the dog will learn to avoid you or dig in the flowers when you aren’t there.

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Will Mothballs Keep Dogs Out of Flower Beds?

They can. However, mothballs are toxic to dogs if consumed, and there isn’t anything preventing your dog from eating them if you simply throw them into your flower bed. Therefore, we do not recommend using mothballs to keep your dog out of the flower bed. It just isn’t worth the risk.

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Featured Image Credit: Mr_Incognito, Pixabay

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