How To Puppy Proof Your Garden – Owners Guide


puppy proofing

You’re probably overjoyed that you have a new furry addition to the family and are hurriedly scouring the internet for all the important information your need. Puppy proofing is something that is very important, particularly those locations where your puppy will be spending there time. Ensuring you know how to puppy proof your garden effectively will keep you calm while raising your puppy the right way and enjoying every moment with them.

Puppy Proofing Your Garden

Below is an easy to read list, summarising each step you need to take to ensure your garden is puppy-proofed for your new arrival. We will go into more detail about each step further into the post.

  1. Create an area in your garden where your puppy can feel safe and secure. this should be somewhere where they can lie down, with plenty of shade. It’s most likely that you will not be letting your puppy explore the entire garden unsupervised until they have had their vaccinations, so creating an area outside where they will not be overly exposed to diseases is a good idea. For extra information on what age to let a puppy explore the garden fully check out our article “When Can a Puppy Go Outside In The Garden: All You Need To Know”
  2. Clear your garden of any dangers such as sharp objects or undesirable things that your puppy could eat. Knowing what plants are dangerous to dogs is an important thing to research. If you know what plants you have in your garden, check their details online to see if they are poisonous to dogs. Puppies do have a curious side to them so fencing off water features such as ponds and pools can be a good move, there is a misconception that all dogs are able to naturally start swimming. Our article on “What Age To Teach a Puppy To Swim” helps answer some of these questions.
  3. Next, cover up all openings no matter how small they are. Many owners think that a gap is too small for their dog to get through and the next thing you know is your dog has dug a hole and slipped his way through……surprise surprise dogs can dig. You don’t have to make these blockages complicated and using various items from around the garden such as plant pots or ornaments can help reduce the time you spend doing this. Just make sure you cover the openings sufficiently and think like a dog…what would they do.
  4. Protect those important areas in your garden by fencing them off or removing anything you don’t want to be destroyed. Puppies are extremely good at destroying stuff, not only will they get onto your flower beds and dig or chew anything they want they will also chew items such as wooden garden furniture. The best way to manage this is to remove it from your garden if your puppy is old enough to be outside unsupervised and bring it out when you can teach your pup that chewing chair legs is not something they should do.
  5. Finally ensuring that everyone who lives in your household or who intends to visit knows there are puppies about. Often the cause of an escaped puppy is because somebody left the garden gate open as they either forgot or were not aware that they needed to close it. Puppies are opportunists and will jump at the chance to explore the wider world this is why it’s so important to keep them safe in your garden.

 

Puppy in the garden

Dog Proofing a Hedge

Garden hedges are deceiving when it comes to securing your backyard, they produce this appearance of a solid barrier, but in fact, they are in most cases quite easy to get through, especially for a small creature. If you already have a fully grown hedge in your garden you can install some decorative fencing to add to the security of the hedge. you may not want to install fencing on the inside area of your garden so installing it on the outside is also an option and will do the same job as on the inside.

The type of fencing you install will depend on your own preferences and both wood or metal will do great jobs. As you’re installing a fence to secure your garden you should at this point also think about height. As your puppy gets older you may also wish to investigate their jumping ability. Owners don’t realize how high dogs can jump and particular breeds can be very good jumpers easily clearing a standard 4- 5-foot picket fence. For additional information on a dog’s ability to jump, have a look at our article on “How High Can Dogs Jump”, this article explores both the ability to jump and what breeds to watch out for when worrying about a jumping dog.

Puppy Proofing Garden Beds

If there is one thing that a puppy will love to do, is get stuck into some flower beds. All that mud, along with many strange new smells, you almost can’t be mad at them when they do get in…who could resist it. The easiest way to keep puppies out of your flower beds is by putting a fence surrounding the bed area. Obviously you are not going to want a huge fence or even a picket fence installed at this point so a portable option is going to be better. Puppy fences are not just great for cordoning off areas of your garden they also allow you to create a portable crate area where your puppy can be for training and various other reasons. In many cases, a puppy won’t want to step over even the smallest fence meaning you can use an extra small decorative picket to border your flower beds, these are easy to install and look quite nice as a border.

If hauling a portable fence around is not your scene then there are some other methods for keeping dogs and puppies of your flower beds. Dogs have an extremely sensitive nose with a particular distaste for citrus. Simply spraying some lemon juice over your flower beds or on the grass surrounding them could be enough to deter a cheeky puppy from trying his luck. It’s best to test this out first as your pup may just ignore the fact there’s a strong smell of citrus, so knowing it will deter them can give you peace of mind.

The design of your flower beds can also help with deterring your puppy from roaming around them or even sleeping in them. Creating raised beds is something we have done and from an early age, our pup was apprehensive about step up and over, into the flower beds. As he has got older the urge to do this has faded, but I do believe the raised bedding helped. Another design would be through growth. creating a dense and yet vibrant mass of plants will mean your pup cannot get into the flow beds easily. Even having some plants growing outwards will discourage any unwanted flower bed roaming.

Sensory Garden

How To Setup An Area For Your Puppy

If there is one thing that will keep your puppy both content and your own mind at rest, it’s creating a safe area for them to play. This doesn’t have to be a large area but something substantial enough to keep their interest. By creating an area for your puppy either inside the house or outside you gain controls over what your puppy is able to do when your not around. Almost every new puppy owner will set up an area in their house where their puppy will be during the early days of their life with you, this is called crate training. When referring to areas set up in your garden you are really talking about preventing your puppy from getting into something they shouldn’t, although in some cases toilet training can be advanced quicker by setting up an area outside. If you’re setting up an area outside for your puppy here are some things you could include.

  • A bed or soft area for your puppy to relax.
  • Comfortable shaded areas where they can hide from the sun, this is especially important in the summer
  • Toys are a great stimulant for your puppy with their ever inquisitive brain.
  • Water is important especially as puppies tend to forget to take a drink during the fun and games.
  • Try including a grassy area, although this may encourage peeing, which you may not want if you’re training them to go toilet on a hard surface.
  • Plant pots with dog-friendly plants can give your puppy some extra mental stimulation.
  • Using some portable fencing is a great way to set up an area for your puppy as it allows you to rearrange at any time.

So that’s a few things to include in an area for your puppy, this translates quite nicely for setting up an area inside your house too. The one thing you’re may want to include if you set up an area in your house is puppy pads, this will train them to pee on these. These puppy pads can then be moved outside until you can take them away and your puppy understands the outside is where they go to the toilet. It’s not an easy task looking after a new puppy as they are interested in everything, so setting up little areas that they can be in whilst you’re not looking can help give you peace of mind.

How To Stop My Puppy Digging Up The Garden

A digging puppy is a common threat to any garden, especially when it comes to soft dirt. As cute as this may seem puppies will soon learn what boundaries they can push and if you don’t stop them digging when they are young those holes after only going to get bigger. To stop a puppy from digging come sin two parts, firstly you try to protect any areas of your garden your pup is most likely to dig, once you take away the most tempting areas, it’s down to behavior.

A firm NO! and removing them from the area instantly should be enough to make them understand, you can take them to their crate or put them in the house, I would not recommend keeping them in the garden as you need to take them away from the situation completely. What to do if you did not witness the digging? This can often be where owners make mistakes, by simply seeing a dug hole and heading to your pup to tell them off, believe me now your puppy has already forgotten about that hole. You need to show them the hole and make sure they understand what you referring to, dogs are intelligent creatures and will understand as soon as you show them what they have done. I remember when my golden retriever was just a puppy and he used to have a little dig in the garden from time to time, I would take him to the location of the crime and just lightly say “what’s this” and point to the hole. He instantly fell to the ground and submitted with his paws in the air, a perfect sign of guilt. I’m unsure if this would happen with every dog, but it certainly shows they are intelligent enough to put two and two together.

If your puppy loves to sneak off outside and doesn’t seem to be getting the picture, then one popular solution is to take the digging to them. Creating an area where your puppy is legally allowed to dig can be a great way to keep them off the garden beds and digging somewhere you don’t mind. Remember that in the winter mud is something that seems to be uncontrollable when you have dogs, in fact, we wrote an article on “How To Keep Your House Clean With Muddy Dogs”, check it out. Building a sandpit is the best option all year round, this will allow your puppy to dig and bury what they want as long as its in the sandpit. You may need to train them to associate the sandpit and only the sandpit with digging, as you could encourage them to dig anywhere they want if they are not correctly directed to the sandpit or digging area.

 

walking your dog on the beach

How Do You Keep Your Dog Out Of The Pond

Ponds can be a real problem for dog owners as they present an irresistible opportunity to get wet. Puppies are sometimes cautious when it comes to water but in other cases, they jump right in, this is why it’s so important to focus on the safety of your pond. So how can you keep your dog out of the pond? Ther are a few answers listed below.

  • Use a fence – Fencing is probably one of the most popular choices when it comes to preventing your puppy from jumping in the pond. A simple barrier is good enough, although you should make sure there are no higher up locations they could use to get into the pond.
  • Pond Covers – Pond covers are a good solution for pond safety. You can purchase different types and sizes of pond cover, each will protect your pond from predators and keep your dog from falling in.
  • Pond Design – If you are installing a new pond or carrying out maintenance on your current one, you may want to consider pond design. Try sloping sides to allow your dog to escape if they do fall in, or a raised pond to keep them out.
  • Training – This could be one of the best ways to keep your dog away from your pond, but it requires more work. Showing your new puppy the pond, whilst you are there can help stagnate that initial curiosity. You can then wait until your pup approaches the pond, tell them No! and remover them from the area, they should eventually get the picture. This can be a difficult thing to train them in, so putting some sort of barrier near the pond which your puppy can reference from. this way they may not pass this point if the come to understand how close they can go to the pond.

The best way to go about this is to look on Pinterest for pond protection, this can give you some ideas, your local garden center may also have some examples, which you could use.

Dangers In The Garden For Puppies

To be specific about the dangers lurking in a common household garden can be difficult. This is because many gardens have different plants, objects, processes, and many more categories of danger. Puppies can be particularly susceptible to eating things they should as this is mainly how they learn. Below are some of the things you should be watching out for when making a garden safe for your puppy.

Plants

Plants are actually a big danger to puppies and dogs alike. However, in my own experience, it’s not common for a dog to start munching on any random plant they can find unless that is of course grass. You should still take care to know what plants are dangerous to dogs and either remove or prevent access to the plant. Below I have listed some of the most common plants that appear in people’s gardens, this will, of course, vary depending on the country you live in. Exotic locations may have more dangerous plants due to the hot weather and so doing a bit of research on what’s in your garden can be both helpful to you and to your dog.

Some common plants that you should be aware of are:

  • Wysteria
  • Daffodil Bulbs
  • Hydrangea
  • Lupins
  • Rhododendron
  • Ivy
  • Gladiola
  • Tulip
  • Azalea

There are so many plants that can be dangerous to dogs that listing them all here would be unhelpful as many you won’t even have in your garden. depending on the area of the world you live in there could be all kinds of different plants and types of plants. The best way to protect your pup is to identify which plants you have in your garden and list them down for your own personal research. A quick search with the name of the plant should bring you some information on the dangers of it towards dogs. “Gardeners World” identifies some of the most dangerous plants for dogs and explains some of the symptoms below.

Processes

By processes we mean the activities you perform to tend to your garden. There are some common practices that you may overlook when it comes to protecting your pup.

Tending to your garden can involve lots of external sources, such as weed killers, slug repellents, and plant food. Although it may appear obvious to an owner that their dog shouldn’t be consuming any of these chemicals it is not always guaranteed that they won’t. Dogs are intelligent but for some reason the filter between there brain and stomach doesn’ seem to work all that well. The best thing to do when using chemicals on your plants or lawn area is to cordon off the area until the chemical has been taken in and is no longer present. Also remember that even with a dog that won’t consume these chemicals they can still get it on them and later on lick themselves, consuming it that way. A vigilant, better safe than sorry attitude should suffice in keeping your new puppy away from harm.

One very much overlooked process in the garden is composting, a great environmentally friendly way of disposing of your kitchen waste whilst keeping your plants healthy. When it comes to compost, it is important to realize that your dog will love the smell of it, let’s face it anything that’s rotting down is almost irresistible to a dog, this includes puppies. However, compost produces dangerous chemicals and bacteria in its breakdown process, which if consumed by your dog can be highly poisonous. Puppies will be attracted to this smell just as much as an adult dog however they won’t learn as quickly and the effects can be much worse as their bodies are not fully developed. It is vital that you keep your puppy or adult dog away from compost wherever you store or apply it.

If your dog has consumed any of these substances or you are seeing unusual, shaking, vomiting or tiredness, please consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Diseases

One particular point that most owners forget about is a puppy’s lack of biological defense. In most places around the world, veterinarians will not recommend taking your puppy out and about before they are fully vaccinated. The socialization with other dogs and environments could cause the transfer of diseases known to harm unvaccinated puppies. The garden is a matter of controversy, as many owners will accept that their puppy will need to go outside in the garden and won’t associate this with needing to be vaccinated. Although most veterinarians wouldn’t have a problem with a short trip to the garden it’s important to watch what your puppy is doing to ensure they are safe and not eating or smelling anything they shouldn’t. In the early days, it’s out for the toilet and that’s it. After your puppy is fully vaccinated they can run around outside as much as they want, and socializing with other dogs is something that is encouraged in the early months of a puppy’s life. To find out more about when your puppy can go in the garden have a look at our article, “When Can a Puppy Go Outside In The Garden” 

 

puppy proofing

How To Protect a Puppy From Birds of Prey

It’s not something you commonly hear about in places like the UK but in other parts of the world where large birds of prey roam it can be a real worry. Large birds of prey such as Hawks and Owls will have no problem picking off a very small dog or puppy as they have been known to carry off lambs and dogs alike. If you do have large birds of prey and your puppy is small, or will not get much bigger than common toy breeds, then you may want to consider some of these options to add to puppy proofing your garden.

Eliminate Purches and Nesting Spots

Large trees are great places for birds of prey to hang out and even nest in, making your puppy the perfect target if they are running about below. Either try removing the tree or reducing the number of places the bird could land and sit waiting for an opportunity. High fences and walls can also be tempting places to perch, try adding decorative spikes to tops or something that will deter the bird from sitting there, remember that they will want to be comfortable.

Remove Bird Feeding Stations

Although small birds are no problem at all they can be messy eaters and subsequently drop food from hung cages onto the floor. This in turn attracts mice and other rodents, which as you are probably aware is a bird of prey’s favorite food. These birds will soon learn that there’s plenty of food available in this area, choosing your garden as their prime hunting ground. Unfortunately, birds of prey won’t distinguish much between your puppy and a mouse, except the fact that one of them is a much better meal in the long run. Simply removing this attractive food will hopefully reduce the chance of any birds of prey locating your garden as a good hunting ground.

Implement Deterrents

Scarecrows have often been great deterrents for farmers throughout the years. Unfortunately, birds do get used to these and eventually wise up to the fakeness of the statue. Either way, a statue of a larger dog, cat, or bird can keep real predators away. This may not work in the longs run but it’s certainly a good deterrent to use whilst your puppy is still small.

Human activity is almost always the best deterrent for wildlife, not always a good thing, but in this case, you can finally use to for good. Spending lots of time out in your garden, with your puppy and even making some noise if permitted. These deterrents should give you some ideas on how to keep birds of prey away, and sometimes a little imagination can go a long way.

Raptor Sheild

Protecting your puppy can be a challenge sometimes, as you try to implement the things above you may also want to consider protecting them at the source. If all else fails then at least your puppy or small dog has one last defense. Raptor shields are used to protect your puppy during an attack and prevent them from being lifted off the ground, which in many cases is where they get hurt the most, being dropped from a height. A raptor shield is placed onto the back of your dog and would be worn when they are outside in the garden, they are popular in countries where bird attacks are common.

Knowledge and Research

I cannot stress this enough, researching your issue can be the best source for a solution. There are many different birds of prey and each one may have a different way of hunting or something that scares them. Doing some simple research on the type of birds that could possibly attack your dog can help hugely. Google is a great place to ask questions and find out about different birds of prey, or better yet getting some advice from bird sanctuaries, zoo’s or specialists can help. To give you some ideas on where to start the Sprucepets have highlighted some of the most common birds of prey known to attack pets. Click the link to find out more. “Protect Pets From Birds Of Prey”

Conclusion

Keeping your puppy safe is going to be your number one concern for a fair few months and hopefully, this guide has given you some things to think about and implement in your own gardens. If you enjoyed this article please have a look at some of our other posts accessed from our homepage.

 

 

 

 

 

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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