Keep Dogs Out of Your Garden

Keep your dog out of your garden and your precious flowerbeds without limiting their freedom. Sometimes it’s not so much the flowers and plants you are worried about as opposed to your dog, who may ingest something toxic. Is there a way to still let your fur baby roam around in nature while keeping them (and your garden) safe? Definitely!

Why Your Dog is Ruining Your Flowers

Getting to the root of any problem is probably the best way to solve it. There are instances when ruining your flowerbed by digging or ripping plants out from the roots are side effects of an emotional problem such as separation anxiety. Then there are other times when your dog does it because he’s bored. After all, dogs have a very hands-on (or paws-on) approach to exploring the world.

In order to prevent the problem, we would suggest identifying the cause. If it’s an emotion-based problem, then further training and even the help of professionals may be required. However, if you know your dog is digging up your priceless petunias because he’s mischievous or bored, here are some ways to nip it in the bud.

Two puppies in a yard looking to cause mischief

Top Ways to Keep Your Dog Out of Your Garden

The Power of Scents and Tastes

Do not underestimate the power of unpleasant scents and tastes for your dog. Something that may be delectable to you can be an excellent repellent for your pooch. Dogs don’t like anything bitter, spicy, or citrusy. This is why citronella and bitter apple are often used as deterrents.

Your dog probably won’t be a fan of chili powder or coffee grounds either, but we once spilled a tiny puddle of latte that our dog lapped right up. You never know what your dog likes or dislikes until you try it, so don’t take our suggestions as a guaranteed fix. 

We have also seen dogs completely unaffected by citronella spray collars and ones that actually like bitter apple, so try a few things until you find one that works. 

Sprinklers Are Your Friend – Not Theirs 

Sprinklers are so much fun in the summer for kids and adults alike, but not for many dogs. If the discouraging scents don’t work, try a sprinkling of water. If your dog is the type to dislike baths, we’re pretty sure this will work. 

Place motion-activated sprinklers wherever is off-limits to your dog. What’s great about this option is your dog doesn’t even have to get right up to the flowerbed before the sprinkler is triggered. This is an excellent way to keep your dog at bay. Just remember that there are dogs that love a good run through the sprinklers on a hot summer’s day. 

Design a Moat or Barrier

Speaking of keeping your dog at bay, you can also do it by building a moat or barrier that can also add to the aesthetics of your garden. You can create a barrier by installing a low fence, planting shrubs, or something you don’t mind getting destroyed and won’t hurt your dog in front of the flowers. 

Another option is to add a section before the flowerbeds. Our idea is to section off a foot or two of space before the flowerbed with bricks and fill in that area with decorative round rocks or pinecones. Although your dog could make his way through it, it’s not the easiest or most comfortable to do so. 

Section Things Off

You can also incorporate barrier training as a way to keep your dog out of certain places. Use a dog run or dog fence to keep your dog confined to just one part of the yard. You have to make sure this space is large enough for your dog to be comfortable and have fun in. We don’t think he will like it very much if he is kept in a 4×4 area when he can see the wide expanse of the yard beyond the enclosure. 

Good Ol’ Fashioned Training

Barrier training is one thing, but you can go a step beyond that and work to teach your dog the no-go zones in your yard. It’s definitely harder to do this, but your dog won’t need to be confined every time he is let outside. 

Whenever he attempts to go where he isn’t allowed, make sure he knows it’s wrong. Use a loud and commanding voice and say “no”! Always pair training with tons of positive reinforcement. In this case, it’s your dog’s favorite treat. Trust us, a happy dog during training is one that will listen and obey.

Definitely reward your dog with a yummy snack when he eventually understands that “no” means he cannot enter an area. Make sure to keep a close eye on your dog during and after training because while well-trained dogs can be trusted, for the most part, you never know what can happen.

Give Them Something to Do

A bored and energetic dog with a lot of pent-up energy will get into things, be destructive, or at the very least, annoying and attention-seeking. There is a chance your dog is exploring and getting into things he isn’t supposed to because he has nothing else to do.

Stock up the yard with plenty of things to do and toys to play with so your dog is never bored and doesn’t feel the need to go looking for entertainment.

It’s Easier to Change Your Ways

Sometimes it’s easier to change the environment and your ways than to change your dog. If your pooch is a digger, you may want to consider transplanting your precious flowers into pots or containers. They can still be a beautiful sight in your garden, and it’s much less likely that your dog will attempt to dig through potted plants. 

If possible, you can even move the plants inside into a designated room. It will be much easier to control your dog and protect your plants by keeping that room completely off-limits. 


Your prize-winning roses and daffodils don’t have to suffer anymore because there are ways to keep your beloved fur baby’s nose out of the flowerbeds. Every dog is different, so the key to finding the right solution is to find the reason why he’s destroying your garden. What works for one dog may not work for another, so try multiple methods to find one that works. Remember to keep your dog’s favorite treat handy, it will make your dog much easier to manage. 

Visit a Botanical Garden For Unique Experiences.

More on Gardening Calendar