How to Train Your Dog to Stay Out of the Garden

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

If you have a garden, you understand the time, energy, and patience it takes to maintain such a beautiful, serene, and peaceful space. The last thing you want to have happen is for your dog to trample through it, ruining the beauty. Also, if you have a garden growing food you are going to eat, the likelihood of your dog you getting to it first and ruining those vegetables is pretty high if he has access to your garden. Keeping your dog out of your garden can give you a quaint, serene place to enjoy nature's beauty and all of the hard work you put in to make it a beautiful space. 

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to stay out of your garden will start with teaching your dog boundaries. Showing him a borderline of where he is allowed to go and where he is not allowed to go will be helpful in giving him boundaries. This will require practice with your dog every day, several times a day, until he understands the border of the garden is not a line he is allowed to cross. Boundary training is not too complicated but also not the easiest of commands he will learn. This will require repetition and dedication from both you and your dog. You may want to start your dog off with a leash at first before setting him free to roam your backyard near the garden on his own.

Getting Started

To train your dog to his boundaries and to keep him out of your garden, you are going to need a leash and some high-value treats to reward him for a job well done. You may want to invest in some simple garden flags or a temporary fence so he can visibly see the border line you are trying to convey during training. Be sure to have time and patience. Teaching him boundaries will require lots of repetition as well. Before you begin to work on boundary training with your dog, be sure he understands basic obedience commands such as 'sit', 'stay', and 'come'. You may also want to work on 'leave it' before you teach boundary training because it is a command that you can use to keep him out of the garden as well.

The Walk Perimeter Method

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Step
1
Walk garden
Put your dog on a leash and walk the perimeter of your garden to introduce the garden. Do this a few times a day, or each time your dog is outside, for a few days.
Step
2
Mark garden
Put up border or utility flags along the path of the garden to mark your dog’s boundaries. These won’t keep him from entering the garden, but rather give a visual of his boundary.
Step
3
Boundary
Continue to walk this border once the flags are up, but start pointing to the flags. Your dog should be interested enough to sniff them as you point. Each time your pup touches a flag to his nose, give him a treat for acknowledging the border line. Do this for a few days, up to a week.
Step
4
Off-leash
Take the leash off your dog and walk the border of your garden. Every few steps your dog takes without crossing the line offer a treat and give him lots of verbal praise.
Step
5
Take flags away
After walking this space several times a day on and off leash, pull the flags up and walk the space off leash without the flags. Your dog should stay on the correct side of the garden line.
Step
6
Rewards
Be sure to reward your dog for a job well done each time he’s outside without crossing the boundary line into your garden.
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The Leave It Method

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Step
1
Command
Teach your dog the ‘leave it’ command and move that command into your garden spaces.
Step
2
Treat
Hold a treat in your hand, close your fingers around it, and let your dog sniff. Say the command ‘leave it.’
Step
3
Reward
Give him a reward from your other hand for not getting to the treat in your closed hand.
Step
4
Practice
Practice these steps several times in short training sessions for a few days.
Step
5
Floor
Hide a treat on the floor under your hand. Use the ‘leave it’ command with your dog as with the steps above. If he’s learned from the above steps, he shouldn’t even sniff the treat. Be sure to offer a different treat if he’s successful at leaving the treat on the floor alone.
Step
6
Challenge
Once your dog understands 'leave it' and will not show interest in the item you have hidden, begin to place toys and treats in the open. Using the leave it command, expect your dog to not bother the items. Always reward with a different treat for a job well done.
Step
7
Garden
Walk your dog to your garden’s edge and use the 'leave it' command. It may take a few tries and a leash to keep him on the correct side of the garden, but he will begin to associate the ‘leave it’ command with not being in the garden. Reward him each time he stays on the correct side of the garden.
Step
8
Practice
Be sure to stay with your dog for the first few weeks your dog is walking near your garden. This will give you control and the opportunity to use the command. Once he can be trusted, use the command before you let him outside. He should recognize he is supposed to leave the garden alone when he’s in that space.
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The Unappealing Garden Method

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Step
1
Border
Add unappealing items to the border of your garden. Plants that have a bad odor or plants such as cactus can keep your dog from entering your garden.
Step
2
Fence
You can place a fence, even if temporary, around your garden to keep your dog, as well as other critters, out.
Step
3
Smells
Sprinkle crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper along the garden’s edge. Your dog’s enhanced sense of smell likely won’t enjoy the scent, keeping him out of your garden.
Step
4
Water feature
Build a water feature along your garden’s edge to deter your dog from crossing that boundary into the garden. This will also add beauty and the soft sound of flowing water to your garden.
Step
5
Containers
If you have yet to build a garden and are wondering how well it will fare with a dog around, you may want to consider planting a container garden. Your dog could walk around large raised beds or pots without bothering the plants growing inside.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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