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My Dog Gets Into My Flower Bed – Help!

happy smiling mixed breed dog in flower garden

This week, the question is from Lori Hilliard, editor of “The Contemporary Pet.” We’re ALL still learning and are happy to take advantage of our wonderful contributors to answer our pet behavior questions.

“My dog Soldier always picks out a particular flower in my flower beds and will pee on that one flower each day until he kills it, then he’ll move on to another one. I try to watch him every time he’s outside, but sometimes he is in the fenced yard alone for a stretch of time while I’m working or tossing in a load of laundry, etc. He never digs the flowers up or anything else, just urinates on them. Why does he do this, and is there any way to stop him?”

Kristen White, our animal behavior specialist, answered:

“It sounds like there is something interesting to your dog about those particular spots in your flower bed, since it isn’t always the same kind of plant or flower that he is urinating on. The key will be preventing access to break the habit (for at least 30 days) and then gradually allowing access, supervised at first. If you are unable to prevent access, then you could try planting things that dogs naturally do not like (but are not toxic) such as juniper, coleus and citronella. Dogs also do not care for the scent of citrus, and tend to steer clear of it, so you could also sprinkle citrus peels around the flower bed as a deterrent.”

White Garden Border Fence

This garden border fence is high enough to keep Soldier out while my smaller flowers take root.

A note from Lori: I took Kristen’s advice and vigilantly monitored Soldier for a few days, making sure he always went to a grassy area of the yard instead of into my flower bed, but it wasn’t practical for a full thirty days. Kristen also suggested preventing access for thirty days, so I tried putting up a small border fence around the flower beds that is only about eight inches high. Soldier looks at it every day with disdain, but he won’t step over it. The border fencing has pickets across the top (like a miniature white picket fence) and he’s relatively low to the ground. I haven’t decided whether to leave the fence up for the duration of the summer, but for now it’s working, and that’s what counts!



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