To Dog or Not to Dog — That is the Question



Last month, I spoke of the different kinds of animals that should be welcomed into your garden because they prey on or repel the critters that are generously helping themselves to your garden bounty. But we’ve been overlooking one animal that lives very close to you. In fact, he may even be a member of your very own family! No, I’m not talking about your mother-in-law or your brother-in-law. I’m talking about man’s best friend — Canis familiaris – the dog.


Allowing the family dog to roam around your yard near the garden or even inside the garden is a great way to keep the critters away. Most dogs will naturally chase squirrels and rabbits, and even opossums and raccoons would rather be left alone then have to deal with a dog. Besides, since you’re feeding it all that expensive, high-class, natural ingredient dog food, your dog ought to be earning his keep by contributing to your gardening efforts.


If you’re going to use your dog as a critter repellent, there are several things to consider. First, consider the kind of dog you have. A retriever, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or Great Pyrenees will probably do an excellent job of scaring off the garden thieves. A Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, or a Dachshund – probably not so much. Second, if your dog likes to dig, then letting him in the garden is probably not a good idea. Better to have a high fence, and let the dog do its work outside the garden. Lastly, if your dog has a lazy or cowardly personality, it probably won’t make a very good critter repellent.


A dog by itself probably won’t be enough to keep the marauding critters away all of the time. But combined with other repellents – fences, odor-emitting products, predator urine, etc., the family pet can be another tool in your arsenal of critter chasers.


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