Thu Jan 14 2016 | maintenance | sod
You've just installed your new sod. Now, you have a gorgeous, lush, green lawn that will impress your neighbors all summer long. But by the end of the week, you notice your lawn is looking a little worse for wear. And you know exactly who the culprit is: your dog.
Dogs love fresh grass, but they don't understand how to keep it looking nice. To them, the yard is a playground where they can run, dig, and go to the bathroom wherever they'd like.
Some pet owners don't allow their dogs to play outside without their supervision. But if you have a particularly energetic breed, this may not be possible. Fortunately, there are other ways to stop your dog's destructive behavior. If you use the tips below, you can help your dog maintain some outdoor freedom and protect your lawn from damage at the same time.
Many dogs destroy the lawn because they feel bored and need a fun way to burn off their energy. By giving your dog regular walks and playing fetch, you'll keep him or her occupied with other types of calorie-burning outdoor fun. This may give him or her less motivation to ruin the lawn.
Your dog might also dig to look for water. Make sure he or she has constant access to a water bowl.
Perhaps your dog isn't digging because of boredom, but because he or she wants to kill the pests in your yard. See if your dog digs in one certain area or follows a determined path.
Moles, insects, and other pests can be tempting targets for your dog. Ask a professional to treat your lawn with safe solutions that eliminate pests without endangering your pet.
If you see holes near trees or building foundations, your dog may be digging holes to create shelter from sun, wind, or rain. If this is the case, keep your dog inside during bad weather, or provide your dog with a dog house for shelter.
Yet another reason your dog may dig is because he or she wants to escape. If you notice that most of his or her digging takes place near the fence, you'll want to make it a less attractive place to dig. You can do so by covering the bottom of the fence and by burying wire or rocks near it.
If your dog's interest in digging continues despite your best efforts, try controlling where he or she digs. Fence off areas you want your dog to stay away from, such as your garden. You can also place rocks and wire by your dog's favorite digging areas that you want to protect.
Use soil or sand to create a special digging-approved area, and place toys and bones there. If your dog digs elsewhere, tell him or her "No" and move your dog to the digging area. Keep doing this until your dog goes to the digging area on his or her own.
If your dog's urine is causing your grass to die, consider this solution. As you'll notice when you walk your dog, dogs prefer to urinate on fire hydrants or poles. These higher spots are a good place for dogs to "mark their territory" and spread their scent to other dogs. Place a marking post such as an old fire hydrant or pole in your yard. Cover the bottom with rocks or mulch to protect your grass from damage.
Teaching your dog where to go to the bathroom is another way to keep him or her from destroying all your grass. To teach your dog about designated bathroom spots, lead your dog to the same spot every day. Give your dog a treat after he or she uses the spot. Once your dog learns to use his or her bathroom spot, you'll protect your grass from damage and give yourself easy cleanup.
Perhaps the most important way to prevent dog damage is to take extra precautions as you care for your lawn. Certain areas will need special care. For example, your dog may sleep in the same spot each day, causing that area of grass to die.
If you grow your grass by seed, look for areas that your dog frequently damages and place extra seed there. Aerating your lawn around these areas a couple times a year can give your grass a better chance to grow as well. Finally, cover your yard in mulch. Mulch adds nutrients to the soil and helps it better absorb water.
Dogs and yards aren't always a good match. If your dog's habits are destroying your lawn, follow these steps. By training your dog and caring for your lawn, you can protect your seed or sod from damage and create a beautiful lawn.