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How to Keep Dogs Off Your Yard.

Updated on September 18, 2015

Many dogs love to dig, scratch and chew areas of your garden you do not want them in. They are often not picky about what part of your yard is their toilet, and this is even more frustrating when the dog leaving this chaos behind is not yours. Whether you want to discourage your dog from digging or soiling certain areas in your garden or you want to deter other dogs from entering and using your property there are several strategies you can use.

Enjoying the Sunny Day


Plants and Shrubs

Coleus Carnina/Plectranthus canninus

Planted around the edges of your flower bed or lawn, the strong scent of the coleus carnina plant will usually discourage animals. Native to east Africa and Southern Asia, it likes to grow in full sun. It is an easy to maintain plant with beautiful purple flowers, and complements several plant varieties. The plant is easy to grown from seed and needs little care. It also has the added bonus of not being harmful to children or pets and the odor will only be smelt by humans if they rub the leaves.

Lemongrass and other citrus smelling plants.

Dogs and cats generally do not like citrus smells so will avoid areas planted with them. Lemongrass is usually grown in well-draining, humid environments. It may struggle with a hard frost and will need bringing indoors during colder times. This means it would be better suited to pots that can be moved when necessary. Other citrus smelling plants include citronella, oranges, and grapefruit.

Other plants that repel dogs through smell.

Marigolds, Mint, Castor, Bergamot and mustard plants give off a sent that is disliked by dogs. They can also be mulched up and spread over the area you wish to protect.


Thorny shrubs may deter animals and some will also emit a citrus like smell. Good examples are roses, raspberries and holly. Roses are typically very hardy and reasonably easy to grow and have minimal maintenance.

Thorny Ground Cover

Thorny Ground Cover will be unappealing for animals to walk on. They too usually require low maintenance. Flower carpet roses and barberry are good examples.


lemongrass will discourage dogs from the area
lemongrass will discourage dogs from the area | Source

Garden Fence

Fence Enclosing a Garden
Fence Enclosing a Garden | Source

Building a fence

In an ideal situation a fence is the best solution to keep unwanted dogs out of your property and keep your pets in, however this is often expensive and is some areas not easy to do. In some regions the regulations about how close a fence can be to the road and how high it can be may permit you from achieving this goal.

Spraying the Perimeter

There are a wide selection of commercially produced sprays available to apply to your grass. Generally they contain a smell that dogs do not like and this deters them from entering the area. This would need to be repeated regularly to ensure the product is not washed away or diluted by rain.

Alternatively a spray can be made from ingredients around the home. A solution of eucalyptus and tea tea oil in a spray bottle may deter dogs if sprayed along the perimeter of your yard. Jerry Baker in his book Green Grass and Magic includes a recipe to make homemade repellant called Dog-B-Gone Tonic.

Recipe for Dog - B - Gone

2 cloves of garlic
2 small onions
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp.tabasco sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp. liquid dish soap
1 qt warm water.
Chop up the garlic and onions and combine all ingredients
Let it sit for 24 hours and strain through a cheesecloth.
Sprinkle on area you want to discourage dogs.

Other Homemade Repellents

Chopped up pieces of citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons and spread over the area you want dogs to avoid.

Chopped up unbleached coffee filters that have been pre soaked in distilled white vinegar and dried when scattered over the desired area can discourage dogs from digging or soiling.

Some people suggest sprinkling chilli powder or black pepper into potted plants and areas you do not want dogs to venture. This should be done with extreme caution however as the powder irritates a dogs nose, eyes and mouth and can cause harm if used in large quantities.

Movement Activated Sprinkler

It is possible to purchase movement activated sprinklers that will switch on when an animal moves within its senor range. The sprinklers can be attached to your hose pipe and will be annoying to a dogs and cats and deter them form returning.

In conclusion, there are many ways you can discourage dogs from causing a mess in your garden, many using household ingredients you already have.

© 2015 Ruthbro


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