Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gardens and Dogs Don't Mix

Yes, Dart tore up my garden.

I knew there was a good chance it would happen, since we did realize he was taking his rawhide bones and burying them. Some were in the lawn/weeds, and some in my potted plants  (and not just the outside pots - I found at least one of them in my indoor dracena potted plants!). And when I brought home the bales of soil and steer manure to fill the planter bed I knew it was going to be a problem because he was really interested in the steer manure. But it was still frustrating to look out the window and see him rooting around in the loose dirt, and my tomato plants nowhere to be seen.

I ran outside and rescued my plants, replanting them and shoving the dirt around again to get it level. Fortunately Dart wasn't flinging dirt all around, just making quick little holes in the soft dirt. I think he was attracted by the smell of the steer manure at the very bottom layer. Although he ignored most of the plants he did, however, chew the pot off of the "plant in the pot" tomato plants. I don't think he ate any of the leaves or roots, he just shredded the pot.

splorp!'s brilliantly executed solution was to build a fence with rabbit fencing, and posts from the home improvement store. The posts were sledgehammered into the ground, then the rabbit fencing was attached and secured with zip-ties. Then we lined the fence with the (free) bricks that were in the side yard when we moved in. The bricks are to prevent our little digging dog from simply going under the fence and resuming his mission to dig to China.

The fence was quite successful:

Dart sees the fence being built
Dart inspects as the fence is being built

Dart outside the fence

Full view of the fence

Dart patrols the fence

He seemed more or less resigned to the fence in the end. This is the closest he's gotten to it since we built it. Just this one picture, and then he left it alone. Even if we toss something  on accident over the fence (like a ball) he remembers its there and he hasn't managed to crash into it.

Now I can garden with the bird, and Dart sits in the sun and watches. From the other side of the fence.

Gardening with Harley on my shoulder

Now, a full week after the digging, my tomato plants seem to have recovered, and Dart has not made any serious attempts to get into the garden area. The bricks prevent digging under it, and the only way he could jump over would be to start from the fence line, and we prevented that.

Our fence next to the gate

Yes, Dart is small enough he could balance on the lower ledge of the fence and then jump over. But the solar light wedged into the fence boards and angled away from the garden prevents him from getting close enough to successfully jump over the rabbit fencing.

Not that we've seen him try, exactly. About ten minutes after the fence was finished he did jump up on the fence rail and look like he was considering making the leap, but we told him "NO!" before he could actually jump. Hopefully the verbal lesson (plus the physical barrier) will do the trick.

Oh, and even though Dart managed to mix up my soil and steer manure beautifully (what with all the digging), he got "rewarded" with a bath that night.Yeah, not his favorite reward, but I thought he deserved it.

1 comment:

Gayle Ficarra Wolcott said...

Great story, love happy endings!