Being a dog lover, my garden and I have been through a few puppies over the years, and it can be quite a challenge to keep that sweet demeanor when you find half the garden dug up, chewed or both. The strongest advice I can give, is to fence off any part of the garden that is precious or cant take severe pruning with some razor sharp little teeth.
Different breeds of dogs will create different kinds of havoc, in my opinion Labradors are the worst because they are eating machines. Some puppies will just love to dig, others to dig and then chew what they dug out.
Do not rely on puppies having the sense to differentiate between toxic and non-toxic plants, if you have plants that are unsafe for dogs, you must restrict the access until puppies get past the chewing stage. There are many plants that are on the poisonous list for dogs, and you may be surprised just how many, but it a matter of giving your puppy many chew toys and spending time with them playing – its a bit like toddlers, you wear them out.
You will need to find a place that your puppy can go and dig, they will probably proudly show you, so its better giving them one particular spot its ok to dig than filling in several holes all over the garden. This is really important during the summer months, they will find the coolest part of the garden to lay in to escape the heat.
The only thing I found that worked to stop my puppies from chewing outdoor furniture, hoses, and reticulation was to rub peppermint oil on everything, they don’t seem to like the smell.
Some puppies develop a liking for certain fruits and vegetables, my Nova Scotia loves plucking the blueberries directly off my bushes and my black Labrador loved chillies straight from the plants.
If you are planning on getting a puppy and haven’t yet finished the garden, I strongly recommend to grow your veggies in raised beds with plenty of room in-between for dogs to walk through. It will save you a lot of heartache and plant replacement. They are a puppy and as such do not understand what they have done wrong, its better to train them by playing in other parts of the garden than punish them for something they don’t understand.
A shady tree and some lawn is vital to keep your puppy happy, it gives them somewhere to lay and play and roll. Remember, your puppy will become part of the family, their needs are an important factor to consider before you embark (pardon the pun) on adding them to the family.