Gardening with Dogs

We’ve had three warm and sunny days in a row. While it most assuredly feels like spring, the weatherman says to expect a couple more nights with freezing temps. So instead of pushing the “Go” button, here’s a bit about the challenges of gardening with dogs. First, a couple of introductions.


This is Loki. Back in spring 2012, I was reading local classifieds and found an ad for Vizsla-mix puppies. About two years before we had lost our old dogs to a variety of illnesses, one a Vizsla and the best, gentlest, smartest dog ever.

Once we met Loki, we had to adopt him. He was a gorgeous pup and so friendly. But we quickly learned he was stubborn, excitable, and well, to put it bluntly, just not the brightest bulb in the box.

Loki was so rambunctious, I thought it would be helpful for him to have a friend. Off we went to Kansas City’s Wayside Waifs – a wonderful place for rescue dogs and cats. There we found this dark beauty.


Juno is a black lab mix. Super smart, she knows she’s the boss of Loki and herds him around the yard. Together, they get into a lot of trouble; she instigates, he follows.

Both dogs are diggers. They especially love holes started by their humans (us). Making big holes out of little holes delights them both. They also believe they can go anywhere we go unless stopped by the invisible fence that borders three of our four acres.

For example, here’s our most recent grass germination attempt near the pad where we keep the generator. When Jim first put this together, he fenced it off with stakes and string, then put up the flags, hoping that would keep them out.


Soon we found stakes and string all over the yard and the not too surprising footprints of dog.


They love to cut across my front bed, knocking bricks off as they go.


Again, the suspicious paw prints in the newly scattered cotton burr mulch:


And I’m missing ALL the hellebores I planted last fall and three Purple Emperor Sedum plants. Bad dogs! The words they’re hearing most these days are “off!” and “stay out!”

But on the plus side, they “scent mark” my trees, including one where I planted tulip bulbs last fall. What self-respecting deer would deign to eat those stinky bulbs?


The challenge is to make them understand that even though we can dig holes and move plant material around, they can’t.

Sit! Stay! Good dog!



11 thoughts on “Gardening with Dogs

  1. Well, you named them Loki and Juno — what did you expect?
    Sorry to hear that the other dogs have passed. Little Red was a sweetheart. The cats Remus and Romulus are still around, right?

  2. We have two smaller dogs. They also like to continue digging where I have started. One of the reasons I didn’t do much gardening for a few years was because of our previous dog, a lab. She would dig anywhere she wanted. It was often where I was babying something and I did not appreciate her ‘help’.

    (Thanks for the Spark goodie.)

  3. Both dogs are beauties! Mine just dig in the middle of the lawn??? I keep telling them the soil I’m working in is much nicer, faster digging but they persist in digging holes so I’ll fall down and break my ankle and have to lay in bed with them all day for weeks on end!

    I’m SO jealous how green it is. It is still so brown here…drove 210 miles south today so did get to see just a slight green glaze over the spring wheat fields and one meadow down in a valley by the river that was starting to green up. Mountains still have on their snow caps but I didn’t encounter any rain…and hopefully no snow tomorrow. Did see 3 mountain goats and 4 kids in the canyon and that was exciting and my first gopher of the season!!

    Wind was a steady 35 mph and the geese trying to get back to Canada were having a pretty tough go of it. Did see some daffodils and crocus blooming at my friends’ place down there. But my tulips and day lilies are up quite a bit higher than theirs? Crap shoot, I tell you! Gardening is a crap shoot! Dogs digging where they aren’t supposed to is a sure bet!

    • Yes, it’s still sort of winter where you are – or not as much spring? But you have mountains and canyons. If you figure out a way to keep the dogs from digging, let me know!!

  4. It’s winter wheat peaking through…not spring wheat!! Can’t edit after I post and I was too tired to proofread before I hit the key! Good Night, Sweet Sipora!!

  5. Let GeeGee out this morning and she came back to the door with a filthy dirty face and front paws proudly grasping a filthy dirty bone in her pearly whites…and a hole in the strawberry bed!

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