Your lawn is freshly mowed, the shrubs have just been pruned, and your carefully-manicured garden is beginning to bloom. All that hard work you’ve put into beautifying your yard is finally paying off…
Oh, scratch that. The neighbor’s dog has chosen your lawn to do his business on, urinating on your greenery and tearing up your grass with his post-pee kicks.
And now that he’s peed on your lawn, his scent will draw the rest of the neighborhood dogs to do the same.
You don’t want to seem like a grouch, but you’re sick of your yard serving as a playground for other people’s dogs. Short of putting up an expensive fence, is there anything you can do to keep all these dogs off your lawn?
Don’t sweat it — the answer is yes. Here are our favorite easy ways to deter dogs from entering your yard and making a mess of your lawn.
Three Easy Ways to Keep Dogs off Your Lawn
1. Make Good Use of Bad Smells
We don’t mean lining your property with garbage or rotten food — if anything, those would attract more dogs to your yard. No, this tactic involves using dogs’ sensitive noses against them by perfuming your lawn with smells that dog hate.
Thankfully, many of these smells are inoffensive or even pleasant to humans. We recommend citrus, citronella or hot peppers, as they’re easily obtained, inexpensive and highly effective.
To make a citrus dog repellent, just squeeze some fresh lemon, orange or lime juice into a spray bottle, then grate some of the rinds for a little extra zest. Then add a little water to boost the volume and spray the perimeter of your lawn.
Similar in scent to citrus is citronella, an oil that’s commonly used in candle form to repel mosquitos. Rather than lining your property with candles, though, pick up a bottle of pure citronella oil and dilute it with water to a 1:8 ratio, then spray it around your lawn.
Hot chili peppers are offensive to dogs’ noses and taste buds, so head to your spice rack and grab some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Mix some in with cooking oil, let it sit for 24 hours to release the spicy capsaicin, then put it in a spray bottle and spritz away!
However, don’t use hot pepper as a repellent if dogs tend to lick or otherwise ingest parts of your lawn. Capsaicin can hurt dogs’ mouths and stomachs.
2. Utilize the Element of Surprise
Dogs don’t like being startled, so if you can make your yard full of surprises, they’ll quickly learn to stay away. There are two main ways of doing this: one involves water, the other involves sound.
Motion-activated sprinklers hook up to your garden hose and monitor your yard for movement. When a dog, squirrel, groundhog or other unwanted visitor enters your yard, the sprinkler activates, soaking the intruder with a strong spray of water.
The shock of being sprayed, the pressure of the water, and the sudden noise of the sprinkler activating combine into a truly startling experience. Any trespassers will be terrified and, in all likelihood, won’t want to return to your yard.
If you don’t want to or can’t use a sprinkler, you can try an ultrasonic dog repeller. These devices come on a stake that you insert into the ground; when they detect movement, they emit an extremely high-pitched noise that drives dogs away.
Our ears can’t hear this noise, but dogs can, and they find it extremely unpleasant. For this reason, you shouldn’t use ultrasonic dog repellers if you or your immediate neighbors have pets.
But if you and your neighbors don’t have any pets, these devices can help you keep your lawn free from dogs. As a bonus, they also deter other pests like rabbits, raccoons, and gophers.
3. Try a Commercial Dog Repelling Product
Commercial dog repellent sprays and granules are perfect for those who need a super=quick, low-effort solution. They’re specially formulated specifically to deter dogs from entering your yard, so there’s no guesswork involved with making your own repellents.
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Granules like Ortho Dog and Cat B Gon can be sprinkled on the perimeter of your lawn or on any particular areas where you don’t want dogs, such as gardens. They’re scentless to humans but smell unpleasant to dogs thanks to the special blend of oils inside them.
Similar products are also available in liquid form for easy application via a spray bottle. They’re usually safe for plants and soil, so you can apply them anywhere they’re needed.