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Preparing your Garden for a Puppy

In some ways it's even more important than puppy proofing your house as she may well be left alone and unsupervised outside for short periods of time so you need to think carefully about preparing your garden for a puppy.

Pretty Plants - or a Happy Pup?

If you have prize plants you will either have to be prepared to sacrifice these, or to fence them off.  Puppies have no idea of the difference between plants and weeds, and will dig, pull up and trample indiscriminately.  They love to explore their new world, and this means trying out everything with their teeth.  They will bite and chew anything and everything so make sure you check the plants in your garden and make sure they are not poisonous.  The Dog’s Trust has a good list of poisonous plants which you can check. 

Puppy Proofing Your Garden

Keeping Your Puppy in the Garden

You need to make sure you keep you puppy in the garden and that she cannot get out.  For anything other than a very small dog you need to have your garden surrounded by a fence with a minimum height of 4 feet.  Any gaps between or underneath fence panels should be blocked off, for example, with chicken wire.  Puppies can get through very small gaps! 

Keeping your Garden Clean

Puppy's poo quite a lot, so make sure you keep on top of clearing the faeces from the grass.  This is particularly important if you have young children, or if any may come to visit.  When house training try to get your puppy to perform in one part of the garden, then you'll have the mess in a more concentrated area. 
If you want to put weedkiller and/or fertiliser on your lawn, do so well before you bring your puppy home so that it has been well watered in by the time she arrives.  Be guided by the information on the type you buy which should tell you whether it is safe for pets and children to walk on. 
Remember though that young puppies have very sensitive stomachs, so be ultra cautious in the first few months.

I would advise against using any kind of weedkiller whilst she is young - she will be biting, licking and mouthing everything in site.

To be quite honest, a perfect garden and a young puppy do not go together.  For the sake of your sanity you may have to consider sacrificing your flowers for a season whilst you work on training your puppy not to walk on the flower beds, where she can and can’t dig, and making sure she understands the word ‘no’ when she’s intent on pulling up your prize plant.  If your garden is large enough you could fence off a part for the puppy to play in but remember she will need to get rid of some of her energy outdoors, so make sure her area is large enough for her to do that.
Tally so far for this young pup:  All tulip heads bitten off and 3 lily plants destroyed.
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