Critter Control: Dogs

They're very territorial and possessive. They also chew, dig, and can seemingly bark until the cows come home.

Good Points

Almost too numerous to name; after all, they are man's best friend. They share the same good points as cats do, only more so—love, affection, companionship, entertainment, the list goes on and on. They're also good as watchdogs, and can keep a garden clear of everything but the smallest of pests.

Bad Points

They use your lawn as their own not-so-private bathroom, they bark at all hours of the night, and can excavate your lawn, garden, and/or flower beds like a small bulldozer. They also bring fleas and ticks into the neighborhood, discolor the grass with their waste, and have the annoying habit of never having met a tire, leg, or fire hydrant they didn't like.

Favorite Foods

If it's edible, it's edible!


Let's see—holes in the lawn, garden, flower beds along with a “who me?” look and dirt on their face. The same goes for trash, laundry, important papers, new plantings, the kids' homework, etc.



There are several dozen repellents available that repel dogs effectively. The most common ingredients are paradichlorobenzene (moth crystals) or a citric base (dried or crushed lemon or grapefruit rind). To make your own, add some of the above, rue and chilly powder in equal proportions.


Some types of grass that can stand up to doggie damage a whole lot better than others. Fescue (sp. var. Kentucky 31) and Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perrene) are two of the most “dog-proof” grasses around. However, keep in mind that if Fido keeps doing his business in the same place over and over, eventually even these tough grasses will develop brown spots.

There are many homemade repellents that can be just as effective as the commercial ones. Try any or all of these:

  • Mothballs, dried blood, oil of mustard, a long broom or fat, rolled-up newspaper.
  • Cayenne pepper or naphthalene flakes sprinkled in and around the areas where dogs urinate in your yard.
  • Spray your trash bags or cans with Pine-Sol or other pine-scented cleaning detergent mixed with an equal amount of water. A second repellent is a mild ammonia/water solution with a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper added. A third is a commercial product like Ropel's Garbage Can Protector®.

To prevent dog damage to your lawn, add Yeast and Garlic Bits to your dog's diet. The yeast mellows the strength of their waste, while the garlic helps ward off fleas and vampires!

To repair doggy spot damage to your lawn, overspray the turf with 1 cup of Shampoo per 20 gallons of water, and then apply gypsum over the area at the recommended rate. One week later, overspray the turf with my Lawn Saver Tonic.

And finally, devote a patch of your yard to Fido, and try training him to use this spot as his “rest stop”. (As a matter of fact, some dog owners actually provide a whole graveled area for their dog to use!) Once you've designated your dog's privy patch, take him to it each and every time you think he needs a potty break. It takes a lot of patience, but if you're able to convince your pooch to use his potty, your lawn will be golf-course green once again!

For More Controls, Click On: Critter Controls