Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Keeping Puppy Safe in the Great Outdoors

Look Out! He Is Eating The Tree!

This is Mickey, proudly owned by Ed and Lisa munching on a tree in his back yard! Lisa called to ask what to do about a puppy that ran around eating bark, stones, sticks, trees and digging holes!

It is true that puppies and pristine landscaping are not necessarily compatible. But there are some things you can do to make life outdoors easier and safer.

First do some research on the poisonous plants that may be in your yard. Some of the things that are not agreeable and may be poisonous to dogs are rhododendrons, calla lilly, yew trees and foxglove plants. There are others so do some homework about the plants that may be growing in your area.

Next, when you go outside to garden take some things with you that puppy can play with and chew on, instead of the landscape. A rawhide, fresh marrow bone from the freezer, or a Kong toy filled with peanut butter should do the trick. Puppy will be happy with his new treat and you can do some gardening without shouting, NO, STOP THAT evey five minutes.

Another thing that makes outdoors fun is play. Take a walk on a leash, throw a ball or play a game of hide and seek. Hide and seek is great for getting puppies to pay attention to you, learn to come and stick by your side.

As for digging holes, well that comes naturally to most dogs. Keeshonden will dig a hole to find a cool spot to lay down. If the potential hole is in your perennial bed then you can discourage the behavior by placing dog waste (poo) in the hole. Rocks also can be deterrent. Sometimes if a flower bed is an attractive target putting up a small garden fence is a good plan.

Puppies want to explore and they like to have a partner in doing it! Make your outdoor time with puppy an enjoyable experience for both of you by planning ahead.

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