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Perfectly Imperfect Life..........

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring in the Garden with Pets

Now that the weather is getting warmer, everyone is beginning to venture outside.

The last thing you want to see is your best friend digging up your flowers. Or a stray cat leaving you "presents".

You don’t have to choose between your dog and your daffodils; keep both by adding a digging pit to your landscape~a spot where Spot can satisfy his urges without destroying anything in the process.

A digging pit can be a simple depression. You want to choose a good location your dog will want to use. One of the reasons dogs dig is to have cool soil under their bellies when they rest. That means you need to place your pit in an area that gets shade, at least during the hottest part of the day. Pick a location where the ground will not become waterlogged when you water the garden. Make it the right size. The pit needs to be about as wide as your dog is long, and one-and-a-half times your pet’s length. These proportions give the dog room to maneuver comfortably. Next, do some training.
Once you’ve made your digging pit, you have to convince your dog this is the one and only place to dig. While it may take time, it isn’t difficult. First, bury favorite toys or biscuits your dog will be happy to find in the pit. Take your dog with you to the pit and make a big show of digging. Get excited and play with a toy you uncover. After a minute or two of play, bury the toy again while your dog watches. Dogs will often dig where you’re indicating, especially when they smell the toys or biscuits. When that happens, praise the dog extravagantly and play again when the toy is uncovered.

We gardeners don’t like finding “presents” left behind by a cat. There are solutions to this problem, though it may take experimentation to find the one that works best for you.
Add a feline playground. Try adding a “kitty corner” away from your favorite plants to keep the cat busy. Fill this area with sandy soil, and plant around it with catnip, mint, and grasses. This will entice cats to remain in this location instead of in the rest of your garden. Look for deterrents. Rue (Ruta graveolens) is a well-known cat repellent, used through the ages to keep cats out of gardens. (Some people develop a rash when handling rue, so take care.) Commercial repellents have varying success. Some cats flee; others don’t even acknowledge the products. Many cats dislike the scent of citrus, so try scattering citrus peel around your gardens.

Get ‘em wet. An automatic sprinkling device called the Scarecrow releases a burst of water when anything moves in its coverage area. A quick spritz is sure to make Kitty think again about a future visit.

Just some thought and ideas to help enjoy your garden more =)
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