Lawn Maintenance For Dog Owners: How To Prevent Destroyed Turf Caused By Canine Companions
Owning a lawn provides a number of benefits for both dogs and dog owners. It gives you a convenient place to take your dog to use the bathroom and allows your dog to safely rest and play outside. Unfortunately, dogs can be rough on the health of your lawn — their urine can cause chemical burns, they can destroy the turf with their claws, and their natural digging behavior can cause severe damage to large sections of your lawn. Here are some strategies you can employ to keep your lawn fresh and green while still allowing your dog to enjoy the full benefits of going outside on your lawn.
Create a Bathroom Area to Stop Damage From Dog Urine
The high nitrogen content in dog urine actually causes it to act as a fertilizer for your lawn. If you've noticed that some lawns are dry and brown with occasional green patches, it may be because a dog is using these spots as a bathroom. Unfortunately, for a lawn that is already green and well-fertilized, the extra fertilizer will cause chemical burns. This kills the grass and causes brown patches.
The best way to keep your dog from causing brown patches that are scattered across your lawn is to have a single designated bathroom area. Dogs prefer to go to the bathroom on porous surfaces, so you can't use a concrete surface or pavers. A small box filled with mulch or pea gravel works best for this purpose. You can also use a secluded spot on your lawn.
Train your dog to go to the bathroom exclusively on this spot through positive reinforcement — take your dog out frequently and walk him or her over to the desired location, then give him or her a treat if he goes to the bathroom. Your dog will eventually learn to use this area even when you are not present.
Fence In a Play Section to Prevent Larger Breeds From Destroying the Turf
Larger breeds can tear up turf simply by running or playing on your lawn. This will kill grass and prevent it from regrowing, leaving the area vulnerable to weed growth. If you have a large enough lawn, you can create a fenced-off area that your dog can play in. This keeps your dog active while keeping him or her from tearing up the rest of your lawn. Otherwise, you'll need to contact a professional lawn maintenance company to regularly weed and reseed damaged areas. Severely damaged patches of lawns may need to be completely re-sodded to repair the root system.
Confine Digging Behavior to a Single Place on Your Lawn
Digging is another canine behavior that can severely damage your lawn. You can minimize the damage by giving your dog a preferred area to dig in. Dogs will naturally want to bed down in a shady area with loose soil, so you'll want to create one for your dog. Choose a shady area in your lawn and till the soil or install a sandbox. Reward your dog for digging and resting in that area so that he or she knows that it's okay to use it as an outside bed.
Implementing these techniques will help to keep your lawn green and healthy while giving your dog a place to use the bathroom and rest during the day. If your lawn has already been severely damaged by your dog, call a professional lawn maintenance company to discuss what can be done to restore it to its original green condition.