Hello all,
I just moved into a new home and landscaped the backyard. I know my 2 year old male yellow lab will end up destroying this backyard unless I do something to protect it/him. I was just reading about the invisible fence and it might be something to look into. I need to somehow block off the areas with plants/trees/flowers/bushes that might be harmful to my dog (and expensive to replace).
I have a small backyard (40 feet by 60 feet) with a flower bed around the entire perimeter and 2 additional flower beds against the house.

How can I prevent my dog from getting into these flower beds, destroying them and possibly harming himself in the process?
What have some of you done?
Thanks in advance...
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An invisible fence is probably your only realistic choice. If the beds against the house border your back door then you won't be able to put the fence there because the dog will get zapped for going outside. You can always call and consult an experienced installer of invisible fences. Most private contractors who sell & install them will also teach you about their use and help train the dog to its boundaries. You won't get that kind of help if you buy it online or from some retailers. Anyway, an in-home consultation will provide you with more answers and the installer can point out any potential problems.

Tara
How can I prevent my dog from getting into these flower beds, destroying them and possibly harming himself in the process?

Training your dog to not do this is a start. That wasn't meant to be flippant. Supervision works best, as does lots of exercise.
Where does he live while you're not at home?

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
He stays in the house most of the time, unless we'll be gone for an extended period of time. That's the time I'm worried about...when he has plenty of time and gets bored.
Training is easy to say. He is a very well trained dog, but when it comes to the backyard...I worry. Especially when the time comes that he'll be out there for a long time.
How can I prevent my dog from getting into these flower beds, destroying them and possibly harming himself in the process?

Training your dog to not do this is a start. That wasn't meant to be flippant. Supervision works best, as does lots of exercise. Where does he live while you're not at home?
Matt, have you ever lived with a young Lab? You'd have to supervise all their outdoor time to keep most of them from digging. The two Labs I've lived with weren't diggers just for the heck of it (well one was til she was about 18mo). They dug for cool, wet, dirt. I know other Lab owners who have China-diggers for pets, too many to chalk it up to being something trainable. And by that I should say easily or quickly trainable.

Most Labs love to hang out in the yard as well so unless the owner of a digging Lab only allows the dog out for short jaunts, or intends to spend hours each day watching the dog outside, supervision really isn't feasible. That's not to say that efforts shouldn't be made to train the dog not to dig but sometimes management is the better solution when a quick-fix is needed.

Tara
He stays in the house most of the time, unless we'll be gone for an extended period of time. That's ... it comes to the backyard...I worry. Especially when the time comes that he'll be out there for a long time.

I had to put a small fence up around my flower beds that were around the house in my backyard.
The temptation to go and lay in the fresh,
cool dirt was just too much for my dogs to resist. It wasn't the digging, it was the flower squashing.
Terri
Training your dog to not do this is a start. That wasn't meant to be flippant. Supervision works best, as does lots of exercise.

Matt, have you ever lived with a young Lab? You'd have to supervise all their outdoor time to keep most of them from digging.

Which is why I also mentioned training and exercise.

FWIW, Friday came to me as a digger. I didn't allow him to dig in certain areas, but as soon as he found a spot that we both agreed on, I let him.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
FWIW, Friday came to me as a digger. I didn't allow him to dig in certain areas, but as soon as he found a spot that we both agreed on, I let him.

Why do I get this mental picture of you and Friday, huddled around the kitchen table with notepads, contracts, pens, pencils and a calculator,wearing visors and both holding a toothpick in the corner of your mouths?
Matt: "Okay now, from here to here is a no dig zone." Friday: "Well, now,if I don't go over here, I need access to this part of the zone."
(Friday sits back, arms folded, rolling toothpick slowly around from one side of his mouth to the other.)
Matt: (tugs slightly on his visor, sighing loudly) "Okay, you can have that part, I'll mark it right here." "Now, about that area. If you have that piece, you have to give up this 5 foot area here..."
Friday: "Hmmm, well I can agree to that, IF we include this area over here". (Leans forward and pointedly taps the chart.)
Terri
Why do I get this mental picture of you and Friday, huddled around the kitchen table with notepads, contracts, pens, ... a toothpick in the corner of your mouths? Matt: "Okay now, from here to here is a no dig zone."

Spooky! That's almost exactly how it happened!

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
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