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Do you have a gardening "assistant"?

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Do you have a gardening "assistant"?

Postby Pepper » May 02, 2008 6:33 am

*edit* - this post should probably be "over the Garden Fence" and not in "Plant Talk" - sorry about that! Is there any way to move it?

We have a 14 month old lab, who has decided her favourite hobby is gardening. She loves to stick close by and watch my every move (head cocked from side to side) as I rake, dig, weed and fuss over the gardens. She helps me carry gardening tools around the property (likely because most gardening tools look like sticks), and then if I turn away for a second, she "adjusts" things and by that I mean she digs things up that I have just planted.

Last weekend I arrived home with 2 hydrangea plants and before I even had them planted, she had ripped the container off one of them, chewed the container to bits and was chewing on the root ball when I found her. :shock:

Obviously I can't supervise her 100% of the time - does anyone else have this "adorable" problem? (I'm guessing yes :D - how do you discourage your pets from digging?
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Postby Sheikea » May 02, 2008 9:36 am

LOL.I don't have that prob with my hound all she does is sit and watch.But the cats on the other hand..Now when I stick em out on their harnessses.They like to be where the action is chewing on things that might move and so on.They are funny to watch.As for your prob have you ever thought of useing a soray bottle of water on her or perhaps the hose.A little spray in the face may deter her from doing the unhelpful parts at least.I wish my hound dog would carry my tools around for me..LOL,,, :D
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Postby A Closet Canuck » May 02, 2008 9:53 am

My gardening assistant has dug out two areas this Spring so he can lay in the cool soil. He also dug up and ate Achillea "Paprika." Bad news about Labs as gardening assistants - even at 12 years of age they still like to help. LOL LOL

The best way to keep them out of trouble is lots of exercise. When we go out to garden we play chase the tennis ball/fetch the stick until he is tired. A kennel on your property also helps when you can't take the "assistance" anymore. LOL
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Postby Eeyore » May 02, 2008 10:30 am

I could move this post but I think I'll leave it here for now.

I agree with Trish and Sheika. Tie your assistant up when his help becomes a little hard to handle. Labs really are chewers aren't they?
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Postby kelly_m » May 02, 2008 11:41 am's a post about gardening...and problems associated with...I'm with my partner in crime....we'll leave it!!

I used to have similar problems as Trish with one of my I gave in to her and made sure I planted around her dig up spot to "hide" the hole.....There was also a trail where both dogs would go through the garden....left that for them too, after trying to plant stuff there to stop them...if you can't beat em join em!!!

As for chewing the buckets and root balls......maybe if you don't want to tie up your assistant while gardening, make sure he has something else he loves to chew on, while you work???
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Postby Abby1944 » May 02, 2008 11:42 am

We started our young lab pup off by training him basic commands. like sit, stay, come etc.
She loves to garden with me but she stays under the nearest shade tree. When she was a pup we would take her with us and put her down and say stay & she rarely moved. I have to say as a grown dog she has never ruined anything in my gardens. If she goes in she stays on the paths.
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Postby Pepper » May 02, 2008 12:52 pm

All good tips, thanks! I have to admit, I adore how engaged she is with everything gardening, and I love having her work with me, but there's a limit :? I like the idea of planting around her favourite dig holes, because I don't think I can't have eyes on her 24/7. I'm not a huge fan of tieing her up because she needs every bit of exercise she can get and we're on a farm and it just doesn't seem right. She did take obedience classes, so I just have to be more firm with the commands.

She'd also be more than happy if we played ball while we garden. She'd retrieve that thing all day long if she could, so I'll try that for sure!

The little scallywag...lways seems to pull her moves just when I look away for a second :lol:

Thanks everybody!
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Postby Venice » May 02, 2008 1:05 pm

hhahaha I know exactly what your talking about. Gizmo can be too helpful as well.

His favorite thing is to grab the lil plastic plant holders and run to the neighbors yard and shred them ehehhe. So ya I look like a lunatic running around picking up the pieces and prying them out of his mouth.

He's actually really good about not touching any plant once it's been planted. He'll walk carefully around the beds and not step on any. But he has sat on a few not realizing it. Poor Petunia's!!! ahahhaah

Last year he had a blast diving into the big piles of dirt, rolling and digging and was so cute, I let him and thought ohh I'll give him a bath afterward. Well the next day his noseroll was all swollen and infected. So we don't know if he had a sliver, or a bee sting. so I'll be more careful with him this year.

This year, I'll be firm with him and tell him 'no dig' and let him sit with me. If he misbehaves he gets locked on the deck hahaha. Or you can get one of those corkscrew posts and put him on a lead and let him hang out near you but not, on you. I also stick him in the swing chair I have sometimes, he can't seem to get out of it on his own and just naps.

Good luck, it's fun to have them help, but it's good to teach them manners and let them know what you expect from them.

If you have a big enough yard, you can always make a lil area just for him. You know like a sandbox. And take a bone or toy and bury it and let him dig in his area.

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Postby seacat » May 02, 2008 6:34 pm

I'd agree with most of what was said above and just like to stress what some of the others might be suggesting: your pup could be jealous of the time you spend with the plants and not with her. So playing with her, in between gardening or whatever, and tiring her out, as someone else suggested, sounds like a good idea. Particularly because she's a relatively young dog and still has lots of energy.

My cats seem to get annoyed when I come home and put the tv or radio on, because, I guess, I've been away at work all day and now I should pay attention to them and not the news or the latest CSI episode.

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Postby Sheikea » May 02, 2008 7:06 pm

LOL.As i just spent the afternoon up to my elbows in a mixture of manure,topsoil and potting mix.I had the joyus of having my little black kitten join me on her harness.She was so involved she is grey now from all the dirt.As she sits beside me on my gardening mat and mews at the bees in the pussy willow tree. :)
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