A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than yourself. – Josh Billings
It’s every pet parent’s responsibility to make sure his/home offers a perfectly comfortable habitat for the pet(s). But some pet parents, in addition to being pet parents, are also guilty of being fond of their lawn and garden, especially the ones in the backyard because of the privacy it offers in comparison to the front garden decor. But if you’ve dogs and even if you take them out on daily walks, twice a day, they do need some liberty in relieving themselves in your backyard if the need arises. In addition to that if you’re blessed with an inquisitive giant breed like the German Shepherd who’re passionately fond of carrying out their own landscaping work and digging tunnels in your backyard, that may not be quite ideal for your gardening aspirations. But we refused to give up so soon and instead started brainstorming ways of enjoying the best of both worlds: raising two perfect giant dogs and maintaining a pretty backyard landscape. Our to do list looked something like this:
1. Redo the lawn with Fresh SOD
This of course had to be done given the situation the lawn was in. But we made sure that all traces of the old SOD were neatly removed and the soil tilled very well before the new SOD was laid down so as to help the new SOD to settle better and look neater.
2. Put up proper barricades and retaining walls
In addition to the pups’ fondness of relieving themselves in the side yard area, water logging and consequently water waste has been a repetitive problem for us. We took this opportunity of removing the excess soil, pave a part of the ground with concrete and then erect a retaining wall high enough for the dogs to jump across. We planted some lilies and some perennial colorful floral bushes interspersed with rose bushes, young cypress trees, and a couple of acacias to give the area some definition.
3. Demarcate a specific dog friendly area
This was the key problem that needed to be addressed. If the dogs continued to behave as they were, digging and relieving themselves all over the yard, the new SOD will give way in no time. At the same time we realized our fur babies needed an emergency relieving area somewhere within our home premises. We had earlier built a dog run for that purpose which never sufficed the purpose entirely. Hence, this time unlike the last time we didn’t cover the whole of our yard space with SOD but left 40% of the area uncovered. We covered this 40% area with small stones and gravels (absolutely NO GRASS) and trained the dogs to take their business only and only to this area and never on the grass. The training took a while but being quick learners,the GSDs learnt soon enough.