If you’re like most dog parents, your dog’s safety and enjoyment are a top priority. We go above and beyond to make sure they’re comfortable inside, but what about when they’re in the backyard? Here are a few ideas to spruce up your backyard to make it ideal for your best friend:
1. Create a Digging Area
Dogs LOVE to dig, and if you’re not careful they’ll decide to dig everywhere but where you want them to. Pick a spot in your backyard you won’t mind them digging in and make the perfect digging area by loosening the soil and adding dog-safe mulch. You can even add border materials to match your landscaping. Encourage them to dig there by burying some yummy smelling treats yourself and watching them have a blast digging them up.
2. Incorporate Training Obstacles
Dogs don’t just need exercise in order to be healthy and well-behaved, they need exercise that stimulates their mind. Consider building or buying some agility obstacle such as tunnels, hoop or tire jumps, or a dog walk. Having these in your backyard will allow you to exercise your dog’s mind and body, and reinforce basic training commands. Check out DIY Network’s step-by-step building guide.
3. Include a Water Feature
Providing clean drinking water for your dog is always important, but more than that, some dogs love to play in the water. Splashing in the water in the summertime helps them cool off and provides relief from boredom. There are several do-it-yourself options or you can go all out on a water feature that will wow the whole family!
4. Add a Marking Post
Dogs like to mark their territory when they’re outside, particularly males. You can encourage them to do it where you want by adding a large rock or a log into your landscaping. Some homeowners have taken it a step further by building a self-draining dog run.
5. Incorporate Walking Paths
Patrolling their home is instinctual for some breeds, but most dogs like to have set walking paths to patrol. Be sure to use products that feel good on your dog’s paws like concrete, smooth pebbles, or mulch and encourage them to use the paths by hiding treats or other goodies for them to find along the way. If you have a dog that really enjoys patrolling, you may consider setting all landscaping at least three feet from the fence and creating a path around the perimeter.
Depending on the size and layout of your yard, you can implement as many or as few of these ideas as you like. Or get creative and design things specifically for your favorite canine! Whatever you do, remember to inspect materials for safety hazards, avoid using chemical insecticides and refer to the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants when choosing what to plant.