Once dogs became domesticated, their characteristics strayed further and further away from that of their ancestors and, sometime between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, the domesticated wolf became what we know today as a dog. One major difference between the two is that wolves cannot interpret human behaviour, whereas dogs can. This aspect made them a great ally to humans: they respond to commands, to some degree without question. Fast-forward to 9,000 years ago and we realised the true potential of these obedient canines through selective breeding, creating the most desirable dog for specific jobs such as hunting, pulling loads, tracking, and protection.
Relative to other animals, dogs are an incredibly obedient species; there is ample evidence for this. However, they certainly have the tendency to roll-over to their most atavistic of instincts from time to time. This can be both a danger and a nuisance.
There are a surprising amount of zoonotic diseases and illnesses, that are transmittable from humans to dogs, often through fleas. These include rabies and worms (tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms).
As many know, aggressive dogs can be danger to people since there is a risk of being bitten. Dog bites can lead to infection if not treated correctly.
Thanks to their keen sense of smell, dogs frequently pick up scents which excite them and cause erratic behaviour such as digging or jumping. Your patios and garden areas may be at risk of unwanted digging and fouling, unless preventative measures are taken to ensure their protection.
There are over 340 breeds of dog in the world, and their average lifespan is 12 years.
As with their lifespan, the age at which they reach each of their 4 life stages fluctuates dramatically. The life stages include:
Puppy (0-12 months)- Tend to stay with their mother and siblings. Learning how to interact with humans so this is the best time to train and introduce house rules.
Adolescent (12 months-3 years)- Hormones begin to kick in and they may act like a moody teenager. You may consider obedience training at this point.
Adult (3-8 years)- Less demanding of your attention but still enjoys learning and playing.
Senior (8 years and over)- Begins to eat less, sleep more and move slower.
Although they primarily consume meat, dogs, unlike cats, are not obligatory carnivores and they do frequently eat vegetable matter. Wet dog food often contains vegetables. If your dog is not obtaining enough fibre they may resort to eating grass as a supplement to the digestion process.
As scavengers, dogs have very well adapted guts so faeces, vomit, and roadkill are all viable food sources and dogs can siphon their required intake of nutrition from them without feeling unwell.
EVIDENCE OF INTRUSION
Some dog owners allow their pets to roam free around the garden, others keep them on a tight leash. No matter your house rules there’s every chance they will dig up your lawn or foul on the patio.
The most well-known sign of dog activity in your garden is dog faeces; no need for a picture.
Dogs often dig in seemingly random places when they hear or smell something exciting underground.
When they’re not receiving enough fibre, they often chew plants to supplement digestion.
USEFUL TRICKS & TIPS
Cats and dogs both have a very acute sense of smell so strong odours such as garlic and onions will deter them.
Distribute some red pepper flakes or vinegar around the flower bed border as a deterrent.
Place a motion detecting sprinkler on the flower bed. After a few unwelcome showers, they just won’t bother.
Build a fence
An obvious alternative is to construct a perimeter around your bed so they just can’t get in.
TREATMENT & PREVENTION
Fencing & fence line protectors
- To ensure your dog doesn’t start digging up lawns and vegetable patches, the Defenders Prickle Strip Dig Stopper is a durable alternative to sonic repellents and sprays, which is placed just below ground level to stop digging.
- The Mega-Sonic Cat & Dog Repeller emits from a twin speaker unit to maximise dB output and coverage area, making it a very comprehensive repellent.
Sprays and gels
- The Defenders Cat & Dog Scatter Granules are biodegradable and coated in Natural Active ingredients to create a non-harmful, repelling perimeter around patios and garden areas.
- Pepper is an offensive scent to many animals. The Defenders Pepper Dust combines a tried and tested solution to produce a natural and welfare-friendly method of prevention.
- If it’s not the dog you’re trying to remove from your property, but fleas on the dog, Zero In has a full range of products. The Flea Killer Comb delivers a small electrical charge to kill fleas without causing harm to your pet.
- For monitoring a flea infestation, use the plug-in Flea Killer, designed to replicate the warm body of an animal to attract fleas onto the sticky pad. There are also options for space treatment sprays and aerosols.