How to Turn your Backyard into a Dog Paradise

How to Turn your Backyard into a Dog Paradise
  • Opening Intro -

    It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to turn your backyard into a doggie paradise.

    With the right equipment and a little planning, your dog will be entertained for years to come.

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By Alex Levin

Before you add any new attractions, the first thing to do is make sure your yard is safe for your dog. If you don’t have a fence, install one. Your yard won’t be very much fun for your dog if he’s on a chain or tie-out. A stockade-style fence is better than chain link because some clever dogs can actually climb chain link fencing. Make sure the fence is tall enough that your dog can’t jump over it and deep enough that your dog can’t dig underneath it.

Remove any plants, bushes or trees that are poisonous to your dog. Your local vet can advise you of regional plants that you should destroy. Some well-known plants that can make your dog sick are tulips, daffodils and tomato plants.

Set up a lean-to so your dog can get out of direct sunlight. A dog house is good for the winter, but dog houses can get brutally hot in the summer sun. A nice, shady tree or bush also works well to block the sun. Find a spot to keep a large bowl of fresh water in the yard. It should be out of the way so that it doesn’t get spilled. Fill any holes, and remove any rocks, trash or debris that could injure your dog. Check the yard regularly to keep it free of hazards.

When you have the yard safe and ready for your dog to enjoy, you can add some fun features. The most important thing you can add to your backyard is you. There’s nothing your dog would rather play with than you. Dogs can entertain themselves quite well, but a solitary dog can also find plenty of trouble. If you’re outside with your pet, trouble won’t be so tempting.

You’ve probably seen dog shows with agility courses. By simulating a few of the activities in an agility course, you’ll give your dog many activities to enjoy. Here are some fun games that don’t cost too much but will provide hours of fun. In addition to the obvious physical exertion, these tasks also stimulate the canine mind.

  • Check the local toy store for a collapsible, soft-sided tunnel. Children’s tunnels are cheaper than dog tunnels from a pet store. Anchor it to the lawn with parachute cable or tent stakes. Use treats to tempt your dog into the tunnel the first time. He’ll love to race you through it after he gets the idea.
  • Use dowel rods and buckets to set up a few jumps. Encourage your dog to hop over the rod with a treat. Dogs love to jump over things.
  • Create a teeter board with a long plank and a cement block. Make sure the plank is wide enough for your dog to comfortably walk up and down it. Bribe your dog to try it with treats. Most dogs love teeter boards.
  • Make a pit for digging. You can use an old patch of garden or a few square yards of lawn. Encourage your dog to dig by partially burying a toy. If you dig in the dirt with your dog, he’ll get the idea quickly.
  • Use a piece of carpeted plywood on four cement blocks to create a pause table. Teach your dog to jump onto it, pause for a few seconds and jump down.
  • Set up a shallow wading pool. Water dogs love to frolic in a pool when the weather is toasty. You can find used wading pools at garage sales and thrift stores.
  • Creating a Pet-Friendly Backyard | hayneedle.com

  • If your dog likes to play tug of war, get a long piece of hemp rope with a diameter of one to two inches. Tie it onto a low branch of a tree. Dogs love a good tussle. Some breeds, like pit bulls, will grab the rope and hang in the air.
  • Of course, no doggie playground would be complete without a couple Frisbee-style toys. You can buy soft-sided flying disks that won’t hurt your dog’s mouth. Don’t buy one that’s too large for your dog. It could trip him when he’s retrieving it. Dogs have a natural affinity for flying disks and will usually play with Frisbees for as long as you throw them.
  • Tennis balls are a dog’s best friend. You can buy inexpensive tennis balls at any sporting goods store. There’s something about a tennis ball that dogs can’t resist. You can play catch or retrieving games with it. It’s fun to throw the ball or to hit it with a racket for extra-long runs. Your dog will have more fun if you hit the ball along the ground to simulate a rabbit or small animal. If you hit it too far in the air, he might lose sight of it. If that happens, you’ll have to retrieve it to keep playing. That’s not as much fun.

The key ingredient in any of these activities is you. After your yard is outfitted with toys and agility games, you and your beloved pooch can spend years playing together. He won’t have as much fun without you, and you won’t have as much fun without him.

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Categories: Yard and Garden

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