Is your garden just a place to ‘let the dog out’? Why not make it a much more interesting place for your canine chum to enjoy...
Posted: 29 April 2020
Although walking the dog is allowed during this period of lockdown, the restrictions mean that many of our four-legged friends’ favourite activities – playing with their mates in the park, going off for exciting day trips etc – are not currently on the agenda. That’s why, if you have outdoor space, it’s well worth considering how you can give it some extra dog appeal.
Take inspiration from dog rehoming centres, such as Dogs Trust, Battersea and Bath Cats & Dogs Home, which have all created sensory and enrichment gardens to reduce stress and keep curious canines mentally and physically stimulated.
Rehoming charity Battersea says: “Plain patches of grass aren’t the most exciting places for dogs. They benefit greatly from enriching and stimulating natural environments, just like we do. A bit of dog-friendly landscaping can help decrease boredom and encourage natural behaviours.”
BEST PLANTS FOR A SENSORY DOG GARDEN
At Bath Cats & Dogs Home, volunteers and local businesses, led by Steve Hill, Head of Behaviour and Welfare, turned a normal paddock into something special with the concept of inspiring a dog's five senses. The area includes something for every dog – a raised platform and kennel, water feature for paddling, a bamboo forest, a cave and a sand pit (with children’s sand, not coarse builders’ sand) for digging fun. There are also more than 20 different textured surfaces for dogs to explore. Herbs, such as catnip, hops, yarrow, St John’s wort and valerian have been planted, which are reported to have positive affects for dogs. Speaking to the BBC, Steve Hill said: "The sensory garden is designed to offer something to every dog, to encourage them to become more confident in their surroundings and to reduce stress."
Dogs Trust unveiled its first dog friendly garden at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in 2016 – it’s since been installed at the charity’s Harefield rehoming centre. The Dogs Trust veterinary team worked with designer and dog lover Paul Hervey-Brooks, to design a beautiful, enriching and safe garden for dogs and their human friends to enjoy together. This space provides exciting areas to forage and explore, with two water features, a digging area, large trees to provide shelter, sniffer tracks and a pavilion.
A SPLASH OF COLOUR
Here are some of top tips from Dogs Trust:
Remember that gardens can harbour unwanted friends such as slugs and ticks so ensure your dog’s flea, tick and worming treatments are up to date. Seek advice from your vet to discuss the best options for your dog.
Please note, that due to coronavirus restrictions, veterinary practices are abiding by set protocols, in line with national guidelines from the British Veterinary Association and the Government. Urgent cases and emergencies will still be treated – but check with your local practice about the procedures they have in place to keep people, as well as animals, safe.
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Sources: dogstrust.org.uk, yourdog.co.uk, battersea.org, bbc.co.uk