Are ya ready for this? Heck Yea!
The plans I am writing about are really intended for at least an acre of land devoted to your furry friend/s. I'd say this can be done on less land but would be a bit more difficult. I will follow up this article later in the year with photos and ideas from the enclosure I'm planning for our Great Pyrenees, Lazarus.
Dogs, more or less are wolves. They share the same genetic makeup as them and to this day retain most of their wild instincts. Have you ever seen your Yorkie burying food in your couch? Your male Lab hiking it's leg to tinkle on your roses? The way your pooch avoids looking directly into your eyes at times? All these are very important traits that their wild cousins utilize on a daily basis. Wild canids bury food trying to keep it safe from other scavengers, they mark their territory to attract mates and ward off potential rivals and a direct stare is seen as a threat in the pack. The "lower class" wolves avoid looking directly into the eyes of their alphas for fear of being punished, at times quite severely.
Wouldn't it be nice to see even more of this instinct? To see how your pooch is supposed to act? No, giving them space won't turn them into a wolf, but it will be fun to see their antics when presented with a more natural state!
Before we get started let's first take a look at what you may have right now.
"Rover keeps chewing my furniture and howling at all hours of the night. He pees everywhere and just seems unhappy with his life. We're at our wits end but don't wanna get rid of him."
If this sounds like you then a larger area with a lot of engrossing things to occupy your pooch could be just what the Dr. ordered!
Let's take a gander at what one might expect in a natural setting:
You may have a small shaded copse of trees to provide cool refreshing shade and a backdrop to a beautiful pond. After all, most dogs love water too! Plenty of boulders (or platforms if you need to) that offer varying heights for your dogs to climb on and lounge about. There will be fallen logs and interesting holes to poke curious noses into. Occasionally a nice fat grub to munch and various places to discover well hidden treats. In the ideal environment the ecosystem supplies eberything an animal may need. Food, shelter from the elements and predators as well as fresh water are always avaliable. Everything an animal could want or need can be found in it's natural habitat, so long as people allow.
Notes on "The Pond".
Dogs have sharp tough claws, appendages that can poke right through most fabrics, pond liners included. I recommend using cement to construct your pond. This gives a nice sturdy place for them to walk and roll. Add fast growing water plants that are alright for dogs to eat, things you won't mind them eating. Remember, this is their garden not yours! Another thing you may want to do is place mosquito dunks in the pond, get rid of those peskies before they even start!
This is really up to you. Plant trees you want and will be able to cope with at maturity. Trees usually out live dogs so... plan accordingly! Bushes make good shade as well. Conifers cast a dense cooling shade that just can't be beat.
Yes, a dog can have a den just like a wolf or a fox! One of the major upsides to a den is the controlled temperature the earth naturally provides. Cool in summer, warm in winter! Make double sure the den won't leak or collapse on your pets!
Natural Pest Control.
Providing natural pest control is easy. Just plant things various bugs can't stand. Marigolds can be a big help. You may also want to include bat and martin houses to the area. Let's not forget perches for dragon flies! Avoid storing food where rodents can have easy access to it. Try also to construct barn owl houses to help keep the rodent populations. Not only will you be helping your dogs stay itch and disease free, you will also be aiding native creatures that are losing their natural habitats!
Try adding some plants your pooches can munch on. Daylilies and herbs are a nice way to go. Not only do they provide a yummy snack, they also add beauty to the landscape. You can even go as far as planting some vegetables and fruits here and there! Don't forget, though this is for your dogs, you can make it a sancturary for yourself as well! If you plant various thymes and other fragrant plants I bet your pooches won't be able to help themselves from rolling in it and picking up their glorious scents! Some other edible additions you can plant to add beauty as well as variety are,
Carnations. (Pink Petals)
Johnny Jump Ups
Must Haves! Lot's of cool shade for those dog days of summer. Plenty of delicious fresh water. Many interesting toys and things for poochie to do. A place to dig and roll around in utter abandon!Pest free food storage areas.
If you can manage it, try piling up (sturdy/safe) mountains of sand for your pooches to scale. Make ramps and natural bridges, anything to keep puppy fit! Don't forget to hide his treats so his sniffer gets a good workout as well. This will also give you a chance to work out a bit while having FUN with your dog/s!
There are so many wonderful things you can do with this idea, just make sure to make it your own. You know your dogs better than anyone!
Plants you may want to avoid.
Some of these are quite toxic.
Wild black cherry
Daphne - berries
Jasmine - berries
Until we talk again, don't get mad at me if your dogs devastate all your hard work. They're dogs dude!
Your dogs will love it, I guarantee!
Thanks to, Wikipedia.org for the photos of the wolves and the palisade fence.
Special thanks to,
Todd_Boland, Kell, growin, JenniesWorld, hczone6...Hover over pictures for other (C) holders!
This article is not intended to diagnose or cure any animal behaviour problems.
It's just a fun thing to do with your pooches that may help!