Interspecies Negotiation

My dogs have created a dog paradise, a playground out of the yard just outside my back door which isn’t actually in back, but on the side. It opens from the laundry room and kitchen. There was a pretty lawn out there when I moved here, but then, you know, BEAR. Akbash dogs are major diggers. They are large, their feet immense, and they are passionate about holes. I suppose when they’re working dogs they need holes to sleep in, hide in, or just dig. Lots of canids dig holes, and Akbash dogs are a primitive breed, thousands of years old without any non-digging designer dog DNA contributions.

Some of the holes she’s dug are major feets (ha ha) of dog engineering. A couple of them are the result of Bear’s lifetime of effort.

“These are my masterpieces.”

This means my house is ALWAYS dirty. I have to seriously (and hopelessly) clean the kitchen and living room daily because of the dust. One of the things I like about snow (shall I count the ways?) is that the dust is allowed to relax for a while.

Since it appears I’m going to have a lot of distraction-less time for the nonce (love that word) I’m going to try to contend with this. I haven’t figured out a solution other than a plentitude of fences. It’s a small space, I don’t know.

Bear and Teddy have a kind of a “track” they run around a flower bed and my patio table and chairs (which are covered with a tarp). I’m thinking of making it into a legit track along the lines of one of the trails at the refuge.

This trail…

And then fencing around the part I’d like for me and planting grass there (again). It might keep down the dust. As it is, I can’t even use my yard.

Waiting for the photo crew from House and Garden…

I have a couple of raised beds I’m also planning to “raze” since (basically) I don’t enjoy gardening all that much and the growing season is so short.

I’d love to hear anyone’s ideas. I don’t have money, but I do have time and slightly more than a modicum of physical strength.

In honor of St. Paddy’s Day, I give you The Pogues

23 thoughts on “Interspecies Negotiation

  1. I no longer have a lawn, but do have two raised beds and they are super. No more bending and everything under control. Even the slugs cannot reach them, at least up to now. At first I missed the insects and worms that the lawn used to have, as I now have small stones everywhere, I have now collected enough points for an insect hotel hannging in a tree overlooking the border where I have many plants.

  2. Oh, Martha–I did have to laugh at the ‘waiting for the photo crew from House and Garden.’ Funny but not. When we got our first dog, Daisy, she was only 6 weeks old. An adorable Spitz mix. My husband comes in and says Daisy is playing with a little green ball outside. Little green ball? We don’t have one. What she had done was dug up all the herbs I had just planted and was tossing those around like a little green ball. I turned over the yard to her…..

  3. It’s hard to tell from the photos how large your yard is; what about fencing off a portion of it and then YOU have your side? I remember the photo of the front of your property…why not use the front more? Maybe a partial privacy fence or hedges? Just some thoughts.

    • It’s 15 wide and about 100 feet long. I’m going to fence off the “back” part where Bear’s hole is and maybe along the hedge I’ll make the track and then fence inside that. I dunno…

  4. A track sounds like a good idea as they have made one anyway. A small area of grass would not be a lot of work for you to look after if it is fenced off and you do need something green to look at. Failing that there is always “fake grass”.

  5. That’s a lot of digging going on. I have no idea what you can do – except, as you say, surrender. Although raising the beds much higher might help. Not sure if it would be worth the work though. Good luck 🙂 (such cute dogs!!)

  6. Thought: turn an existing raised bed into a sand pit for digging? Maybe if you make digging so exciting in the sand pit, with nice fresh sand and rewards every time they dig there, they’ll leave the rest of the yard alone?
    If you plant grass, you’ll have to mow it.
    I hear you about snow vs dust. Dust season is nigh, here, and I’m not happy.

    • Last summer I left them half of this space for digging. I learned from that that they will dig where they want and there’s not much I can do but fence them out (as I have done with my raised beds). I hate to mow, but this patch of grass won’t be very large. I have to mow the front yard anyway. My dogs, by the way, have a HUGE back yard all to themselves, but they don’t want to be there. It’s too far from me. It’s TWICE or three times the size of this space, fenced, beautiful, all theirs. But…

  7. Maybe some handy friend (or you?) could take all that wood from the raised beds and build a climbing structure or some sort of a ramp for running up and over. Since your horizontal space is limited, seems like the only option is something vertical and ‘porch like’ to give them another place to play/climb. OR maybe turn one of those raised beds into a sand box for digging.

    I only think in terms fo the dog’s space, but maybe you could hang a hammock or swing for you that would be out of reach for them? Somehow, I don’t think they’ll respect your track and stay off newly planted grass. Flagstones or crushed stones to tamp down the dust? Of course, those cost money and require someone to deliver them. We have the same kind of issues in our dog yard except we contend with endless mud not dust. Good luck!

  8. The dog yard issue is one I have experience with! I recommend pea gravel for drainage and as the stones are smooth they are easy on the feet (of the dogs). Some people use mulch but it holds moisture and doesn’t keep the dust down… Fencing will help but to be effective it has to be decently tall. If you don’t want to mow I’d go with a ground cover plant that will fill the space and choke out any weeds. Some kind even flowers in the spring/summer.

    • I don’t mind mowing (it’s a small space). I think a 3 foot fence would deter them, but I’m afraid they’ll did under anything I put there. I like the pea gravel idea because some future day that could just be raked back into the ground. 🙂

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