Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

March 22, 2013

Canis lupus familiaris in the garden

I can't really recommend trying to combine a Canis lupus familiaris with a small garden, but I have been sharing The Tropical Paradise here with Macintosh, the good little wiener dog, now for almost eight years. We've made many mistakes, but this is what we have learned:

If you have a nurturing spirit, you can care for a dog. Caring for a living thing, whether plant or animal, is all about paying attention at the right time, understanding its needs, providing the correct support, and staying out of the way when necessary.

If your backyard looks like a scene from a World War I movie, then you probably should re-think getting a dog. Dogs like to dig, especially a breed like a dachshund. If you don't have the time and patience to train, let the dog live elsewhere. If you think that that tearing up the garden is inevitable with a dog, take a look at The Tropical Paradise. This place is enhanced by her, not destroyed by her.

Get a pooper-scooper, and use it every day. Nothing is more wretched than the smell of dog poop sitting out in the sun. You may never open your doors or windows, or use your backyard, but your neighbors do.  If your dog poops somewhere "off in a corner somewhere", it's probably right near someone's patio, or window.

Teach your dog not to bark constantly. Dogs bark. That's normal. If it goes on and on, it's pretty darn annoying. And it's a potential danger for the dog. I hate to say this, but people will kill dogs that make noise. Sure, you may be sitting there, challenging your neighbors to call the cops. But when you walk out to find your dog poisoned, or shot, there's nothing you can do. Dogs can be trained.

I taught Macintosh with treats, which is technically called "baiting". Little by little the reward is switched to just pure praise, love and appreciation. It wasn't hard to do.
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