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6 Ways To Keep Dogs Out of Your Yard (Vet Recommended)

Dogs are humans’ best friends, except for when they are digging up your flower beds or leaving droppings in your yard. If your neighbor’s dogs or other neighborhood dogs are damaging your property, it can be a tricky situation to handle. So, I decided to check with a few veterinarians to see which humane methods they recommend.

Here are 6 humane ways to keep dogs out of a yard: 

  1. Talk to the dog’s owner. 
  2. Use scents that dogs find unpleasant. 
  3. Use commercial dog repellants. 
  4. Install motion-activated sprinklers. 
  5. Plant spiky shrubbery.
  6. Install or improve fencing.

Keep reading for the best tips and tricks that you can employ to keep unwanted canines off your property. I will explore many vet-recommended options that won’t cause any harm to the dogs but will effectively deter them from your property. I will even answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding keeping dogs away. 

1. Talk to the Dog’s Owner


If your neighbor’s dogs are the ones breaking into your yard, it can often be solved by having a reasonable conversation with the dog’s owner. The dog’s owner likely does not want the dog sniffing around on your land, and there is likely something they could do to stop it. 

If the dog’s owner has a gate that the dog gets out from or insufficient fencing, you could work with them to address the issue and get to the root of the problem. This could eliminate the root cause as the dog would be trapped on the owner’s property. 

However, if the dog is a stray or you don’t know who the owner is, this solution will not be effective. Similarly, if you and the owner have an already strained relationship, a conversation regarding their dog could cause more problems than it solves. Or if your neighbors intentionally tell their dog to go in your yard, you might want to try other solutions, including calling the police.

Of course, the police might not do anything about it, so you’ll have to devise other strategies. Nevertheless, having a reasonable conversation with the owners could help address the issue.

If this isn’t an option, please keep reading.

2. Use Scents That Dogs Find Unpleasant

Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell is remarkable, and dogs use their keen noses to make many decisions. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by making your property smell unpleasant to neighborhood dogs.

Scent Option #1: Lavender

Planting lavender on your property will deter some dogs from entering. 

Dogs dislike the smell of lavender, and planting a sufficient amount on your land will discourage most strays from wandering into your home.

Scent Option #2: Citrus

Dogs also dislike citrus smells such as oranges or lemons, so if you have the appropriate climate, you could grow orange trees on your land. However, if you don’t live in a warm climate, you can spray citrus juice around your land to deter dogs from entering, or you can place citrus fruit peels around your property. 

Scent Option #3: Something Spicy

Another odor that’s effective in deterring dogs is cayenne pepper or other spicy aromas. 

Dogs dislike spice, and it can even be harmful to them. As a result, the smell of spice may cause some dogs to leave and not return.

Scent Option #4: Ammonia and Vinegar (Sprayed Separately)

While dogs dislike the scents mentioned above, the most effective home remedy for keeping dogs out of your yard is a combination of ammonia and vinegar. Spray vinegar and ammonia separately around your yard but away from any plants as they will likely cause harm. 

Warning: You don’t want to mix vinegar and ammonia before spraying them around your property. It’s not dangerous to mix these liquids, but they cancel each other out and turn into saltwater when combined, rendering them useless in deterring dogs. 

3. Use Commercial Dog Repellents

Using home remedies and odors to deter animals from your land can be effective. 

However, it may take some time to find the scent that best suits the job. If you want to ensure better results from the get-go, there are several commercial dog repellents available to buy in most supermarkets and local pet stores. 

You should remember that not all commercial dog repellants are kind to dogs. If the labels on the package indicate that it may cause harm to the dog’s eyes or nose, it’s best to avoid using it as a curious puppy could cause serious harm to itself. 

To prevent any unfortunate incidents, choose a dog repellant that is natural or contains no harmful ingredients to pets, which will prevent any poisoning while keeping the dogs away from your lawn. 

Check out these pet-friendly dog repellents available to buy on Amazon:

  • Grannick’s Bitter Apple Liquid This scent is primarily used to train dogs, but applying this spray to areas that dogs frequently pass through will deter them from entering in the future. 
  • Stop The Chew Bitter Spray Apply this spray to entrances and exits on your property, along with any furniture or surfaces that dogs visit. This bitter spray is alcohol-free but effective at deterring dogs from causing damages to your yard.

4. Install Motion Activated Sprinklers

The next trick you can use to keep out dogs is to install motion-activated sprinklers. This trick is almost guaranteed to work as it will give dogs a fright when they wander onto your lawn. 

As soon as a dog trips the sensor, the sprinkler system will engage and shoot water into the air.

For most yards, a motion-activated sprinkler like this one will often do the trick nicely.

A sprinkler system randomly turning on will startle any dogs on your land, likely causing them to run away. Depending on how the dogs feel about water, they may not return for some time after a spontaneous sprinkler activation. 

While a motion-activated sprinkler may deter dogs from your lawn, higher-end brands can cost a few hundred dollars to install. This makes this trick too expensive for many people. On top of this, some dogs enjoy sprinklers, which could encourage them to return to play with your new system. 

Sprinklers may also be ineffective in your yard, especially if you have no plants or grass growing. Therefore this solution does not always work, but in a lot of instances, it will help keep dogs away from your property.

Related How to Install a Security Camera on Vinyl Siding | 6 Easy Steps.

5. Plant Spiky Shrubbery

If dogs enter your yard and dig or run through your flower beds, it can be infuriating. Dogs can be pretty destructive, and they often enjoy making a big mess in your yard. At the same time, dogs will often leave droppings in flower beds that are unhygienic and smell awful. 

One way to protect your property against this is by growing shrubbery with spiky or pointed edges. This shrubbery will be uncomfortable for dogs to pass through. 

The result is dogs choosing another yard or opting not to enter yours. 

It’s important to note that you should use a cactus or harmful plant that could cause the dogs. Instead, choose plants like prickly pears, blackberries, holly, or huckleberry for best results. These plants all have minor thorns or sharp leaves that most dogs will avoid when possible. 

Plants like aloe vera are ideal for their spines and spiky leaves. However, aloes can be poisonous to dogs if eaten. 

As a result, it’s best to avoid any plants that could potentially poison the animals. 

6. Install or Improve Fencing

This is usually the last resort, as it may potentially come with a high price tag. But one of the most effective ways to keep dogs off your property is by installing a perimeter fence. 

A fence acts as a physical barrier that keeps unwanted visitors out. The vast majority of dogs cannot navigate their way over virtually any type of fence, making them an effective tool in keeping dogs out of the yard. 

However, you may already have fencing in place that is failing to keep away neighborhood pooches. If this is the case, you will need to improve your fencing. Perhaps the best way of doing this is by installing higher fences around your property. 

Installing new high fences can be expensive, though, and out of budget for most homeowners. In this case, you should make adaptations to your existing fencing. If your fence is a straight line from top to bottom, you may want to tilt the side that the dogs enter through outwards. 

Pro Tip: If possible, tilting a fence away from your yard slightly can be a good deterrent. If a fence is tilted outwards at the top, dogs trying to gain access from outside will be blocked by the fencing. This will prevent most dogs from accessing your property, and even the best climbers struggle to navigate a well-designed fence. 

Another aspect of fencing to consider is the gates. 

Dogs will usually enter through the driveway and walkways when possible, as this is much more accessible than climbing over a fence. Installing gates that automatically swing closed will ensure that your gates serve as an effective barrier to unwelcomed dogs. 

Watch out for cracks: Gates with significant gaps will also allow easy access to dogs and cats. 

Therefore, you should install a gate with no large spaces within. At the same time, you could also place some chicken wire on the inside of the gate, which will block neighborhood dogs from entering your land. 

Dogs can fit through surprisingly small gaps

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is There a Spray To Keep Dogs Out of Your Yard?

One of the most commonly asked questions concerning keeping dogs out of a yard is regarding sprays you can use to keep dogs away from your property. So are there sprays that deter dogs from entering, and if so, what sprays effectively deter wandering canines? 

There are several sprays that you can use to keep dogs out of your yard. You can use several natural homemade sprays that will deter dogs, or you can invest in a commercial dog repellent. Ensure that any commercial dog repellent you use is pet safe. 

Check out online retailers, local pet stores, and supermarkets to find sprays that you can use to keep dogs away. However, you must purchase a spray to ensure the animal is not harmed but effectively deterred from entering. 

What Scent Will Keep Dogs Away?

Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell to find their way through life. Good smells induce digs to visit a particular spot, whereas smells they dislike will deter dogs from preceding. So what scents can you use to keep dogs away from your garden? 

Several scents will keep dogs away, including: 

  • Lavender
  • Citrus
  • Vinegar
  • Citronella 
  • Ammonia 
  • Alcohol 
  • Commercial dog repellants 
  • Garlic 
  • Essential oils 

Not all dogs will respond equally to scents. For instance, some dogs may run a mile from the smell of chili but might not flinch at the smell of garlic. 

As a result, you may have to experiment with a few scents to see what works best. 

What Is a Natural Dog Repellent?

If you wish to spray a dog repellant that causes minimal harm to both animals and your property, natural dog repellents are the best option. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and odors they dislike will deter them from entering a property. 

Natural dog repellents are made from natural ingredients like lavender, garlic, or coffee. They are non-toxic to dogs, and they are effective at keeping them out of your yard. You can make your own mix, or you can buy them already made.

Here are some of the most common natural dog repellents

  • Cayenne 
  • Citrus fruits
  • Lavender 
  • Vinegar 
  • Ammonia 
  • Garlic 
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • Chilli pepper 
  • Coffee grounds 

Will Cayenne Pepper Keep Dogs Off Lawn?

Cayenne pepper will keep dogs off the lawn. Dogs do not enjoy the smell of cayenne pepper. As a result, spraying or spreading cayenne pepper throughout your lawn will keep dogs off. However, cayenne pepper is not 100% effective as some dogs may still wander onto their own after spreading. 

To spread cayenne pepper across your lawn, you must first combine a mixture of 1 part cayenne with 10 parts water. Then evenly spray the areas dogs frequently visit on your lawn to keep them at bay. 

It is important to dilute the mixture to prevent damage to your lawn or furniture. 

Final Thoughts

There are several tricks and tips you can use to prevent unwelcome dogs from entering your yard. Here are the key points to remember when trying to deter dogs from entering your land without risking their safety: 

  • Install adequate fencing.
  • Spray natural odors to deter dogs. 
  • Use pet-friendly commercial dog sprays.
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers.
  • If all else fails, try asking the owner to keep the dog indoors or on their land.

For more, check out What Is the Most Dangerous Fox? (To Animals and Humans).