My Beautiful Roses And My Dog


Brandy is my huge boxer, a wonderful dog but he does have his faults. One is trying to destroy my roses and other garden plants. I could not chain him because he was accustomed to freedom, so have attempted to overcome his very determined efforts to kill off the plants in some other way. The first year of growing roses (2005) I learned how much Brandy enjoys eating rose leaves.

The fact that when he bit off leaves, one or two canes were broken made no difference to him. He wouldnt stop. Practically all of the dog repellent products were tried with absolutely no result. The problem became worse and began to include more than rose leaves, zinnias were uprooted, petunias trampled, etc. Then in early winter a rose bush was completely torn apart.

Things reached a climax the next spring when I arrived home one day to find the tender green shoots of my tulips chopped off at ground level. It just had to stop! Punishment is most effective when dogs are caught at their misdeeds. So after that, each time Brandy went out I watched him from the back door, if he went near one of the rose bushes he was called a bad dog and had to come in the house.

Of course, he moves quite fast and sometimes got a mouthful of leaves, in that case he was smacked smartly. Brandy soon learned his lesson and I proudly note that he has not touched a rose leaf in two years, just eats weeds now.

Bones were another big problem. They were buried in the rose bed, the bones themselves didnt bother me, however, it was Brandy. Very big and very strong he can dig in 30 seconds a hole a foot deep and just as wide. This, obviously, could be very harmful to the roots of any rose.

The spying act was again used with one exception. This time I stayed out in the yard with Brandy. When he picked up a bone and headed for the rose bed I chased him letting him know he was being a bad dog. In a short time bones were being buried in places other than the rose bed.

Our yard has its share of little visitors, namely cats, squirrels and birds and Brandy has an avid dislike for all. When chasing one of them he plowed right into the roses, this again broke many canes and stems and packed down soil which may have just been loosened.

From past experience Brandy knew he shouldnt be in there, so in this case a little shouting helped. A loud, “Brandy, get out of therel” and a menacing step toward him were enough to make him back up.

Now when chasing something he almost always stops just at the edge of the roses and doesnt go in. It is as if Brandy learned the tricks on learning to diagnose plant problems learned how to diagnose a danger or a problem. One thing remains, Brandy still “waters” the bushes which burns the leaves - one of the many plant problems that I am presently encountering, so in the spring I am going to try something new.

I will wait until I catch him at it and then water him with a stream from the hose, being sure he will never do it again after becoming wet a couple of times. So for people who think it is impossible to grow roses with a dog around, I hope this changes their mind.

Brandy and my roses now live together in peace and it didnt take much effort. With some patience almost any problem concerning dogs and roses can be solved. It also helps to have a good sense of humor so that your dog doesnt get punished excessively. I would just like to mention again that the most important thing is to catch the dog in the aet of ruining roses. He then will learn very fast not wanting to- get punished again.

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