Keep Dogs Out of Garden Areas, Lawns and Landscaping

With the ASPCA estimating there are about 75 million owned dogs in the United States, there’s no doubt that we love our furry friends! Unfortunately, not all dogs are the product of loving homes. Wild or stray dogs that roam freely can prey on livestock or family pets, become a danger to people or cause extensive damage to your property. Some may even carry the dreaded rabies virus.

Feral dogs live wherever there is habitat and a food source, most commonly in parks, under abandoned buildings and in rural wooded areas. These roving Rovers generally patrol at night and during the early morning hours. And while feral dogs can be a problem, even your neighbor’s dog can leave his “calling card” on your lawn! So what can you do about nuisance dogs that invade your property? Many areas offer trap, neuter and adopt programs or trap, neuter and release programs to help control the stray dog population. Your local humane league, SPCA, veterinarian or similar organization will be happy to give you additional information about these programs and methods.

When trapping, make sure to use a live animal cage large enough to hold the dog. To entice the dog into entering the trap, use a “mouth-watering” treat like dog food, any beef product, raw chicken or sardines. A Pet Detective in Canada, Vicky Vaughan actually realized that there were a lot of stories of dogs being recovered by hunters while they were cooking over campfires. So, you could try her method and light up your BBQ and cook something very fatty – bacon, tripe or hamburger, for example. Then just place a piece in the trap. The dog will find it difficult to resist something that tasty!

Once you catch the dog, be careful with it! Unfamiliar dogs may be frightened and could be dangerous to handle. Make sure to check in with your local animal control authorities or your local animal shelter for information on what to do with the animal.

How to Repel Stray Dogs and Keep “Neighbors’ Dog off my Lawn”!

To avoid the potential dangers in handling a trapped dog, a better option may be to learn how to repel dogs. You can find a myriad of “home remedy” dog repellent tips out there. Some people swear by garlic, chili pepper, olive or almond oil to keep the dogs away. Others say placing ammonia or vinegar soaked cotton balls around the part of your yard or garden that the dog is frequenting will drive them back. Just be ready to smell the ammonia or vinegar yourself (both are strong smells!), and don’t pour it directly on the ground as it may hurt your plants! Most people, however, find that these home remedies are hit-and-miss and try all of them without finding one that works effectively.

A better bet to keep Fido away may be to use a specially made dog repellent. Try applying a liquid or granular-based repellent around the perimeter of your yard that targets a dog’s keenly developed sense of smell and taste. You can also spray individual plants and flowers to protect them from doggy destruction. Liquid repellents protect large areas and also provide vertical protection, essential to your efforts to keep stray dogs out of the garden. By using both liquid and granular in combination, your worries about how to “keep the neighbors’ dog out of my yard” are over.

Another effective dog repellent is motion-activated sprinklers, which work by releasing a sudden jet of water. The spray, along with the tic-tic-tic sound, is sure to keep dogs off your property. You’ll no longer be asking to keep dogs “off my lawn” because they’ll be startled and conditioned to stay away.

Knowing your options on how to repel dogs is certainly the first step to reclaiming your yard from your uninvited canine invaders! Let us know how it goes!

Image: david_pics

Suggested Solutions


  • Havahart®

    Hi Shreela,

    It seems you need an exclusion solution to keep the dogs away! Our first suggestions would be to rethink the storage – it seems that’s what is making the rabbits easy-access for the dogs. If there’s a way you can block entry up to the rafter with the rabbits, that’s your best bet. Critter Ridder is an option as a deterrent, but it’s a conditioning agent and may take some time before the animal you’re trying to repel is conditioned to avoid the area. Most people use our repellent products to deter animals from vegetation/landscaping.

    If the dogs are after the live rabbits in the cage, I’m not sure how effective our Critter Ridder would be in stopping them, especially after succeeding so many times; it’s not a physical barrier like a fence that would prevent them from getting to the rabbits. We’d suggest a more resilient solution to ensure the dogs don’t get to the rabbits like a fence, border or even an electronic solution, like one of our Spray Aways, which would shoot water at the dogs if they came near the boathouse. The only issue with the Spray Away product is that it is a seasonal item. They use water, you can’t use them in freezing temperatures.

    We hope this helps you! Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    -Your Friends at Havahart®

    • 5:14 pm - November 10, 2011

    • Reply
    • Havahart®


      This may be a good solution for you: – It’s an electric fence kit that would be good to exclude the dogs from the rabbit cage area. Critter Ridder is more to prevent foraging animals in your yard. A dog’s drive to get to their “food source” is much more intense and Critter Ridder won’t completely prevent them from getting to your rabbits!

      Thank you,

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 9:15 am - November 11, 2011

      • Reply
  • Angela

    I feed feral cats in my back yard in a fenced in area. My problem is my neighbors dog is climbing the fence and entering the fenced in area where the cats food and water is kept. The dog is eating their food. So far, only 1 of the 2 dogs keep doing this. I attempted to notify the neighbors, but they refuse to answer the door. The dogs are basically left outdoors all the time and are given no attention by their owners. I have fed the cats in this area for yrs now because I have dogs of my own and don’t want them to get the cat food. What should I do? Thanks

    • 2:26 pm - January 9, 2013

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Angela,

      This is a difficult question to answer! Because the products we offer to keep dogs away also work to repel cats, it is quite tricky to create an environment that only invites cats and repels dogs. We might suggest building a small shelter that the dogs could not access, perhaps with a smaller sized door that would keep them out. The only other option, if your neighbors will not keep their dog out of your yard, is to build a higher fence. This, of course, is costly. Although we don’t have a specific solution for your situation, we hope this helps!

      Thank you,

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 4:59 pm - January 15, 2013

      • Reply
  • Laurie

    we are not pet owners but we are always cleaning up our yard because petowners aren’t responsible. How can we reepel these dogs/cats

    • 9:07 am - February 15, 2013

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Laurie,

      Sorry to hear about your issue with other pets in your yard! We recommend our cat and dog repellent called Critter Ridder® which you can put around the perimeter of your yard to deter these animals. You can find it in home improvement stores, or on our website here:

      Good luck! Thank you!

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 9:14 am - February 15, 2013

      • Reply
  • Brenda

    I don’t have any dogs or cats but I am always cleaning up after them.I never see them come into our yard. My question is I do have granddogs that come over. How long does the repellent last? they only come over 4 or 5 times a year .

    • 7:33 pm - March 13, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Brenda! We would recommend applying the Critter Ridder® Granules to the perimeter of your yard to keep the other dogs out. This application would last up to 30 days. Three different hot peppers in Critter Ridder® immediately irritate an animal’s senses of smell, taste and touch upon encounter. This overwhelming irritation sensation repels critters, and after a couple of unwelcome visits, they learn to stay away from your yard. The application is totally safe and your granddogs would only encounter the discomfort after approaching the perimeter and then they should learn to stay away from it. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 3:48 pm - March 16, 2015

      • Reply
      • Qawiy

        We have a lot of stray dogs here in my village. They will come to your place and kill your cats during you re sleeping which that happened to me. 3 of my cats died on 3 different nights by the same dogs. They will come in a group and disturb.

        My question. Is this repellent meant for dog only? If i spray around my house perimeter, will my cats get affected too?


        • 5:51 pm - November 5, 2015

        • Reply
  • Jackie

    Ok so there are these 3 big dogs that keep coming in my barn and chasing the cats it is a big problem now because one of them just had kittens how do I keep them out of the barn so they don’t kill my kittens or cats I have talked to the owner but he doesn’t care

    • 8:02 pm - April 2, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi, Jackie! We are sorry to hear about your problems with your neighbor’s dogs. Here is a link to all of our products that deal with repelling dogs: We would suggest trying the sprinkler or repellent sprays along the border of your property, since the electric fences can only be used by the owner. Let us know if you have any other questions, thank you!

      • 1:09 pm - April 6, 2016

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