How to Get Rid of Dogs Humanely

Dogs are known as some of the best companions in the world, but to some homeowners, they can be a nuisance. When it comes to dog control, it's important to be compassionate and use caring control methods in order to keep your yard dog-free. Below, Havahart® teaches you how to handle a nuisance dog problem and offers expert tips to help you along the way.

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Stray Dog
Stray Dog
Stray Dog and pups
Stray Dog
Stray Dog
How to Get Rid Of

1Reduce Attractants

There are many reasons why a dog may enter your yard - however the most common attractants are food, water and the scent of other dogs. It's important to take steps to reduce the attractiveness of your property.

Immediately clean up dog feces on and around your lawn.

Remove and secure garbage in tightly sealed containers.

Bring any leftover food or drinks indoors.

Avoid feeding dogs or other wild animals on your property.

Remove birdbaths or any other sources of standing water from your yard.


2Identify Areas of Damage

In order to determine the best control method(s), it's important to know the areas they are frequenting and what type of damage they are causing.

Common dog activities include:

  • defecating on your lawn
  • urinating on trees
  • injuring/killing your livestock
  • digging in your yard or garden
  • eating your crops or plants
  • harassing your pets
  • tearing up trash from your garbage bins

3Choose the Right Control Method

After observing the damage caused by the dogs on your property, use the information below to determine the best control option(s) for you. Keep in mind that some dogs respond to certain stimuli more than others, so the best defense incorporates multiple control methods.

Live Dog Trap

If you feel that the dog in question requires human care, consider a live dog trap. Live traps are humane tools used for safely capturing dogs with the intent to transport or care for them. Common purposes for a live trap include:

  • bringing a lost pet home
  • reuniting a stray dog with his owner
  • rescuing a dog from abandonment or a natural disaster
  • transporting a sick stray or feral dog to the veterinarian
  • bringing a stray or feral dog to the vet to get fixed, thus controlling the local population of feral dogs

For more trapping information, read How to Trap a Dog »

Dog Repellents

Keep dogs off of your property and prevent destructive behavior with the use of dog repellents. Pepper-based repellents are most effective at repelling dogs by irritating their senses and causing a discomfort - which dogs learn to associate with the protected area. Two types of applications are available:

  • Sprinkle granular repellents on the ground to create a dog-repelling barrier or to prevent digging and/or territory marking.
  • Spray liquid repellents onto surfaces like trees, plants and trash bags for more targeted protection.

For more repelling tips, read How to Repel Dogs »

Electronic Repellents

Install an electronic repellent to frighten dogs away with startling bursts of water and condition them to stay out of any area. These motion-activated sprinklers can be used to protect a variety of areas such as:

  • vegetable gardens
  • plants
  • mulch beds
  • pathways
  • flowerbeds
  • pool areas
  • yards/lawns
  • structures
  • koi ponds
  • entryways
  • garbage cans
  • trees

For more information, read Why Electronics »


Physical exclusion is one of the most effective ways to keep dogs off your property. Although fencing can change a landscape dramatically, many homeowners find that fencing is a great solution for keeping dogs out. If installing a fence, keep the following tips in mind:

  • The height of the fence should be at least 4-6'.
  • Spacing between posts or netting should be small.
  • Extend the fence at least a foot into the ground to prevent digging.
  • Fences should be monitored often for any potential entry points or damage that could allow dogs to break through.

Expert Tips

If a dog causing damage to your property is identified as a pet belonging to your neighbor, it's important to have a conversation with the neighbor before attempting to take control on your own.

One dog's waste or urine will attract other dogs and cause them to do their business in the same location. It's important to always immediately clean up after your dog to avoid a larger problem.

Get to know the trapping laws in your area before operating a live trap.

Repair any holes in your fence with chicken wire to prevent dogs from squeezing through.

In lieu of installing a fence as a physical barrier, plant thorny bushes around the perimeter of your yard to deter dogs from entering.

Dogs vary in personality, and some dogs will respond more to certain stimuli than others. This is why it's very important to employ multiple control solutions for the most effective and longest-lasting defense.

How to Trap
How to Repel

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