Dog Repellents for Your Yard

dog in a yard

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The need for effective dog repellents is clear to all of those long-suffering folks who, although not dog owners, are nonetheless forced to deal with the unpleasant task of dog waste disposal. Below are listed some of the best approaches known to keep dogs away from yards, without harming them in any way. Broadly speaking, we can label all of these diverse approaches as "dog repellents," since they are all designed to repel unwanted canine intruders from a specific area. But examples will also be given of commercial products more narrowly associated with that label, namely, products that come in a can and are sprinkled or sprayed on the ground to keep dogs away.

ways to repel dogs from your yard
Illustration: Catherine Song. © The Spruce, 2018

Powders, Granules, and Sprays

One problem with the products that are sprinkled, poured, or sprayed on the ground is that you will have to reapply them after a rain and/or as the strength of their odor diminishes over time. On the upside, though, two examples in the liquid class are available right off the kitchen shelf, saving you a trip to the home improvement center:

  1. Ammonia
  2. Vinegar

Note, however, that neither ammonia nor vinegar should be sprayed directly onto any lawn grass or landscape plants that you care about, as sufficient amounts of them will kill vegetation. Ammonia and vinegar, then, can be thought of as dog repellents to use around the perimeter of your property, forming a stinky, invisible barrier that keeps dogs away.

Dogs also dislike the smell of citrus, leading some homeowners to use orange, grapefruit, or lemon peels as dog repellents (for that reason, lemon ammonia can be considered a canine double whammy). While these fruit peels are natural and easy to obtain, their use will probably have to be restricted to backyard garden areas, where they are out of public view. Even then, since they may draw rats, fruit peels should not be your first choice.

spraying vinegar onto the yard's perimeter

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Avoid Using Pepper

Dogs also hate the smell of pepper, whether it be black pepper or one of the hot peppers (such as Cayenne). This fact has prompted some homeowners to use it as a dog repellent. The pepper is fine enough to be hidden from public view, nor will it attract pests. But here is the biggest problem with using pepper: It burns. Thus it can cause harm to a pet, meaning that this method is not advisable. Another problem is that rain will wash it away, meaning that you may have to reapply it often.

Commercial Dog Repellents

Get Away dog repellent makes use of the fact that dogs dislike the smell of citrus. But unlike with orange peels, sprinkling Get Away in the front yard will not create an eyesore. This dog repellent comes in both granule and spray form.

Critter Ridder is an organic dog repellent put out by the same brain trust behind Havahart traps. Available in both granules and sprays, Critter Ridder works as a dog repellent because it gives off a smell of black pepper, which our canine friends find offensive. Havahart also offers Cat & Dog Granular Animal Repellent. The selling point of this product is that it is supposed to be long-lasting (up to 60 days).

Liquid Fence works on a different principle. This dog repellent depends on the fact that dogs seek out areas with familiar smells in which to do their business. Liquid Fence masks those smells. So instead of repulsing dogs with offensive odors, this product removes the welcome mat, so to speak, thereby discouraging them from conducting "business as usual."

Gadgets That Act as Dog Repellents

Unlike dog repellents that come in powder, granule, or spray (liquid) form, no re-application is required with gadgets like Scarecrow Sprinklers. Just hook one up to your garden hose and let its motion-activated mechanism do the work. Another advantage with this product is that there is no need to take separate control measures against each of the various types of pests with which your yard is challenged: Scarecrow Sprinklers will repulse stray cats and wild garden pests just as surely as they will keep Fido away.

Yard Gard is an electronic dog repellent. Like the Scarecrow Sprinkler, it is effective against other pests, as well. But unlike the Scarecrow Sprinkler, you have a choice:

  • Blast would-be pests 24/7
  • Or allow its motion-activated mechanism to alert it when pests approach

This dog repellent works by emitting sonic and ultrasonic sound waves that canines find offensive. Mount it on an outdoor storage shed, tree, or fence.

dog repelling gadget

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Fences as Dog Repellents

Do not confuse Yard Gard with an underground dog fence: The former keeps dogs away, while the latter keeps them confined. Both emit sound waves that dogs dislike, but underground dog fences are used to keep your own dog from roaming off your property (similar principle, different purpose).

Of course, in addition to dog repellents, do not forget that one option for keeping dogs away from your property may be simply to erect a fence. However, the fence solution often is not a choice in urban areas, where you may have a grassy strip of public land (not part of your own lawn, but still grass you have to mow) that you have to maintain between the street and your own property border. Unfortunately, inconsiderate dog owners will walk their mutts on this strip (sometimes called a "tree belt") and not pick up after them. Since you do not own this strip of land, you can't fence it off to keep dogs away. Thus the need for the dog repellents discussed above.

fencing as a dog repellent

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