How I Saved My Dogs from Being Turned into Sausage

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Several weeks ago I wrote this post about the fact that we added 200 additional square feet of raised bed space to the garden. The new space is along a 100 foot fence near the house. And while this area is great for access to water, sunlight and protection from pests like deer and rabbits, its prime digging space for a different type of beast: Our dogs.

Meet Daisy, the nine-year-old Jack Russell Terrier and Marley, the one-year-old Australian Shepherd/Lab Mix. I know, I know – they look cute and sweet and innocent. But hold off on the sympathy for a few minutes, ok? There’s more to this story…

.These are our beloved pets. Our guard dogs. And the pesky rascals I could NOT keep from digging in the garden.

I tried placing blackberry thorn branches in the bed. No luck… I tried putting three levels of fishing line up on garden stakes. Bupkiss… I tried threatening to turn them into sausage each time I caught them digging up plants. No dice…

The dogs dug this hole in the gardenMarley looking for a place to dig

Marley still looking for a place to digDog holes in the garden

Then one day my heart sank to my toes when I came out to see Marley digging up a mature squash plant. I really (really really) need all of these plants and their produce, so we had to pull out all the stops. With no other reasonable alternative, we decided to install an underground fence.

The fence is from Innotek and we purchased it at Menards for around $120. To fence in as much of our acre as possible, we purchased additional wiring (can’t remember how many feet) for around $20. And lastly, we added a second collar ($40) for a grand total of $180 invested.

The price was very much worth saving my crops. Because of the extreme heat, we put off installing the fence for several weeks. But finally, the fence is in and the dogs are trained! Though I’m pleased with their product, I’m not intending to make this post a commercial for Innotek. All the same, I wanted to give you an overview of the process we went through to save our plants.

Step 1: Laid out all the wire above ground around the perimeter of the area we wanted to include.

Step 2: Connected the wires to the control switch and tested it to make sure all the connections were working. The control switch plugs into a regular outlet. Ours is in the garage and the wires run through a small hole we drilled in the garage wall.

Here's where the wires go into the garageConnecting the wires near the power source

                     This is where the fence goes into the garage to be connected to power                         Switch

 

Step 3: Used an edger to create a shallow “trench” for the underground wire. At first we used a manual edger… then quickly realized it would take 10,000 years to edge an entire acre. So we broke down and bought an electric edger (around $80.)

Trench Trench for wire

Step 4: Once the trench has been made, we buried the wire. Sounds easy… but it takes more time than you’d think.

Step 5: Placed white flags along the fence line. These are used for training the dogs so they have a visual cue to where the boundary is.

Step 6: Trained the dogs. Essentially, we spent time with each dog individually showing them the boundary and when/how to retreat back to the center of the yard. The collars come with plastic training nodes which don’t shock the dog. However, the collar still makes a beeping noise when the dog gets close to the fence.

Step 7: After training was completed, and the dogs had been monitored off-leash for a while, we were finished!

Now I can be confident that no furry four legged creatures will be disturbing my fence line beans and squash… well, at least not domesticated ones. Which is good… because they’re too cute to turn them into sausage.

Marley the dog

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