How to Keep Dogs Out of Your Yard

Whether you have neighbors who don’t keep track of their dogs or your neighborhood is home to a particularly clever pooch, unwanted canine visitors can make a mess of your yard. Their poop is a nasty surprise, and they can dig up flower beds, chase away wildlife, scare your pets, and even cause ugly brown patches in your lawn.

If you are dealing with dogs in your yard on a regular basis, you may be at your wit’s end. Luckily there are several safe and effective methods you can use to keep dogs off your lawn. From homemade dog repellant to motion-detecting sprinklers, we will cover tips and tricks to help you learn how to keep dogs out of your yard.

How to keep dogs out of your yard.

The Best Tips to Keep Dogs Off Your Lawn

1) Discuss Things with Your Neighbor

If you are reading this article, chances are you already tried this, but we want to highlight how vital this is as a first step. Before you spend time and money devising ways to keep dogs off your lawn, you should first approach the problem with the dog’s owners.

It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure their dog behaves and stays within its boundaries, and many pet owners want to put a stop to such behavior without your prompting.

Dogs that run loose are not only aggravating the neighbors, but they also put themselves at risk of getting lost or hit by a car.

Always remember to be polite and courteous when asking your neighbors to better confine their dogs. Some people may not realize that their dog is wandering the neighborhood, or they may be struggling to train a new pet. Either way, a positive response is much more likely if you approach the issue as gracefully as possible.

While you want to be kind, it is also important that you are firm.

Dog owners love their furry pals, often as members of the family, and they may have a hard time understanding why you view their dog as a problem. Be prepared to explain what damage the dog causes if any and why you find their presence in your yard problematic.

Hopefully, a polite discussion is the only step you will need to take to keep dogs out of your yard, but we all know things don’t always work out so well.

If your neighbor is unresponsive or have problems with stray or unknown dogs, then it is probably time to move on to the next step.

Dog sniffing in lawn

2) Remove Whatever is Attracting Dogs to Your Yard

Before you start putting up barricades and aiming squirt guns, you should probably ask yourself this question:

Why are dogs coming into my yard?

Sometimes the solution can be as simple as removing whatever draws canines to your property rather than having to go to extreme measures.

Dogs tend to be naturally curious and love to explore. It is possible that nothing, in particular, is drawing dogs to your lawn, but here are a few things that could be acting like a dog magnet.

  • Pest Repellant – Some wildlife repellants use ingredients like coyote urine that attract dogs. Check the ingredients of what you are using and switch to something less dog-friendly if necessary.  
  • Standing Water – Dogs still have their instincts. Standing water like a pond or even a birdbath could just look like a nice drink to a dog.
  • Your Own Dogs – If your neighborhood has some pooches that are not spayed or neutered, you may find them wandering into your yard in search of a mate. This is especially true if you have dogs yourself. Unfortunately, there is little you can do here other than encourage your neighbors to spay and neuter their pets.
  • Dog Poo – Dogs use their sense of smell for a lot of things and that includes finding places to go to the bathroom. If a dog smells and sees dog droppings in your yard it will assume that this is an okay place to go to the bathroom. Clean up any offender’s poo quickly to avoid your lawn becoming an approved dog bathroom. This includes cleaning up after your own pets.
  • Smells – Dogs love certain smells. If you notice that your neighbor’s dog is constantly sniffing your beautiful manicured lawn, you might want to consider changing lawn fertilizers. Pay attention to where dogs seem particularly attracted to in your lawn and if there are any interesting smells in that area you can remove.
fence to keep dog out.

3) Use a Barrier

If you are looking to keep dogs off your lawn entirely, nothing works better than a nice physical barrier.

Making it impossible for them to get into your yard is the best way to solve the problem.

A nice white picket fence is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a barrier to keep a dog out, but you can also employ some other materials to create an effective boundary. Here are some options:

  • Hedges/Thorny Bushes: If you want to keep things natural, some well-placed thick bushes can do the trick, especially if you are dealing with larger dogs.
  • Chicken Wire: Although you may not want this framing your entire yard, it is an excellent option if you want to keep dogs away from specific areas like vegetable gardens.
  • Wooden Fencing: This is a pricey option but is quite effective in most cases. Plus, these types of fences can be quite aesthetically pleasing.
  • Chain link Fence: While not quite as pretty as a wooden fence, it will get the job done. It’s also affordable and will keep out many pests and neighborhood pets.

A barrier to actually prevent dogs from entering your lawn is undoubtedly effective, but installing one is also costly, time-consuming, and will change the appearance of your home.

Luckily we have a few more options for you to consider.

4) Motion Activated Sprinkler

Technology can do amazing things and that includes keeping dogs off your lawn. Most dogs hate being sprayed with water, so a motion-activated sprinkler could be just the thing to keep dogs away without you needing to sit outside with a spray bottle all day.

Place a motion-activated sprinkler at the border of your lawn and let it spray any canine intruders. It should frighten them away without harming them.

Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Pest Deterrent Sprinkler
  • ULTIMATE YARD PROTECTION - Defend your yard with our powerful motion-activated sprinkler that deters animals and pests effectively.

5) Ultrasonic Repeller  

We all know dogs can hear better than us, and you can take advantage of that to repel dogs. An ultrasonic repeller is a motion-activated device that plays sounds at a high frequency only animals can hear. Not only will it keep dogs off your lawn, but it also works on many other animals as well.

6) Negative Reinforcement

Whether you like them or not, the great thing about dogs is that they can be trained.

Dogs can learn through positive and negative reinforcement and their behavior can thus be modified.

Using various types of negative reinforcements to keep dogs off your lawn teaches them to avoid that area. In most cases, you only have to use some of these methods for long enough for the dogs to get the idea and learn to stay away.

Commercial Dog Repellants

You are not the only person to have struggled with keeping neighborhood dogs out of their yard, and thus there are products you can buy to help make this easier. These products are typically liquids that you spray around your home as an invisible border.

Be warned that buying these dog repellant products can be a gamble. They contain ingredients that are known to repel dogs, but all dogs are not the same. These products can be incredibly effective or do absolutely nothing. It just depends on the dog!

Homemade Repellants

You can also make your own dog repellants at home, using common household items.

Remember that a dog’s nose is very sensitive. Putting anything with a pungent smell that dogs dislike in key areas around your yard can act as a powerful deterrent to canine visitors.

Here are some old-fashioned remedies for you to try around the perimeter of your property.

  • Vinegar – You can either spray vinegar to create a border or soak cotton balls in vinegar and disperse them along your border.
  • Ammonia – This can be applied with soaked cotton balls or with a spray bottle and is known to be one of the most effective methods. Just be sure that no animals can get the cotton balls because you don’t want them to be eaten. Placing them in a glass jar that has holes in the lid is a great way to keep all the critters safe.
  • Citrus Smells – Use the scent of citrus fruits to act as an all-natural and easy way to deter neighborhood dogs from entering your yard. You can slice up orange peels or use citrus-scented essential oils. Any citrus oil will act as an effective solution since dogs dislike all of them including lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit. The good news is that even though dogs avoid the smell, it’s not harmful to them.
  • Coffee Grounds – Simply sprinkle on the area you want to keep dogs away from. But be careful since this may attract wild animals into your yard like raccoons.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – This works in the same way as vinegar and ammonia.
  • Peppers – Many homeowners suggest using cayenne pepper, black pepper, or chili powder. These strong spices will greatly irritate a dog’s sensitive senses. However, if you overdo it you may have a very angry pet owner on your hands. These spices can burn a dog’s footpads and cause redness and burning in their eyes and nose. We recommend trying another solution first and use a minimal amount if you use these as a natural dog repellent,

Some of these homemade repellants such as vinegar and ammonia are harmful to plants, so you will need to be careful about where you spray them. You will also need to reapply your homemade repellant periodically until the dog gets the message.

7) Create a “Poo Zone”

Perhaps your own dog is the problem and your goal is to protect your beautiful lawn and keep them away from your flower beds. You may be able to solve your problem with a “poo zone”.

You see, dogs can be trained to use the bathroom in one area.

If you are constantly finding unwelcome surprises all over your yard, you can encourage your dog to do their business in just one spot by cleaning up all the poo except in the “poo zone”. Dogs will use the smell of the previous excrement when deciding where to go and over time they will use only that area.

This certainly is not the answer for everyone, but if your primary issue is not the dog’s presence but simply what they leave behind a “poo zone” could be ideal.

8) Consult Your Local Law Enforcement

If things are getting out of hand and you cannot find a way to manage your canine intruder problem, then it may be time to call in backup.

Many local governments have laws regarding roaming dogs and leashes. If your neighbor violates these laws then you can call your local animal shelter for assistance. Having authorities pick up their dog or come to their house to explain the laws to them may have a far greater effect on your neighbors than you can.

More Helpful Articles:

How to keep dogs off your lawn.


If you are tired of dealing with dogs in your yard, there are several options available to you. From commercial products to physical barriers and natural ingredients the solution to keeping dogs (and their urine and feces) off our lawn. Choose the method that makes the most sense for your situation and use trial and error until you find one that works.