How To Keep Dogs Out of Your Yard (Low Cost Tips)

by Reader Contributors

DIY Landscaping for Less photo

Do you need a pet-safe dog repellent to keep neighborhood dogs off your lawn? Our frugal readers share their most effective tips for humanely keeping dogs out of your yard.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,

I’m looking for something that I can spray or sprinkle on my front lawn that will repel the neighborhood dogs. I have a lot of burned circles from the urine of one particular female dog and apparently her “marking” my lawn as her latrine is attracting other dogs to urinate and defecate there as well.

I remember from my childhood an elderly neighbor who sprayed something around the perimeter of his property to stop his cat and dog from wandering to other people’s property. Unfortunately, no one bothered to ask the old man what he was using to keep the dog’s out of his yard.

Anyway, I’m sure it was a home remedy that would be a big help to me. I’ve tried the expensive commercial products, but I haven’t had any success. Do any of your readers have any low cost home remedies for keeping dogs out of your yard?

Low-Cost Tips for Keeping Dogs Out of Your Yard?

We asked this question of our frugal readers. Here are some of the low cost solutions they sent in to us for how to keep dogs out of our yard:

Discourage Dogs With Potatoes

Semi-rotting potatoes repells dogs from coming around.

Try a Gardener’s Trick for Repelling Dogs

You can use cayenne and red pepper mix. The strong smell deters them. I have seen the exact recipe on several gardening websites.

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Keep Dogs Out of Your Yard With Vinegar

I read that if you spray the edge of your yard with vinegar, it would deter dogs/cats from coming into your yard. After a few weeks, they will remember that awful smell and bypass your yard. You have to re-spray after a rain.

Ammonia To Keep Dogs Out of Yard?

I know that you can use ammonia on your trash to keep nosey dogs out. Perhaps it would help keep the neighborhood animals away. I’m not sure if this is completely “harmless.” Surely the animals won’t lick at something that smells that putrid.

Spice Deters Dogs

I have heard that Cayenne Pepper works. You simply sprinkle the Cayenne Pepper around the area where they have gone and they won’t return to the same spot. To deter them from doing so in the first place, you could sprinkle a border of cayenne pepper to prevent them from crossing onto your lawn.

Send Them Sneezing

I have used ground black pepper to keep dogs, cats and skunks away from my house and garden. One sniff of the pepper will send them running off sneezing. Next time, they will leave without marking your property.

A Unique Solution for Keeping Dogs Off Your Lawn

This will sound strange, but adult male human urine has hormones in it that repels other mammals. It makes use of the fact that males mark territory with urine. Such marking is taken as a “do not trespass” message. It will also deter rabbits, deer, etc. And odds are very high that the older man you knew was well aware of this fact but was too embarrassed to share his “secret.”

Scare Them Away

You might try a motion-activated sprinkler that sprays with full garden hose pressure. It’s called the Scarecrow. Do an Internet search with the words “scarecrow,” “spray,” and “motion” and you will find several online places that sell it.

I’m assuming you’ve tried talking with the dogs’ owners if you can identify them. I think it’s very irresponsible of them and gives pet owners a bad reputation. They should have fenced yards for their pets.

Call the Dog Catcher

Isn’t there a leash law where you live? Call the dog catcher. Why should you have to put potentially harmful chemicals in your yard? It is the dog owner’s responsibility to control their animal.

I have three dogs. They don’t roam around to kill other peoples’ grass, get in the trash, or possibly bite someone.

Trick the Dog Owners Into Keeping Their Dogs Out

I’ve got a tried and true remedy for dogs using your lawn as their personal privy. Fill gallon jugs with water. Place them around the perimeter of your yard, every 3′ or so. Your neighbors will ask you what the jugs are for and you can tell them that you’re sick and tired of dogs messing up your yard and you heard that this would do the trick. It worked for me.
Joanne in California

Spray Listerine on Lawn

How can you keep dogs out of your yard? You can spray Listerine on the lawn. You can buy generic or store brand since the name brand is expensive.

“Dog-B-Gone” Tonic

According to Jerry Baker, “America’s Master Gardener,” in his book Green Grass Magic, if a dog urinates on your lawn, water it immediately to dilute the urine and minimize the damage. He also gives a recipe for his “Dog-B-Gone Tonic” which contains:

2 cloves garlic
2 small onions
1 jalapeno pepper
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. Tabasco sauce
1 T. chili powder
1 T. liquid dish soap
1 qt. warm water

Chop up the garlic and onions and combine all ingredients. Let it sit for 24 hours, strain through cheesecloth, and then sprinkle on the areas that you want dogs to keep away from.

Get a Spray

This reader needs to look for dog repellant spray at a home and garden center. I have used a formula for chipmunks and rabbits and I was very surprised at how well it works – without harming any animals, plants or the environment.

Good Fences…

I say get a fence. Back home growing up in NJ that happened a lot, even a small picket fence along just the front will keep them off. Might look very nice, too.

They Hate Moth Balls

Animals don’t like the odor of moth balls so place a few of them especially where other dogs have done their business to keep them from marking their territory, too. It’s best if you can put the mothballs into a container that has holes so that the dogs can smell them, but where the container is too big for them to swallow. The goal is to chase them away, not to harm them.

Reviewed July 2023

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