There are few things more annoying than bad landscaping. Think about it: you work hard to take care of your lawn. You plant flowers, you make paths, you work to fertilize. You use manure, water religiously, and then…your yard suffers. Your dog, cat, or other animal makes horrible tracks in your backyard. These become muddy with time. The worst part, not only are these trails ugly, but they are slippery. Be careful! These muddy dog trails are serious problems. How to fix them? Read on.
These methods are effective in getting rid of muddy backyard dog trails.
- Plant sod to repair dog trails
- Plant shrubs to block access to the backyard
- Use prefabricated pavers and kennel decking to fix muddy dog trails
- Use artificial grass, straw, or hay to make a temporary layer to protect the backyard
- Pour concrete as a permanent fix
- Use rocks, pebbles, mulch or sand, but with caution.
In this article, I will help you eliminate muddy dog trails in your backyard, share my tips to source why your dog is making trails, and training a dog to avoid making trails.
6 Simple Ways to Fix a Muddy Backyard Dog Trail
The first step to have a backyard free of muddy dog trails is to understand your backyard: is it shady, are there many types of plants, and the kind of dog you have. Once you understand these basic features, use one of these six simple methods to fix your muddy dog trails.
Method 1: Plant Sod To Repair Dog Trails
You can utilize simple grass to repair a muddy dog trail However, don’t worry about planting seed or straining with soil mixtures. Instead, you can use a premade type of grass: sod. These simple sheets of grass are easy to lay down and are quite effective.
Supplies You Will Need
- Watering Can
Step 1: Go to a local hardware store to pick up sod.
Step 2: Prep the ground using a hoe and small shovel.
Step 3: Place the sod on the muddy dog trails.
You can carefully place the sod on the ground. Then, using your watering can, lightly water the freshly-laid sod. Next, make sure to keep your pet away from the sod so that it can rest and grow roots into the soil. It is important to keep your pet from the area for a short period of time, perhaps several weeks.
Method 2: Plant Shrubs to Block Access
You can also block your dog’s access to the backyard by planting shrubs. These bushes can help make sure that your dog can not only avoid the backyard but can strategically be placed so that your dog cannot run up and down. By placing bushes every few feet along a muddy dog trail, your pet will be forced into a new path and will avoid the muddy dog trails that have characterized your backyard.
Supplies You Will Need
- Potted Shrubs
Step 1: Go to a local hardware store to pick up shrubs.
Step 2: Dig a hole in your backyard along the muddy dog trail.
Step 3: Place the shrub in the hole.
Step 4: Apply water to the shrub in the hole.
Step 5: Wait and watch the shrub grow.
Shrubs are a perfectly useful way to block access to a muddy dog trail. By breaking up a dog’s path in the backyard, the grass has time to heal. Your dog will avoid the previously-trod areas and your yard will recover with ease.
Method 3: Use Prefab Pavers & Kennel Decking To Fix Muddy Dog Trails
Instead of using sod or shrubs, you can utilize prefabricated (prefab) pavers and kennel decking to fix muddy dog trails. These items, which are commonly available, can be placed over the muddy areas so that your dog is unable to pace back and forth. By covering up the muddy areas, your yard will be free of the trails in no time.
Supplies You Will Need
- Pavers and/or kennel decking
Step 1: Go to a local hardware store to pick up pavers and/or kennel decking.
Step 2: Lay a layer of gravel on the muddy areas.
Step 3: Place the pavers and/or decking on the gravel path.
Step 4: Water the pavers/kennel decking so that they settle.
This is one of the most effective methods to fix muddy dog trails in your backyard. Dogs despise walking on concrete or artificial materials. By utilizing these materials, you will strengthen the weak areas of your yard and also make sure that your dog avoids those areas for a period of time.
Method 4: Use Artificial Grass, Straw, or Hay to Make a Temporary Layer
Instead of using prefab pavers, kennel decking, or sod, you can utilize artificial materials or alternative materials to fix muddy dog trails. These items can help make your backyard look healthy and fresh.
Supplies You Will Need
- Artificial Grass, Straw, or Hay
Step 1: Go to a local store to pick up artificial grass, straw, or hay.
Step 2: Place the artificial grass, straw, or hay on the muddy areas.
You can place artificial grass, straw, or hay on the muddy areas of your backyard. These materials will cover up the muddy dog trails. However, unlike artificial grass, straw and hay deteriorates. If you decide to use either straw or hay, you will need to replace these items over time.
Method 5: Pour Concrete As a Permanent Fix
Instead of using the above methods, you can utilize concrete as a permanent way to get rid of muddy dog trails in your backyard. While many of the methods I have previously discussed will decay, this method is a guaranteed way to get rid of muddy dog trails for all time.
Supplies You Will Need
- Concrete mixer
Step 1: Go to a local hardware store to pick up concrete, a concrete mixer, sand, rebar, and gravel.
Step 2: Prepare the muddy dog trails by placing rebar and building a frame for concrete.
Step 3: Mix and pour the concrete into the frame
Step 4: Remove the frame and let the concrete set
If you utilize concrete, you will be permanently removing the muddy dog trails from the backyard. This solution will have the added benefit of keeping your dog from those particular areas, as many pets avoid concrete because it causes discomfort on your paws. This solution will make your backyard look great, but it will require some additional work.
Method 6: Use Rocks, Pebbles, Mulch, or Sand, but with Caution
Instead of using concrete, you can also use rocks, pebbles, mulch, or sand to repair muddy dog trails in your backyard. However, it is important to be cautious: these get everywhere, especially if your dog rolls around in it. Furthermore, rocks, pebbles, mulch, or sand get hot in the summer, and your dog may burn their paws.
Supplies You Will Need
- Rocks, Pebbles, Mulch, or Sand
Step 1: Go to a local hardware store to pick up rocks, pebbles, mulch, or sand.
Step 2: Prepare the muddy dog trails by the rocks, pebbles, mulch, or sand on the muddy areas.
Step 3: Pour water on the rocks, pebbles, mulch or sand so that they set well.
By utilizing rocks, pebbles, mulch, or sand, you can make sure that your backyard looks fantastic. These items will not only get rid of muddy dog trails, but they will help make sure that your dog maintains comfort and can still utilize the backyard. Be careful, however, that your backyard does not get too hot. If it does, your dog may face hot surfaces and will burn their paws.
These methods are sure-fire ways to fix muddy dog trails in your backyard. If you have muddy areas caused by your pets, consider the above methods to make your backyard beautiful again.
What Are The Sources of Dog Trails
Dog trails have many different sources. However, generally speaking, dog trails have one many causes: dogs pacing back and forth in the backyard. This cause has several different motivations, however, that may cause a dog to pace along trails.
Dogs may be anxious: If dogs are anxious, they will pace back and forth, forming ruts in the backyard. Their pacing will kill grass and other wildlife, and pack the soil down and down, making it more difficult for grass to grow. When it rains, these dry and packed areas will become muddy.
Dogs may be bored: If dogs are bored, they will pace back and forth. They will scratch at grass, creating muddy tracks throughout the backyard. Similarly, bored dogs will run back and forth, wearing down the grass even faster. This wear and tear will create muddy trails.
Dogs may run in packs: If you have multiple dogs, the animals will often run back and forth more and more. Dogs often choose individual paths if they have company, and will run up and down that path until they have asserted their dominance over another dog. This exercise will usually lead to more and more paths, more and more muddy areas, and thus, more muddy dog trails.
What Types of Dogs Are Less Likely To Make Trails
While many dogs make trails, some dogs are more likely to make trails than others. For example, dogs that are particularly anxious or have fragile nerves will likely make more trails than others. However, you can determine whether or not your dog is likely to make trails dependent on the size of the dogs. Small and medium-sized dogs are less likely to make muddy dog trails than larger dogs.
Small dogs are less likely to make trails: Generally speaking, small dogs are less likely to create trails. They weigh less, pace less, and destroy less grass. As these dogs pace, they are simply too small to do much damage to your landscaping. Their toenails will dislodge smaller amounts of grass than larger dogs, and your backyard will be less likely to have muddy trails.
Medium-sized dogs are less likely to make trails: Similarly, medium-sized dogs are also less likely to create trails. They weigh some, but less than large dogs. They destroy less grass than large dogs as well. As these dogs move back and forth, they are too small to do so much damage. They will destroy grass, sure, but they will do a relatively small amount of damage compared to large animals.
How to Train a Dog To Avoid Making Trails
Dogs are highly sensitive animals. They respond well to human instructions, learn the language, and are able to interact well with others. Through careful training, you can help your dogs avoid making trails. This training can be relatively easy to do, meaning that you would be able to do it cheaply and effectively. Much like fixing your muddy dog trails, you can train your dog in your house.
You can reward your dog for not making trails: Known as “positive reinforcement,” this technique tells your dog that good behavior will lead to good results. Dogs are able to remember this knowledge, particularly if you reward them with good food. Dogs will repeat behavior that has been rewarded with food, and thus they will decrease their pacing, and with it, the production of muddy dog trails.
You can punish your dog for making trails: Similarly, dogs respond to “negative reinforcement.” In this scenario, you can punish your dog for making trails. This punishment will make it difficult for dogs to continue. We’re not advocating for physical punishment but instead noises like clicks, which dogs find unpleasant. If a dog associates an unpleasant noise with an action, like making muddy dog trails, the dog will stop making those muddy dog trails.
I hope that you will try all of these methods to fix the muddy dog trails in your backyard. These methods are careful, effective ways to take care of an unsightly problem. By following the steps in this article, you will be able to make sure that your backyard stays pretty, pleasant, and suitable for your dog’s continued residence and use.