Our once beautifulÂ gardenÂ looks like a battlefield.
The lawn is pocked with holes, the foliage is slashed and scarred and one plant, a $175 cycad with arching, graceful fronds, has been mauled to a forlorn stump.
All thisÂ damage has been caused by oneÂ six-month-oldÂ furball, whoâs barely up to my knee.
Itâs not as if sheâs left at homeÂ by herself all day or banished outside for long periods of time.
She has plenty of walks, food,Â company and space to run around.Â
But sheâs hell-bent on destruction and itâs got to stop. So hereâs what weâve learnt so far:
It doesnât take long for aÂ puppy to get bored or feel anxious.Â Dogs are pack animals and they feel much happier when they have company, as in have someone interacting with them or touching them every second that they are awake.
But thatâs hardly practicalÂ soÂ if they are alone you have toÂ provide plenty of toys, chews and other stimulating activities, including things they need to work at to get at food.Â
The SPCA suggests investing in puzzle toys, slow feeders and even freezing dogÂ food and meat stock into giant iceblocks for them to gnawÂ at during the summer months.Â
While most dogs dig a little bit, some are born to do it.
Dachshunds, beagles and many of the terriers were bred to chase and hunt small game and vermin down burrows, so training that trait out of them is incredibly difficult.
If youâve got a dedicated hole-digger like our border terrier, considerÂ setting up a designated digging area and hiding some treats there to direct their efforts.
If thatâs not an option ourÂ vet suggested we try blowing up a few balloons, wedgingÂ them into the holes and covering them with dirt.
He reckoned itâd only take one or two loud bangs to stop the digging, but that weÂ should be sure to remove the deflated balloons afterwards to prevent choking hazard.
And if there is one area that you really donât want them to dig, fence it off.
Our puppy really likes chewing wood and foliage. Branches, leaves and any sharp and splintery-type wood, like the side of the deck, will do.
Iâve heard of other dogsÂ chewing garden hoses, outdoor furniture and even bits of gravel.Â
Plenty of different chew toys, rotated regularly, seem to be the best distraction for this destructive chewing.
Toys in thick natural rubber workÂ are the only real chew-proof option weâve found. A pigâs ear or the like lasts about 15 seconds with our girl.Â
AndÂ if you wantÂ to prevent an area the deckÂ beingÂ chewed? AÂ sprinkle of white pepper or smear ofÂ chilli oil works a treat.Â
Dogs with a very high protein diet have more nitrates in their urine, which can result in burnt or yellowing patches on your lawn.Â
Female dogs are more likely to burn the lawn because of the way they urinate.Â
If this is a problem, try changing their diet, getting them to drink more water or hosing down the lawnÂ directly afterwards.Â
There are water additives and other things you can buy to neutralise the nitrates but only use those on advice from your vet.Â Â
Some of the plants sheâs destroyed will bounce back from their hard pruning.Â Â
The othersÂ that are beyond saving can alwaysÂ be replaced.Â
Weâre thinking weâll goÂ nice, hardy edging plant next time thatâs going to withstand the assault. Maybe nice row of gorse.Â