by Tom LeGrice, Wednesday, 7 October 2015
If you can’t mow your lawn without your dog barking crazily, it’s safe to say that your
dog hates your lawn mower. The question is, what can you do about it?
Most dogs have a relationship with lawn mowers that consists of both fear and
fascination. Because dogs are not normally encouraged to go near lawn mowers, their
lack of familiarity breeds a fear of what they are and why they’re making the noise of a
jet engine in the backyard. And because lawn mowers are noisy beasts that seem to
steal their owners’ attention, dogs can be fascinated by them and they often want in on
The good news is that before you have to surrender to your neighbours that you don’t
know how to manage your dog’s behaviour, there are at least five things you can try
next time your lawn needs a mow:
1. Introduce Your Dog To Your Lawn Mower
Many dog owners have reported success in ‘introducing’ their dog to their lawn mower,
rather than keeping the two at a distance. Try taking your dog out to your (switched off)
mower, letting her sniff and touch the mower, rewarding her with treats for her courage,
and maybe even rewarding her with something even better if she actually eats her
treats off the mower. She’s not likely to hang around once the mower starts, but the
process of familiarising her with the lawn mower before it starts up, can usually help.
2. Buy a Quieter Lawn Mower
Did you know that some lawn mowers are up to 65% quieter than their competitors?
Surfing the Internet for lawn mower reviews can let you know which brands claim to be
the quietest. Or visiting in-store displays and testing mowers with a sound level app on
your smartphone can even better demonstrate noise levels first-hand.
So, the quieter the mower, the quieter the dog? Potentially, but there’s no guarantee
because each dog has its own unique personality. But even if a quieter mower does not
make a difference to your dog’s behaviour, it might just make the lawn mowing
experience more pleasant for both your ears and those of your neighbours.
3. Spray Your Lawn Mower with Citronella
Citronella oil is an essential oil that comes from the leaves and stems of lemongrass. It
is used widely for soap, candles, incense, perfumery, insect repellant and more. As a
spray, citronella oil is also used to calm barking dogs and deter pets from destroying
If you’re a little skeptical, take a look at this video with Doctor Harry, who visits the home
of Bruce the bulldog. Bruce hates the lawn mower - even when it’s not turned on - and
barks so aggressively that his owners always struggle to mow the lawn. Enter Doctor
Harry with his magic citronella spray. A few quick squirts on the lawn mower and Bruce
doesn’t want to come anywhere near the mower anymore. Genius!
4. Hire a Lawn Mowing Service
If you hate your lawn mower as much as your dog does, why not just hire a lawn
mowing service? That way, you and your buddy can leave home completely and go
enjoy some company at the local dog park, rather than worry about the hassle of trying
to mow your lawn with your unhappy best friend. With just a few taps on your phone,
instant pricing and automatic payments, hiring a local lawn mowing guy has never been
4. Keep Your Dog Inside
If all else fails, you can always resort to keeping your companion inside. The noisy part
of the lawn mowing chore should only take about 30 minutes, so whilst this solution is
not ideal, it might just do the trick when you don’t have any other options. If you have an
aggressive barker, some owners suggest playing classical music or your dog’s favourite
tune to try to distract your dog from the noise of the lawn mower.
And anything that helps might be worth a try, right?
Andrea Martins is the co-founder of GreenSocks - an online marketplace for lawn
mowing services. Check them out at greensocks.com.au!