The suggestions that offered here are intended to scare the pet, and it is more than shaking the finger and saying no-no.
Purchase six or more mouse traps that have the spring loaded bar on a flat piece of wood. Not to worry, we are not going to catch a pet in the trap. Spray each of the traps liberally with a spray bottle that has a solution of water and extract of lemon, vanilla, clove, or other aromatic substance. The idea is to teach the pet to shy away from the scent and not necessarily from the trap.
Set each trap and place them very carefully upside down around the perimeter of the tree. You can leave them in the open if you so desire or cover each with a spread out piece of tissue sprayed with same fragrance sprayed on the trap. When the pet goes to investigate the tissue, the trap will spring up and the pet will be gone. The pet will rarely investigate a second time. Leave the traps set for a few days to be sure the pet has learned its lesson. I do not advocate this method for teaching toddlers to stay away from the tree, but I guess it would work.
In the future you can just spray a prohibited area with the fragrance, and the pet will get the message.
This same method can be used to keep cats and dogs off of kitchen counters and out of trash cans.
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James F. Gaines, DVM, MS, Dip. ACLAM
Editor’s Note. Dr. Jim Gaines, an experienced veterinarian, will answer questions about pets and other animals in articles posted every Sunday in the Fairfax Free Citizen. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Take advantage of this opportunity to gain insights into your pets (and other animals), their health and behavior, and how best to work with them.