Last year, I dug out a small area in front of where I sit and placed stepping stones, mulch, and various plants. I put in plants that are supposed to spread and crawl around the stones, and also plants that are nice to touch (silver mound). There is also a bird feeder by the pine tree. It's a nice spot to sit in and throw the ball for Niko to catch. It quickly became my resting spot after doing garden work. When Niko sees me working on my vegetable garden, he usually knows it's not playtime. But as soon as I get a drink and sit down in the serenity area, he runs up with his tennis ball. I can also look over at my vegetable garden to reflect at the hard work I put into it.
Lately, when Niko is outside by himself, I would spy him in my serenity area. Thankfully, he does not dig in that area or eat the plants. I've found him quietly resting on the mulch and it makes me feel good that my little project is benefiting Niko as well. I still think he is the reason my plants don't get eaten by rabbits and other animals (Niko the scarecrow).
There are some very nice gardens designed just for pets out there. Niko and I are both envious. If you are thinking of doing an area for your canine friends to hang out in, be sure that all the plants you choose are not toxic to dogs.
Here's a photo I found of pet gardens: