To help you understand why this is such a big deal to my family, my husband has been dealing with chronic lime disease for over 6 years now. He has issues so bad that he can't even work because of it. So the idea of ticks around our family is very scary for us.
I haven't heard of anything that will keep the ticks from crawling on the dog other than keeping the grass very low cut, spraying it with pesticides, and maybe using a flea/tick spray on the dog versus the drops...but nothing is iron clad. I spray my yard, flea/tick drop the dog, and even use citrus juice as a repellent, but he still ends up with ticks.
Ticks are bad everywhere it seems this year. My husband and I have both been bitten and so has our dog. We've taken to using a comb with close teeth just prior to coming into the house to get the ticks that haven't attached yet off his fur, but as I said, nothing is perfect.
Neem oil does stop ticks from hitching a ride on your dog. Give him a rub of the neem mixed with some oil whenever you are going into tick territory. It is also good for the dogs hair and skin, is anti - bacterial, fungal, parasitic, anti - mange, etcetc.
Wear gloves applying it and don't use it on a female if she is expecting or trying to get pregnant. It is a contraceptive and it stinks as well. If in doubt research it.