Scoop your poop!
December 10, 2009 1:34 PM   Subscribe

How do I keep my yard free of dog crap?

I live in a neighborhood that has a lot of dogs. A LOT. It averages out to about 1-2 dogs per household. Normally, not a problem. Everyone cleans up after their dogs (we're in townhouses, so not many have yards), everyone keeps their dogs leashed, and that keeps everyone happy.

Our house has a strip of lawn from the back deck to the front sidewalk. Not huge, maybe 10 feet wide by 30 feet deep. And someone's dog is crapping there. Big huge piles of dog crap. I don't have a problem with dogs pooping in the lawn, as long as the owners clean up after it. Apparently, that's too difficult for someone. To make things more annoying, that's the 30 feet that I walk three times a day with my own dog when we're going on a walk. I pick up the piles daily (or more), because I really don't want to step in dog crap at 7 in the morning

I have a strong suspicion of which household is letting their dog crap there, but no proof to back it up (as I've never seen the dog do its business there). I don't think that confronting the suspected poop-leavers would be very productive. So what's the best course of action here? Are there non-harmful things I can spray to keep their dog out of our yard (assuming that it's off-leash)? Can I put up a little sign in the most current pile of crap that reads "Please pick up after your dog"? What should I do?
posted by specialagentwebb to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my neighborhood some people have nailed little dog crap bag dispensers to the trees in front of their homes. I assume this was not unprompted, though I have no idea how effective it is. Now that I have a dog I'm honestly astonished by the amount of crap people leave around...I never noticed most of it before but my dog is definitely interested in smelling/eating some poo every couple of houses.
posted by crinklebat at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2009

How about a fence?
posted by Max Power at 1:46 PM on December 10, 2009

Can I put up a little sign in the most current pile of crap that reads "Please pick up after your dog"?

Little sign, yes. Next to poo, no.

I'd try to keep it light, you haven't tried anything yet. Also, when you start doing aggressive angry things like putting signs next to dog poo, you're winding yourself up and making yourself more angry--it's poisonous to you and it's not getting the poop off your lawn.

Just the sign. Maybe a couple. Small, to the point, not angry.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:53 PM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

Seconding the idea to put baggies on the sign. I've seen quite a few bags stuffed into a milk jug, (maybe it's modified in some way, I can't remember). It's actually nice since every now and then my own dog will go when I'm not expecting it and out of bags.
posted by monkeymadness at 2:03 PM on December 10, 2009

I agree about putting up a little sign... something friendly and funny, not mean/angry. Bag idea is nice too, but it's generally not a good idea to nail anything to your trees (maybe use string instead?). Hopefully that will work without having to resort to any nastier measures.
posted by bobafet at 2:08 PM on December 10, 2009

I am seconding the fence option. The few times I have tried to talk to dog owners who do not clean up after their pets, they just became hostile.
posted by effluvia at 2:08 PM on December 10, 2009

Some of us are renters -- fences aren't always a viable option.
posted by barnone at 2:09 PM on December 10, 2009

Response by poster: The fence is unfortunately not an option. It's just a skinny little strip of lawn, and it's also a rental property in a HOA community.
posted by specialagentwebb at 2:10 PM on December 10, 2009

In my 'hood, someone made a sign. It was sort of passive-aggressive and didn't seem to fix the problem.
(Data point of 1).
posted by k8t at 2:21 PM on December 10, 2009

Signs work. Here's some examples. I like the ones with the red circle and slash. It is not your responsibility to provide bags for other dog owners.
posted by dchrssyr at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

There is an old wives tale that if you put an plastic gallon milk bottle (filled with water for weight) in a yard that a dog won't crap there. I guess it's not necessarily true, but my dog won't go in a yard with a bottle in it. She doesn't know what it is, so she stays away.
posted by Duffington at 2:28 PM on December 10, 2009

Best answer: Sign + dog baggies + a nearby, visible trash can to place the bags.

The last part is most important. It's the last remaining barrier for the truly lazy.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:29 PM on December 10, 2009

If CPB's idea fails to stop the poop, I guess you turn the hose on the human...
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:38 PM on December 10, 2009

In my apartment complex, there are bag stations with a trash can under them and there is still poo everywhere. Some dog owners don't "believe" in picking up poop. (I have actually heard someone say that!) Some let their dog wander off leash while the owner stays nice and warm inside. These people have bad dog manners. There is very, very little you can do to change their behavior.

I have found direct but polite confrontation usually works AT THAT MOMENT. For example, if you saw the person letting their dog poop in your yard and they start to walk away, go outside with a bag and a friendly, "Oh, your dog just pooped and you must have run out of bags. Here's one!" They will probably pick up the poop. We use this tactic at the dog park. 9 times out of 10 the offending owner will go pick up the poop. Will they pick up the poop the next time if no one is watching? I seriously doubt it. BUT, if the offender is your neighbor and you confront them once, they might be more careful about where they let their dog poop next time.

Signs will not work.

Good luck!
posted by rachums at 3:04 PM on December 10, 2009

What about one of those little plastic or wire fences? It's not permanent and might keep the dogs from going on that patch.
posted by Gor-ella at 4:07 PM on December 10, 2009

Acquire a big bag of wood shavings from a local joinery. When you see dog crap on your lawn, don't scoop it up; cover it with a scoop of shavings instead. This will stop it sticking to shoes and encourage earthworms to digest it and enrich your topsoil with it, which will in turn make your grass grow green and lush and make it less inviting to crap on than something with a little more bare earth smell.
posted by flabdablet at 4:09 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Please note I am not defending the poop-leaver, but is it possible this person doesn't realize that someone actually walks there? If that's a possibility, then a sign that reminds folks that you actually USE that piece of grass might be even more guilt-inducing than just a "No Poop" sign.

I like the bags idea, or even leave a small shovel or pooper-scooper out if you think it wouldn't be stolen.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:15 PM on December 10, 2009

I like Cool Papa Bell's answer. If that doesn't solve the problem you could try one of these.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:31 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

My neighbour growing up had a sign with little music notes drawn in the margin, saying

"Please scoop
your dog's poop,
My husband has to mow this lawn"

And to this day, decades later, I still sing those words to myself sometimes. I don't know why but it tickled my fancy. Maybe the image of some hapless husband trying to avoid poo with a huge lawnmower and the wife looking out the window shaking her head in sympathy.
posted by twistofrhyme at 4:55 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

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