Dog poop etiquette and logistics
November 1, 2018 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Hello! I have some questions about when I’m walking my dog, Gatsby. Of course I pick up his poop, but sometimes it’s... softer than would be ideal. What’s the proper etiquette regarding cleaning it up?

I pick up the main um... bulk of it, but there’s often soiled grass left behind. Should I be pulling up the grass? Or trying to clean it off somehow?

Also, my hands are small and as he’s gotten bigger, so have his poops. It’s getting hard to grab them with my one poop-bag clad hand. Has anyone else dealt with this? Any tips?

Can’t believe I’m asking a whole question about my dog’s poops, but here we are...
posted by Weeping_angel to Pets & Animals (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My dog will sometimes try to drop a second bonus turd on walks and it's usually pretty impossible to clean up. I try to kind of wipe it up with the dog bag. That's the best you can do!
posted by cakelite at 11:32 AM on November 1, 2018

Oh, and if the poop is two big to get in one go, I will sort of try to fold it over onto itself and pick it all up that way. It's gross, but you have a bag over your hand so it's fine.
posted by cakelite at 11:34 AM on November 1, 2018

I get as much poop as reasonable with a one-hand-bag-glove without pulling the grass out. I’ll try a second bag if there’s like a LOT left over but there’s always some left.
posted by griphus at 11:34 AM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Gatsby!!!!! What a cute buddy. If you're talking about a consistency that's like melty ice cream, one of my dogs does that sometimes and I usually try to smoosh it out of the way and/or cover it up with leaves, after I've gotten what I can with the poop bag I carry. It depends a lot on the setting, but if we're walking around our neighborhood (not super densely populated) and I can remove the bulk of the poo from where people will be walking, that's what I aim for.
posted by witchen at 11:44 AM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also, my hands are small and as he’s gotten bigger, so have his poops. It’s getting hard to grab them with my one poop-bag clad hand. Has anyone else dealt with this? Any tips?

Depending on the....situation...and my desperation I have been known to legit put two hands in the bag on the far outsides with backs of hands against the bag, pull it taut, use both hands to lift and get under the pile and kind of roll my hands together to flip the whole bag right-side out again. Takes practice but is definitely possible.

Classic move. *Classy* move.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:55 AM on November 1, 2018 [16 favorites]

When walking my dog in a city, I have often had cause to be grateful for the presence of free weekly papers in sidewalk boxes.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:01 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you do your best to get what you can and then ACTUALLY TAKE IT AND THROW IT AWAY INSTEAD OF JUST LEAVING A BAG OF PLASTIC-WRAPPED SHIT ON THE SIDE OF THE TRAIL WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE *ahem* sorry where was I, yes, if you do that then I think you've done as much as anyone can reasonably ask of you. Maybe use two bags if getting it in one grab isn't feasible.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:04 PM on November 1, 2018 [14 favorites]

Twice daily walker of 2, I pull up grass as I am able for softer messes. Or leaves. I have thought about carrying a paper towel or two in my pocket, but haven't resorted to that yet.
posted by sarajane at 12:05 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

I admit that I used to pull up the grass, but at some point I thought that's probably worse than poopy grass. I just wipe, swipe it up as best as possible. I've heard of people trying to wash it away with water or make it more solid with sand/dirt and then re-attempting to pick it up, but I haven't tried either of these methods.

I try really hard to guide our dog towards pooping on leaves for that reason!
posted by sm1tten at 12:06 PM on November 1, 2018

I carry a water bottle with a sports top which works really well to hose down puddingpoo traces deeper into the grass. Also, for those little doggie poo bags are not always the best size for those of us with larger dogs (or with small dogs with large colons) so i repurpose produce bags.

Long ago, I knew a guy who kept a small camping trowel in a belt pouch which he used to dig up every track of the poo. Then he shoved the poo trowel back into the pouch. Ewww.
posted by jamaro at 12:08 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

The answer is to fix the dog's diet until the dog is producing well-formed poops.

Bonus: otherwise this dog will "scoot" when they're older to express those anal glands!
posted by aniola at 12:13 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

If your doggo is a regular soft-pooper you might consider bringing tissues or a paper towel with you to help clean up. Just throw the towel/tissues into the poop bag.
posted by ancient star at 12:13 PM on November 1, 2018

Just to forstall the diet angle: this is more of a second (or third!) poop in one walk situation. The first one is fine, but there are houses that he just HAS to poop at sometimes, even if he’s just gone.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:23 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

We had a male dog who would poop multiple times on a walk, and each poop would get softer and softer. Eventually we learned to not let him poop more after the first time. We had a "let's go" command and we just confidently walked past any potential pooping spots. I think after a point it's just territory marking, not a biological necessity.
posted by muddgirl at 12:30 PM on November 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

Honestly, if there's a bit of a smear on the grass, I don't worry about it. (Although this happens fairly rarely with my dog.)

I don't feel bad about this, because I'm also regularly using bags to clean up after people who don't bother to at all.
posted by Kurichina at 12:44 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you know that he has these problems, I would try to be conscientious of having him go in people's privately owned yards, because they have to maintain that grass and probably don't want to touch your dog poop. However, parks and public green strips and other areas where dogs are expected to be seem fine with a good faith effort to get rid of most of it like you have. Cute puppy!
posted by cakebatter at 12:55 PM on November 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

What’s the proper etiquette regarding cleaning it up?

"Do your best."
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:16 PM on November 1, 2018

Yeah, if it was my house that your dog was continually pooping at without it being cleaned up, I would be real sad.
Maybe you could bring along a newspaper or something and stick it under him when he's about to go?
posted by exceptinsects at 2:26 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I wipe the grass and take different routes so everyone gets to share the love. Also, the legendary three-poop is the worst. I mostly just came in to say that I LOVE YOU GATSBY!
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 2:29 PM on November 1, 2018

This is a very English thing, but as I’m usually wearing wellies I’d use a move that could best be described as “stamp and smear” I bet you’re glad you asked!
posted by Middlemarch at 2:37 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a dog who weighs 45kg/100lbs. I don't use dog poop bags; they are just too small to be at all useful. I use diaper/nappy sacks. They are biodegradable, and I can easily fit two hands in with plenty of room to scoop.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:56 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

For the dreaded second and third poops, I try to aim the dog to the curb instead of letting her use the tree lawn (or whatever *you* call that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street). That way whatever smear is left is at least visible, giving pedestrians a fighting chance.

I know this is ancillary to your question, but you might want to have the debonair Gatsby checked for inflammatory bowel disease. Vets have a whole protocol they follow in treating dogs for this chronic issue, and the earlier you catch it the easier it will be to keep it under control.
posted by DrGail at 2:58 PM on November 1, 2018

I don't wan't to make general statements about dogs, since I have no clue, but my dog actually prefers to poop in bushes and generally less accessible places. If I am really not able to walk him where he can poop discreetly and I can remove the most of his produce, his second favorite places are really bad: like literally on the fence that doubles as a seat between the road and the playground (that's the worst example, it is really, really rare). If I know this is the unavoidable situation, I will bring a lot of poop-bags and also some paper towels. And then I hope for a good rain. But 98% of the time, I'll try to avoid those walks.
For the territorial poops, I just drag him off. He can't do that, sorry.
posted by mumimor at 3:49 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a belt with my dog leashes carabiner clipped on - hands free means two hand for pickup!
posted by hilaryjade at 3:52 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Do your best, and take the bags of poop home to throw them away.

People will be more understanding that you are polite and doing their best to clean up if their trash can doesn't smell like dog poop.
posted by yohko at 5:41 PM on November 1, 2018

Dog walker here-- I pick up as much as I can, pull up some grass, and if it's too runny to get it all, I do try to cover it with dirt/sand/mulch whatever-- at least enough that I could step on it (and I do) without getting poop in my treads.
posted by The otter lady at 6:03 PM on November 1, 2018

Just want to throw out there that I like these poop bags as someone with a larger sized dog. They are a bit bigger than your standard size poop bag, and they are also made very sturdy.

Anyway, to more directly answer your question, I'm another one who does the just pick up as much as you reasonably can, and maybe try to move some leaves over it. I don't try to pull up grass, and frankly, I'm not sure that my neighbors really want me yanking up their grass anyway.

I do make sure my dog stays off of the front lawns, and instead uses the grassy area in between the sidewalk and the curb. Also, there are a couple neighbors who really go all out in terms of landscaping that little strip of grass, so I also make sure my dog stays off of those particular patches as well.

I also always throw out the poop bag in my own garbage can. I feel like doing the above is a reasonable level of due diligence. Maybe if my dog more regularly had soft stool, I would change things up, but much like your adorable Gatsby, this usually is only an issue if it's a pooping more than one time on the walk kind of deal.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:42 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to walk a dog that had soft/liquidy poops sometimes (from a medicine he was on) and when I was (for some reason that has now escaped me) talking about this problem to some (very nerdy and quirky) friends who tried to brainstorm solutions, one of them suggested sprinkling something like sawdust over very soft poops to absorb some of the liquid and make it easier to pick up. I never tried it but it seems like it could work. But it doesn’t seem very convenient.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:39 PM on November 1, 2018

I'm also a grab the grass and hope for the best person. However, when I lived in the city and sidewalks were the only option, I actually carried cheapo dessert paper plates from the dollar store, strategically tossing them down and positioning my toe at the right moment. That way the plate caught everything and nothing was smushed all over the concrete. Insane? Probably, but way better than trying to wipe up poo smears with people walking by commenting on how cute your dog is.

With regard to the ginormous (yet impressive) frat boy dumps my 22lb Frenchie is able to produce, I utilize the classy two-handed scoop and flip method charmedformeasure so eloquently described above.
posted by dancinglamb at 11:48 PM on November 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

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