What's a reasonable frequency to pick up dog poop from the yard?
September 26, 2019 6:17 PM   Subscribe

My housemate has a medium-sized dog and we have a fenced yard. I love the dog, but I'm not loving the poop!

I have a kid and we like to play in the yard, but it's not that fun with all the poop piled up. My housemate does clean it up if I ask, but I hate having to keep asking so I'd rather just set a schedule. What's a reasonable frequency to expect? I want to be fair but I also want to be able to enjoy being outside and not clean poop off my kid's shoes. Thanks!
posted by bighappyhairydog to Pets & Animals (32 answers total)
We clean our yard once a day FWIW.
posted by thatone at 6:20 PM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

If it’s my sole yard? As often or as little as suits me. Maybe as little as once a week and I’m careful, maybe every day when I use the yard more. But I’m a grownup and know how to avoid dog poop.

If it’s a shared yard with child who uses it often? Pick up every poop as it happens, or take a cleaning pass every day. Anything else is just land mine territory, and we have international treaties about land mines because they are so unethical.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:21 PM on September 26, 2019 [40 favorites]

Every day spring, summer and fall, and whenever the snow melts during winter. My routine is that when dog and I return from a walk, I make a loop around the yard and pick up any other gifts that were left during the rest of the day. The key, I think, is to incorporate the task with some other pattern of daily life.
posted by jon1270 at 6:21 PM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

In general: every day assuming this is the main place the dog poops. However some of this has more to do with whose house it is and what the relationship is. If it's their house, they get more leeway into how often they scoop their own yard. If it's yours, you can absolutely put your foot down about this. If you're both sort of equal-status housemates, you can negotiate from a position of "Hey let's try to work something out that works for everyone"
posted by jessamyn at 6:31 PM on September 26, 2019

Daily. I spent a substantial part of my childhood scooping up dog do after school with a broken-handled shovel (to make it more fun I pretended I was the green army man with the mine detector).
posted by lhauser at 6:41 PM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

We pick up every poop right away. Otherwise they attract flies. But also we have a short fence so we supervise our dog for every turnout. When we had a taller fence, we soon learned to pick up poop once a day or else it compounds into a big chore.
posted by muddgirl at 6:43 PM on September 26, 2019

We absolutely have to pick up once a week because the lawn service comes on Wednesdays and they will not interact with it in any way. That's our bare minimum, but I prefer at least 3x/week because of flies and volume and smell and such.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:48 PM on September 26, 2019

For myself, my dog has a designated area (a large mulched area with no grass) for his business that I clean once a week. If i was sharing the yard with a kid, i would pick up every time. I assume your housemate does not like dog poop tracked in on kid's shoes? Ew. This is a no-brainer. They need to clean up after their dog once a day, minimum.
posted by ananci at 6:56 PM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yes, that's another good option if your housemate is really resistant to frequent pickups - it's relatively easy to train a dog to do their business in a particular area, you could have a mulch or grass-free zone that is just for the dog. Short-term more work but saves some hassle in the long run.
posted by muddgirl at 6:58 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Let me just say, as someone with a former housemate who was a miscreant in this department, that once a month is not often enough.
posted by Beardman at 6:59 PM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

I'm in New England, when I had a small yard and a medium-sized dog, every couple of days, so Mon-Wed-Fri or Tues-Thurs-Sat. I had a small side yard with poor soil and some non-food plants. Poop was frequently deposited among the daylilies, which began to thrive. You can assist roommate by putting reasonably clean plastic bags in a particular spot, to make the task easier.
posted by theora55 at 7:21 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Dog poop attracts rats.
posted by H21 at 7:23 PM on September 26, 2019

You can't really relax and enjoy the yard if you're worried you're going to step in poop.

If the dog is supervised when it poops then cleaning up immediately after, like you would on a walk, is reasonable. If the dog is out in the yard unsupervised, then cleaning it up daily. There still might be poop if you play in the yard before the daily clean-up, though.

I agree with everyone else who suggested training the dog to go in a particular area. That way you don't have to be quite as on top of cleaning it up.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:42 PM on September 26, 2019

I think daily would be best. Yes, it's a pain to have to do it every day, but there's a lot less to need to pick up than if you wait longer. And a lot less risk of getting it on your shoes.

If your housemate seems unwilling to do it daily, would you be open to a compromise of alternating days?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 7:43 PM on September 26, 2019

Daily if possible.
posted by artdrectr at 10:45 PM on September 26, 2019

At least daily but ideally right away.
posted by Polychrome at 12:57 AM on September 27, 2019

I don't have a dog or a yard, but if I did I would insist on the poop being picked up as it happens. I live in an apartment and there is a rule in the complex that dog owners have to pick up their poop as they go. I figure if they can do it, it can't be such a huge hardship that a person can't do it in their private yard.

I mean, if no one in the house ever uses the yard, then I guess the dog owner can do what they want. But if people hang out back there, even a "once a day" cleaning regimen means there is always at least one stinking pile sitting out there at any given time waiting to be stepped in or sat in.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:44 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another vote for daily. It's actually easier that way.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:55 AM on September 27, 2019

Immediately if the dog is supervised, as you would if you were in a public place. Otherwise they should be checking the yard for poop when they bring the dog back in the house. It’s a shared yard, and a space where children play, so it isn’t reasonable to be leaving poop lying around.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 6:37 AM on September 27, 2019

If the yard were not shared and not used by kids or adults, I'd say once a week is the minimum to not be an asshole neighbor.

But it's a shared yard. Shared. What part of "shared" does your housemate not understand. It means that you have to keep your things out of the way in consideration of other people who live in the same space. Your housemate should aim for every day, make sure it's done every other day minimum, and do it without anyone reminding them. Sheesh.
posted by desuetude at 7:44 AM on September 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Daily. It attracts rats, bugs and if left out more than a week, it can also promote the flea population.
posted by caveatz at 7:49 AM on September 27, 2019

When the dog shits is ideal. Daily should be the target. Mandatory in the heat of summer, if it's freezing outside (and likely no one but the animal is using the area), we let it slide to once every couple days.

Leftover shit also can be a vector for certain dog illnesses. The dog spends more time around the shit than humans (generally) do. This is gross for humans, but actually possibly a problem for pooch. Everyday is the target.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:00 AM on September 27, 2019

We don't let our dog poop in the yard. If you want to use the yard for playing with your kid, I think it's reasonable to have a "pick up as it happens" / "dog not left unsupervised" rule for the back yard.

Part of this revolves around the relationship of your housemate. Are you both renting a house, with both equal rights to use the yard? Or do you own the house, and renting to someone (or letting someone live with you for Reasons). If it's the latter, then it's a real easy sell to say that poop is picked up when it happens, or it doesn't happen in your yard.

If it's a house that you're both renting, then you've got to sell them on the idea.
posted by nobeagle at 8:46 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

If there is a child playing in that yard, the answer from a sanitation viewpoint is "dog cannot poop in the yard, or only poops in a designated place where the child cannot access." If you go with a designated place, then once a day should be okay.
posted by juniperesque at 9:28 AM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

As an additional tip, we have tried probably a dozen different poop scoopers and my husband's curse is he's really good at breaking mechanical stuff, and the one we love the most and survives the longest (even in the harsh California sun) is this Arm & Hammer rake and bin. It can dump directly into the outside trash so you're not generating additional baggie pollution (there's a suggestion that you should line the bin with special bags - don't, if you're able to store the scooper outside). I find that particular shape of rake is extremely good at lifting and tossing even somewhat soft solids into the bin.

But the actual brilliance of it is that it's a good-size bin. You can scoop daily or right after production, and just set the bin and rake aside for next use. The poop can stay in there a couple of days (I would not do that if it's going to rain) but out of traffic, and then taken to the trash periodically.

This shouldn't be your problem, but maybe you gift the housemate this thing as part of your re-setting of expectations about how often the yard should be picked up (which should be daily if you have a kid playing out there).
posted by Lyn Never at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Every day.
posted by quince at 10:26 AM on September 27, 2019

If roommate can't/won't do this on a reasonable schedule, roommate should pay you to do it, or assume other household tasks.
posted by theora55 at 11:22 AM on September 27, 2019

Where I live, dog droppings attract coyotes, raccoons, mosquitos, fleas, and flies, so clean up happens once a day at minimum. Generally it's more often (mornings and evenings), because it's not like the bouquet is a treat for me or my neighbors. If a kid shared the yard, the dog would be trained to use a specific non-playground area and pick-ups would be more frequent.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:02 PM on September 27, 2019

I prefer that my dog doesn't poop in the yard at all, because children play in the grass and may put stuff in their mouths. Sometimes, when I get home late at night, or sleep in during the morning, he does anyway. Then I pick it up ASAP.
posted by mumimor at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Daily, preferably the owner is outside with dog and picks the poop up immediately after dog goes. Inclement weather allow it every other day. But really it should be picked up daily.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 9:46 AM on September 28, 2019

at least once a day - not just for your kid, but if your dog gets worms (especially hooks), they can easily be re-infected through the poop.
posted by megan_magnolia at 1:32 AM on September 29, 2019

Thank you for all the great answers! I've learned a lot (rats? parasites? ewwww). Much appreciated!
posted by bighappyhairydog at 2:10 PM on September 30, 2019

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