poo, poo everywhere.. nor any drop to... oh never mind
July 25, 2007 5:37 AM   Subscribe

we have two recalcitrant boys. dodgie, the seven year old border terrier, and wedgie the six year old toy poodle. we also have a newly crawling baby. and a back yard. and a clothes line. basically.... my boys keep pooing where they always have. in the back yard, wherever they like..... but mostly under the clothes line. and inevitably, i walk in it. it's not special.

(my google-fu failed... you have no idea how hard it was to find the right terms to plug in!)

so.... i want to keep dodgie and wedgie from pooing under the clothes line.... in fact, i'd love to keep the boys pooing in a specific place to the side/back of the yard... but doing it with physical barriers like a fence is not possible...

and sadly... it's not possible to sit and watch and wait and do some kind of behavioural conditioning. is there something i could spread on the grass to make them not go there, or something to make them go where i want them to go?

between grass mowings.... dodgie does get a bit precious and walks like a geisha on the morning, dewy grass when he goes out for his morning wee. wedgie is much more pragmatic and trots out like a gay, young foal.

i think that covers it... oh... they're not locked in at night... or in fact ever. and they're walked many days of the week... but mostly save their poos for home.

oooh...and i'll give an elephant stamp to anyone that knows what i can put over my lawn to facilitate disintegration of the existing poos.... some are not easily visible. i've been a bad dog owner and since the baby.... we'll.... we're the complete neglect cliche...
posted by taff to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by tellurian at 6:07 AM on July 25, 2007


Dogs ≠ children [boys]. Dogs = pack animals. You must assume the role of the alpha dog, or they continually try to attain that position over you. They will; that's how dogs are wired. Change the way you treat them. Don't allow them to eat all their food - taking part of it away asserts your dominance. Don't allow them on your bed or furniture. Don't feed them table scraps. Never allow them to exit a door before yourself.

Make it very clear to them that you don't want them to crap in that part of the yard. When you let them out, take them by the collar and show them where you want them to defecate.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:20 AM on July 25, 2007

Would putting down an electrified chicken fence to shock the doggies into submission be too cruel?
posted by uandt at 6:24 AM on July 25, 2007

I've found that a change in diet to a higher quality food changes the, errr, quality of the outcome. It wont help you with the placement of the poop, but will help with the disintegration problem.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:25 AM on July 25, 2007

You seem to be looking for some miracle cure for your dogs. It is plain to see who is the "alpha" with your dogs. They are. They can be trained easily. The only solution that I see is what churkdarwin said.
posted by JayRwv at 6:59 AM on July 25, 2007

and sadly... it's not possible to sit and watch and wait and do some kind of behavioural conditioning.

Yes, yes it is. Put them on leash, take them out to whatever the proper spot is (ideally marked off somehow), and wait. Once they go, praise them. Repeat.
posted by canine epigram at 7:13 AM on July 25, 2007

but mostly save their poos for home

This is unusual for dogs, which usually prefer to use their scat as territory markers away from their den. Many/most dogs hold off eliminating until they're out and about.

I'll just repeat what's already said: they are pack animals and have you pretty well trained. If you have a baby then it's definitely time for you and your spouse to take over the alpha spot.

When you want to, it really isn't hard to train a dog to behave as you want it to.
posted by anadem at 8:29 AM on July 25, 2007

Wait, how did we get from dogs pooing where they have always pooed to dogs who are trying to take over the world? There aren't any dominance issues here, just dogs doing what they were trained to do. Get a grip, chuckdarwin. Many, many dogs are perfectly content to not be the boss and they are not scrabbling their way up the ladder. If that were universal dog behavior they would not have been living with us for 10,000 years.

There is no miracle spray to make your dogs poo in one place and not another. Pick up all the piles that aren't in the new area. Take them out on leashes when they customarily need to go, encourage them, and praise them to high heaven when they perform. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Be consistent. Works like a charm. (Oh, and since you're out there with them anyway, pick up the poo and dispose of it as soon as it's produced. That'll make the yard nicer for you and BabyTaff too.)
posted by acorncup at 9:35 AM on July 25, 2007

I've had little luck in training the dog where to dump; it seems even less likely to work when you can't use physical barriers or behavioral conditioning.

As far as what to do with the leftovers, I've found that a "doggie dooley" ( http://tinyurl.com/35hwna ) worked pretty well- it's a mini-septic system that composts everything for you. It's a bit smelly (obviously), so make sure you've got some distance between it and your house.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:01 AM on July 25, 2007

My dog used to do this. Our solution: take the dog for a walk, and keep walking until the dog poops. (You walk a dog long enough, and it will poop eventually.) Praise the dog effusively when it poops in a good place (like on a big pile of dead pine needles, making for easy pick-up, regardless of consistency.)

Yes, this means we walk our dog twice a day. We were already doing that anyway. And no, sometimes he doesn't poop on the walk- some days I am just too pressed for time- but it makes a big difference.

Otherwise, would they respect those little metal hoops that people use as edging material? They are only a foot or two high, easy enough for people to step over, but might discourage the dogs.
posted by ambrosia at 11:21 AM on July 25, 2007

but doing it with physical barriers like a fence is not possible...

I know you say this, but you should really reconsider. I was in the same boat, and finally addressed it by putting up a fence between the side-yard and the back-yard; now the dogs can mess up the side-yard all they want, and the kids aren't allowed there (and vice-versa.)

So if you say "not possible" because you're thinking of plastic fences and whatnot, I used cement block, professionally installed. If you say "not possible" because you don't have a way of dividing the yard easily, I don't know what to tell you. If you say "not possible" because your dogs are still your babies too, and you don't want to confine them -- read the dog whisperer post above.
posted by davejay at 11:49 AM on July 25, 2007

unsolicited related but not too related advice:

the book "how to be your dog's best friend" by the monks of new skete is a really good look at pack-based training and beign the alpha. i don't recall offhand any poo-locating specific content, but overall it's a good look at ways of dealing with the dog that feed into the way it's expecting the pack to communicate.

amazon link for the book
posted by rmd1023 at 12:05 PM on July 25, 2007

You might consider giving them a cozy spot to lay and hang out right under the clothes line, maybe vinyl patio furniture cushions. If it's a place they want to spend time in, they aren't likely to poop there.
posted by nenequesadilla at 1:33 PM on July 25, 2007

Interesting question. I have five dogs, and three of them will not poop except in their own yard unless they're in real distress. Plus each dog has its own few particular favored spots, some more than others.

Yes, a certain amount of training is about being calmly alpha and requiring compliance, BUT the elements of dog behavior that are most instinctual or based on longterm conditioning -- like elimination behaviors -- are not going to change instantly just because we take charge of the pack and Master the Walk, no matter what Cesar says.

Elimination-related behavior that has been conditioned at least daily for years is very ingrained, so training your dogs to another spot would take a lot of time and consistent reinforcement. Since these are two little dogs who go in the same spot, isn't it really simpler just to pick their poop up? I make the rounds in my yard at least twice a day, and I never have to worry about a pup or myself tracking anything nasty into the house or flopping onto a landmine during a game. With a soon-to-be toddling baby in the mix, I'd certainly want the poop to be outta there rather than just relocated because dog poop has serious Baby Magnetism. Really, it's science.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:45 PM on July 25, 2007

P.S.: I run a pretty tight pack, but I think it's a mistake to pull the "I will not tolerate this" routine here. Especially if you aren't experienced with canine behavior modification, it's all too easy to send the message "no, bad to poop OUTSIDE" instead of "no, not in this spot, over there."

A dog who is confused about the "sit" command -- no biggie. I'm leery of doing anything that might make a beautifully housebroken dog confused about where to go potty, though.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:54 PM on July 25, 2007

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