Your lawn is beautifully green, you’ve raked, weeded, and fertilized it. You’ve mowed high and taken great care to create a beautiful haven and you’ve followed the guides to keep your lawn hydrated in the Salt Lake City heat.
You step outside to admire your hard work and what do you find? Poop. Maybe you see it, sticking out, glaringly obvious amongst your luscious grass, or maybe you don’t see it and find it with your shoe.
We’ve all been there at some point and it’s frustrating. If you have dogs, you probably don’t want them using your lovely lawn as a toilet. If you don’t have dogs, you certainly don’t want someone else’s pet using your manicured lawn as their personal bathroom, especially if it doesn’t get picked up.
Neighborly relations can deteriorate quickly, especially with sensitive issues like cleaning up after their pets, so we’ve created a guide on how to handle this in a humane and non-confrontational way.
A simple, effective solution is to build a barrier around your lawn such as a fence, hedge or use sharp gravel.
Fencing is effective as the dogs won’t be able to get through, but it may not be your first choice. Fencing can be expensive and time consuming to erect and may leave you feeling closed in and trapped.
If you’re not keen on a fence you could try something more aesthetically pleasing, like a hedge or dog-proof shrubbery. This kind of barrier may fit in with your yard and deter dogs using your lawn as their go-to bathroom, but it won’t be as impenetrable as a fence.
If neither of those options are suitable, you could try sharp gravel around the edge of your yard. Sharp gravel tends to deter dogs as they don’t like the feel of it on their pads, although it may not work for all dogs.
If a barrier isn’t suitable, you could invest in a motion activated sprinkler. Dogs like to feel safe and secure while they’re using the bathroom so when the water begins spraying, they’ll quickly learn to avoid your lawn if they want to do their business in peace.
The ‘Poop Zone’
If you have dogs of your own, or you don’t mind other dogs using your yard as their toilet, you could create a ‘poop zone’.
A ‘poop zone’ is a designated area in your yard for the dogs to use as their bathroom. You should create this area using sand or dirt and train them to use that area rather than your lovely lawn. This can be ideal if you have your own dogs but want to keep your lawn poop free.
This method may take some time, especially if you’re trying to retrain an animal and change an already learned behavior.
For this method to be effective, ensure you remove any dog poop you find on your lawn, or in any other areas of your yard, otherwise the dogs will continue to poop wherever they please.
Scent them away
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and you can use this to your advantage to discourage them from even wanting to enter your yard.
As previously mentioned, dogs like to feel secure when using the bathroom and will return to their familiar surroundings to do their thing. If you change the smell of the area, the dogs are likely to be more wary and less comfortable to use your lawn as their bathroom.
You can change the smell of your lawn by switching your fertilizer but do be cautious as some fertilizers contain coyote urine which attracts dogs.
Always clear up any poop you do find but don’t put it in your composter or compost tumbler. It’s likely to smell, especially as the heat rises, and may spread harmful bacteria.
Repellents for dogs can be made at home, but the success of these can vary.
There are many different DIY recipes, and these include, garlic, olive oil or almond oil.
One that has been noted as being effective is vinegar, the strong, acidic smell of vinegar generally wards dogs away, so using this in strategic locations in your yard may be effective.
Another method, although controversial, is Cayenne pepper or strong chili powder. If the animal begins sniffing your yard, it’s likely to repel them however this method can cause irritation to the animal’s nose and isn’t considered particularly humane.
Train, train, and train again
Dogs are highly trainable creatures. They can learn and re-learn behaviors with effective training methods. The previously mentioned sprinkler method is a form of training. Once the animal learns the sprinklers are activated when they enter the yard, they learn it’s not the best place to go to the bathroom.
The ‘poop zone’ and repellent methods are also a form of training. Once the dog has experienced the method, they should learn not to use your lawn as their bathroom, and you won’t need to keep reinforcing it forever.
Training a dog is the most effective method on our list as it changes the learned behavior and resolves the issue humanely. As with any training plan you must be prepared to put in the work but once completed you can reap the rewards of your poop free lawn.
Patience and Perseverance is key
Always try to resolve any issues with dogs using your yard as a bathroom diplomatically. If you find your neighbors dog is using your yard, try discussing it with your neighbor directly. You could find that they weren’t aware, and you may be able to come up with a solution together.
If your dog is used to doing its business on your lawn, understand that it may be confused when this is suddenly unacceptable, so perseverance and patience is essential. Change takes time and retraining a dog can be a lengthy process.
You can try using a single method from this guide or using a combination of methods to prevent your yard from being the neighborhood bathroom, leaving you to enjoy your luscious lawn without worrying about stepping in something unsavory.