It has come to my attention that I have over looked one of the most common inconveniences or 'problems' of having a dog or worse, dogs. So I am going to address this stinky and messy situation. Let's talk poop.
It's in the yard, it may even be in the garden but one thing for sure is it can be and is found everywhere in your yard if you are a dog owner. You need to find it, and then clean it up before taking your young children out to play so they don't touch it, crawl it in or god forbid, eat it. Older kids get told to watch out for the 'landmines' and one inevitably will step or fall in it at some point. It gets stepped in when you cut the grass if it grows just a little to long to be able to find it easily. Then there is the smell on those hot humid days. The dog who likes to do it during the backyard BBQ two ft from grandma who is eating her lunch......but what do you do about it? Simple. Choose a spot you want your dog to go and train them to go there. I can hear you now saying 'my dog is too old to learn that now'. Nope he/she is not! When I moved houses almost six years ago, it took one week to teach my four year old mutt to use the new area. When I adopted a 10 year old senior rescue, it took her two weeks to learn where she was to go. When I brought home a set of littermates they learned in days where the potty spot was. It is doable, it is simple and solves many of the above issues. So how do you do it?
It takes a few simple steps to accomplish having your dog use a specific area to potty. Choose a spot that is easy for you and the dog to access but isn't so close to you home/outdoor dining area or neighbors potentially open windows to be offense. Next you need to visibly mark the area. This can be done in many ways. Something as simple as stakes in the ground and trail tape around them, of course leaving an opening or two for access. Personally I use a outdoor dog run and inside is turf on top of drainage material. The door stays open and the dogs come and go as the need. The next step is to take your dog of any age outside on a leash directly to the new potty area. You may need to carry a pup or small dog depending on how far the area is from the door, or may need to move quickly to discourage the dog from stopping along the way. Enter the new are and simply say 'go potty'. Mine are all trained to go pee and poop on command and have separate commands for each. This makes potty time much faster when I am needing to get out the door. Wait for them to sniff around. If they go, as soon as they are done give an excited 'YES' good potty or whatever word you are giving and reward with praise or treats. If they do not go, back in the house and try again a short time later. It usually only takes a few days for most dogs to figure this out. Keep doing it on leash for two weeks. If having play time in the yard, have them potty before they play this will help them learn they are to use this new area regardless of why they are in the yard. Be diligent for the first month of playing outside to avoid the dog going back to eliminating as they did before. In four to six weeks you should have a dog that now only goes in their designated spot and a cleaner backyard overall!