Is your yard a minefield for family and visitors? Are your dog’s frequent visits to neighboring yards making you unpopular with the community? A lawn littered with dog poop is not only a danger for our shoes, but can result in contaminated grass, water, and indoor spaces.
If dog poop in the grass is a problem for you, fear not! With a little discipline and patience, there are tested ways to change your pet’s bathroom preferences.
Select an alternative
The most important thing to do when training your dog to not poop in the grass is to designate another place for them to use the bathroom. Obviously, your pet has to go somewhere. Without a preferred location or surface type (i.e. concrete), you’ll have little luck in weaning them off of the lawn.
While concrete is a common preference, store bought bathroom mats, mulch, and strips of fake turf are also potential alternatives to natural grass.
To make the transition easier, try to position your new, preferred surface in an area where your dog already tends to use the bathroom!
Create a routine
Any bathroom training regimen finds most success with a tightly regulated feeding and bathroom schedule. We know how complicated that sounds, but try to get in touch with your pet’s natural bathroom schedule, and to take them out in accordance. A repetitive routine will provide familiar context that will help your dog remember the training.
Start with a leash
Come bathroom time, take your dog to the new preferred poop area on a leash. Be patient, and wait until the do their business (this may take a while if they are attached to a different spot).
Once the deed is done, reward them with a treat, some affection, and even some playtime in the grassy area of the yard.
Repeat with less boundaries
After a handful of on-leash sessions (exact amount depending on how excitable your pet is), attempt the process off-leash. If it proves unsuccessful, go back to the leash and try after more repetitions. If your dog poops exactly where you want off-leash, continue to reward and cement the good behavior.
If your dog breaks away and poops where they shouldn’t, never punish them, simply do not give a reward. Punishing dogs is almost always confusing for them and, therefore, counterproductive to training, aside from being cruel.
With these steps and a healthy supply of patience, you should have your dog happily doing their dirty work in a place that’s preferable for you!