To Pee or Not to Pee

This weekend I received the following comment …

dog owner  says:

I own a dog and love dogs. However, we just bought a house with an expansive front lawn that all the neighborhood dogs use as a toilet.

This is NOT OK.

Our neighbor has two huge dogs and walks them straight out from her front door to our lawn that is now lime and yellow green. Her lawn is pristine, not even a trace of yellow patch or bald spot.

Also, it is not ok to let your dog walk three to four feet onto someone”s property. I think you are severely deranged to think people need to get over other people’s dogs using their front lawns as toilets. USE YOUR OWN!

After I got over my initial annoyance, I started to consider the issue from the commenter’s perspective. Both sides make some good points.

Don’t Pee –

Landscaping a yard can be a very expensive enterprise. I would be more than a little bit peeved as well if my newly landscaped yard was destroyed by dog urine.

Do Pee –

On the other hand, peeing, or marking is what dogs naturally do.

Yes we do train them not to potty inside the house, but that is a relatively easy task compared to getting them not to mark at all during walks.

Why?

When exploring in the great outdoors, there are a lot of scents left by other dogs, cats, squirrels, and other critters. These other scents make it extremely tempting for your dog to mark over it.

Someone else has left their calling card there, so your dog would want to leave his as well.

That is why houses that are already popular mark spots, tend to get even more popular because the existing smells will draw more visitors to leave their scent. I suppose everyone wants to visit the best restaurants or the best clubs.

Corner houses get the most foot traffic, thus they frequently exude the best smells, which will in turn draw even more visitors.

I used to live in a corner house, and had my share of dog visitors. In general, I am free with both types of potty usage on my lawn as long as people pick up after their dog.

My lawn did get a bit yellow during the summer, but I was able to bring it back simply by watering it more. I suppose the added watering helped to make the grass more healthy and also helped to dilute the urine.

In addition, there may be other causes for the lawn-burn look, and dogs are just one of them.

Why do I allow dogs to potty on my lawn?

Dogs already have a lot of restrictions on their freedoms.

I feel it is unnecessary to so strongly restrict their natural instinct to mark in this fashion.

It seems strange to me that the same proponents of dominance theory and treating dogs like wolves, are also the same people who are the most vocal against letting dogs do what they naturally do during walks.

Get Your Stupid Dog Off My Lawn

Even though you may get irritated with the state of your lawn and want to lash out indiscriminately at people with dogs, that is generally the least effective way for dealing with the problem.

Just the other day some guy ran out and shouted at my three legged dog for resting on the pavement during a hot day.

Running out and shouting indiscriminately at people with dogs will quickly make you unpopular with your neighbors. If anything should happen, don’t count on them lifting a finger to help you.

It will also be uncomfortable to live in a neighborhood where you are persona non-grata.

Remember that your ability to do lawn guard duty will be very limited.

Alienating people with dogs, may only cause them to leave you even more surprises when you are not home.

Effective Ways to Protect Your Lawn

  1. Build a short fence around it. Dog owners are not diabolical lawn destroyers and will be happy to leave your lawn alone.
  2. Plant bushes on the perimeter of your lawn. You may need to protect your young bushes initially with a make-shift fence, but once they are mature, they will provide a buffer zone between the dogs and your lawn.
  3. Get to know the people with dogs, and chat with them. If you are nice to someone, they will return the favor and be nice to you. Tell them about your lawn problems, and I am sure they will be more than happy to leave your lawn alone so that it may recover.
    Nice works a lot better than crazy angry shouting.

I am sure there are many more effective ways for grass, dogs, and people to co-exist together in harmony, so let me know what you think.

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Comments

  1. says

    Nice article, I particularly enjoyed reading the reasons that you let dogs onto your lawn and the advice for keeping dogs off. Today my dog pee’d onto a bush at the front of a lawn, he was stood on the pavement but his pee went onto her bush. A lady banged loudly on her window and tried to shoo us away. We both stood and stared at her then walked away.
    It made me angry and makes me want to walk past her house more and for my dog to pee on her bush more. If she had just come out and spoken to me nicely I might have been more understanding. However regardless, my dog had not done anything wrong as he was stood on the pavement and her bush was overhanging which is why his pee has hit it.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I have gotten the “window knock” as well.

      There was this one nasty dude who would honk and shout at me, whenever he sees me in his car; even though I was nowhere near his property. He would also honk and shout at people who were not driving fast enough (for him). I think he just liked shouting at people. Luckily, they moved away. It was like winning the lottery when they finally moved. :D

      Nowadays, I try my best to ignore and move on. Really not worth it to engage with such people in any way. The same goes for online nasties. They are just not worth the agitation.

      Big hugs to Guinness. He is a handsome fella. Also enjoyed your Flickr photos – some great action shots!

  2. Angela says

    I don’t own a dog but live on the ground floor of an apartment building with a high traffic walkway belonging to the complex, that is two feet away from my patio. I’m frustrated with one dog owner who allows her dog to pee and poop on the stretch of lawn between my patio and the sidewalk. I asked her nicely to please take her dog out further from my patio/view, considering that a few feet away, there is a whole block of expansive lawn on which no houses are built, no children play, and few people walk. The owner was incredulous that I would ask and stated the dog wasn’t on my patio and that I didn’t own the lawn in question. Later, there was poop on my patio. With other dogs who poop unattended in the courtyard, the entire lawn is unfit for any child to play on.

    How inconsiderate this is! Since the bylaws in my city appear to deal only with the wearing of leashes and picking up of feces, all I can do is hope the owners get their pay back some day.

  3. says

    I love this. I too, had a corner house and beautiful landscaping and the neighborhood dogs LOVED to mark my yard. I knew I couldn’t stop them from marking but I wanted to stop their owners from leaving their feces behind on my lawn because that is simply rude, disgusting, inconsiderate, disgusting, moronic, did I mention disgusting, and irresponsible. I understand dog behavior. I love dogs. My life would be empty without them. It’s people I don’t like. And I understand so many people that own dogs should not be allowed to. It is the dog owners responsibility to pick up behind their dog. Period. End of story.

    As for a dog using another’s lawn as a toilet – yes, dogs have to go when they have to go….. The bottom line here is that as the one holding the leash, you control where your dog walks. If you KNOW a neighbor has an issue with dog peeing on their lawn, don’t let your dog pee on their lawn. What is so difficult here? Also…. there is NO reason – NONE – for a dog owner to give their dog enough lead to walk clear into the middle of someone’s lawn to do their business. Again – you control where your dog goes – DON’T LET IT HAPPEN. In my humble opinion – that is simply rude and unacceptable. Keep in mind – I am PASSIONATE about dogs and cannot live my life without them.

    My dog is trained (why? because I trained him – go figure) and when he starts sniffing because he wants to mark somewhere I don’t want him to mark, a gentle tug on the leash along with the command “leave it” and he walks off. In fact, simply telling him to leave it will do it.

    So many people don’t train their dogs because it takes work and time and commitment and effort. People get dogs and don’t know the first thing about owning a dog. These are often times the same people who piss off their neighbors with those dogs. And it’s not the dog’s fault – it’s the owner’s fault. The dog is doing what the owner is allowing it to do.

    If you have a yard, let your dog pee in your yard at the start of your walk. Yes, he’ll want to mark again on that walk, but at least you know he doesn’t NEED to go.

    And what is with the person yelling at the writer because he let his three-legged dog rest on the sidewalk on a hot day when he got tired?? I don’t understand that one.

    Again…. I love dogs. It’s people I can’t stand.

    Loved the blog. Thanks!

  4. Martha says

    NO. live in city, small front fenced yard. GALLONS of dog pee on the fence & running across the sidewalk. my yard smells like a urinal. signs don’t work, politeness does NOT work, only gets me violently cursed at or ignored. 50 to 100 dogs, condo owners. leashed dogs!
    I don’t care what the dog’s instinct is, it is on a leash & they are leading it to my yard, even my gate! step over or walk through pee!
    Had dogs myself. peed in MY yard, then went for walk. would not let my own dog pee or poop in front of house.
    Defecation is the most foul insult imaginable.
    critter ridder works, poured on the sidewalk 2 ft from fence. $75 this year and i’m unemployed! a lot of money spent on other people’s dogs. should buy a super-soaker.

  5. eddiesmom says

    i love it they wanna leave their calling card too lol. i live in the city so i always say its like he is writting his name eddie was her and her ohoh and here too. lol. we dont have a problem with lawns per say except for my mom lol. we have a back yard but not a front lawn. but side walk lots of side walk i dont mind pee at all hey go ahead buddie pee against my house i dont mind, but i think it is disrespectful when someone does not pick up feces from the side walk. i always pick it up the worst was eddie had the runs one time (too hot)and i picked up what i could and took a baby wipe and wiped the sidewalk after as well. the gentleman came out of his business and actually thanked me. it was nice of him and he gave eddie a treat to take home lol a piece of fresh baked bread hmmm.

    • shibashake says

      the gentleman came out of his business and actually thanked me. it was nice of him and he gave eddie a treat to take home lol a piece of fresh baked bread

      That is a great story. It is nice when people treat each other with respect, and also show appreciation of each others’ efforts.

  6. shibashake says

    “while I would not stop my dogs from going where they need to go, I would also never encourage them using someone else’s lawn as a designated restroom.”

    I think that is a very good point and a very important distinction.

    I also agree with you in terms of cleaning-up after our dogs. Nobody likes poop on their lawn and it is our responsibility to pick up after our own dogs. Poop on the sidewalk is even worse.

    As for dog urine, what I have read says that it is bad for the grass when there is too much of it. So I think your suggestion of changing where you go makes a lot of sense. I like changing where I walk anyway, because then it is more interesting for me and my dog.

    I also really like Jennifer’s suggestions of –
    1. Letting a dog potty first before the walk.
    2. Taking a squirt bottle along to dilute the dog urine after the dog pees.

    I think we are all coming up with a very nice list of things that both dog owners and home owners can do in this matter, which is already helpful to me, and hopefully will be helpful to others as well.

  7. Will says

    It should not be a big deal if the neighborhood dogs use ANY grass to do their business so long as the owners are responsible enough to clean up after their dogs and vary the locations up a bit.
    The comment at the beginning of your article (from Most Idiotic People You Meet When Walking Your Dog) sounds justified in that their neighbor deliberately walked their dogs onto the commenter’s front yard instead of using their own, which was described as “pristine.” I would be upset with that sort of behavior as well, and while I would not stop my dogs from going where they need to go, I would also never encourage them using someone else’s lawn as a designated restroom.
    I suppose I’m lucky in this regard. The city of Tempe has a mandatory “clean up after your pets” law. I change up where we go for walks every couple days and have yet to see an area that was uncleaned.

  8. shibashake says

    Thanks for the invite Mezzobuff. Sounds like a great place and we would certainly love to visit. My girl sends you her love and lots of licks.

    Our immediate neighborhood is actually very good. We have made friends with most of the people, and it is actually a very fun walk. When we venture farther away, there are more strangers, but we are slowly getting to know them and slowly winning them over.

    There are one or two who would prefer to shout, so we just quickly pass them by. Can’t make friends with everyone, but best not to make any enemies.

    You make some really great points on the advantages of having dogs around and I definitely agree that dog owners need to be responsible and pick up after their dogs.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. Wish there are more people like you around :)

  9. mezzobuff says

    I am a dog owner AND a home owner and this is a really touchy subject for sure.
    I live in Chicago and am part of a community group that has tussles over this issue it seems at every meeting. Owning a home in an area that is primarily apartment dwellers means we get our share of dog walkers that do allow their pets to urinate and/or defecate in our front yard and on the ‘greenbelt’ on the other side of the sidewalk. There are some who are pretty incensed at the dog owners about the grass thing, others of us sort of roll our eyes.
    Honestly, when dog owners don’t pick up after their pet, it’s not so great for us as we try to keep both areas tidy (this doesn’t happen too often and certainly not by the responsible pet owners).
    On the other hand, our household also feels that having dog walkers periodically meandering up and down our street makes our community safer and we have gotten to know by sight (mostly because we remember the dogs) who is actually living in our neighborhood.
    If we were really concerned about pristine lawn, we would protect it by putting in shrubs or fencing, especially if we were spending a lot of time an energy to keep it that way (of course it won’t prevent Calmassertiv’s cat from killing some of the migrating birds I feed in the yard, or from her digging in the plants, but that’s another story). It is only sensible to protect an investment like that, especially in our hood.
    For what it’s worth, we think it’s an even trade-off: so our front lawn might not be the greenest (there are some who might say that having an ultra green, lush lawn is irresponsible: waste of water, pesticides, non-indigenous, etc) but it’s certainly a nicer place to live with the dogs around.
    We all have to live in our little societies, so maybe there needs to be more understanding all around. I certainly agree that we can co-exist in a friendly fashion and sometimes this means making little concessions… If that means pickin’ up some dog-poop once in awhile or winking at a brown spot in the name of sharing an idea of community, well then I am willing to do it.
    So walk around here Shibashake: we won’t chase you off! :)

  10. shibashake says

    Hello Calmassertiv,
    I was wondering where you were. But must you always try to provoke me into an argument with incendiary language? Peace can be better achieved through understanding, and understanding is better achieved through civilized discussion.

    When there is a disagreement, especially between neighbors, there is really no need to start by taking an extreme position and casting the other guy as the evil diabolical one. That is exactly my point with this article. Dog owners are not out to destroy their neighbors’ lawns.

    Rather than going on the attack, it is much better for everyone to work together and come up with a solution that works well for everyone.

    However, if you would prefer to carry on an antagonistic relationship with your neighbors then that is certainly your right. I was merely suggesting that there could be an alternate way, and that there are downsides to arguing with neighbors.

    As to all the other stuff about what a horrible person I am, I honestly do not see where all this came from. If my 3-legged dog needs to rest on the pavement, or on the edge of someone’s lawn during a hot day, I will certainly let her do so. If she needs to pee, after drinking water, I will let her do so as well. If somehow that is casting the first stone of evilness – well I suppose the first stone is cast.

    Most people actually enjoy having us around and many will come out to chat with us or give her attention. She has a pretty winning personality.

    We always leave when someone asks us to. I was merely suggesting that shouting at us is not necessary as we are not deaf. Both me and my dog can hear quite well.

    Finally, let me politely suggest that since you consider me to be such a horrible person, perhaps you would have a better time conversing with someone who is not quite so diabolical in nature. Frankly, I do not enjoy arguing just for the sake of arguing.

    Have a nice day and I hope you find others who are more deserving of your attentions.

  11. calmassertiv says

    This is a great example of how seemingly really nice people can be so insensitive to others, and when their inconsiderate behavior elicits a plaintive response to kindly stop the behavior they in turn respond by trying to shift the blame on their victim.

    If you throw garbage/crap/urine/noise into someone’s space you are an initiator of rudeness. When they ask you to stop and you tell them to put up a fence if they don’t like it, you are just adding to your rudeness. If they can dilute your pollution with a hose after you leave that is hardly any sort of valid justification for subjecting them to your pollution in the first place. If you blast your stereo in the wee hours outside my window it is nonsense to suggest that I am in any way the bad guy by asking you to turn it off, and you are hardly making things right by telling me to wear earplugs if I don’t like it.

    Dogs are extensions of their owners. If their dogs eat my flowers or cripple my cat or yellow the lawn in which I take great pride then the owner is not a nice person, no matter how they’ve managed to convince themselves otherwise. You can’t walk up my driveway and scratch my car with your keys and then say I should put up a gate and a no-tresspassing sign if I don’t like it.

    Dog owners who don’t respect the property rights of others, who say that their dog is just ‘being a dog’ when they fail to control it, who say that it is their Victim who is generating bad karma in the neighborhood and not Them, these people are either in denial or just deliberately being disrespectful. Either way, if verbal requests for them to stop their (dog’s) behavior fall on deaf ears, I have no sympathy for them. Personally, I would try killing patches of Their front yard to see if they get the hint, an eye for an eye, as it were. Like Cesar Millan using physical touch on misbehaving dogs to ‘snap them out of it’, people in the neighborhood need to make it clear to these self-righteous rationalizers that their transgressions are not appreciated, that their canine graffiti is not the inevitable result of some law of nature, that they should step up and Control Their Dog, that no matter how nice they think they are in their own mind the first stone cast was in fact Theirs, and it won’t be tolerated. Peace thru strength. :)

    • Anonymous says

      I agree wholeheartedly! My neighbor across the street literally walks their dog to my neighbor’s yard next to them… lets the dog hop up there foot tall border wall and use their lawn as a toilet…. when the dog is finished they simply return right back to their home…. this is NOT ok… the 3 foot rule is absurd, too! I have folks in my neighborhood who WALK their dogs and occassionally they stop and their dogs do their marking…. they are not PURPOSELY taking their dog to my yard daily to use the toilet to save their own lawn!!!!…. they do not even WALK their dog…. it is a blatent disrespect for their neighbor! They have a very huge CORNER lot, and do not potty their yard in the area in front of their own home or in their own backyard. I own three dogs myself and I RARELY let my own dogs wander into another’s property… I have my own yard! I am VIDEOTAPING this blatant respect they have for my neighbor’s yard and intend to contact animal control AND the police with this matter. These folks have NO respect to do what they are doing. And to the person who said it’s ok to let the folks allow their dogs to ruin your lawn because they could do stuff for you…. you should become a politician! I dont want HELP from these people. I demand respect. Just because you own a dog does not give you immunity to be a d*****bag…. also, in addition, in regards to the comment ‘just water more…’ I live in California…. we have constant major water droughts…. I should not have to waste more water because someone wants to let their dog use my yard REPEATEDLY as a toilet… they do this to my neighbor’s yard a couple times a day…. EVERY DAY. Even more so, I shoud not have to pay for the extra water, too! They KNOW they are doing wrong or they wouldnt be looking round to see if anyone is watching!

    • shibashake says

      You will most often get more of the things that matter in life by giving them first than you ever will by trying desperately to get them or asking for them.
      ~~[Zero Dean]

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