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.
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
- Build a short fence around it. Dog owners are not diabolical lawn destroyers and will be happy to leave your lawn alone.
- 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.
- 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.
Ruth Turner 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.
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. 😀
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!
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.
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!
Best response I read, I agree its the owner not the dog that’s to blame, and I am having the same problem with my neighbors who now that I have ask them not to allow their dogs to do this has only made me the target of the neighborhood, so to the person who said you can only guard your yard for so long my response is that goes both ways!