We get lots of questions about brown spots and they can be a big problem in yards in Northern Colorado. We will be doing a series of brown spots to help address the sources of this common problem.
First thing to ask is the source your dog? Dogs are creatures of habit and like to go in the same areas. Watch where they go potty and more than likely you will see them go in a brown spot that they frequent. Even though it isn’t spring yet, and the grass is currently dormant, if your dog is peeing in the same area of grass every day, you will find out the hard way when the grass does green up. What can you do?
We have tried a couple of things with our dogs. Easiest is to give them a grass saver tablet daily. This neutralizes the pee so that it doesn’t kill your grass. We used these for several years and they do work well!
Second option is to train your dogs to pee where you want in your yard. Yes, you heard me right. I am not sure where I came across this idea first, but the main impetus was having children. At the time, we had two big dogs and when I thought about our precious baby crawling in our yard, I got a little grossed out. I wanted the peace of mind of our dogs going in a corner of our yard with the rest reserved for playing and enjoying. So how’s it work?
It does take time and consistency, just like any other dog training you have done, but it has really paid off. Our dogs were over the age of 10 when I taught them, they were not young dogs and both had a slightly stubborn streak.
1) Choose the area in your yard or make one, that you designate for their business. We have a sandy area in our yard, and we took the far corner of this sandy area and made it the dogs’ area. The benefits of sand: it is easy to pick up the poop and if it hasn’t rained enough here in Northern Colorado, I add vinegar to the sand to neutralize the pee smell. The obvious one, I also don’t have to worry about a dead patch of grass.
2) Use a command to prompt your dog to go in this area every time. I say, “In the sand,” every time I let our dog out. I also touch his hip when he is going past me to steer him towards the area. So I use a two-step command, voice, and touch.
3) Take your dog to the area and make them stay there till they do their business. Use a leash if you have to at first. Be patient, consistent and calm. Keep saying your command they know for using the bathroom and eventually, they will go there. It didn’t take long for our dogs to go in the corner, but if I didn’t stay out there, our dog Sabi would sneak off and do more business elsewhere.
4) Praise them immediately for doing their business where YOU want. I love the Dog Whisperer and you are the pack leader of your dog. The yard is not their territory but yours. Take it back and give them lots of praise for obeying you.
I remember my cousin came to visit us last summer. She was playing with our girls in the backyard. They laid down in the grass together when my cousin turned to me and said, “I just laid down and didn’t even check for dog poop.” I assured her there wouldn’t be any in that part of the yard. How nice to not worry about our guest laying down in doo doo!
Now, is this method 100% foolproof? No, unless you stay outside with them every time. I would say 70-80% effective for our family. I think why our dear dog isn’t 100% is other people (including those under 3 feet tall) now let him out and they let him out a different door sometimes. Consistency even means the same door, but I am still happy with the results. Our dog isn’t on grass saver pills and our yard doesn’t feel like a giant doggy potty. Our girls can play in our grass without me having to worry about what they are rolling around in.