Itâ€™s a hot topic for many city governments: how to get dog owners to clean up after their dog.
Some cities have installed doggie bag stands everywhere as a constant reminder that you should clean up after your dog. This prevents you from using the excuse â€œOh, I donâ€™t have a bag, so I canâ€™t pick up my dogâ€™s poop.â€
Most cities will issue fines if you donâ€™t clean up your dogâ€™s waste. And a few local governments are going to the extreme and putting peopleâ€™s names on a website if they donâ€™t pick up after the dog. They feel that if people are publicly humiliated, they will be inclined to pick up their dogâ€™s waste.
A county in England marks the poop with a white ring around it. This is done to highlight the problem and make dog owners feel ashamed for not picking up after their dog.
Even amidst the fines, laws, helpful bag stands, and public embarrassment, I still see dog waste everywhere. It happens in all cities.
Not only is it frustrating to see dog waste everywhere, but I have been a victim of random dog poop. Itâ€™s the worst to step in a pile of it. Since Iâ€™m a pet owner and used to poop, I may not be as annoyed as others. But still, it is frustrating, and I wonder why is it so hard to solve this poop problem?
I used to live in a neighborhood where the Poop Nazis were in full force. It was a group of residents that didn’t want anything to mar their city sidewalks especially dog waste. Whenever my dog started to squat, the Poop Nazis would just glare at me. They waited there and made sure that I cleaned up everything and left the sidewalk as clean as it was when I got there. Then they would go on their merry way to find their next victim. Maybe cities just need hordes of people to go around and stare at dogs when they are pooping.
So, I wonder, do people out there just need some helpful hints of how to pick up their dogâ€™s waste? Do they need to take a course of Doggie Duty 101?
Here are some of my suggestions for cleaning up after your dog:
- 1. Bag, bags, and more bags. Yep. This is key to picking up waste. Makes it easy for us to do it. You can never have too many bags. Wait, did I mention you need bags?Whenever I go out, I stuff 3 bags in each pocket, and I basically look like a hobo. People look at me strangely because my pockets are bulging. But hey, they wonâ€™t be laughing at me when they ask to use one of my bags because they ran out.
I keep bags everywhere. In my car, in my purse. I think I have bags in every pair of pants that I own.
I have realized that dogs can be unpredictable with their poop, so itâ€™s better to be safe than sorry. Heck, they pick the worse place possible, like the the exit ramp of a busy parking lot.
If you donâ€™t want to look like the crazy person with bags coming out of everywhere, there are bag holders with a roll of bags that attaches to your dog’s leash, so you always will be prepared with bags. Just make sure there are bags in the holder though. Also, for those who are environment friendly, there are biodegradable bags.
- 2. A note about bags, especially plastic grocery bags: Before you pick up the waste, always make sure there is no hole in the bag.Sometimes in my rush to pick up the poop I didn’t check for a hole at the bottom of the bag — big mistake. Once I touch “something not so good” while picking up poop, that finger or hand becomes utterly useless. So, walking with the dog becomes harder because only one hand is capable of touching anything, while I am trying to keep my “tainted” hand as far away as possible from the rest of my body and the dog. It gets really difficult with the “tainted” hand when you have the dogâ€™s leash in one hand and youâ€™re trying to get your keys out of your pocket while the dog’s trying desperately to sniff the cute chihuahua down the street. Not fun at all.
So, check for holes. This is important if you don’t want dog poop on your hand. If you like poop on your hand, well. That’s another post.
- 3. Instead of picking up the waste after the dog has done his business, I put the bag under his bottom while he is doing that. So, the poop just goes on the bag and not on the sidewalk.This may sound odd. But, it is extremely helpful because just in case if my dog has a case of diarrhea or he has softer poop, the remnants donâ€™t get on the sidewalk or ground. The Poop Nazis will thank you for this one — or just not glare as hard.
Sometimes my dog tricks me because heâ€™ll start squatting, but then he reconsiders and meanders to another spot. So, I basically look crazy while scooting the plastic bag all around while he takes his time to figure out where he wants to poop. No one said picking up poop made you better looking.
Once, a non pet-owner asked me what I would do when my dog had diarrhea and the poop got messy. He asked how did I clean that off of the sidewalk. I told him that I put the bag underneath him, so it wouldnâ€™t get on the ground. He thought it was a good idea and suggested that dog owners carry a water bottle around with them and basically wash the sidewalk if the dog had a messy poop. Sure, he can try it, but I’m happy with my own method. To this day, I have never seen any dog owner douse the sidewalk with a water bottle to clean up diarrhea. But, if you do, kudos to you. I’m sure the non pet-owner would have liked me to douse the pee of the sidewalk too.
- 4. If for some reason you have run out of bags, try and look for something at all that you can use to clean up, like junk mail, large leaves (without holes), credit cards you don’t use, and anything out of the trash. If you’re desperate, a dollar bill.When I was younger and not so experienced with picking up dog poop, I ran into this situation a few times. So, Iâ€™ve used an old napkin, a part of a free newspaper or magazine, and a big leaf (this was a tricky one because the leaf wasnâ€™t that sturdy and had holes in it — see tip #2).
- 5. If all else fails, and there is absolutely nothing around to pick up your dog’s waste, go back and pick it up after you walk your dog. Rush home to get a bag and then run back to where the waste is. Even though it may have sat out there for a little bit, but at least you went back to pick it up and did your part. Just hope that no one steps in it. Or that the Poop Nazis saw you.In fact, if you live in a cold climate, the poop pickup becomes much nicer when they become poopsicles. I wish I could leave a sign that says “yes, I came back and picked up my dog’s business.”
Overall, picking up after your dog should be easy and fun (okay maybe not the fun part), but it should be something that should be routine. Build a positive habit. So, a word to all those who pick up, thank you, and my shoes also thank you. Spread the word to those who may need a little help on picking up after the dog. Remember the Poop Nazis are everywhere.