The Ins And Outs Of Picking Up After Your Dog

Owner picking up after dog

It’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 “Oh, I don’t have a bag, so I can’t pick up my dog’s poop.”

Most cities will issue fines if you don’t clean up your dog’s waste. And a few local governments are going to the extreme and putting people’s names on a website if they don’t pick up after the dog. They feel that if people are publicly humiliated, they will be inclined to pick up their dog’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. It’s the worst to step in a pile of it. Since I’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 dog’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 won’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 it’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 don’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 dog’s leash in one hand and you’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 don’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 he’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 wouldn’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, I’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 wasn’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.

10 Responses to “The Ins And Outs Of Picking Up After Your Dog”

  1. KimS says:

    When I was a kid, the poop nazis yelled at me that they were going to call the police on my sister and I when I realized I didn’t have a bag. So we did what any good criminal would do. We ran.

    I’m a much more considerate dog owner now. But I have to say, my dog poops on grass or dirt. Never concrete.

  2. Pukanuba says:

    Besides bags, bags, bags…….bring wetnaps, wetnaps, wetnaps……see tip #2. Then you won’t have to walk around with a “tainted” hand. Ask one who has been in this mess (excuse the pun) more than once so now it’s lots of bags & wetnaps.

    I walk in a nice town park……beautiful green grass & sidewalks……find a lot of poop that hasn’t been picked up & it infuriates me. People walk on the grass, kids roll around on the grass or play…….it just isn’t right. Thankfully, the park provides bags so I always carry a few extras & when I see poopies, I pick them up. I don’t want a pat on the back, I just would like to know how you can get dog owners to be considerate of other people. I have run out of bags & had to go all the way home & back again so I know to carry extras. I buy my bags (have the little roll that attaches to my dog’s leash) & it REALLY pissed me off to have to use MY bags to pick up other dogs’ messes so then I started taking the ones provided by the park & use those to pick them up.

    I sometimes think about putting up a huge sign telling people to pick up after their dogs or they are going to piss off the wrong person & the next sign they’ll see will be “No Dogs Allowed”…….

  3. 3FURS says:

    Disposable plastic gloves AND bags= untainted hand.

  4. Jenny Bark says:

    I’m like 3FURS with gloves & bags. The big boxes don’t cost very much so I have a bag of them everwhere. The gloves are useful too when you visit the very old & sick, and that lets say forgot how to keep themselves clean. I just tell them I have cuts on my hands & I want to protect them. There happy I visit, I’m happy I’m not taking anything home.

  5. KAE family says:

    On my daily run, it infuriates to no end me to have to sidestep the dogs’ poops on grass, sidewalk, and dirt track, and especially on my own lawn! A dog owner actually suggested me to spray water on my section of the lawn by the sidewalk so dogs will not go there. It has worked so far.
    We have a 11 lbs mutt and on the walk, we always bring two bags with two double sheets of newsprint, i.e. newspapers, junk mail and advertises and such. We know when our lit’ guy is ready so we promptly place the newsprint right below. That way we just wrap it up; not having to scoop it up. Also, our hands are saved if there are holes in the bags :-) We surprise lots of people with out technique.
    I wish there were the dog poop Nazis here in my town and that there would be heavy fine on the violators. The money would be shared between the city to buy poopy bags and the local humane shelter.
    In the meantime, we all own a cell phone, take pictures of the violators and post it to or send it to the city hall. Ha!

  6. Pukanuba says:

    3FURS/Jenny: Hey, thanks…..I never thought of disposable gloves. Great idea…….I wonder if it would work to bring newspaper & try to get it under my dog before she goes. Another good idea but sometimes she likes to go when I’m not looking……perhaps I have a doggie who’s modest………yeah, right.

    I would like to say thank you to all of you who pick up after your dog. I have even gone up to people in the park when they are picking up their dog’s poopie & thank them. They probably think I’m either a space case or the Poopie Patrol……

  7. mittens says:

    in my old neighborhood it was the homeless humans and stray drunks reeling from the bars who were using the great urban outdoors as well as your building’s foyer as their bathroom and well as their bedroom… with that going on no one noticed dead bodies let alone dog crap.

    my boss has a dog leash with a small container attached to hold the plastic bags- pretty handy. i don’t even have a dog but i always keep plastic bags, hand cleaner and paper towels in my car. one of my cats always pees in the carrier on the way to the vet…and ive dragged a few of my friends up out of the gutter on several occassions when they were doing more than looking at the stars…

    but lots of people plain don’t give a poop about anyone else and not even public humiliation will get them to pick up after their pup.these are the same people who do nothing when there children are running around in a public places causing problems. that people can eat calmly while their child is standing on their head screaming at ear pircing decibles in the middle of a restaurant always astounds me.

  8. Mike says:

    My big complaint is about the nearby town of Clinton, NJ. All the garbage cans on Main St say “No Animal Waste Allowed”. So you clean up after your dog, and then you have no place to dispose of it. Am I supposed to carry a bag of poop as I go shopping, and then take the bag of poop in the car with me as I drive home?

  9. Toniann says:

    Ok you pick up the dog poop where do you get rid of it? the city does not have trash pail on all the blocks.

    I’m a dog walker I always pick up after the dogs that I walk, the city does not have trash pails to dump it.

    I have to walk a for a few blocks before I find a trash pail!!!!!!!

  10. Furball Mom says:

    That is one of the most hillarious things that I’ve ever read! Gave me hysterical giggles! THANKS!!!

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