Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Africa Needs Your Help With Her New Years Resolution

So you know how I had a baby and then got a puppy at the same time? Great idea right? Well our lack of training in one particular area has come back to haunt us. I would say it "has come back to bite us", but that would be confusing, and biting isn't the problem. The problem is POOPING. Yes big letters for that because it is now a big problem. The problem is all my fault for not thinking ahead and considering if Africa should get free range of the property to poop where she wants. At the time of becoming a new parent to two very different creatures I was just grateful if my pet was getting house broken. She is indeed house broken, but now I am wishing that I had taught her to poop in the far corner of our huge lot away from the house and grass. She will only pee and poop on the grass currently. Can you blame her? No. Grass would be my choice too, but I would love it if she could learn to pee on the grass and poop on the dirt. It would make cleanup easier and our son would have a nice patch of grass to play in one day. With a large dog like this you can imagine the size of .....well you get the idea. So no matter how often we clean it up, the grass doesn't stand a chance unless we do something about it.

Solution one: We thought that if we took her on her leash every time she wanted to go out and took her to the same corner she would learn to go there. Well she has become quite the little princess and seems to not even consider going in the dirt. I shouldn't give up after one day, but I fear it has confused her enough that she hasn't pooped since yesterday. I am sure she will, but I don't want to cause any intestinal problems.

Solution two: Put a barrier around the grass so she doesn't have a choice. Well her lover doesn't care where she poops and pees so I would not be getting any help if I wanted to go constructing anything. Also it is a fairly large patch of grass and would require a lot of money for such a project.

Africa's only goal for 2010 is to cease in ruining the grass. I think it is a worthy goal and would like to help her in any way. Please give us your tips and ideas . We would be ever so grateful to meet this goal in the very near future. Happy New Years!


  1. Hmmm...that is a dilemma. I don't have any human brothers or sisters but Mom can see where that could be an issue.

    Here's what Mom would try:

    Put up a temporary fence such as chicken wire, or even posts with some 'caution' tape strung between :)

    Then I think you can buy solutions which are suppose to entice the dog to go in that area.

    Take Africa out daily on a leash to that area and encourage her to go there. If she starts to go somewhere else...attempt to stop her and move her to the correct location. And obviously, praise, praise, praise when she goes in the right area!

    wags, wiggles & good luck slobbers

  2. oops...Mom should have clarified. The temporary fence should surround the area where you want Africa to go. Just to give her boundaries of where she can and cant do her business. :)

    wags, wiggles & more slobbers

  3. My SibeStas have an area of mulch they are enkhourgaged to poo upon...

    Maybe that is something woo khould try?

    I'm lukhky that I have as far as my tether pawmits and a mom to harvest if fur me!

    Good lukhk!

    Happy ALMOST 2010!


  4. I too wish I had taught Fenris to go in the back corner of our yard, when we first got him. I was so thrilled he was going outside I didn't much care where at the time. I'll be very interested if you find a solution. ~Alasandra

  5. Our mom and dad let us go wherever we want to - but we're always on a leash for potty trips, so they just police it up right away. No muss, no fuss! Clean grass for all!
    Tail wags,

  6. We say keep showing Africa where she is suppose to poop. Maybe by leash. We doubt she will understand otherwise..Mom said it will probably be a lot of patience...
    Benny & Lily

  7. Have you tried moving the piles to the dirt where you want her to go and then taking her by leash to that spot. Maybe putting ammonia on the errant pile spots in the grass so she won't go there again.

    Have you tried to explain what you want her to do so she'll see the logic?

    My dogs all go in the same far spot where Misty the alpha Poodle tells them to go. Maybe you could borrow Misty for training. :)

    May it be the start to a pawsome new year.
    Love ya lots!

  9. Maybe you could set aside a section of grass that's for her business and then start positively reinforcing when she poops there (e.g. with treats, etc.) Will take time & attention to catch her in action so you can reward good behavior, but should work... eventually.

  10. Well, we can understand the issue for sure. I, myself poop wherever I want, but actually it is my pee that causes the most damage to the yard. Momma picks up my poop at least once a day, but still one needs to be mindful of walking about.

    I don't have any suggestions beyond what you have tried. Although I think the fence is the most viable solution. You know us mastiffs are quite stubborn once we get an idea in our small brains.


  11. I can't add anything to the above suggestions. I should try a few on my own dog.

    Here's to poop and pee free yard for us all in 2010 ;-)

  12. Well, we have a similar problem here with a decent sized yard and dogs with free rein in the yard. Then when the grandkiddos want to go outside, it makes it tough. Mom does lots of poop patrol to keep things safe and clean.

    We are so happy we met you this year. Happy New Year to you and your family and wishes from us to you for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

    Woos, Phantom and Thunder

  13. I would not be good giving advice since... I don't have a yard! Hmmmm...
    Happy New Year!
    I wish you the best!
    Kisses and hugs


    Here's to another year of friendship and smiles and holding up each other through the trials. Over the past year you have brought us many giggles, some laughter and always a feeling that the world is a better place because you are in it.

    Can't help with the poop. We poop in one spot in a corner. BUT, you might want to rethink the pooping in the dirt thing cause when it rains it will make for some muddy paws!

  15. Wow.. I think you got some good suggestions. I am a high pooper.. piles of leaves.. bushes, trees so if it was piled with mulch or leaves or whatever, I'd be inclined to go there. It may take supervision by u with positive rewards when she does it. Your little boy should have a poop free zone to play in.
    Happy New Year

  16. Well I did the wrong thing from the start, which I regret (oh talking about the Pooping here sorry writing as I think there!)..........and Marvin has free range on the upper part of our garden, which is cleared every two days. But I don't have any children around nowadays, they have all flown the nest. I can see however, it would create difficulty if I did. Our top part of the garden is now a "no go area", wish now when I got Marv I had cordoned off just one corner and made that his area. Too late now though.

    On to happier matters, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Lotsaluv Jeannie (oh and Marvin xxxxxxxx_

  17. Happy New Year!!!

    Looks like you have lots of good suggestions. We have a few area that we prefer in the year, but our stuff is picked up as soon as we go.

    Good luck and we know you will find a good solution!

    Lots of Luv & Kisses
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  18. My brother trained his dog like this and his secret he swears is to just consistantly walk them to the areaa you want them to pee over and over. Watch them and correct them if they try to pee anywhere else in the yard. I know you can train Africa in this!!!

  19. Happy New Year!!

    I can sympathise with your problem - we had a similar thing with Honey - we let her poo & pee anywhere in the garden when she was little but then decided when she got older (2yrs) that we only wanted her to toilet in one corner and only on barkchip, not grass, at home. We managed to do it - so take heart, it can be done!! It does require at least 1 week of consistency & vigilance from you, though - so if you want this, you'll have to put in the time, effort & hard work (and it may be quite hard now given your weather!).

    One thing, though, is that you can't really teach her different poo & pee places - it's just too hard. You will just have to teach her that at home, ALL toileting is done in one place. Once she learns it, there shouldn't be a problem. Honey is very good - her toilet area back in NZ was around the house, in a far corner, but she would always take herself there if we opened the garden door - even if she was bursting to go or it was pouring with rain - once she got it ingrained in her head, she never tried to toilet on the grass again. We decided to do this because (like you), we wanted our lawn to be safe & clean to sit on and it is MUCH easier to pick up poo this way!

    OK - what you need to do is for at least 1 week, take Africa to your designated spot. It is easier for the dog if you can somehow make a visible boundary around the area or make sure it is a distinct substrate. In our case, we used barkchip which is brilliant coz it is easy to clean & pick up, easy to replace (spread over the soil) and also absorbs smells, so that it encourages the dog to go back there next time.

    You need to take Africa out to this spot on a leash several times a day (like back to puppy toilet training - although you should have a better idea now of the times she usually goes) and be patient - just stand there with her and let her sniff around (if you have taught a toileting command, use that) and encourage her to go. If you pick your time right, she will hopefully go - start with just pee is fine as it will "seed" the area with the right smells. When she performs, make a HUGE fuss & big praise and treat (if you use clicker, click & trat just as she is finishing). If she doesn't, take her back in but don't give her access to the grass - wait a while and then take her back out to the special area again. The key to success is not letting her have access to the grass (until she has toileted and is "empty") and being consistent about taking her out to her area several times a day, so she is "forced" to go there.

    You will need to keep this up for at least a week (maybe longer - depending on the dog) but if you're consistent, you should succeed. Dogs learn by repetition and by not having the opportunity to do the "wrong" thing - and setting them up to only do the "Right" thing so they can be rewarded. Honey learnt this in 1 week - it was a bit of a pain constantly taking her out that 1st week but it is really worth it later for all the years we've had of convenience since. But you will need to stick with it - if you give in even once and let her do it in the old place, it will encourage her to hold on even longer next time and ruin all your good work. If you catch her squatting on the grass, interrupt her with a loud noise, etc, and then quickly move her onto the correct area and lots of encouragement and praise.

    Good luck and let us know if you have any questions!


  20. Forgot to add that contrary to what some people think, the dog doesn't get confused - Honey is happy to go on grass in parks and anywhere outside our home but she understands that once within our property, she is not allowed to toilet on grass but only in her special area.

  21. Hi Kasha - thanks for your nice comment - I'm definitely no expert! :-) But in this case, we did happen to go through the same thing.

    I'm not a vet but I don't think it will matter if she doesn't go for a day - just make sure she has plenty of opportunities in the right place and maybe try again 1st thing the next morning. Another thing I find with Honey is if she does a bit of running around/brisk walking, it gets her bowels moving - it's almost guaranteed with her - so you could try getting Africa to run around a bit in the garden or brisk walking around but the minute she starts assuming that "squat" position for pooing (or peeing), immediately take her to your special area so she has the chance to do the right thing.

    Because we feed Honey raw, if we want to "hurry" her up, we feed her a bit more fibre (green veg, kiwi fruit, etc) but I don't know what diet Africa is on and whether this would be suitable. We also do this if Honey is a bit constipated and it works really well (like in humans!) - you may find that if Africa is holding it for a day, it may make her a bit constipated but as long as she isn't straining over several days, then I don't think once or twice matters. Once she has pooed there and seeded the smell, I think it be easier for her next time.

    About what to do when you take her there - have you taught her a toileting command? This is very useful because we just take Honey to the area and give her the command and it helps her understand what we want her to do. It's not too late to start teaching it if you want - just say the word as Africa squats and starts to go - and then praise her lots as she finishes. Lots of repetitions and she will start to associate that word with the action. We use the same word for both pee & poo (we use "Be Clean").

    So usually, we take Honey to her area, give her the command and then encourage her onto the area (gently guide with leash or gentle shove from behind) - and she'll usually circle around, sniffing (it's easier for us coz she doesn't need to be on leash).

    If Africa doesn't and just sits there, you may need to walk around the area a bit with her - but again, it helps if she has a toilet command as otherwise, it's hard for her to understand what you want her to do and why you're walking around and around the same area! If you time it right, then hopefully she'll HAVE to go and wil be "forced" to go in the correct area. (If she has been used to grass as a substrate, then she may be a bit resistant to change so you may have to persist for a bit longer).

    (- continued)

  22. (- continued)
    This is one reason I always advise new puppy owners to teach a toileting command - a lot of people think it's extra "unnecessary" training but it's actually a very practical, useful command and it is so easy to teach in the beginning, just as part of toilet training the puppy - it's not extra work - whereas it's a bit more work when they are grown up. Not only is it useful when you might later in life want them to toilet somewhere specific (like in your situation) but also for things like getting them to empty their bladder before long car journeys, so you don't have to worry. Or if we're taking Honey into downtown, we take her to a patch of grass 1st as soon as she gets out of the car and give her the command - and then we can relax, knowing she won't pee or poo on the streets downtown. In general, it is always better to train more and then if you don't need it, that's fine but if you do, then you'll already have it under your belt, especially as training during puppyhood is so easy coz puppies pick things up like a sponge.

    Anyway, good luck! By the way, anytime you have a training issue, you're more than welcome to ask me and I'd try my best to help - but it might be good if you could leave a comment on Honey's blog to point me to the post here as I can't get around all of Honey's friends as often as I like and so I often miss many posts in between - and so might not see it. It was only luck that I happened to visit now and see this post!


  23. Great options so far - another is - why can't you can't put grass in the corner where you want Africa to go? Grass is a "good" spot, so maybe Africa needs a special grass area. You will still need to use the leash to show the right spot.

  24. Hi Kasha & Africa,

    We were out of town and just saw this post.

    Ms. Kasha just goes anywhere in the back yard but I do know that when I get another dog in the future I will definitely train them to go in one area of the yard. Especially if I had a little one I wanted playing in the yard I think it's a must have thing for Africa to learn. I can't stand having all the waste all over the back yard plus the spots from the urine all over the grass. Pretty much our back yard is fried. I would definitely go with what Honey's mom says since she's a wealth of knowledge.

    I think you asked about the bully sticks that Kasha had. Go check out

    Chat later.

    Denise & Kasha the Dane

  25. I think your best bet is to stick with your first solution. Pups are way smarter than I even dare imagine and after a few times of walking her there and actually having her poop on the dirt, I am pretty sure she'll get the idea. Of course, a lot of praise and treats are in order if she does it correctly.

    Since we are on the topic of poop, let me share something with you... Hershey sleeps in the bedroom with us and that girl sure has some strange ideas in her head. When she decides that she needs (or wants??) to poop in the middle of the night, she will go into the bathroom, jump into my otherwise sparkly clean bathtub and do her business there!! Eeeks..

  26. Great advice from Hsin-Yi! We may have to try it as well because we have the same problem and although no little humans yet, I do worry about that for the future. :)

    Hope you had a super holiday season! Happy New Year!

    Amber & Nala

  27. Hi Kasha and Africa! I'm not allowed to use the yard as a toilet at all :( So I think all of the doggies that have written so far are very lucky dogs :) The best advice came from Honey... Even if we think it is more difficult to train a older dog my mom says she has managed to do the same thing with older dogs. And surprisingly - even all my doggie friends know that they can't go to the toilet at my place...

    My mom trained me with lots of praise and treats when I was little. And most importantly - with running to the proper spot. When we went for walkies she put me on the leash and didn't stop running before we were at the right spot. So I also learned to go on command (weewees) Very annoying thing - not sure if my hoomans would like anyone to tell them when to go to the toilet!!!!! Sigh...

    Tealc's mom here: The same worked for the doggie I had before Teal'c and I started the training much later. I don't want my dogs to go on pavement (as they are big city dogs) only on grass but not on the grass in someone's backyard - sounds complex but seems to be easy for the dogs. Just need consistency and patience :)