Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Potty Yard

If you could bling out dog ownership, I would argue that the potty yard is a necessary item: the bitchin' potty yard. Seriously though, this is the singlemost handy, amazing, luxurious item you can have for yourself if you own dogs. Or dog.

The concept is simple - a small, enclosed space in your yard with bedding such as pebbles or rocks (that aren't sharp!) with good drainage that is optimal for potty-ing. The best potty yard is situated so you can easily just walk over to your door, open it, and let your dog out into its safe, enclosed space to pee. Then that would optimally open up into the larger enclosed space of your yard for fun time!

When I say "small", that can be relative to your dog and your needs. If you only have one dog and its quite tiny, then small will mean something different for you than if you have 7 standard poodles - but what you are looking for is this: manageable, not the whole yard, and a not super interesting place.

I say not super interesting because, at least in my opinion, the ideal set up is a place where your dog just goes potty. Once potty time is over, they can get on with their lives and go do something fun, like run in the rest of your yard! This will speed up the time it takes your dog to potty - they know what the space is for, they wont mess around. This makes it easier on you to stay and watch them go, which is really the best thing to do for a number of reasons - the main being safety of the dog and if you are keeping and eye on how things are "going", you can better monitor your dog's health.

The potty yard is also ideal for other reasons - no dead grass, no mud, no poop all over the yard, its even washable!

How to build? Well, this is where you can get creative, but below are some ideas to get you started!

The T-post Fence - Super cheap, you can make it any size and shape you want

 The Kennel Run - Buy it at a place like Lowes or build it yourself, great option for potty time

Modified X-Pen Situation - What is nice about this option is you can take it anywhere. The x-pen is how dog show enthusiasts and professionals let their dogs out to potty while at shows - you can make up a more permanent version at home just by reinforcing it with T-posts. To make it so pee will soak through, you can put down an ex-pen mat (google it! CleanRun has them!) or something similar.

Decorative Garden Fence Panels - Pretty, easy to do, cheap, and can be re-inforced with T-posts!
(picture coming soon)

Then of course, you can just go for gold and actually build a fenced in area! This is the most expensive option, but if you are staying put for a while, is the prettiest route.

Whatever you do, just make sure its high enough! 48 inches high at a minimum is good for taller dogs, but you can ultimately decide what is best for your dog!

When you introduce your dog to its new potty yard, you might have to do a little training! Be patient. My suggestion is in the morning when you know they really need to pee, take them out there for the first time, and wait for them to do the deed, and praise them so they know that this is alright! Introduce them to it when you know they really gotta go! Some dogs will not know what to do when they are placed on a new surface, so be patient and work with them, do some crate training if you need to, and once they have to go bad enough, they will probably give in and give it a try! After the first few times, it will make total sense to them. If you want to try to make it seem more homey, you could maybe place some droppings on it. I just wanted to put this disclaimer in - dogs do need to be trained to go in new areas, so don't despair if it doesn't go smoothly at first!

I was finally able to build and finish my potty yard for Rocket with the help of my mother and husband. It is amazing.

That shadowy thing is my dog

It has changed dog ownership for me, forever. I know I am being really dramatic but its so true. I open the door, she walks out, I get to stand there safe on my covered, screened in porch, she can go potty, then she comes in with clean feet. Picking up poop is even easy! I LOVE this potty yard. I hope you will be able to have one, and you'll love it too!