How To Keep Dogs From Pooping on Your Lawn

dog pooping on grass


Man’s best friend is only a best friend until he walks over from your neighbor’s house and poops on your lawn. It’s a indignity that faces many homeowners, and an offense that bugs some more than others. Whether or not you’ve actually dealt with errant dog poop showing up on your lawn, you’ll want to read on. We’ll discuss an extreme technique for battling unwanted deposits in your yard, and we’ll share a couple graphic images of alternative deterrents to this excremental problem.

A Tale of Dog Poop

Back when we first moved into our house, I quickly discovered home ownership isn’t as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Even though we don’t have a dog, I awoke to find a fresh turd on our lawn, daily. I dutifully grabbed a grocery bag and disposed of the trash for a week or two (which then treated us to an epic stench every time we opened the trash can). I had a few theories on the culprit, but people walk dogs here all the time. I needed proof. As my cleanup duties for a dog I didn’t own or even see became more “regular”, my resentment began to build. Soon, I was spewing anti-dog diatribes to my wife. It was at the end of one of these heated moments I pronounced, “My days as a pooper-scooper are over. I’m setting up a surveillance camera!”

An undisclosed amount of money and several man-hours later, I had a surveillance camera mounted to the second story of our house, and tied into security software (Security Spy for the Mac) that can be set to trigger recording when motion is detected in a certain part of the video (in this case, our lawn). It was a bold move, and I quickly began imagining my new life that no longer involved scraping chunks of poop from our lawn. Several days later, I was reviewing footage and found the culprit, arched back and all, depositing a fresh turd on our lawn. Gotcha!

serial pooper caught in the act

Serial Pooper – Caught in the act

My glee soon mellowed as I realized the dog (and another canine accomplice), belonged to our neighbors across the street. It seems discovering the identity of the canine culprit was only half the battle. Hmmm, how do I diplomatically handle this? A subtle “Wanted” poster of course! A few minutes in Photoshop and I had a “Wanted – Serial Pooper” poster printed up, complete with screen shot, criminal history, and the line, “Considered armed and pooperous.” I then dropped off the poster at my neighbor’s house. Luckily, they thought it was hilarious, (or at least they pretended it was hilarious), and they promised to beef up their fencing to prevent any ongoing incursions onto our lawn. Score one for the crazy homeowner!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Marc, I’m not insane like you are. How do I keep dogs from pooping on our lawn without investing substantial resources?” Don’t worry my anti-poop comrade, HomeFixated has you covered. A dirty little secret is that many serial poopings occur under the watchful eye of the dog’s owner. You see, some dog owners don’t see it as their responsibility to pick up poop after their dog. I don’t agree with the lack of responsibility, but I can definitely understand not wanting to pick up poop.

Let’s face it, being a responsible dog owner is humiliating. If you do any walking in your neighborhood, you know what I’m talking about. It’s always an awkward moment when you walk by someone picking up their dog’s poop. Not making eye contact and pretending they’re not scooping up that steaming pile of canine excrement is a common approach. I have to give my respect to those dog owners that do suffer the indignity of being human pooper-scoopers, because owners that don’t pick up after their dogs just suck. That’s right, if your dog poops in your neighbors yard while you stand there watching, and you can’t be bothered to pick it up, you suck. Of course no self-respecting HomeFixated reader would ever fall into that category, I’m just on a rant.

Dog Poop Deterrent Options

german don't poop here sign

Some Germans take a poop-free yard to the extreme

Anyway, if you have sucky dog walkers in your ‘hood that think leaving dog turds on your lawn is OK, the number one technique to battle them is using signs as a deterrent. The signs basically say, “Hey a$$hole, don’t let your dog poop here”, typically without the profanity. Some signs are friendly, hand-written notes. Some, less friendly. Others don’t use words at all. And some don’t bother to mask the hatred that can simmer inside a homeowner (like this sign I spotted in Germany). Translation: “Not Here! or else. . . ”

Some people get very detailed in their signage, often attempting to appeal to the wayward dog-owners long-lost sense of propriety or decency. Others resort to a tradition that any devout Christian might relate to: guilt. Of course, if you opt for signage like the next example, it’s only effective as long as your lawn looks like crap (or pee).

dog-poop-guilt-sign

This guilt-laden approach only works while your lawn looks bad

For those of you that prefer the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em approach”, you might consider the ancient Japanese art of turd polishing courtesy of Myth Busters (for the record, I don’t recommend this approach):

dog poop signIf you’re thinking about buying a dog you might have to clean up after, remember my neighbor’s sage wisdom: “Little dog, little poops. Big dog, big poops.” For your own (less violent than the German version) anti-pooping dog sign, check out the Esschert No Pooping Yard Sign shown here for just $13 on Amazon via the link below. If you have any fun (dog) poop stories, please share them in the comments.

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Comments

  1. I just moved into a new house and I’m have the same problem:-(I’m getting very upset, when I do find out which neighbor it is I’m going to return the poop back on their lawn!!I will then try that Chyanne pepper method:-)I have tons of dead grass circles from the pee and poop spots:-(it’s very embarrassing!!!

    • We feel your pain Brian. . . but careful with the poop return. Sometimes some diplomacy goes a long way in de-escalating what can become neighborly animosity. Good luck, and let us know if you have any luck with the pepper.

  2. Marc! I’ve read your article, while funny – I don’t want poop on my yard! The “dog” yards don’t have even a pellet of poop! I have a sign, obviously didn’t work…wonder if it just gave the dog a target?! Have you found any good repellents since 2011??? Help!

    • Hi Mary. . . sorry to hear your woes! Unfortunately (fortunately?), I haven’t had the need to resort to repellents. If anyone else has had any successes with dog repellents (commercial or home-made), please enlighten us! Good luck in the meantime Mary!

  3. I learned a trick from my neighbors several years ago that works. Go to Walmart, etc. and buy some bulk Cayenne Pepper and sprinkle it on the outer limits of your yard/sidewalk. Do this before it rains or you mow the lawn for at least a couple of days to let it settle in. After that, NO PROBLEM!!! Just repeat as needed according to rain and mowing.

  4. For any dog owners out there, you should be aware that if your dog is pooping/peeing during walks that is Dominant Behavior and should not be tolerated. You won’t have to pick up dog poop if you train your dog properly. I’m not trying to be mean, but your dog will be calmer and happier if you show him that You are the alpha dog by not allowing these kinds of behaviors. just my 2 cents.

    • Ann Clark says:

      I always take my pooper scooper with me and baggies…..If my dog takes his poop, I scoop and we are off to continue our walk. When returning home I put the bagged feces in the outside trash can……However, my neighbors are not so considerate. I have spoken to them, time and time again. So I finally called animal control.. And they even do nothing….I do not get it. I have had two cats caught in cat traps. I only did that because right next door they had 15 cats, that just kept breeding and multiplying and getting in my garage….I AM FED UP!!!!!.

  5. I remember my Dad fuming over a fresh pile in his well manicured yard–every single day. He spied the culprit. A large boxer being let out the front door -2 doors down- every morning – and audibly being told–”go poop”—dog ran down, pooped and went home.
    My Dad, being the jokester he was, got a large 2 pound coffee can and began making deposits, until it was FULL. When it was -he added a bit of hot water, shook violently and walked over to the neighbors.
    Rang the front bell and when the guy opened the front door said, “I believe this belongs to you” and poured the contents on the welcome mat.
    No, my Dad wasn’t afraid for his life–he was 6 foot 5!!
    No more poop in his front yard- EVER!

  6. Danielwanthony says:

    This is in response to jack f’s comment why waste words no 1 or is it no 2 anyhow Thats like steping on dog waste and inferring well by golly it’s only dog poop I walk around all day like this it would be wasting time to clean it off I could just go in public and not waste words (or time) why don’t you wait until winter and when the poop is frozen you could practice your golf swing 7 iron for smaller dogs I think you or your caddy can figure this out. I’m done (why waste words.) Dan

  7. Absolutely no remedy. Why waste the words.

  8. Danielwanthony says:

    After reading the posts that makes me recall the posts i mean the fence posts my neighbors dog use to drop man they was huge, sloppy and stanky the dogs owner denied denied etc I finally decided to scoop up when she was leering I then started putting the logs in her folded daily news that ended it 3days later it was ok well that’s my story Dan

    • Although I can’t say I fully endorse this strategy, it has a certain form of poetic justice to it. It even has a happy ending, at least for you. This is the kind of quality poop story-arc we’re looking for here! Thanks for sharing it (the story, not the dog poop) Daniel!

  9. Hey marc,

    I enjoyed your post. It helped settle my hackles down. I was researching said subject, somewhat angrily, after having just removed six or seven(who’s counting?) calling cards from the neighbors four or five(again, who’s counting?) dogs when I came across your post. I wish I had read your post a half an hour earlier and then perhaps considered your diplomatic and most likely more effective approach. Instead, like the live-wire Montana boy that I am, I opted to gather up all the unwanted poop and then make a Hanzel and Gretel type trail from my neighbors front steps to his truck. Probably should have relied on the cover of darkness but I have things to do and when inspiration hits, it’s best to act immediately rather than lose ones resolve…

    • Hey Tate, thanks for the kind words (and for spelling my name correctly. . . which makes you an especially astute HomeFixated participant)! It’s definitely easy to let emotion dictate action, especially if you know where to vent your frustration. I had the benefit of finding the “smoking gun” video footage highly entertaining which gave me a slightly different mindset. I have to applaud the creative Hanzel and Gretel trail technique though (although if you’re still in Montana body armor might have been called for)! Here’s wishing you a poop-free yard my friend.

  10. Marc,
    Funny and true. I grew up in a small town – large lots and you sent your dog out to the back 40 to take care of business. We bought a house in the city and poop everywhere, we do not own a dog. We had a baby and I put a nice sign up – “Kids at Play, Keep Poop Away” friendly enough – no one cares – they read the sign as their dog is dropping a deuce and walk away. To me it’s a character flaw of the dog owner – to see the sign and not care if a kid has a squishy foot from it?? I heard the sprays and powders don’t work and I don’t want to punish the dogs or have my kid playing in some chemical. Walk lightly and don’t let the weed whacker hit a pile – not pretty.

    • Thanks for the comment Dennis. Since the friendly sign doesn’t seem to be working, maybe you need to go with the more aggressive German version in the article? If that fails, you can always take a look at the Automated Paintball Sentry. Thankfully I’ve never hit a pile with a weed whacker. . . . hopefully everyone out there heeds your warning!

  11. You handled that situation much more diplomatically than I would have. I would have printed off pictures of the dog pooping, marched over there and freaked out, completely embarrassed myself and ruined the relationship with the neighbor forever!

  12. I’ve found that the most effective poop deterrent is having a cat or two around. We have one dumb, friendly, fat cat, and one angsty, vicious, lean kitty. The friendly one has an unfortunate habit of greeting rabbits and puppies with a friendly cuddle, but luckily the skinny scrappy one knows where to draw the line. I think he’d lay down his life to keep interlopers off our grass.

    • Thanks for the tip Avrora. So you’re saying I need to find and care for a skinny, scrappy, angsty and vicious cat to deter doggies? That sounds a little dicey. Plus, I never have to feed my surveillance cam cat chow, or take her to the vet (or fend off any claw-laden neurotic attacks on myself). Then again, my surveillance cam won’t exactly chase dogs away either. Alright, you convinced me, a crazy guard-cat will be my plan B!

  13. Jason Coen says:

    Hey Marc, how about a surveillance cam installation article? Sounds like a fun project.

  14. jeff_williams says:

    If you were hiding out on the roof near the cameras vantage point only to jump down and catch the dog in the act you would be a pooper paratrooper.

    • Nice Jeff! If only I could find a ‘chute that opens quickly enough. Of course then my status as crazy neighbor would have been carved in stone (it’s currently just etched lightly).

  15. Oh man. Hilarious post! I love the idea of setting up a security cam to catch the dog red handed (or pawed). What would you have done if the neighbors weren’t so amicable?

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