Sunday, March 11, 2007

The straight poop

Ahhh poop. The unavoidable downside to dog ownership. Today I cleaned up the yard of all the little (and some large) deposits. It is important to keep the yard clean so the dogs don't track it in the house. Here in Maine that won't happen until it has thawed of course. (Tip-when chipping poop out of ice it is a good idea to keep your mouth closed. Ice and frozen poop tends to fly in all sorts of directions. )

It is also important so you can keep an eye on the quality of the poop. (did she just say quality?) Yup, I did. Keeping track of when your dog "goes" and what it looks like is very important to be able to tell the vet should your dog get sick. Knowing when they went last and if it looked normal or not can tell your vet alot of valuable information. To know if it looked normal, you need to know what it looks like on a regular basis. Daily or weekly poop patrol can be a time to learn this. Get to know what YOUR dogs normal looks like. It can also help you when house training. If your puppy hasn't pooped all day then that night time walk can be the time he needs to make a deposit, so don't rush him! If you know their pooping schedule you can be ready for it. (remember to praise AS they are going-Good Potty!)

Since we're on the topic I have to bring up the big rule of dog poop. (well after the keeping your mouth closed tip) When in public, ALWAYS (and I will repeat, ALWAYS) pick up after your dog. Dogs will be banned from more and more places if we aren't contentious about keeping them clear of poop people may step in. (that stuff can be slippery and therefore also a safety hazzard for the unsuspecting) I even pick up other peoples dog poop to help keep a spot clean. It annoys me but WE are the ones who will suffer when that area is taken away from us as a place to enjoy together. Does that mean if you are in the woods you need a baggie too? No, UNLESS it is on a walking trail that people use. Then yes you will need a baggie there too.

To be safe I always carry two bags per dog. (walking tends to stimulate their bowels quite well) If for any reason I forgot them or ran out of bags I look around for garbage I can use instead. An old paper cup or newspaper blowing around works fine. Leaves can also work depending on their size. If you need to move it off a walking area until you can get back to it (drive back if needed) then do that. Use your foot (hopefully inside a shoe) to push it out of the way. A stick can also work for this maneuver.

Please, be a responsible dog owner and do the right thing on your public walks. We will all benefit from being able to have lots of places to enjoy with our dogs if we keep them clean.

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