Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CItyDog: The 'Unspoken World' of City Dog Poo

I thought I had researched enough for what to expect when I first adopted Miss M, but right after her Adoption Counselor drove away and we were left alone for our first walk together, I realized there was something I hadn't anticipated. Walking Miss M in one hand, and carrying my hand-held purse in the other, I felt at a loss when Miss M had diarrhea 'sprinkler-style' across the sidewalk and I couldn't figure out how to handle an excited dog, hold my purse, and clean up the poo that went everywhere.
While most people aren't really talking about it, our most-asked email questions are about the bathroom habits of City Dogs. We wrote about how city dogs manage bathroom breaks in this post here, and this is Part II about some things I've learned the hard way.

Poo Pick-up Techniques and Trustworthy Poo Bags
I've learned the hard way how important it is to have our dogs in a reliable sit-stay while picking up their poo.
 It could get messy.
I try to carry a cross-body bag, and if I have a shoulder-bad I need to anticipate it potentially falling into the poo if I lean over to pick it up. Scarves, leashes, and cameras also have the potential to fall into the poo if you are not planning well.
I know a lot of people save plastic bags from grocery stores to use as poo bags, but this turned out really badly for me. The grocery store bags can have all kinds of holes in them which is not a risk you want to take when picking up poo. A lot of the time we are picking up loose poo on the cement which can also break the bag and cause all kinds of messes.
We trust the Earth Rated poo bags which we get on Amazon and are supposed to be biodegradable. We decided to 'save' our grocery store plastic bags by just bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store.

City Trashcans
Even though there are tons of alleys lined with trashcans, I plan my daily walks strategically to only throw my poo bags in certain trashcans.
I will never forget the story our friends told us of the time they went to throw out some trash and when they opened the bin a city rat jumped out, landed on the girl and ricocheted off of her onto the guy. Now I only use trashcans that are already opened, and when I throw the bag in the trash I run far away in case it has disturbed a 'jumping rat' who might be inside.
People can also be really possessive about their trashcans and I have a couple of friends who have gotten yelled at for throwing poo bags in trashcans in the alley. People become territorial because there is only so much room in each trashcan and sometimes the trash can get filled up before it gets picked up which creates all kinds of messes in the alley. There are also people who go digging through the trash and when they do that they leave the trash allover the ground which becomes really gross. And it attracts even more of the football-sized city rats.

Unattended Poo
I think one of the reason's people in the city generally don't like dogs is because so many people don't clean up their poo. It really is everywhere. And it makes me angry with these dog owners as well.
Besides being gross, dog poo is considered a delicacy for rats. It draws all the rats to the yard. And these are big, football-sized city rats.
I've noticed a couple of trends with people not picking up their poo. Some people think it's ok because it's in their own yard. I've seen owners with smaller dogs not pick it up because maybe they think it's so small it won't make a difference?
I've also noticed it's a big trend among off-leash dog walkers to not pick up after their dog. A lot of the time they will walk way ahead of their dog, so maybe they can pretend they can't see their dog poo-ing so they aren't responsible. I'm also guessing if they forget to bring a leash they are not going to remember to bring a poo bag.
There are also the people who think poo has the some properties as snow and they are exempt from picking it up if they just leave it in the snow. Which makes it worse when it all melts into a big poo-grime puddle in the Spring.

False Accusations
If you have a female dog that squats down to pee, some people might think your dog is actually poo-ing and accuse you of not cleaning up after your dog. I didn't understand this at first when one girl yelled at me and told me I needed to clean up my poo. We've realized it's beneficial to carry our filled up poo bags and throw them out at the end of our walk so people don't think we are the ones leaving the poo behind.

I know this might a taboo topic, but anyone else have any poo stories or tips to share?

These leash add-on's are helpful.
So are these City Dog bags.
How this command changed our lives.

Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and story lines beyond the blog.


CaitlĂ­n Rosberg said...

A weird new trend I've noticed: getting the poop in a bag and then leaving the poop-filled bag somewhere it shouldn't be...in the middle of a yard, or a sidewalk, or the alley (two feet from the dumpster?!?).

Every time I see one, I pick it up and dispose of it along with my dog's poop then get home and scrub my hands, grumbling under my breath the whole time. One one walk I ended up with FOUR extra bags!

bigalrlz said...

YES Caitlin! I have recently noticed this as well. So odd.

We have a toddler and one of my favorite things about doggie walkin with a stroller is the ability to carry poop patrol tools :) I carry dog bags, and then cheap store bags to double wrap them for the ride home to our yard poop bucket.

Heatherkay said...

I think some people, especially those running dogs, don't want to carry the occupied poo bag with them if the dog does his business at the beginning of the walk/run. So they leave the bag somewhere highly visible so they remember to pick it up on their way back. Which might explain middle of the yard on or the sidewalk. I don't really have an explanation for why they would leave it right next to a dumpster.

Two French Bulldogs said...

It drives us crazy when people don't pick up poopie no matter where we are
Lily & Edward

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

We are definitely fans of Earth Rated poop bags. We bought a whole bunch of cheapies when we brought home Ed - who coincidentally had explosive diarrhea the first several months we had him. So many broken bags.

A good "sit-stay" has been key to picking up poop, especially with two pooches, as you well know. The bane of my existence is when a dog walks past while I'm trying to pick it up, sending Edison full-gremlin and nearly dragging EVERYTHING through the poop.

We've gotten yelled at even when we pick up after ourselves. "I really can't control when my dog craps. Sorry it's in your yard." Although, I suppose you COULD train them more, but I'm not sure it's worth it with all the other things we really should work on.

OG said...

Yes Caitlin, I've seen that too!
One more complication! The Israeli Prime Minister was once speaking at a synagogue in my neighborhood and as a security precaution garbage cans in a multi block radius were removed!

Cocos Mommy said...

Sometimes I know Coco is not going to poop, so we are on a short pee walk. Of course others don't know this so when they see us without a bag or poop, they give us dirty looks. I refuse to change what I'm doing just so others can feel better! As long as I'm responsible, that's all that matters.

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

Good tips! Zoey tries to walk away the whole time I'm trying to pick up her trail of poop, while Kaya & Norman sit stay nicely. At 11, I doubt I'm going to add stay to her vocabulary so I deal with it but it sucks. She poops 3 or 4 times on one 20 minute walk so I just bring a whole roll of bags with me!

Luckily, Kaya & Norman save their pooping for our hikes. They go so deep in the woods, I don't have to worry about it.

c.creativity said...

What I loathe most about poop pickup on walks is when the dog I'm walking decides to go "soft-serve" style on rough pavement or someone's ornamental grasses. The second worst thing is having a really, really runny nose that is going to pour snot straight out of your snoot unless you do a BIG sniff right in the middle of an extended stinky cleanup effort. The third worst thing is people who don't pick up--it's not as if WE'RE enjoying manhandling canine excrement, so get over it and join the pick up party!

Two Pitties in the City said...

From Facebook comments: Kelly Ross What an interesting funny post! The rats would totally throw me over the edge, not sure how you deal with that! I carry my poop bags too so people see that my dogs aren't the ones leaving mess around the neighborhood. And I have a girl too and I'm always wondering if people think she's pooping when all she's doing is a quick pee...it's crazy the things we dog owners worry and think about:))
13 hours ago · Like

Brooke Palmer Haha I refuse to use grocery store bags for the same reason and my mom thinks I'm weird. I've had too many bad experiences with them to ever trust them again. I've also left poop bags on the patio/driveway and in the morning they were ripped apart with poop all over the place. We still don't know what's gotten into them and I'm not sure I want to know!
13 hours ago · Like

Kathy Paskvalich Adler Great post! We have the same problem in the suburbs. I live near a forest preserve and people walk their dogs on the paths. Most people think because its the forest, they don't have to pick it up. Anyone have an answer for that? Also, my brother lives in Colorado and has found bags of poop along the trails there. My feeling is no matter where you are, a responsible pet owner cleans up.
12 hours ago · Like · 1

Kelly Kelvie I love love love this post! I was actually going to post something on my wall about it.... I live in Boise, ID which is 100K population, I think, but really wonderfully landscaped and has a great greenbelt and dog parks...however, I walk my dogs through my neighborhood and of course, the inevitable poo happens... I always pick up after my dogs, and what we've found that works really well...as funny as it might sound, the plastic bags they use in donut and pastry shops. And lucky me, I had the soft serve type just the other day but did my best to make sure I cleaned it up. I also don't throw my bags in anyone else's garbage, just to be respectful. Great post! Especially when your in a very urban environment
12 hours ago · Like

Melissa Crawford All dog owners (and people in general) should feel free to KINDLY offer a poo bag to someone you see not picking up. I have found that often folks have run out/forgotten/didn't see the dog go/etc. and are grateful. Others, because they have been approached in a non-confrontational way, ("Oh my gosh! Did you run out of bags! I hate when that happens -- here, have one of mine!") can save face and pick up without having to deal with being angrily confronted/feeling guilty/embarrassed. It doesn't always work, but most often I find people pick right up!
12 hours ago · Like · 1

Catherine Smith I was in downtown Seattle, on a very busy corner, when a woman didn't pick up her dog's very large poo. And then the Armor Car driver got on his speaker and started chastising her. And it was actually awkwardly funny. She looked as if she could care less and who knew that they had speakers that they could talk through?
12 hours ago · Like · 2

Two Pitties in the City said...

Peg Hoodiewearer Aloi There is a guy here in Albany who lives near Washington Park and walks his dog there. This is a HUGE dog who drops HUGE poos, and he surreptitiously looks around and then walks away without cleaning it up.. I have seen him do this several times and I only go to the park occasionally; which tells me he probably does it every day. Grrr. If I don't have enough bags I at least try to pick my dogs' poo up with leaves or kick it into the street...
11 hours ago · Like

Boonie Butt Omg I hate alleys and rats, so I always look for the open can. That story about the rat jumping and then ricocheting off onto the friend just reinforced my fear! Yikes!
11 hours ago · Like · 1

Jessica Roubitchek The poop in our neighborhood was out of control this winter with the snow. I don't understand why people want to pretend it just disappears. Every so often my dogs will poop after I've used my last poop bag and my rule is that if I can't pick up my own dog's poop right that moment, I either need to go back or I owe the universe one dog pickup - from someone else's dog.
8 hours ago · Like · 1

Ann Rappaport One can never carry too many poo bags! I've had a dog go poop 5 times in one walk. So weird
about an hour ago · Like

liliana876 said...

So, how do you all handle when one of the pooches has the squirts?! Me and my husband always pick up after our dogs, even when it seems impossible to pick up. My husband even picks up after other dogs. I want to offer the nonpop picker uppers bags to pick up, but my hubs stops me. One day I will not be nice and will say something to those people.

Unknown said...

A couple of years ago I was out walking Bella around our neighborhood on one of our regurlar walking routes. One day while out walking, after passing this house that is nicely landscaped, a lady came storming out and screaming... "HEY... DO YOU PICK UP THAT DOGS POOP?!!? I was holding a bag full of poo at the time and replied with "yeah... I ALWAYS do." as I held up the bag. She screamed "I was just asking!!" as she stormed back into her house.

I shared this story with my brother who lives a few blocks away the next day and he told me there is a guy who walks a dog who looks A LOT like Bella in the neighborhood. Apparently it was a case of mistaken identity.

Kelly_g said...

I carry my poo bags throughout our 2 mile walk too, even though I walk past my house on the walk, so that others know that I do clean up after my pooches. There are several people in my neighborhood who never pick up poo and even let their dogs drop it in the street and keep walking! I usually walk late at night, 10:00PM or later, so it would be really easy to leave poo behind but I just couldn't do that! I can't even imagine all of the city poo you deal with!!

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