Clean Up Time?
Spring has finally arrived and with it comes time for our yearly Spring cleaning. But it’s also the time of year that we need to start cleaning up our back yards as well.
It has been a long, cold and snowy winter and chances are you have spent a good part of the past season not walking your four legged friend on a regular basis. If this is the case, you have just been letting your pup out in the back yard to do his business and now it’s show time.
If you have not trained your pup to “go” in a specific area of your yard, you will now find little “presents” all over the place. Cleaning up after a long winter is not fun and can be quite messy and overwhelming.
The solution for next year is to start training your pup now to teach him to go in a specified area of the yard only. There are many things we can do to teach our furry friends what we want them to do but, as with anything else, it takes time and consistency.
You should start by finding a space in your yard that you think would be appropriate for your pup to use. Generally, we would want to look at an area that is away from the house and not close to your patio or eating or lounging areas. You also need to consider what plants may start to emerge in certain areas of the yard now that the weather is warming up.
You may have a tree or bush in the yard that your furry friend likes to sniff or often goes in that spot. If that’s the case, start there. If not, you make the decision as to where you want him to go.
Once you have decided on a spot, you can clear the area and add a gravel base. Doing this will help the urine seep into the ground without causing an odour when the heat of the sun hits it. Once you have put down the gravel base and levelled it, you can add some artificial turf on top using garden clips to hold it in place. When this is complete, it’s time to add some finishing touches to appeal to your pup. This could include a small hydrant which can be purchased in certain pet supply stores or on line. You may also like to add a small post, some fencing or a small bush.
When you have the new “bathroom” area complete, start by taking your pup out to the yard on a leash and lead him to the new area to sniff around. If he does “go” when there, immediately praise him so that he understands he is doing what you want him to do. Keep walking him around the area and each time he “goes” give him lots of praise and perhaps a small treat.
If you consistently take your pup to the same area in the yard, especially first thing in the morning, and praise him each time he uses the spot to do his business, he will soon learn to keep going to that spot.
Once you feel that your pup has the idea, try letting him out on his own to see if he will go to the designated area. If he does, give him lots of praise and a small treat. If he wanders and goes to another area, don’t yell or scold him, just put him back on the leash and take him back to the designated area.
Depending on the dog, it may take several weeks to get consistency from your pup but some pups may get it more quickly. Regardless, keep working with your dog until he is consistently using the same area on his own. You may find this timestaking, but if you successfully train your pup, come next spring you will be very happy for the time spent as it will mean a lot less time cleaning up.
Keep up your training and have fun.