On our training field today, preparing for a class (our new puppy classes start on 4th and 7th March for any pups wanting to come) I ended up picking up four doggy deposits.
Without wanting to sound indelicate, from the consistency I could tell it was the same dog, a small dog, presumably on different days where each day the owner has walked their dog and not bothered to collect what the dog has left behind. It is not one of our class members as they are all really responsible; after all, that is why they bring their dogs to my Pawprint classes.
Let’s review this situation. This is a field where children play and where other people walk their dogs. How can anyone imagine that allowing their dog to empty itself here will be acceptable?
The worst thing when you are a responsible dog owner yourself is to step in the dog dollop from someone else’s dog!
So, how do we deal with the dog owners that give the rest of us a bad name?
I was talking with a groundsman who spent a rather strange afternoon placing flags on dog poop that had not been picked up. The idea was to show walkers where the hazards were but mostly to give dog walkers a clear idea of the extent of the issue. Others spray it bright pink to draw attention to the problem!
It is not expensive to purchase poo bags for picking up after your dog. Biodegradable ones are also available, so there is no reason not to save others the problem of your dog toileting where people may walk.
What about a lack of appropriate bins, I hear you cry? You can get containers to store the bags in whilst you walk to leave your hands free. The ‘Dicky Bag’ does just this, and is deodorised and washable. If you prefer, a standard baby bottle carrier with a zip does the same job for only a few pounds. Easy then to dispose of the bag(s) more hygienically.
This is my rallying cry to all dog owners. Please, please pick up after all dogs. It is easy, quick, and legal. If you are one of the good guys that does this, why not offer a bag to someone who doesn’t pick up? Or if you can stand it, do like I do and collect it up so that no-one else has to walk in it. I know this sounds awful but you may prevent a child stepping in it on their way to school, which has happened to my kids in the past.
I don’t think picking up like this will encourage people not to bother in future. It might shame them into doing it themselves…
So, back to my mystery dog owner from the beginning of this article. I am making a few tiny laminated signs to position around the field, with a poo bag attached to each one.
My hope is that this will provide a useful, practical reminder that it takes a community to raise a good dog owner.
Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist