Every time you let your dog out into your outdoor space, he romps around like he’s in the happiest place on the planet. It’s a wonderful thing to see -- until you venture into the yard yourself and witness the trampled grass that used to be your beautiful lawn.
Your dog probably loves spending time on your lawn with you. And you love being back there with your canine companion -- if only there was an easy way to keep your lawn, for the most part, intact. If your dog’s routine is putting a damper on your lawn, it’s time to take action. When you use Good Boy™ and Bad Spot!™ products, you won’t even necessarily need to set aside a designated space for your pet. Combine BarkYard products with these simple steps to change your dog’s behavior.
1. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise.
Even bigger backyards don’t typically have room for a designated fluffy-friend outhouse and a designated doggie playpen, too. Your dog loves to run amok in your green space, and that often means your grass gets absolutely crushed in the process. While this can be frustrating, try to remember that your dog is simply responding to the call of the wild. There’s a biological signal that’s telling Fluffy to release energy when he or she gets a whiff of fresh air.
If your dog seems desperate to get outside in the mornings and evenings, leaving a trampled lawn in their wake every time, there’s a strong chance that they aren’t getting enough exercise. As the American Kennel Club points out, the idea that dogs can get enough exercise from the backyard alone is a myth. While individual needs of different dog breeds may vary, even older, lower-energy dogs still need the attention and exercise that comes with a brisk, daily walk.
If you’ve used your backyard as a replacement for walking your pup, try to add some walks back into your routine. Take your dog places besides your backyard to let them vent that restless energy, and give him or her a chance to mark up some territory elsewhere. A dog park, a beach, or a public park all give your dog a chance to release energy in a more focused, less destructive way. Playing games like fetch and tug-of-war help, too.
Once your dog has a well-established routine where they can let off some steam, your lawn will no longer be the primary target of your pet’s restlessness.
2. Get into a pet-friendly lawn maintenance routine.
If it’s up to you to cultivate your green space, the weekends may be the only time you feel able to dedicate to sprucing up the lawn. But if you can find ten to fifteen minutes on weekdays to tend to the needs of your lawn, you might discover that the trampling takes a turn for the better.
Make sure that you’re cleaning up after your dog every day. Removing dog poop and rinsing dog pee with a hose during the spring, summer, and fall months make a huge difference in the appearance of your lawn. Remember that dog poop attracts all sorts of critters to your lawn, including possums, field mice, and raccoons. While those animals may only visit during the evening hours, they leave a scent behind that can drive your dog absolutely bonkers the morning after. Keep your lawn feces-free as a way to help your dog behave better in the backyard.
You may also want to address things like dog pee spots and holes that your dog is digging on a daily, and not weekly, basis as they crop up. Your dog needs to get the message that while the lawn is a place for him or her to be free, it is not a free-for-all. Caring for your lawn each day and spending time in the backyard alongside your dog (as opposed to letting it be a place he or she escapes to without you), will help send that message.
If you’re interested in your lawn looking thicker, consider overseeding it seasonally with Good Boy™ by regularly reinforcing your lawn with new growth, your grass will grow much thicker. Thicker grass won’t be as affected if it gets jumped on by an over-eager pet.
Remember that yelling at your dog or trying to “punish” your pet isn’t going to be effective in changing negative behavior. “Time outs” or locking your dog out of spaces where you are isn’t going to work, either. No matter how old (or young) your dog is, you can and should want to be a team with your dog as you communicate your expectations. Train with positive language and praise instead of anger and frustration.
3. Remember the art of compromise.
Your dog wants to please you, and that includes behaving better outdoors. But there are going to be some situations where your dog sees a squirrel or another dog, bounds away, and crushes your grass a little bit. Even the most well-trained dogs and patient owners have to reach a state of compromise when it comes to the backyard.
You don’t have to choose between having a happy dog and a beautiful backyard (at least, not when great products like BarkYard™ are part of the mix), but you may have to live with a little trampling here and there. Keep your leaf blower handy to fluff up crushed grass, and remember that while lawn damage is temporary, your love for your furry friend is forever.