ok, i got this idea from another thread...
say you're moving to a new house, and designing a brand new yard. theoretically, you could train your dogs to do their business anywhere you wanted, right? so what would be the perfect surface to use? maybe not grass, because it would die off from the urine. sand? gravel? what about the smell? and what about the solid stuff? where i live now, i just toss it into the huge blackberry thicket that surrounds the grassy bit of the yard. there isn't any water nearby, so i figured it isn't a big deal. but in the new house, the only woodsy area is wetland, and i don't want to cause undue contamination, so i was thinking about one of those doggy septic systems. has anyone tried one? how well do they work?

i guess my question is, what's the "right" way to design a "dog yard" that's people friendly?
-kelly
maybe not grass, because it would die off from the urine. sand? gravel?

The kennel where I board the guys (and Image!) has gravel in the runs. They dig it out every year and replace it - that's a pretty big job, although obviously with only two dogs you'd have a lot less of the stuff to deal with.

I'm not what you'd call house proud and I have a lot of land, anyway, so anywhere the dogs want to pee inside their own yard (150' x 75') is okay with me. I haven't had a problem with the five (now four) dogs killing the grass. As for poop, I fling it back into the fields, well away from the creek. I looked into getting a Doggie Dooley but because it doesn't really work below 40 or 45 degrees Fahrenheit it's just not practical for this area. Some people have had good success composting it, but that doesn't sit right with me somehow.
I've rarely noticed any odor and I've got a reasonably sensitive nose. Agricultural lime will take care of urine odor. As for poop, just keeping the yard clean should do it.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Bad taste is better than no taste Arnold Bennett
anywhere the dogs want to pee inside their own yard (150' x 75') is okay with me. I haven't had a problem with the five (now four) dogs killing the grass.

Same here- the dogs can pee whereever they want... well, except for in Mam's flowers right by the back porch. Our yard is a bit smaller - about 70' x 100" - and I've not seen any problems with grass-kill with three dogs.
As for poop, I fling it back into the fields, well away from the creek.

Y'know, I don't do anything at all with poop, and it's never been a problem. The dogs generally use the far back of the yard, & the poop biodegrades on its own. I've never noticed a smell, nor do I have a problem with stepping in it; AFAICT, it only takes the poop a day or two to absorb into the ground.
That part of the yard is "wild" - has natural weeds/ground cover, not grass, and the leaves are left down, which I think aids in the process. Also, my crew have very small, compact, not particularly smelly stools (due to being fed on high-quality kibble and fresh veggies) which may have something to do with it.
Another factor is that in Maryland it rarely stays below freezing for more than a few days, and it rains a lot.
Using the far back isn't something I've really trained them for, btw. Brenin did it naturally - he likes privacy when he's pooping- and the others copied him. Sometimes, though, Morag or Rocsi will "go" closer to the house, in which case I may toss it in the bushes if it's in a lane of traffic.

Oh, and one other factor that I just thought of - only about half of their daily "output" is deposited in the yard; rest of it is taken care of at the park or on walks around the neighborhood, where of course I pick up and dispose of it.
ok, i got this idea from another thread... say you're moving to a new house, and designing a brand new ... so i was thinking about one of those doggy septic systems. has anyone tried one? how well do they work?

Quite frankly, I find scooping dog crap off of gravel difficult. And our yard now is quite small, but the grass is fine as long as i water it occasionally.
I would love a doggie septic system. We use the municipal garbage to dispose of poop.
maybe not grass, because it would die off from the urine. sand? gravel?

The kennel where I board the guys (and Image!) has gravel in the runs. They dig it out every year ... x 75') is okay with me. I haven't had a problem with the five (now four) dogs killing the grass.

Yes, here as well. The killing of the grass is more from youngsters (Coda as a puppy, and Bodhi last spring) digging holes and especially from simply being worn down to nothing. Well, that and me not fixing the worn spots. Did I mention that my husband works for a grass seed company? You'd think we would have a spectacular yard. Uh, nope.
Active dogs (my guys) will wear it down by just playing running chase me-catch me games. So, I'd suggest a good durable grass, if you are having to plant new seed at all. Burmuda grass is a good one, and there are many others.
Our fenced dog-yard is about 65'x40', with a strip running along the house that is about 5-7' wide. That strip is woodchips. It works well, and is fairly easy to pick up from. There is a spot though, near the back corner, and right next to the front gate, where Bodhi pees that does* smell if I don't lime it (just did it a few weeks ago). He nearly *always pees in one of those two spots.
As for poop, I fling it back into the fields, well away from the creek. I looked into getting a ... practical for this area. Some people have had good success composting it, but that doesn't sit right with me somehow.

I looked into one as well, but something about it just grossed me out. Maybe because I have two good-sized dogs, and probably will have another big dog in the near future. We're on a well, maybe that's why, even though they would be very far apart.
I scoop the yard every other day. I just tote it out into the wooded area (no water nearby), and put it around a tree. I have hopes that this will help deter any wild critters that come a'roaming. Shelly & The Boys
Quite frankly, I find scooping dog crap off of gravel difficult.

Hmmm, you lose a little gravel into the poop bag, but I find it much better than cleaning up on other surfaces. That might be a volume thing - with 5 large resident dogs and numerous transients it's kind of important to have a localized area where you can get it all up daily. Our biggest concern was urine buildup because our soil is all clay with little to no drainage. The answer was a substrate of sand under the gravel. The doggie potty area is 3'x 8', a foot of sand and 8" of white pea gravel. With a couple of 15 gallon potted plants to provide that all-important vertical pee target for the boys and my old ***-who-never-squats.
Since the potty area is just outside my bedroom window and I sleep with the windows open, a little planning was definately needed :-)

Lynn K.
The easiest to sanitize and scoop is concrete/pavement. Not attractive IMO, and I'd want dogs differentiating "their" area from the patio! Gravel isn't great for fecal matter - it sticks to it. Sand seems messy all the way around. Treating grass is easier I think.
what about the smell? and what about the solid stuff?

Lime for urine and regular scooping of solids.
but in the new house, the only woodsy area is wetland, and i don't want to cause undue contamination, so i was thinking about one of those doggy septic systems. has anyone tried one? how well do they work?

Not well with multiple dogs at least. Not well if it gets cold. I flush dog waste the same way I flush cat waste and human waste.
i guess my question is, what's the "right" way to design a "dog yard" that's people friendly?

I "scoop" 2-3x/day or if I happen to be outside when something gets left. Summertime gets faster scooping than winter - we have an inground pool and I don't want any fecal matter on any part of the lawn for very long.

Janet Boss
Best Friends Dog Obedience
"Nice Manners for the Family Pet"
Voted "Best of Baltimore 2001" - Baltimore Magazine www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
As
for poop, I fling it back into the fields, well away from the creek.We've always picked it up and then ... up after a rain storm that dumps 10" in a day. It just kind of melts back into the grass.

If it starts to smell, we'll use agricultural lime. Alert! Alert!
We finished the fence! We finished the fence!
We got the dogs on film, zipping around, racing each other and Taffy finally got to dive under the deck to investigate the nothingness under there.
We finished just before dark and with the speed action going on, I'm not sure anything will turn out on the camera except dark blurs.
We ended with with a higher fence and a smaller mesh, 3 gates instead of one and a much bigger area than we'd initially planned. But, they're happy.
Terri
Same here- the dogs can pee whereever they want... well, except for in Mam's flowers right by the back porch. Our yard is a bit smaller - about 70' x 100" - and I've not seen any problems with grass-kill with three dogs.

yep. my dog yard is for the dogs. they can pee wherever they want, and with two dogs and a large yard, they don't kill the grass (digging, OTOH...). they poop in the back of the yard, where it's overgrown and the weeds tickle the butt juust right. i don't usually clean it up, because, again, it's a large area and doesn't get gross. i'd much rather let things biodegrade when i can instead of sending them to the landfill. and, on the odd occasion when i clean it up, i just toss it into the brambles on the other side of the fence.

shelly (perfectly foul wench) and elliott and harriet http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette