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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I've been on here, I guess that means things have been going pretty well with Pepper & Kane :)

We've recently moved to a new house that has a significantly smaller yard (less than 300 square feet). Unfortunately it only took a week for brand new sod to be half covered in brown and dead grass from the dogs 馃槙

I've been trying everything I can for the past month or two to try to have a nice lawn, considering it is a small yard, it's really obvious exactly where the dogs have peed. The only thing that has helped a tiny bit is watering the spot after each time they go. But even one missed time results in a huge dead patch of grass. I've re-seeded all the spots, but even that comes up patchy and I just keep getting new spots anyway so it seems pretty futile.

So my only 2 options left are to either rip up the sod and put in artificial grass (expensive) OR train the dogs to go only along the gravel strip at the edge of the yard. Now I know how to train a puppy to go potty outside, I assume the same method is recommended for this, but my dogs are 7 and 9 years old. They've had free run of the yard their entire lives and have been able to go wherever they want in the yard.

So my question is - if I take them on leash over to the spot, and praise them like crazy & reward them for going there, how will they know that they're getting praised/rewarded for going IN THAT SPOT, and not just for going in general, or for going outside? Is something else I should be doing to make sure there's no confusion? Or is there a better method?

Thanks :)
Here's a recent picture:
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Congrats on the new house!

I mean, that's how I would approach it. Take them to the spot you want them to go, interrupt if they're going in the wrong part of the yard, rinse and repeat. If your dogs are particular, though, they might not like going on gravel, because god forbid if some of their own pee splashes on their leg. You know, right after they've snarfed down some goose poop or roadkill.

When we had a small yard Ralphie tended to go in one particular portion of it, so it can be done. He is very, umm, persnickety about his own waste, however, so he was very careful to go in areas that we didn't play in, like in the side yard or an out of the way corner.

If it doesn't work out quite the way you want, have you considered replacing the sod with something like clover? It generally won't become discolored from dog urine, stays pretty short, is drought tolerant once established (it's the only part of my lawn that is green right now 馃檭), and if you let it flower it's food for pollinators!
 

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Hey good to see you! I would just put an Xpen up in the section where you want the dogs to go. I think if I trained my dogs to one area they might prefer that area but would also go in other sections of the yard too. Dogs like to go on the edges of their boundaries and some like to pick the clean spots to avoid stepping in the 'used' spots. So rather than wonder about all that, I set the boundaries with a pen and they go in the designated potty spot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Congrats on the new house!

I mean, that's how I would approach it. Take them to the spot you want them to go, interrupt if they're going in the wrong part of the yard, rinse and repeat. If your dogs are particular, though, they might not like going on gravel, because god forbid if some of their own pee splashes on their leg. You know, right after they've snarfed down some goose poop or roadkill.

When we had a small yard Ralphie tended to go in one particular portion of it, so it can be done. He is very, umm, persnickety about his own waste, however, so he was very careful to go in areas that we didn't play in, like in the side yard or an out of the way corner.

If it doesn't work out quite the way you want, have you considered replacing the sod with something like clover? It generally won't become discolored from dog urine, stays pretty short, is drought tolerant once established (it's the only part of my lawn that is green right now 馃檭), and if you let it flower it's food for pollinators!
Thanks! Yeah they would rather go on the grass than the gravel that's for sure, lol! Clover could be an option actually, I hadn't considered that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey good to see you! I would just put an Xpen up in the section where you want the dogs to go. I think if I trained my dogs to one area they might prefer that area but would also go in other sections of the yard too. Dogs like to go on the edges of their boundaries and some like to pick the clean spots to avoid stepping in the 'used' spots. So rather than wonder about all that, I set the boundaries with a pen and they go in the designated potty spot.
Hi, nice to be back!
I'm not sure an x-pen will work for that area, it's a thin strip that runs along the back of the yard where the mountain starts. Though maybe a small run along the house side could work! We could add gravel to that section, or even clover as Lillith suggested, that way they wouldn't have to cross the grass to get to the potty area at least.

Here's a picture looking down from the upstairs window. This was taken about a month ago, it's way worse now, there are whole sections that are just dirt now.
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