Dogs Debate: An idiot’s guide to picking up dog poo

To round off our week of articles about dogs in parks we reproduce a post that was first published in May 2012, but unfortunately is still pertinent.

I have just been to the park to walk my dog and like every other dog-lover and dog-hater I’ve had to step over dog poo on the pavement on my way there. It got me thinking about the dog owners who don’t pick up their dog’s poo. They can’t all be malicious, maybe some of them don’t know how to pick up dog poo. So here’s a straightforward guide – my ten top tips!

1. Be Prepared. Think before you leave the house. Take some plastic bags with you.

2. The Right Bag For The Job. Plastic bags come in all shapes and sizes. I favour “nappy sacks”, these are small, cheap and scented. If you have a large dog you might need sandwich bags. Carrier bags are generally too big and unwieldy. You can reuse bags from the friut and veg shopping, but make sure they don’t have ventilation holes (Sainsbury’s do, Co-op don’t).

3. Pick It Up. Put the bag over your hand, pick up the poo – you see you’re not actually in contact with the stuff – turn the bag inside out and tie a knot in it.

Dog poo bin4. Bin It. Now carry the sealed bag to a bin. Ideally you’ll find a Dog Bin, but other bins are OK as the bag is sealed. If you can’t find a bin, take it home and put it in your black wheelie bin.

5. Carrying Bags. Embarrassed about carrying a bag of poo in your hand for the rest of your walk? You could try using a specially designed Bum bag that I’ve seen advertised recently. Or you could just grow up, most people will be impressed that you are a responsible dog owner.

6. Get Your Dog To Help. We get our dog to carry a supply of bags knotted onto her collar. This has the advantage of ensuring that you never go out without bags. Does it look odd? Most people think she’s wearing a pretty bow! She seems quite happy with the arrangement, but then she is a Border Collie which is a working breed.

Dog Pooing
Position No 2

7. Dog Body Language. Keep an eye on your dog as you enjoy your walk. Dogs wee a lot to mark territory and tell other dogs they’ve been there. You need to learn the different positions your dog adopts, especially if it’s a bitch (dogs cock their legs to wee so it’s easier to distinguish).

8. Country Paths. On country paths the rules are slightly different. Basically the wilder it is, the more OK it is to leave it. After all it will break down naturally given time. But if it’s on the path, or it’s a busy route it’s best to bag it and take it home.

Dog poo tree
Photo: Chris Sampson via Creative Commons

9. Stick & Flick. Some people recommend using a stick to flick the poo into the undergrowth when you’re on a country walk (see 8.)

10. There Is No Dog Poo Fairy. Some people get halfway there but let themselves down at the end. They manage steps 1, 2 and 3, but can’t master 4 or 5. Amazingly they hang the poo bag from the branch of a tree. Who do they think is going to come and collect it?  Or are they they so proud that they think others will stand and stare as if in an art gallery?

So there you are, follow my ten top tips and the job’s a good’un. If you’ll pardon the expression.