“Our lawn has a disease,” my husband, Ed, sighed, staring at the dead spots peppering our new North Georgia landscape.
“Looks like the same critter that took over our old lawn,” I added, remembering how I’d seen the same ugly spots on our old Connecticut lawn throughout the seven years we lived there.
After investing $2,600 in a new lawn, we weren’t ready to give up. But we were clueless—we’d watered, fertilized and weeded, but still couldn’t get rid of what appeared to be dead swatches of sod. So we called a lawn maintenance expert, something we’d never done before. After all, we’re what you call “do-it-yourself” folks—we save money hauling our own garbage, changing the oil on our cars, and never paid, even a teenager, to mow our grass. Why pay someone if you can do it yourself? That’s our motto.
It wasn’t long before the landscaping professional had a diagnosis. One glance at the spots and he looked at us, smiling. “You’ve got a dog, don’t you?”
Nodding yes, we thought of how our nine-year-old boxer, Hercules, was a clean dog—He’d been house broken since he was just a puppy. We never guessed it was his continual urinating on his favorite spots that was making our lawn look neglected.
Do you have ugly dead patches on your lawn? If you’ve done everything you know to do and nothing works, then it’s probably due to dog urination. Because dogs pee in one spot, their urine (which is liquid nitrogen) results in a burning reaction, looking like your grass is dead. However, in many instances, later on new grass will grow around the “dead” spots, even more vigorously, because the nitrogen in your dog’s urine stimulates growth. We have a boxer, a large dog. Unfortunately, that means bigger spots as his bladder holds more urine than a smaller dog.
So what’s the solution? Well, we could watch Hercules every time we let him out to do his business, and then hose down the fresh urine. (It’s important to soak the area within nine hours after urination.) But he wouldn’t learn to pee in a new area. Instead, we chose to walk him into our treed section, behind the sod. Thankfully, we did have an area in our fenced-in backyard that was natural, which we opted not to resod.
We’ve just started doing this and so far, Hercules is cooperating. After he’s done his thing, I praise him, and then let him loose off the lease for free time as a reward to run around in his fenced-in backyard. Hopefully, after a few weeks, Hercules will gravitate toward his favorite trees on his own, so we won’t have to monitor him. After all, isn’t that why we were attracted to our new home when we went house hunting last fall? Any house on the market (within our price range) with a fence was on our keeper list.
We also learned there are products on the market that can make Fido want to pee elsewhere. For example, there’s “No Go” by Pet Organics. Made up of a chemical that is repulsive to a canine nose, No Pee wards away dogs, but smells good to us humans. To use it, spray it liberally on areas where your dog pees and it will stop him from returning to the same spot. Conversely, chemicals known as “pheromones” encourage your dog to pee where you want him to do his business. For example, if I spray this chemical on trees in our tree-lined area, Hercules would gravitate there.
So if your dog has “decorated” your once beautiful lawn (that before looked like a golf course), with his favorite spots, take heart. It can be remedied and the good news is that you can retrain your dog to go potty elsewhere. What’s more, why not take him for more walks? It will be beneficial for both you and him.