How To Keep A Dog From Pooping In Your Yard

Kathryn Flegal
by Kathryn Flegal

Few things are more frustrating than stepping on dog poop in your lawn – especially when you don’t have a dog. Not only is dog poop smelly and messy, but it can also carry disease and harm your grass.

Install a fence or privacy barrier to keep the dog away or put up a “no dogs” sign if you can’t alter the lawn. Use a motion-activated sprinkler or electronic animal repellent device to startle the dog and keep it out of your yard. Spray vinegar in the yard where the dog usually goes to discourage it.

In this article, we’ll discuss several ways to keep neighborhood dogs out of your yard and keeping it poop-free. We’ll also tell you how to train your dog to use a specific area to do his business.

Create a Barrier to Keep Dogs Out

If you don’t want any unfamiliar animals in your yard, the obvious answer would be to add a barrier. This, of course, is not a viable option for everyone. Some people don’t want to close off their property, and some rent houses and can’t alter the yard. But, if you were thinking of putting up a fence or privacy barrier, now might be a good time.

Here are some examples:

Fence: A fence is a big investment, financially and timewise. But there are many benefits of fences aside from keeping dogs and other pets out of your yard. Fences provide privacy for you and your neighbors, define clear borders between properties, and keep your kids in the yard.

Coleus Canina: Plant a row of this stinky plant at the edge of your lawn to fend off dogs and cats. Also known as the “scaredy-cat plant”, it gives off a pungent odor that is said to deter critters. Some people say it’s a myth, and others swear by it, but it may be worth a shot.

Other plants: There are plenty of flowers and bushes that could be effective at keeping dogs out of your yard. Most dogs won’t bother trying to get past plants with thorns or other dense parts.

Rose bushes, Japanese Barberry, Raspberry bushes, and Gooseberry plants can all form successful protective barriers. Many dogs also dislike the smell of fresh herbs such as mint and rosemary. But some are not bothered by herbs, so this will depend on the dog.

Grass-Free Border: This is another labor-intensive method, but could also be an opportunity for some attractive landscaping. To do this, you would remove the grass around the perimeter of your yard. Then, fill the blank space with something that dogs don’t want to step on – like pinecones, or lava rocks.

Put Up a “No Dogs” Sign

Sometimes, a well-placed sign can remind people to follow the rules. If your culprit is a neighbor walking their dog, this might be an effective reminder. People are less likely to let their dog poop right next to a sign asking them not to.

However, this obviously won’t work for dogs who are roaming off-leash. And if your neighbor simply doesn’t care about being courteous as opposed to just being forgetful, it may not work.

A quick Google search will give you dozens of options for these signs. There’s everything from simple “Please Keep Dogs Off Our Lawn” signs, to catchy phrases like “Kids at Play, Keep Poop Away!”

Use a Motion Detector Device

There are devices that you can purchase to deter dogs from pooping in your yard. And since dogs are easily trained creatures, you won’t have to use these products for long.

If something happens in your yard that a dog doesn’t like, they will likely avoid your yard in the future. Here are some good motion detector solutions:

Electronic Animal Repellent: These are devices that often go into the ground with a spike. When they sense motion in the vicinity, they emit an ultrasonic sound only detectable by animals. Dogs, cats, rodents, and other small creatures don’t like the sound and steer clear when they hear it.

Sprinklers: Motion-activated sprinklers are another great, humane way to keep any animal out of your yard. These sprinklers simply spray animals who venture within the range of the device and send them out of your yard.

Use Smells to your Advantage

Like with most creatures, there are certain smells that dogs don’t like. There are also many odors that dogs are particularly attracted to. Here are some aromas you can try to keep dogs out of your yard, and what to avoid:

Scents That Repel Dogs

  • Repellent Sprays: There are many safe products for your lawn and garden that will keep dogs away. They often include a non-toxic mixture of unpopular scents for dogs. You can find these on Amazon, or any major pet store.
  • Citrus Peels: This natural method is good for grossing out dogs and keeping them out of your yard. Try putting some orange peels in a food processor and sprinkling it along the edge of your lawn. If you have a garden or mulch around the perimeter of your lawn, you can bury the peels under mulch.
  • Vinegar: Dogs dislike the smell of vinegar. Spraying a vinegar and water mixture on the perimeter of your yard will most likely make them avoid your yard. However, vinegar will also kill any plants, including your grass, so you should be careful where you spray. You’ll also have to spray the area daily to maintain its efficacy.
  • Cayenne Pepper/Chili Powder: This is a somewhat controversial method of deterring dogs from your yard. Dogs tend to stay far away from anything spicy, like hot peppers. Spraying a mixture of water and a spicy powder will repel them.

These spicy powders, however, can irritate dogs’ eyes, ears, and respiratory systems. This is why you should never give a dog these items directly, or spray/blow spicy powders on them.

But spraying a modest amount on the perimeter of your lawn will repel them well before it will irritate them. Dogs have an excellent sense of smell and will detect the irritants before they come into contact.

Scents that Attract Dogs

Bloodmeal and bonemeal fertilizer: These animal-based fertilizers are great for repelling deer, but are irresistible to dogs. Not only will these entice dogs to come into your yard, but it’s also toxic when ingested in large amounts. Using a plant-based fertilizer that’s safe for dogs won’t attract them, and also will not harm them.

Avoid These Toxic Substances

There are a handful of methods that are effective for repelling dogs but can also be harmful to them. You may see these substances cited as deterrents on the internet, but think twice about putting them in your yard:

  • Ammonia: This is a highly toxic irritant that can cause severe internal damage to dogs. While it will help to deter them, you shouldn’t risk harming the dog. It will also kill plant life.
  • Mothballs: Dogs hate the smell of mothballs – but for good reason. Mothballs are pesticides that should not be placed in your yard where animals might get into it. Even ingesting as little as one mothball can be a severe health risk for dogs.
  • Citronella: These candles, oils, and plants are toxic to dogs, and cause extreme gastrointestinal stress. You should not use any of these products around dogs.

Create a Designated Area

Another solution is to let the dog poop – but only where you want him to. If it’s your own dog that you don’t want pooping all over your yard, this is a good solution.

Here’s how to train your dog to poop where you want him to:

Step 1: Pick a Spot

Pick an ideal spot for your dog to poop. Make sure that it’s where you want him to go every time, and avoid switching up the location. Once you’ve picked a spot, scoop some of your dog’s poop in the area and leave it there. This will make him more likely to use the area again.

Step 2: Encourage Potty Time

Take your dog to the designated area when it’s time for him to go outside. Give him the potty cue, and reward him for doing his business there.

Step 3: Make it a “No Play” Zone

Make sure that the poop spot is just that – strictly for business. Not letting him play in the area will encourage him to associate that area only with going potty.

Step 4: Redirect

Like with all accidents, you shouldn’t punish your dog for pooping elsewhere during the training process. Just clean up that area so he won’t be tempted to use it again, and offer praise whenever he goes in the right spot.

Related Questions

Can I Call the Police On My Neighbor for Letting His Dog Poop In My Yard?

In many areas, it’s illegal to let your dog poop on someone’s lawn without cleaning it up. However, in most places, an officer has to witness the crime for it to be enforced. If this is a recurring problem for you, call your town’s non-emergency line and ask how they handle this offense.

How Do I Keep Dogs Out of My Garden?

All the repellents for keeping dogs from pooping in your lawn should work for your garden as well. You can also put up an inexpensive fence around your garden, or even chicken wire to keep all animals out. Another option is a solar predator light, which works at night to mimic the eyes of predators to keep critters away.

Kathryn Flegal
Kathryn Flegal

Kathryn is a craft aficionado who loves writing about DIY home improvement projects. When she's not writing, she loves reading, listening to musicals, and playing with her kids.

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