It breaks my heart every time I see a new sign saying “No Dogs Allowed” . More and more places aren’t allowing dogs on their premises; from parks to hotels. Even places that do allow dogs have signs denoting unacceptable spots for your dog to go to the bathroom.

A simple requests to my students is please don’t let your dog pee on the agility field. A new student assured me that his dog was fine… Needless to say when the dog peed on my field he wanted to know what the big deal was. Maybe he should have asked that first. For those of you who agree with him here are the reasons it is a big deal:

Yes my field is grass and we usually train dogs to go on grass but they should not be allowed to go anywhere they please. In dog agility, if the dog “eliminates” (pees or poops) while running a course, they are not allowed to continue and are immediately excused from the ring. Even though we try our best to clean the spot, it then becomes harder for the following dogs to run without marking the same spot because that is just a natural reaction to smelling another dog’s urine or poop. Believe or not, a well-trained agility dog won’t give it a second thought since the dog is so focused on its task.

But your dog doesn’t do agility so who cares? Do you take your dog to other people’s houses, parks, for walks around town, etc.? Do you let your dog pee on plantings, garbage pails, park benches and or table legs? Think of the poor person who has to work in that flower bed or empty those garbage pails. That’s disgusting.

You say your dog is just peeing on the grass but is it near the entrance of a building? Is it in a spot where other dogs will pee on it, is it in the sun and not much of a breeze? Guess what. That area will begin to stink like pee very quickly. How unwelcoming is that?

Nay you say my dog is peeing just on the grass. Well other dogs will be attracted to that area to pee too. When a spot is used as a urinal many times the grass just dies. Is that fair to the owner of the property?


The most disgusting and unsanitary habit though is not picking up after your dog poops. Leaving it for some other poor dog owner to step in it while they walk their dog. If your dog found the spot appealing so might another dog.

Well you’re probably thinking I never take my dogs out because it is too hard to keep them from going wherever they please. Even when off leash at my house in the woods, my dogs choose to go off the path. Everything looks the same but somehow they realize going on the path isn’t a good idea. When we are out walking I can tell by my dogs’ behaviors if they are going to lift a leg because I am paying attention to them. If it is an appropriate place, all’s well; if not I just make them keep walking. The biggest thing I do to prevent them from going where they should not go is by teaching them to go on cue and an appropriate place to go.

As owners of dogs we need to be responsible and teach our dogs to go in appropriate places and even if the spot is appropriate, pick up the poop if it is likely that someone else might walk there whether they realize it is a poop area or not. This demands not only training your dog but also paying attention when out and about with your dog.

I would love to see fewer “No Dogs Allowed” signs going up? How about you?

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