80 Comment

  • Why am I not surprised this is in Woodley Park.

  • FFS people. Good luck telling your dog not to pee somewhere in a public space. Get a life.

  • It’s difficult to stop your dog from peeing. You’d have to constantly yank him/her when they stop to sniff something. Not cool for anyone involved.

    • +1 I make an effort to lead my dogs away from grass and other plant life, but sometimes pee happens. I’m curious to know what the referenced grass situation is like. Is it in a yard? A treebox? A small fence will likely go a long way in keeping dogs out, though you will still get some peeing on the perimeter.

  • If I were king I would ban the term “first world problems.” That’s all I have to say about this topic, which I’m sure will soon devolve into the same old arguments. Let Sisyphus begin his journey.

  • Can they rope and fence off the area in question with some sort of barrier until the grass grows in? Mesh or chicken wire perhaps?

    Not a dog owner so I dont know if thats considered to be offensive or not but the end goal here is to beautify the lawn so it is not a slight imo.

  • Being a property owner who tries to keep the sidewalk and planter strip looking semi-decent, I totally sympathize. However, I’m also a dog owner who knows that it’s hard to control where dogs pee. I WOULD certainly keep a dog off the grass between the sidewalk and your house, but I feel like the planter strip is about all that is left for many city blocks. (There must be some pee-tolerant grass in existence, no?)

    • It’s not their first choice, but dogs will pee directly on the sidewalk if it’s their only option. You just have to make it their only option.

      • Ok no, I’d rather not walk through puddles of pee please. I don’t think this is the solution.

        • Yeah, no thanks. And then it goes directly into the stormwater system, contributing to water/river pollution. At least through the grass it has some processing and contributes nutrients back to the soil.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Teach your dog its okay to pee on the sidewalk and next thing you know it will be peeing on your hardwoods at home.

        • My brother taught his dog to dump and piss while wading in a water fountain, more often then not, at Dupont Circle but that dog would bust a gut before going anywhere told not to or anywhere in the house.

          Some of you act like you walk around barefoot.

  • I know dog owners will say dogs have to pee somewhere, but I also know how much of an issue this can be. My mom has tried to grow something in her front lawn for so long (she’s lived in that house her whole life). Every spring, she gets so excited to have something growing, but inevitably, one dog pees on it THROUGH THE FENCE and then every dog that comes after wants to mark their scent. She keeps trying to plant things there that may survive, but the dog pee seems to kill everything. I see her get so sad about this every year and it really pisses me off. The kicker is when people stand there while their dogs pee and compliment her on the beauty of the plants that the dog pee will kill in a week. I don’t know what the solution is, but I hate that people with dogs just shrug their shoulders and say “that’s what dogs do.” Why does their dog ownership get to trump all of my mom’s hard work on her own private property?

    • Maybe she should put up another barrier between the fence and the plants so that if the dogs pee on it it just rolls down to the sidewalk rather than on her plants. Or I wonder if she gave it it a good spray with the hose if it wash off the dogs’ scent and they wouldn’t be as interested?

    • I want to +1 this. Just planted a bunch of seeds and bulbs for the first time this spring in our yard and have watched owner after owner let their dogs both walk in and trample on our flower beds. When we politely asked one couple to not let their dog into our flower beds he retorted “she’s gotta pee somewhere!” I get that, but it sounds like his problem, not mine…

  • LET MY BEAGLE GO!

  • …cries the person who stapled a sign to a tree. Now their tree may die along with their grass.

    • This. Thank you.

      • Can you really kill a tree with a couple staples?

          • But if every person stapled things to trees….
            Only a moron chooses to do something avoidable such as staple things to trees.
            The dog on the other hand has no choice but to pee.

        • Not snarking here… but I honestly think that nailing things into trees doesn’t do any damage to their health. Might have to reappraise my newfound obsession for the Animal Planet show “Treehouse Masters” if they’re massacring the trees (they do a lot more than stapling).

          • Yes, it does do damage. But a nail or two isn’t going to do mortal damage, and trees will grow around it (which wreaks havoc for timber harvesting, but not a concern for street trees). Removing a strip of bark around the circumference, called girdling, however, will eventually kill the tree.

    • +1 for the tree!

    • MVT

      Ha. well played

    • A few staples do not kill a tree. Same for dogs and grass, a few dogs and a yard should recover. A lot of dogs, everyday, less so. I might try a sign but would get better results if I hung out, talked to dog walkers and asked them why they thought all the grass was dead or dying.

    • YES! This is what I came here to say.

  • I’m sympathetic to the grass-growers AND dog owners but what’s ironic here is how they’re pleading for help to grow some grass while helping to kill the street tree with those staples.

  • If this is private property, yes I’d be pissed if dogs were peeing on my lawn.
    .
    Trying to grow grass in the treebox area – much harder to deter peeing pups. Putting up a small fence as deterrant might help. Or give up and plant something pee-resistant
    .
    It is possible to stop a dog from peeing in a particular spot – they’re on a leash, right? Keep them moving/don’t let them stop in that particular spot

    • Well I mean I can try to keep my dogs moving but there have definitely been times my male dog just stops suddenly and the only thing I can do is drag him along, but he’s already peed some at that point. I’m fairly good at recognizing when he’s going to do it (I’ve had him for 4.5 years now) so I’m pretty much able to keep him moving if it’s at an inappropriate time but can’t guarantee it all the time.

    • If I see a treebox area that has been cared for then I’ll move my dog past that spot so he pees somewhere else. Not that hard, in my opinion

      • figby

        Tree boxes are public property, as are medians and other public lands. As are many front yards, incidentally, but most reasonable dog owners will avoid those.

        • Treeboxes are public property, but the city leaves it to homeowners to maintain them. AE’s approach is a good one.

          • figby

            I agree, and I follow AE’s example. But I am not sympathetic to those who think because they maintain the tree boxes that they own them and can put up “keep out your dog” signs and police them. I have neighbors who do nothing with their tree boxes yet also have those dog-shaped “no!” signs in the dirt. Grrrr.

  • First, best URL ever.
    Second, I can’t answer the question without knowing if the lavatory in question is on private property or a tree box (or some other public space). If it’s private property, keep your pets off of it. If it’s public space, tree box, the sign maker is nuts, and should stick to well-drawn comics decrying development.

  • If I see nice pretty flowers I do my best to keep the dogs away. If it’s just grass or mulch in a tree box though I say go for it. Gotta pee somewhere. I do tend to guide them towards churches though. The ones around Dupont/Logan Cirlce tend to have a decent amount of grass. For poops I let them go wherever because I’m picking it up anyway.

  • I have both a strip of grass (between sidewalk & road) that I try to keep tidy, as well as a dog that loves peeing all over it. I think dog pee concentrated in one area over & over again just compounds the issue. When walking the dog, I try to take different routes around the block so she doesn’t constantly pee on the same grass each walk. It might help if dog owners try to alternate their routes a little more, to give some grass a little break. Just a thought.

  • I have two dogs and would have zero issues just moving them along past this and not letting them stop to sniff (which inevitably leads to peeing).

    • I guess I should clarify – I have no problems TRYING to keep them moving but sometimes things happen.

  • I planted liriope in my tree box and it’s doing very well – dog pee and all.

    • +1. I planted hardy plants in my tree box including liriope, vinca, knockout rose bush and a barberry bush. Dogs can pee on it all they want and nothing happens, plus it still looks nice! Why is someone trying to grow grass in what appears to be a tree box anyway? It’s a total waste of water. As a dog owner, I would just ignore this sign.

  • Tree boxes are public property….who grows grass in 4 square feet anyway?

  • Sounds like it’s more of an issue because you’re trying to establish new grass, and it’s in a vulnerable state. Once the lawn is more established, urine shouldn’t be too noticeable or that much of a problem. Why not put up a small decorative fence (6″ or so) to discourage use while growing your foundation? Even some sticks and some string may do the trick.

    I can’t blame an owner for allowing the dog to urinate on a walk most likely meant to accomplish that task…but I would put them in the a-hole camp if they stood there and let them jump over a fence to do the same thing.

  • Vonstallin

    This is a problem I sure did not have 12 years ago. Now, its hard for me to keep my lawn. I’ve spoke to neighbors at least 5 times over 9 years. I just look out side to see more turds and pee holes in my nice thick grass. I watch as they let the dogs run and pee at 3am.
    Anyway that have nothing to do with this post I guess. As far as the thin strip of grass on the side walk its pretty much a mud and patch grass strip. Hard enough to keep dogs off my lawn, damn near impossible to keep them off the strip. Shit looks terrible. I noticed a few of my other old time DC natives took to laying artificial grass stips on the side walk. Not the prettiest looking thing, but better then piles of shit, mud and grass patches.
    If you cant beat them join them….
    Artificial Grass for my New Artificial city.

    • Too funny.
      I keep telling my wife we need it on the porch if we want to look retro but keep it on the porch.

      • Vonstallin

        Oh god when that was the style lol….almost every porch had the fake grass look. Home Depot still have it on the rolls for porches and decks.

  • I don’t let my dog go on people’s lawns. I direct him to the “parking area” and treeboxes, but I will keep him away from a spot someone’s obviously been working hard to cultivate. Like, if you took the time to plant some lovely flowers in the strip between the sidewalk and the street, doggo can wait for the regular grass or the power pole 10 feet ahead. City residents are a being bit unreasonable if they expect more dogscretion than that.

    • +1. To people with dogs peeing on their lawns, maybe plant citronella? Lots of dogs hate it. To my fellow dog owners, paying attention really works well as does a short (4ft or less) leash. Put another way, if you walk your dog while looking at your phone the whole time you have no idea when they are going to pee.

      • +1,000,000 to this. It’s easy enough to keep your dog from doing their business in the wrong places if you’re paying attention to them. To the sign-poster I would say that perhaps putting a little inexpensive “No Dogs Please” sign and one of those cheap fences might be more cost-conscious than reseeding.

    • I agree, I don’t allow mine to stop at flowers and other spots like that.

  • I do nothing with the patch of grass in the sidewalk in front of my house but keep it mowed. So I really don’t care if dogs are peeing on it. But I do care when owners don’t clean up their dog’s poop from the grass – which seems to be happening more this year than in any other year I have lived on my block.

  • I have so many questions about this.
    .
    Is this notice on public or private property? In a treebox or on a lawn? Is there some barrier between the sidewalk and the soil/grass seed/grass?
    .
    Regardless, I’m with the posters who say that if this is a serious concern to the homeowner or the city or whoever made the sign, there are ways to deal with it without imploring neighbors to change their actions and probably being disappointed when they don’t listen. A small, temporary (or permanent) fence or a different kind of ground cover, for example.
    .
    I’m also with the posters who say that you only have so much control over where your dog pees and that there aren’t a lot of great alternatives unless you have your own fenced-in yard. It’s basically grass, treebox or sidewalk, and each one is bad for its own reasons.

    • I am fortunate to live near a nice field area that is open to the public (and which everyone uses to walk their dogs to use the bathroom). The grass grows just fine there.

      I had the same question about the location. I’m fortunate as well that my male dog was neutered very early (he was a rescue as a puppy) and so he does not lift his leg to mark things. So I’m able to better put him where I want him to be to pee. That said, I would not think twice about letting him pee in the grass between the sidewalk and the street. I would never let him pee in a treebox though. Generally though I have never found it difficult to find an unoffensive place to take him to use the bathroom. It would never occur to me to get mad at someone for letting their dog use the bathroom in that patch of grass between the sidewalk and street in front of my house.

      If this is between the sidewalk and someone’s house, well, that seems rude. And you know, trespassing.

    • Even having a fenced-in yard isn’t a total alternative. Some house-trained dogs (mine included) will hesitate to do their bidness in their yard. They may perceive it as an extension of the house they’ve been trained to avoid using as a toilet, especially if their daily routine includes going on walks to places that clearly aren’t in the “don’t-go” zone.

  • In limited doses, urine (human, dog, other animal) serves as a fertilizer (same thing with poo). The main ingredient in urine is also the main ingredient in fertilizer (nitrogen). So, when grass/plants die from too much dog urine, it’s because they’ve been over-fertilized. And, if the landowner applies fertilizer themselves, then it’s a double-whammy. So, it’s not the dog pee that kills plants per se, it’s the volume of dog pee, and also, the addition of fertilizer.
    This is of limited value to the conversation, and doesn’t offer any solutions to these neighbors, I’m aware. The use of the blanket statement “dog pee kills plants” just irks me.

  • This sign is posted on a tree in the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street. That block (or at least that side of the block) is very, very shaded by large leafy trees, so I’ve always thought that has something to do with why the grass doesn’t flourish. I still try to keep my dog from peeing there, all else being equal.

  • Talking about private property, I recently looked at the plat for my house and I only own the first 3 feet outside the wall of my house. The next 10 feet or so are city property, well inside my hedge and the sidewalk. Don’t tell dog owners.

  • I guess I’ll have to be the contrarian here… I agree with the person who posted the sign. If the volume of dog urine on this homeowner’s lawn is such that his grass cannot grow, then the dogowners need to adjust!

  • I used to rent a room in Woodley Park and once came across a poop shaming sign that read “Did your dog do this? Shame!!” Shame wad underlined too. The sign was staked in the ground right above the poop. Too funny I had to take a pic, idk how to post it here otherwise I would gladly share.

  • Cities used to have “curb your dog” signs, which mean have them pee in the street next to the curb – not on the sidewalk, buildings, or grass. Makes sense to meet

  • If it’s a tree box or other public space – sorry, but that’s not yours. My dog peed in the same tree box outside my door three times a day for like 5 years, then I had a new neighbor move in and plant flowers and ask me to stop using it. Sorry, but no.
    .
    If it’s private property (and I doubt it is), then absolutely not okay to let your dog go there.

    • Why be rude and let your dog pee on the flowers? Just move him/her to the next uncared-for tree box. It’s not that hard to be a good neighbor

      • Why be rude and plant your flowers in my dog’s toilet for the last 6 years? Maybe don’t walk into neighborhood and comandeer public space for yourself that is inconsistent with the preexisting use. I mean, go ahead, but my dog is going to tell you what she thinks of your handy work – three times daily.

    • Blithe

      If it’s a tree box or other public space – it belongs to all of us, so it’s interesting that you prioritize your dog’s habits, and, perhaps your own, over someone else’s efforts to make the neighborhood that you/we share a nicer place.
      – Like others, I wonder when — and why — curbing one’s dogs stopped being the common practice.

      • What exactly do you (and people in general) mean by “curbing one’s dog”? I know I don’t know exactly what it means, but I don’t get the sense that everyone else uses it to mean the same thing. Also, my guess (as with all things ‘common’) is that the practice of curbing one’s dog was probably never all that common.

        • Blithe

          Many years ago, our family dog was trained to go to the street side of the curb to urinate and defecate, rather than using the tree boxes or where ever. This seemed to be a common practice, at least in neighborhoods where I encountered other dog walkers. This no longer seems to be as common — and I wonder if it changed as parking became tighter, or streets became more congested with faster moving traffic, so that it became less safe to do this, or if there were other factors that influenced any changes in this practice.

          • So the dog is doing his business *in* the street, or next to the street? Maybe PoP should do a poll asking whether people think that’s common. I’ve heard talk of it but I’ve never gotten the impression that this was a particularly widespread practice, especially for people who grew up in places without curbs and sidewalks (inc. a decent chunk of the DC suburbs). Also it sounds like it would take a lot of work to train your dog to do this, and, well, you know…

      • I think dogs make the neighborhood a nicer place. Not small patches of languishing grass. I think lots of my neighbors might agree with me. But it’s interesting that you prioritize your values over ours.

        • Dogs and nicely maintained treeboxes don’t have to be an either/or.

        • Blithe

          If you read my comment carefully, you’ll notice that I commented on U Streeter’s priorities — rather than stating what my own might be. So, it’s also interesting that you made the assumption that you did, and also that you used your assumptions about your neighbors to bolster your own assumptions.

  • I’m sorry, but why do animal owners feel that it’s okay to urinate on people’s private property? I pay a lot of money for landscaping and feel that the selfish “well, my animal has to go somewhere’ position wrong. Find a park or somewhere else to have your animal relive themselves in. Maybe I’ll follow you home and relieve myself on your property.

    • Guess what, Trip? It’s not private property. (Also, “curbing one’s dogs” as that phrase is apparently being used here is not a thing, and it will never be. Anyone who suggests otherwise has never had a dog.)

  • Put a sign on the grass that says “Pesticides, keep off”. Problem solved.

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