Dog waste


Forum Addict
Jun 16, 2007
Americans - what's the etiquette for walking a dog in a residential neighborhood? Obviously the dog will go #1 and #2 on various lawns (of course you pick up the latter) - do homeowners mind this?

I've seen a few properties with signs asking dog owners to keep their pets off the grounds. I don't really understand why though. #1 seeps right into the ground and #2 gets bagged and carried away, so what's the issue? The only explanation I've really been able to come across is that #1 is acidic and can create spots on the lawn but wild animals are going to do that anyways - we have a lot of deer and coyotes in the area and obviously they do their business wherever they feel like.

At least those houses are asking politely but what about the houses that have no signage?
My parents have had dogs for 15ish years and have never had issues with anyone, nor have they had any issues with the neighborhood dogs on their lawn. I personally have never seen the signs you're referencing - only signs that ask people and dogs to keep off the lawn after its been fertilized or something.
Enough people ignore their basic responsibilities to clean things up that it is annoying. There are also people that want nothing to do with animals.

Then there is a property owners right to be left alone, and free from trespassers.
My neighborhood is mostly old people. They don't give rats ass. One house has a couple of mastiffs and I've watched the old later look around while her dog drops a load to see if anyone is looking... I pick up Hank's loads and even have a little bag roll thing attached to his leash to avoid forgetting. Springtime will suck as you'll find quite a bit along the sidewalks in people's yards.
I'm guessing that people don't usually have a fence around their front yard? That's common here and if somebody's dog jumps the fence and craps on the lawn you're allowed to kill it, cook it and offer it to the queen for consumption.

Okay so I might've made that last bit up.
The thing is dog's don't just pee to relieve themselves, it's also about communication and territory. Smell is much more important a sense to them compared to us. It's why a dog will hang its head out of a car window at any opportunity; it's a smorgasbord of new scents as you drive along and their equivalent of binge-watching a new show on Netflix.

The thing is if you're a home-owner with a nicely manicured front lawn, once one dog goes there the rest will follow and it can get smelly so I can understand you not wanting that in your front yard.

As for the dumps you should pick it up and dispose of it properly. Dog turds harbour all kinds of nasties.
You might also find that in many cities here the small run of grass between the sidewalk and the roadway is considered public right of way (and/or utility right of way) regardless of the property behind the sidewalk being privately owned. Often those same places also put care of that strip on the property owner behind it, too. In any case that means because it's public right of way the property owner can't really restrict other people from "using" it. This would obviously differ for the proper front yards behind the sidewalks which would be private property regardless of being fenced in or not (though there would be an argument to be made whether it's trespassing if the yard isn't fenced- I can't be bothered to find legal precedent).

In any case the general etiquette back where I'm from is basically the common- clean up after you pet, and don't let them go in someone's proper front yard if at all possible. Technically there are also leash laws requring dogs be on them at all times outside a fenced area, but usually nobody cared as long as the dogs were well behaved. When we'd be outside doing something back home the Labs we had would come out with it and just lay around off leash in our yards. They were friendly and never caused a problem on their own. The cat which adopted my parents now likes to lay out on the sidewalk in the sun while they're out there now, too. Makes for good people watching to see which of the college students stop and pet her while she's out there.
Over here it's pretty clear - dogs have to be walked on a leash, pee is okay, crap has to be picked up, otherwise there's a fine.