As a dog owner, you have a responsibility to provide the best possible care for your dog. This means choosing healthy foods, scheduling wellness checkups and sick call visits with your veterinarian, grooming your dog, exercising your dog, and…gasp!…cleaning up after your dog. While many of these services are easily outsourced, most of them are luxuries. Even owning a dog is a luxury.
Luxuries are those “nice to have” things that make life a little bit more enjoyable. They are not necessarily necessities, but they are definitely worth it if you can afford it.
With that said, many of you will be do-it-yourself pooper-scoopers. That means while luxury services like dog waste clean up professionals are available, they may not fit within your budget. It’s a dirty job most people don’t like to do, but if you’re going to be the one to do it, you need to know how to do it so it isn’t a burdensome chore.
Step 1: Select the Right Tools
Having the right tools for the job is essential to getting the job done effectively. At PetCorps, we equip our service technicians with a Corona Extendable Cultivator, a Quickie Manufacturing Jumbo Debris Pan, and Boulder 13-gallon Tall Kitchen Trash Bags with flaps (available at Aldi).
Step 2: Prepare your Equipment
Before scooping your yard, line your Jumbo Debris Pan with a 13-gallon trash bag. Ensure the bag is secure before attempting to clean up waste.
Step 3: Perform a Grid Pattern Search on your yard
Imagine your yard is overlayed with a large sheet of graphing paper. Choose a starting point in the corner of your yard. Now, imagine that as you are walking, it’s as if you are tracing a line through the center of one row of squares on the graphing paper. When you reach the opposite corner from where you started, turn to your right or left, take three steps forward, and turn to face the direction from which you came. Work your way back to the opposite end of the yard and continue this pattern until you have finished walking through the entire yard.
As you are walking each row of squares, scan your yard to the right and left and look, smell, and feel for dog waste. Look with your eyes, smell with your nose, and feel with your shoes for waste that could be hidden. After waste has had time to sit, it can harden and sometimes feels like loose rocky soil under your shoes.
As you locate the waste, use your Extendable Cultivator to lift it up out of the grass and into the jumbo debris pan.
After you have completed one scan of the yard using an east-to-west grid pattern, start at your end point and move north-to-south. To be certain that you have cleaned up all the waste from your yard, you must conduct the second pass because glare from the sun and shadows in the grass can conceal waste from different angles. Using a north-south and east-west grid pattern ensures that you’ve viewed the grass from all angles and helps you find waste you may have overlooked.
If it has been a while since you last cleaned the yard or you have more than one dog, you may need to change out trash bags from time to time. Simply release the bag from the Debris Pan, tie it off, and set in the grass to be collected at the end.
Step 4: Remove and Dispose of the Waste
When you have finished scanning the yard twice, it’s time to empty your Debris Pan. Simply pull the loose ends of the trash bag and lift the full bag out of the Debris Pan. Ensure all of the flaps are lined up and twist the bag and tie it off. Collect any other bags you have tied off and dispose of it in your trash.
Step 5: Clean your equipment
If there’s one thing that’s more gross than dog poop, it’s dirty tools that have been used to clean up dog poop. Since you are performing this job on your own yard and not going from yard to yard, the risk of spreading infectious disease is less than the risk a professional pooper scooper has. But since dog waste may transmit disease to humans, be sure to use an all purpose cleaner with bleach or hydrogen peroxide to clean the tines of the rake. Also spray your shoes to reduce the risk of spreading disease.
Determining How Often To Scoop
If you are scooping yourself, there are several ways you can achieve this.
First, you can use the bagged-hand method to clean up after your dog immediately after it has a bowel movement. This means you are going to put a bag on your hand and get up close and personal with the dog waste. Use your covered hand to grasp the waste and pull it through the bag. Tie off the bag and dispose of it in your trash.
Using the pro-scooper method outlined above in steps 1 through 5, you can scoop once a week, twice a week, or as often as you deem necessary. We recommend cleaning up dog waste at a minimum of once a week. There are some rare cases where you might want to do it less often, like once a month or once every other week, but because of the volume of waste that will accumulate over days of not being cleaned up it is best to start out at once a week as a minimum.
We hope you find these tips helpful in keeping your own yard clean. However, since there are likely better things you could be doing with your time, you might consider hiring a professional to do the dirty work for you. In Central Kentucky, we hope you’ll consider using PetCorps Professional Pet Care. However, if you are in need of a scooper in a different area, check the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (aPaws) directory or the directory at Pooper-Scooper.com.