Back Yard Potty Setup- Pea Gravel? Astroturf? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
Diane
 
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Back Yard Potty Setup- Pea Gravel? Astroturf?

We have a completely dug-up, small (about 18 x 40) back yard and less than 5 weeks to at least get the potty area in.

My husband excavated most of the old sod last year - by hand with a shovel - god knows why he didn't rent a sod cutter, apparently he likes a challenge. Last week he rototilled everything, including what was left of the weedy sod, so we pretty much have a blank slate.

Somehow we are hoping to combine in this tiny space a veggie garden, newly sodded area for play and tight RLH, and a potty area. Since the potty zone has to be fairly small if we want to keep a clean area for playing and food-growing, I am thinking of using either pea gravel or astroturf-type material in a contained section just off the driveway, since I don't think grass will survive the daily peeing in that small of a space (no more than about 5 x 5 feet).

Does anyone have experience with either of these materials for that purpose? My breeder uses pea gravel as of recent months/years and says she wishes she would have done it sooner. I think with proper drainage and a bacteria-eating enzyme occasionally, that could be a good solution. I have heard some dogs will eat the pea gravel, though, and that's why I was considering some type of astroturf - apparently it's used in dog runs at boarding kennels, etc., and cleans up well. We will have to shovel snow off of it in the winter, too.

Any ideas or alternate suggestions would be much appreciated!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 01:26 PM
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We used pea gravel and while Pepper enjoyed chasing and grabbing rocks as a puppy, he never had any mouth interest in the layer of them laid down in his special place. The first thing he did when we let him out there was go pee in the rocks. Good boy. After a couple months he became more interested in the dirt area and outdoor rugs (spread to keep him relatively clean). So, if we had to do it over, I would make the pee/poo area separate from the rest so he would always go only there. We do shovel it in winter (ended up throwing some rocks in the lawn ): ) and hand clean out the leaf debris.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Laura, thanks for the reply! I think, too, that it's best to have her potty area confined to just one spot because the yard is so small, and I don't want to be worrying about "land mines" everywhere. Hopefully she won't object to the feeling of gravel under her feet. I'm not sure if she will be used to anything but paper when I bring her home, but I imagine she'll get the hang of it.

I called a landscape company about doing the re-sodding part and described what I wanted to do with the doggy potty area. They apparently have installed the astroturf stuff for other people with dogs, so I'm waiting to hear back about their suggestions with that as an alternate. Probably both materials have benefits and drawbacks.

I was originally thinking of setting up a covered litterbox system on the deck for bad weather so I could just let her out quickly without access to the yard and driveway, but I don't see any easy way to clean that. We will just have to both tough it out in a back yard potty, rain or shine. I have to accompany her until we can spend the money on new fencing and reconfigure the deck and steps so she can't wander to areas where I can't see her from the window.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 01:46 PM
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We had peagravel in our dog run area. And at first it was a great idea, but then I learned that scooping not-so-firm poops out of peagravel is a real pain! Plus I ended up scooping up alot of the gravel while I was scooping up the poop. I also found it hard to keep clean and "sanitary". While I have multiple dogs, and you will have just one, this might not be a problem for you. We have recently switched over to astroturf. I really wanted the "artifical grass" but that just wasn't in our budget right now. I really, really really like the astroturf. (Hubby got cheap rolls of it at HomeDepot). It's so much easier to scoop poop off of. I hose it down a couple times a week, and then use a watering can to put deodorizer on it-
Hope this helps~


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 01:48 PM
and Murphy & Gracie too!
 
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We don't have a problem with land mines since we pick up after them. They have such small poos that it's easy, we buy the small poo bags and keep the big trash can by the fence. Much easier than trying to go out and clean up once a week or so. It's not much of a bother at all.

That's nice that you're redoing your backyard though! Very exciting!

Ann-Scooter, Murphy, & Gracie's Mom
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Katie. Yeah, if there are squishy poops, that could be an issue.....What problems exactly were you having in keeping the pea gravel clean vs. the astroturf? (if you don't mind sharing the gory details.) Like just getting squishy poop out from between the rocks, or was the urine and drainage and issue, as well?

The other problem with using the lawn for this is my husband tends to put off the mowing and it gets quite long sometimes, so I think we are going to have to have a designated surface that is not natural, growing sod.

What I'm also wondering about is how to hose it down and clean it on those months of the year where it's freezing temps at night and we can't leave the hose hooked up. Really from about November through most of March, cleaning just about any surface would be difficult to impossible. We had freezing rain and snow last night.

My last concern is if they are pottying in the same small area all the time and walking through where they pooped a couple hours earlier, they must be getting some traces of it on their feet, even if I've picked it up. I'm just a little germophobic that way, considering they are all over the furniture. Still, I think containing the potty area is a better idea than free-peeing/pooping anywhere in the yard, so I know where it's clean to run around and not near my vegetables. She'd better not pee on my salad greens...!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 06:23 PM
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Diane, about the bad weather options, we made something very simple -
We put an x-pen on the deck, right beside the door, braced to the housewall and deck bench. Made it a rectangle and bought a clear plex 4x6' sheet from Home Depot. Put that on top, arched, held with bungies. Put a pee box and pee pad under that. If it's nasty (snow or rain), I crack the door, open the x-pen and he pops out there to pee (or in the snow at the outer edge). If we have a big outdoor party and I want the whole deck, I can dismantle it in a couple minutes. I liked the clear plex because it is really not noticeable. Guests don't look out the dining room windows and see an ugly 'thing' on the deck.

About cleaning the pea gravel - wellll, it basically rains all the time in Seattle (: Plus Pepper has full blown coprofagia so i jump right out there to pick up!

Here are pics - the xpen, attached steps down to the ground, the mat and gravel area
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg DSCN7205a.jpg (139.4 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN7206a.jpg (202.4 KB, 15 views)

Last edited by Laurasch; 03-30-2009 at 06:32 PM. Reason: added photos
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Laura, how does that work with driving rain and drifting snow, since ex-pens are open? Is it a plastic ex-pen or a wire one? that could be a good solution!

I'm still trying to figure out how to train her to primarily use the potty area down in the yard, but somehow know that a covered deck potty with a pee pad is still an option in bad weather, as is a litter box with a pad inside the house in a pinch - i.e. middle of the night, or if we are gone too long, etc.

I gotta think that is a lot for her to understand, but maybe a pee pad is the common thread. I may even take the pad out to the gravel or turf area in the yard for awhile. If I accompany her to as many of those potty breaks as I can and give her the command and praise, maybe it'll all click eventually. I just don't want to confuse her.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 06:48 PM
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Diane-
Have you seen these?
http://porchpotty.com/porch-potty-systems.html
There's one that even has it's own sprinkler attachement and you set it to go on each night and rinse itself off. Expensive, but nifty.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 06:53 PM
Laura
 
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If the driving and drifting comes from the open side directions, I imagine it could get in quite easily. Ours is fairly protected by the house.

I think you're right about the pee pad and accompanying her being the common threads. I did that for Pepper and he seemed clear on the concept despite multiple 'locations' (although never in the house, I think it's always clearer/easier to understand if it's never okay 'in the house') .
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