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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Beachy

Avoid Flying Poop!

Updated: Aug 14, 2022

Imagine! You just stopped to clean your dog’s mess during a walk. Removing the potty bag, you fill with fear. The thoughts flood your head, "The moment I bend to scoop, and gingerly attempt a knot in this bag filled with poop will be the moment the leash and poop go flying!" Your dog will be in hot pursuit of a squirrel and you will have lost control of the bag! There has never been a moment you want your dog to know, understand, and follow the “stay” cue more than in this moment during your walk! Am I right? Do you avoid walks for this very reason?

Before I help sort out how you will pick-up your dog’s potty, worry-free of having it flung on you, let me have a “squirrel” moment and tell you about the importance of walks in general! Dogs need mental stimulation and physical exercise every day! We’ve probably all heard of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs from his paper in the 1940’s “A Theory of Human Motivation.” If not, in a concise explanation, we need each level of needs fulfilled to progress and ultimately achieve “self-actualization” in other words, reach our potential. (Cherry, Very Well Mind, 14 Feb 22, accessed 3 Jul 22, This is similar for dogs.

“Respected behavioral analyst, Susan Friedman developed and titled a model for behavior intervention and training canines, “Humane Hierarchy.” The first level is to make sure the wellness needs of a dog (nutritional and physical) are met to move through the levels of the hierarchy and achieve training goals.” (Animal Behavior College Inc., Dog Obedience Instructor Program (Book One), 2020) This includes physical exercise and mental stimulation; some of the basic needs of wellness for a dog.

Self-reflect here: What do you need to get through your day happily and successfully? The variety of answers are limitless. I’m sure these will include physical movement and something the get your mind moving! How do you react if these needs aren’t met? Are you grouchy, unmotivated, frustrated…etc.? While humans and canines are very different, this would be an area of similarity; needs met make us happier and more productive whether canine or human!

OK, now onto the training tip! The fear can be overwhelming that the moment you have picked up that pile of mess, and if your dogs are the size of the Beachy Biggins it may take two hands, that is the moment a squirrel will dart in front of your dog. Your dog will quickly be convinced that they need to save the world and catch that furry, speedy creature. All the while, they’ve yanked your arm steadying the bag, and flung poop like an exploding ball of confetti!

Let me spare you the anxiety-filled moment right here! Step on the leash! It’s that simple! They won’t be able to move and you can safely conduct business without incident. This has the potential to be a training moment too! If your dog is still struggling to move about, simply ignore the behavior. Funny, we as humans do things a little backwards with dogs sometimes. We will often ignore good behavior and “scold” bad behavior. In actuality, when we scold them, they are getting attention. This could scare them, or it could provide attention and reinforce what they are doing. While standing on the leash, when your dog stands still, you can let them know “good stay!” You CATCH THEM DOING RIGHT! Be sure to add a treat with that praise.

SAFETY Alert! This can also be a safety tip! I have seen people fumbling with potty bags and holding the leash while near a busy road. This poses a hazard to you and your pet. If you lose hold of the leash, your dog could run into the road and be hurt. Perhaps they are large enough to pull you too! By standing on that leash and keeping you dog steady, you could be preventing injury to yourself and your dog!

Happy walking with your best friend!

Alohas, Barks, and Howls,

Melanie Beachy

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