pick up dog poop flow chart

It's winter. Your dog has pooped. What now?

pooping pugNow that the winter weather has gotten cranked up, we figured it would be a good time to address an issue that seems plop down around the end of each year: dog poop.

Uh, why are you bringing up dog poop? Good question! As the cold weather sets in each winter and the snow accumulates, we notice that piles of dog poop start gathering along streets in the Capital Region. (It's kind of hard to miss, given that it's a high-contrast item in the snow.) And these forlorn turds then freeze into unfortunate poopsicles -- which are a real treat come spring.

Well, we've thought a lot about this issue. And we finally came to the conclusion that winter somehow impairs the ability of some people to make good decisions about whether they should pick up their dog's poop.

So, we're here to help. We've constructed a flow chart to assist citizens of the Capital Region in their decision-making process on the all important question: "It's winter. My dog has pooped. What now?"

The flow chart is in wide screen above. Scroll up.

Here's a pdf version for easy printing.

photo: Flickr user tuppus


I need to laminate this and post it in my yard.


I'm going to post this all over my neighborhood.

This is a necessary post. Thank you AoA!
and hey.. guy with two large dogs who just moved to the 100 block of Lancaster, can we talk for a minute? First, welcome to the block. We have a great block! We've got students, lobbyists, immigrants, state workers, legislative aides, artists, lawyers, musicians, carpenters, culinarians, shut-ins/hoarders, nosey old ladies, and a forensic biologist. We've even got some peeps who predate the Plaza! We're all working on trying to know each other, and respect each other, and respect our neighborhood and this great city. We also have you. Which brings me to the second thing: Since you moved here, the ratio of "clean" sidewalk to steaming piles and grainy smears has rapidly been approaching an awful kind of fecal singularity. With the sidewalks narrowing for the winter, this condition is untenable.
We already had to spend all summer with the sick, aging dog guy whose best friend leaves a 6 foot diameter, many-layered, reeking urine stain that requires a detour into the street to avoid. That was bad enough. You're making a bad situation much worse. Our block now looks like East Berlin, where they very clearly (if you've ever visited) have no dog poop law. Nobody wants that, just like nobody wants obsessive, Lady Di like photo coverage of their every dog walk.. but, we're really tired of your inconsiderate antics, and we will start photographing you and sending the pictures to the APD. I think it's a hundred bucks a pop. That's two Nintendo games your spoiled nephew won't receive from you for Christmas. So clean up your act buddy! and again, Welcome to lower Lancaster!

We need to start a dogpoop DNA database. Whenever you get a license for your dog, leave some hair and a blood sample. The city can go around taking DNA from all those brown landmines and charge the whole expense to whoever left it there. Dogpoop problem solved!

I live in Salt Lake City, UT in an apartment complex, where they provide ten, yes TEN different spots where you can get a poop bag and there's a trash right there. But every night as I walk my dog, and throw his poop in the provided spots, I come home with poop on my shoes. WHAT THE CRAP? Literally. It's just laziness. No matter where you are. Pick up the poop people!!!

And yes, I will be posting this flowchart all over my complex as I'm walking my dog this evening.

I actually think it's easier to pick up my dogs poop in the winter. The poop is on the snow and it's easier to pick up all the poop because it's not stuck to the grass or anything.

Dive: Not sure the DNA idea would hold up in court. The way dogs rub their noses and/or eat each other's poop, there's some serious DNA mixing going on.

This is genius. I don't have a dog so hey, but I find flowcharts really helpful to deal with my own problems.

@AOA - You have outdone yourselves! Love the flowchart.

We got a dog this past summer. I was never a "dog person", but now I am. I love having a dog in my family. I love walking my dog. I love when my dog looks up at me when she's behaved correctly -- all proud of herself. I love when she comes to cuddle with me. It's the best!

And, I can even handle the picking up the poop part of dog ownership. Picking up after her is an easy exchange for all of the boundless unconditional love I receive.

I think the assumption that leaving poop behind is a winter phenomenon is giving the poop-leavers people too much credit. Now that I'm out there walking my dog 3 times a day -- I notice ALL THE POOP THAT IS LEFT BEHIND -- I noticed it in the summer and the fall. It's quite astonishing. If you aren't walking a dog, you probably don't notice it as much in the spring, summer and fall when there's no bright white snow to show off those prize piles.

I have to wonder who these poop-leavers are. All the dog owners that I run into seem so responsible. Do they really forget to bring bags every time they leave their house? And how do they live with themselves?

This should be a billboard!

As a former non-dog person converted into a dog person (hey--what can I say--it happened after we got the kind of dog we used to laugh at--ie silly little dog) I can offer some excellent poop related advice: feed your pal the BEST dog food money can buy and no I don't mean the best supermarket dog chow, but primo Pet Supplies Plus dog vittles like Wellness etc. They eat less, poop less and the poop that they produce is compact, easy to pick up and barely has a smell. Most life long dog people probably know this, but just putting it out there.

Leah is right that people do it all of the time, but the winter does have a higher incidence rate. I think its because (a) people let their dogs walk far enough away that they would have to climb over a snowbank to do their ownerly duty and (b) people don't want to have to dig for it. As the owner of a puppy who loves "poopsicles," I hate these people. Even good dog owners have had to leave a poop behind on rare occasions due to running out of bags, but, while I'm certainly not an expert in poop identification, I see what looks like evidence of repeat offenders on our regular route. It should be legal to pelt these people with snowballs.

@Dove and Paul, This American Life just did a story on Dog DNA gathering for identification of poop!

My dog also loves poopsickles, and if he eats too many he will eventually regurgitate the most disgusting, heinous slop of which my feeble mind can barely conceive. I also refer to this as "learning the hard way," so now I watch him diligently when he's playing and sniffing around. But I digress.
DJdubJay, your comment was hilarious. Have you considered making a sign of your speech and posting it on poles? Perhaps putting it in mail slots?

Dear middle-aged woman with three adorable pugs,

This means you! I can see your dogs pooping on the front lawn of my student ghetto apartment from my window.

Brilliant and poignant, AOA! As previous commenters have suggested, this should be laminated and displayed prominently all over town.

It really is a serious problem that people don't pick up poop. I think it's like my civic duty as a dog walker to pick up additional poop that is left around (or maybe I'm just worried we will get a bad wrap like..."look at this shit! I bet its those dog walkers"!) I was all excited when the poop bags in Washington Park began having "10 Reasons to pick up your dog's poop" on them, but then of course the people that were using them were already picking up their dogs' poop.

@Rebecca is absolutely right that feeding a good diet is crucial. It really is terrible when you are walking a dog who poops four times during the walk, with each one getting progressively more pudding-like and hard to clean up. Good quality food makes for healthy poops that are easy to pick up!

And @Leah Golby is right that this isn't just a winter phenomenon. Autumn is the worst when all the leaves are down and people find it acceptable to leave the poop because it's camouflaged or they can kick some leaves on top to cover it. I can't tell you how much poop ends up on my shoes because of this heinous crime.

So what is the solution? I'd say more bags and trash cans, but clearly that alone won't work. Perhaps increased enforcement, or at least the illusion of it (fake cameras everywhere with a "Did YOU pick up your dog's poop?" sign underneath?). And maybe the punishment should fit the crime--poop offenders have to do community service hours picking up poop (with their bare hands!?)

I think the poop fumes have gotten to my head...

I recently bought one of those little baggie dispensers that clips right onto my pooch's leash, so I'm never caught bagless. We've all had those moments - we suddenly realize we forgot a bag or, worse, you brought a bag but now your dog's gone again. Having them neatly attached to the leash really helps.

I agree that if you don't pick up after your dog, you're a huge jerk.. but I wonder if a lot of these poop piles are the result of stray dogs more than neglectful owners. The white snow/brown poop contrast makes it easier to notice then when it's summer or fall when it all blends together. Maybe. Just a thought. Who knows. Nice chart though.


Pelting them with snowballs sounds like a good idea, but can we arrange for a little "surprise" inside? Perhaps returning something of theirs that they forgot to pick up wrapped in a nice snowy exterior? A few pelts of snow-poo-balls should convince the non-poo-picker-uppers that they really should pick up that poo.

Sadly, I have a feeling that hitting someone with dog-poo-filled snowballs would lead to charges. Even if the dog poo came from that person's dog. So I don't recommend doing it. No matter how good it would feel to see instant karma in action.

Were the streets of Albany flooded with poop in the olden days (15 years ago) before people started picking up after their dogs?

I may need to post this in the Hudson Park for all the dog walkers out there!

In really cold weather, a bagful of poop makes a great handwarmer!

8ehog that is more true then i would like to admit. ewwww

I think I need to post this chart all along Madison Avenue between South Lake and New Scotland on the Washington Park side. So many lazy dog owners who refuse to pick up the poop. At Robin, there is a trash can and poop bags yet owners still leave the poop right next to it. How lazy is that!

And to the tenants in those buildings at Madison and Robin - I see many of you cross over and go in the park with your dogs but you never come out with any poop bags! Your landlord, the doctor, would not be happy if he knew this. We all know how strict he is. That section of the park is loaded with poop everywhere. It is not your personal dog toilet. Don't wait for me to call him with a description of you and your dog.

This is awesome! Great comments. I'd like to include the flow chart and a link to the PDF on our (Chicago) South Poop blog. Thanks!

This is genius!!

Thank you so much for posting it and giving us a great laugh as well as making such a good point to see.

Lots of jerks round where we live in Burton-on-Trent I am afriad....we never seem to catch anyone in the act but we certainly find the evidence.

Life With Dogs blog made me aware of this post through their Facebook page - but I shall include a link back over here from my blog later on.

Love, Winnie

not in Southern California!

Aaah, Albany is about to have a warm spell this week and the snow will melt. And, the many piles of dog poop will appear like jewels on the streets of Albany.

Picking up the poop and then throwing the bag of poop on the ground does not count as picking up after your dog. Just leave the poop at least it will decompose.

MOST PERFECT! If you are so lazy that you can't bend over in the snow to pick up the poop you shouldn't have a pet! I have two dogs and sometimes they surprise me and 'stop' more times than the number of bags I have .. so I go back. Sadly, the slobs won't read this or if they do they won't think it applies to them.

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