What does your dog do when there’s so much snow or rain, that going outside is distasteful, if not downright hazardous? We have a wrap-around deck and when the snow melts it becomes nautical. That’s right, it’s a poop-deck. Charity Marie Doggie-Dog is not going to muddy her paws or freeze her tail out in the snow and ice, so when we’re not looking she does her thing in the snow on the deck. She has never been trained not to do this; we sympathize with her plight. Anyway, it’s easy enough to clean with a garden rake.
If this problem is a concern, there is a solution. Astroturf for dogs, it’s named Potty Patch and is an American Kennel Club product, distributed by Eagle Eye Marketing Group in Toronto. Potty Patch is a “three tier system,” consisting of a collection tray, a grate, and a rectangle of artificial grass.
The idea behind it is that sometimes it’s just too miserable for dogs to go outside, so now they can have their own little spot to squat right in the house. I am suddenly visualizing that this is more practical for females than males. Besides being a bad weather boon, it can also be used as a training aid for puppies. (Reading the FAQs convinces one that it is primarily a training aid for puppies.)
Potty Patch comes in two sizes, regular and large. The regular size includes the items mentioned above. The large size has two grates, two trays, a large grass mat, and a connection bridge. They both come with simple instructions. How simple? “1) Place Tray in the desired location; 2) Place Grate in tray, spikes facing up (to use without grass place grate with spikes facing down); and 3) Place synthetic Grass on top.” You may choose to use absorbent training pads in conjunction with the Potty Patch. There are also cleaning instructions and helpful hints. One of the helpful hints is to “Clean your Potty Patch as needed.” That should be self-evident.
Charity Marie is five years old, and, although the Potty Patch is placed in a convenient location, she has exhibited absolutely no interest in it. She is perfectly happy with her sea-faring ways. There are also four cats in our house (Natasha, Boris, Fuzzy Lumpkins, and Fearless Leader). What we have learned from the cats is that the “Pets Love It!” label guarantees that the item will go unused.
“Now your pet can go when he needs to!” reads the blurb on the box. I know that there are dogs that will not have accidents in the house; they would rather explode than relieve themselves on mummy and daddy’s carpets. Charity Marie, on the other hand, "goes when she needs to." If we’re not attuned to her entreaties, our next call will be to the bio-hazard removal team.
The artificial turf is “antimicrobial” and “odor-resistant.” Potty Patch (“as seen on TV”) seems more practical for liquid waste than solid, and the collection tray will hold one gallon. Let me repeat that—one gallon! The whole thing is “so easy to clean, just rinse with soapy water.” It may be used indoors or out. If your dog won’t use its Potty Patch, you can treat it (the patch, not the dog) with a pheromone spray, but if the Potty Patch is used by your pet, it cannot be returned.
By favorite bit of information regarding Potty Patch is a warning that appears on the instruction sheet: “DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE POTTY PATCH IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO KEEP ALL CHILDREN AWAY FROM THE POTTY PATCH.” Surely you understand why the manufacturer felt it necessary to use all caps.
I think that the yuck factor involved in clean up(I’m not sure about carrying a trayful of dog urine through the house) is enough for me to allow Charity Marie to continue to do her own thing. Since she has no interest in Potty Patch, I can’t offer a useful recommendation regarding adult dogs, one way or the other. It does seem like a better alternative to newspapers spread all over the floor for puppy-training, though. Should I ever be in a situation where there’s a puppy to be trained, I would definitely try the Potty Patch method first.
Would I buy Potty Patch? No, not for Charity Marie.