Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Doggie Lawn

Many people who would like to have a dog choose not to because they believe their living situation doesn’t allow it. People who live in apartments or condominiums without yards and those who leave their house empty for hours every work day may be particularly hesitant.

As the owner of a geriatric beagle, I was intrigued by the Doggie Lawn concept. Sadie has never been fully housebroken—she will go inside when left alone for many hours—and having a patch of grass indoors for her to use was quite appealing. As she’s gotten older (our best guess is 14, but she was a rescue dog so we do not know for certain), she has taken to peeing inside sometimes even when we’re here.

First things first: Doggie Lawn delivers exactly what it promises. If you sign up for this subscription service, you will get a patch of hydroponically-grown grass once a month, or more often if you desire. You can lay it down in your chosen location for your dog to use when needed.

The product is high quality. It arrives fresh and green and healthy. Because it’s not traditional sod, the growth medium is clean.

To use, you detach the top of the box by cutting the tape, and leave the grass inside the lower half. That provides a frame and a base for it. Place it in a location your dog can reach, and throw it away when the grass begins to turn brown.

I give the product an A+. My dog, however, is another story.

When my Doggie Lawn arrived, I learned the first lesson other buyers need to know: Open it quickly. I was not quite ready to begin training Sadie with it, and so it sat in the box for a couple of weeks before I opened it, and once I did I discovered it had all turned brown.

The company generously sent out a new one, and I set it up right away. The grass is rooted in a soil-like growth medium, but it is not actual dirt, so there is no risk of bringing in bugs or worms with it.

Following the company’s guidelines, I placed the box in an area that Sadie had already used, so that it would not automatically seem out of bounds. Then I introduced her to it by calling her over to it. When she sniffed and discovered there were no treats to be had, she started to walk away disappointed.

Just... no.
I picked her up and set her on the grass, to show her that getting on it was acceptable. She looked disturbed and stepped off as soon as I let go (so no picture).

I tried again. She hid under the coffee table.

Doggie Lawn provides a set of training guidelines, and even offers live training support if you need it. Many, maybe most, dogs will eventually learn to use the grass. However, some dogs are going to be more easily trained to use it than others, and some—especially old, stubborn beagles—may never get the point.

I followed the training tips the company provides, including scenting the grass with her own urine and trying to associate it in her beagley mind with urination time. We even tried putting a leaf onto it so it felt more like her familiar outdoor environment (our own idea, and it didn't work). She went on the floor near the box a couple of times, but seemed to continue to regard the Doggie Lawn itself as off-limits. After two weeks of this, I concluded she just wasn’t going to make the connection. 

I want to emphasize, though, that the failure was mine and the dog's, not the product.

I think Doggie Lawn would be most effective for puppies and young dogs who can be trained to use it from an early age. If you’re an apartment dweller with a puppy, the product should work quite well for you. If you have a housebroken dog who is several years old, it might or might not, depending on how open-minded the dog is.

Disposal is easy: The box is recyclable. The grass should be thrown in the trash if it has been used. If your dog is also a hard case like mine, unused Doggie Lawn should be compostable.

Doggie Lawn offers two sizes and monthly or twice-monthly delivery. Prices vary depending on location, with higher prices for addresses farther from the company’s southern California headquarters.  Once a month delivery of the small box (which is what I received) starts at $29 per month, and large once a month delivery of  the large box starts at $39 per month.

If you’re considering getting a dog but circumstances such as not having a yard, or being away from home all day, are causing you to hesitate, Doggie Lawn might provide a solution.

Doggie Lawn Website
Doggie Lawn on Facebook

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  1. hahahaha, I would actually be quite interested in if this would work. My dogs are bigger, which is my hang up with it, but there is a part of the house they insist on peeing in no matter how often we let them outside...

    1. For yours, you'd want the larger one (this was the smaller version) and you know, given that they don't have any grass outside either, they would likely LOVE this, whether you had it in the house or out on the back patio.

  2. This cracks me up. Could totally be a skit on Saturday Night Live. However, I have heard that it does work, and works well for people that live in condos and such.

    1. This was totally a fail on the part of our dog, Sadie, and not the product! She is a Dog with Issues. lol.

  3. Poor Sadie. I've always wondered about these products, especially for smaller dogs who have a hard time holding it. I wonder if you trained them on it from a puppy if it would work better. Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


  4. What a great idea! I will have to give it a try...I mean Jack our Chihuahua will have to give it a try! TFS

  5. I've always wondered about this product - thanks for sharing. I found you on the Serenity Saturday blog hop.

  6. I've seen the doggie indoor potty areas with the fake grass, but I know my own dogs are confused by it. This is a great idea. I know my dogs like to eat grass at times (especially when they have an upset tummy), and fake grass doesn't help that. I think even my cats would enjoy this.

  7. I admit it made me laugh at first. But I bet it would help puppies associate grass (outdoors) with going to the bathroom.