Our favorite four-legged friends demonstrate a multitude of instinctive behaviors. Sometimes they make us laugh, like the frenzied lawn roll, or the enthusiastic scratching after a well-deserved potty break. While we find these behaviors cute, the truth is that some of these behaviors are built deep into our dog's instincts. Understanding our dog's natural tendencies can help us be better pet owners as we learn to provide opportunities for our dogs to behave like dogs were meant to behave. In fact, understanding a dog's instincts can even help when it comes to potty training or housebreaking.
Dogs Love for Real Grass
According to research, dogs are instinctively clean and would prefer not to potty where they sleep or eat. That is why, when we introduce our dogs to fresh grass, they instinctively understand that it is a safe place to do their business, mark, or have a romp. For dogs, real grass, dirt, and bushes are full of scents that are both attractive and intriguing.
Our furry friends are drawn to the smells of the great outdoors and the feel of cool grass on their paws. In fact, even their paws—which sweat and secrete dog-specific odors—leave behind a kind of mark, which is why some dogs love to scratch and throw dirt in the air after they have relieved themselves.
City dwelling dogs even demonstrate this natural draw to fresh earth when they opt to potty in planter boxes and green spaces rather than sidewalks and cement. Fresh, green grass is a dog's ideal space.
Potty Training with Pee Pads vs Fresh Grass
Using the instinctive nature of dogs when potty training, pet owners and dog trainers alike find that their dogs more naturally veer toward using grass. In fact, the potty training process speeds up when owners avoid the use of pee pads. While the indoor potty pads may seem like the best option for training that new puppy or avoiding indoor accidents, the truth is that pee pads actually can confuse dogs.
Dogs learn to use a pad—or anything that looks like a pad—instead of waiting for their trip outside. This confuses them about where they are actually meant to pee. Putting potty pads in a crate to try to avoid messes in the house can also be an issue. The pad becomes a chewing hazard, among other things. Dogs also tend to avoid overused pads, opting for a cleaner option like the living room rug. When a pad is placed too close to their eating or sleeping areas, they will naturally want to avoid the pad altogether.
The fastest way to train a new dog is to teach them to go outside. And your dog will catch on quickly because it is already in their nature to go outside! How do dogs know to use grass? Despite being a natural instinct, some studies indicate that dogs are as smart as your two-year-old. The average dog can learn 165 words (and some can learn as many as 250 words) and they can also understand hand gestures and signals. When you show them where it is ok to do their business, they catch on quickly.
The Fresh Grass Alternative to Going Outside
Whether you are in the midst of potty training your new puppy or your dog is well versed in the art of going outside, the option to get to fresh grass for potty breaks isn't always available. Dog owners living in city high rises can relate to the difficulty in finding fresh grass for their dog for the everyday potty outings.
Those with elderly dogs or limited mobility can also struggle to get their dogs outside to a fresh lawn on a regular basis. If pee pads aren't an ideal indoor dog potty, how do dog owners provide a natural potty that balances their dog's instincts with the need to stay indoors? Some pet owners opt for fake grass solutions in both potty training and other situations that require indoor potties. While dogs can be trained to use the fake alternative, they still tend to avoid surfaces that lack natural scents and can become saturated and unclean.
Owners wishing to maintain the natural instinct of their dog's behavior choose options such as DoggieLawn. The real grass pad provides a natural, odor-free space and helps reinforce the inherent instinct of your pet. When dogs are at home for long hours or can't go outside due to inclimate weather, a real grass pad gives them an option that they understand instead of one that causes confusion or inhibits training.
Dogs love grass! It is in their nature and by offering them a fresh place to potty, dog owners can quickly encourage proper housebreaking while also providing an indoor potty alternative that dogs will naturally choose.