By: Aldrin Shu
Picture this. You live alone in an apartment building. Life is enjoyable most days, but you need that something (or someone) to add some excitement to it. To make your days seem less lonely and have someone (or something) to talk to. A pet seems like a good idea: a puppy, an even better one. However, you live in an apartment swarming with other tenants that would more than love to tell on you, to the landlord, if you cross any lines. Thankfully, the landlord is a bit of a pet lover and decides to make an exception for you because you’re generally a stand-up building resident.
He says that one of the main concerns that he would have is the prospect of the pup being poorly potty trained. He also suggests a brilliant way to introduce the dog to a designated area of your flat. Success in this regard could be the key to ensuring that you achieve and keep the status of ‘dog father’ (or mother).
Fake Grass, or AstroTurf as it could be more commonly referred to, is synthetic grass generally used for sporting purposes and landscaping. Company giants such as AstroTurf and SynLawn mass manufacture artificial grass to be used in place of its natural counterpart when the need for consistency in color, length, and durability is high. In the case of your under-potty-trained pup, it is also an excellent substitute for the real thing in a few ways. It can be a great training tool to direct your furry companion to the correct place to relieve him or herself. Unlike natural grass, the synthetic nature of Astroturf allows it to withstand your pet’s bodily fluids. Fake grass is also porous enough to allow urine to pass, making it easier to clean without staining.
This grass substitute is straightforward to use. Place a large enough piece that your pup can comfortably stand on and keep it on the balcony or any other designated area of your apartment. The part of the grass should also be set inside a similar-sized rubber insert to collect whatever urine is expelled once it passes through the grass. There are also several pet products like the ones in the image that come with a piece of fake grass built into a tray or stand with easy-to-remove trays or compartments that allow for easier cleanup.
All dogs respond differently to different training applications. So now that you’ve given your pup a designated ‘Go’ place, how do you communicate this to them. Suppose your dog is used to being negatively reinforced. To learn to obey a command, wait for them to urinate somewhere within your abode and once they do, cover the puddle with newspaper and allow it to absorb. In that case, the newspaper dries up quickly, so once this happens, place the newspaper onto the designated Astroturf area and indicate to your pup that that should be where the pee needs to be. You may have to do this a few more times before they get it, but once they do, ensure to reward their good behavior, and before you know it, your dog will only do their business on their designated spot.
By using this method, you can guarantee that your well-kept apartment will continue to be kept. Other lodgings like houses could also employ this form of training to ensure that the pets maintain discipline. Homes with gardens could also benefit from a fake grass ‘bathroom’ as the chemicals in dog urine could sometimes diminish the growth or even discolor or harm its natural greenery.
Conversely, the AstroTurf method may not be as effective a solution to in-house pooping as it is peeing. The pups could use it for either job, but cleanup would be quite a hassle, and the smells accompanying the doggy feces cannot be avoided.
But all in all, provided that the pup is trained well and can understand that they have been given their spot, you could be well on your way to securing your apartment as a pet-friendly one, and maybe have a few more days, where life is enjoyable, all thanks to your furry four-legged friend.