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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

My puppy is a little over 2 weeks old today and we anticipate bringing him home mid-February.

Right now, our backyard is full of bigger rocks and dirt, as well as concrete, and we would like to take the dirt out and put in a material that will be easy on the puppy and also an easy clean up when he goes to the bathroom.

I've read online that most dog runs or areas where dogs go to the bathroom have Pea Gravel in them. Does anyone have experience with this gravel and if so, would you recommend it?

I have seen that it can be hard on some dogs feet, but this isn't always the case. I also don't want him to think these small rocks are food.

Any suggestions welcome! Thanks!
 

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When we had an outdoor dog kennel, we first used pea gravel, it was a bad idea for us. The dogs ended up digging holes and during the wet weather, there was a lot of mud, and the dogs ended up filthy.

We ended up after a couple months covering it with patio cement blocks. I think the combination of the pea gravel and the blocks made a great surface. The pea gravel underneath for drainage. We hosed it down to clean and the dogs no longer got muddy.

If I were to do it again, I would probably look into rubber mats that they use for horse stalls.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When we had an outdoor dog kennel, we first used pea gravel, it was a bad idea for us. The dogs ended up digging holes and during the wet weather, there was a lot of mud, and the dogs ended up filthy.

We ended up after a couple months covering it with patio cement blocks. I think the combination of the pea gravel and the blocks made a great surface. The pea gravel underneath for drainage. We hosed it down to clean and the dogs no longer got muddy.

If I were to do it again, I would probably look into rubber mats that they use for horse stalls.
Thank you for your advice! Our dog wont be outside much, only to eliminate. Currently our whole backyard is lined with an elevated mass of dirt with big rocks surrounding it, the rest is concrete (we bought the house in February and haven't changed it). Since the area of dirt is larger than the concrete and we don't want the puppy trying to jump up into the dirt, we were thinking of leveling it off and putting the gravel where the dirt was, so the backyard would be a mixture of concrete and gravel. It's a temporary solution as we plan on redoing the whole thing at some point, but we thought it would be a cheap and effective solution.

I will look into those rubber mats though that they use for horses.
 

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I could never do pea gravel with Roxxi, she LOVES rocks!

Our outside kennel has dirt, chicken wire then horse mats. I know your not building a kennel, just a suggestion.

When looking at horse mats there are different thickness, which (obviously) affects the price.
 

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Logan & Lacey in R hearts
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We have pea gravel in one area and bark in another. The pea gravel works fine, but if you have a rock eater - not a good idea. The decorative bark we have in the main area they potty/poop in works good as well. Both types work fine and keep the dirt/mud problem way down. The nice thing about the bark is that you can buy it in bags at Home Depot/Lowes, etc. so it is a bit easier to haul yourself. Make sure you have it at least 1-2 inches thick so you have a good base.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I could never do pea gravel with Roxxi, she LOVES rocks!

Our outside kennel has dirt, chicken wire then horse mats. I know your not building a kennel, just a suggestion.

When looking at horse mats there are different thickness, which (obviously) affects the price.
We have pea gravel in one area and bark in another. The pea gravel works fine, but if you have a rock eater - not a good idea. The decorative bark we have in the main area they potty/poop in works good as well. Both types work fine and keep the dirt/mud problem way down. The nice thing about the bark is that you can buy it in bags at Home Depot/Lowes, etc. so it is a bit easier to haul yourself. Make sure you have it at least 1-2 inches thick so you have a good base.
Thank you both for your responses!

We just got back from the rock store (or whatever it is called;) and looked at the pea gravel, which I hated, along with some other types of rocks. I found the pea gravel to be semi sharp and dusty. We found another rock that was bigger, and more rounded, and more colorful too, which adds a nice touch aesthetic wise.

A couple questions..

1. Where would I look for these horse mats?
and
2. How many golden retrievers eat rocks?? I've actually never heard of this before and now I'm concerned about it. We wanted to redo the backyard before we got him mid-February, and obviously wouldn't know whether he was a rock eater or not until he came home. Our Monte actually used to eat bark...really odd!

Thanks for your help!
 

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Kate
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Our puppy potty area has a couple inches of snow covering it.... :)

But we have natural mulch (pine needles raked up from elsewhere on the property and spread on the lower terrace) and then the upper portion where the dogs both go potty has a combination of myrtle and other ground covers.

We didn't do this with Bertie, but with Jacks I brought home wood shavings from the breeder and spread those over the natural mulch to speed up the potty training. It definitely helped with Jacks....

The issue I see about sending the dogs to go potty on gravel is the smell. One of the places where I train has a potty area with pea stones, and the ammonia smell really hits you. >.<
 

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We fenced a small area off the garage, maybe 15'x20' and have used river rock which is actually a white/beige colored gravel. It works great, no matter how much rain they never get muddy or track anything inside. It is just their relief pen and I love it because it is great for quick outs in bad weather and we can leave the side door open and they can go in and out if I just want them out for a while in a secure enclosure.
We have also used the tiny mini bark called "fines" which work great too though they do scatter that more and track a little in.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Our puppy potty area has a couple inches of snow covering it.... :)

But we have natural mulch (pine needles raked up from elsewhere on the property and spread on the lower terrace) and then the upper portion where the dogs both go potty has a combination of myrtle and other ground covers.

We didn't do this with Bertie, but with Jacks I brought home wood shavings from the breeder and spread those over the natural mulch to speed up the potty training. It definitely helped with Jacks....

The issue I see about sending the dogs to go potty on gravel is the smell. One of the places where I train has a potty area with pea stones, and the ammonia smell really hits you. >.<
Thanks for the information! I was also concerned about the smell, and the hubby researched it and he said that normally, I guess people put a weed tarp underneath the rocks, and this can sometimes make the pee pool at the bottom of the rocks. It said that if you don't use the weed tarp, then it can soak into the dirt below, and I think this is our hope. My concern though is that then the dirt will come through the rock, but the guy at the rock place said as long as you have 1-2 inches, we should be fine. Hubby also said there is some kind of cleaner that you can buy to put on the rocks and then wash off...but that concerns me with chemicals and all that...

I wish we had some sort of mulch we could put down as well, that sounds like a really great idea. We also thought about wood shavings or tanbark, but both hubby and I get bad allergies with bark, and our last dog used to love eating bark (really strange). But now I'm so worried about the dog wanting to eat rocks now...ahhhh!;)

We fenced a small area off the garage, maybe 15'x20' and have used river rock which is actually a white/beige colored gravel. It works great, no matter how much rain they never get muddy or track anything inside. It is just their relief pen and I love it because it is great for quick outs in bad weather and we can leave the side door open and they can go in and out if I just want them out for a while in a secure enclosure.
We have also used the tiny mini bark called "fines" which work great too though they do scatter that more and track a little in.
Thanks for the information! I really like the river rock idea...we were also looking at small river rocks today and the ones we were looking at were maybe the size of a penny, maybe a little bigger. How big are the ones you bought? I also want to make sure it doesn't hurt his feet. Do the river rocks seem to hurt their feet at all?
 

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My rocks are like a gravel driveway, not real tiny. They don't seem to bother their feet at all. I don't have any liner underneath and like that you can hose it down every day if you want and no mud. I think with one dog there would not be any problem with smell like there would in a public pen.
Also a little shade makes a difference in smell to as opposed to full sun that just bakes the urine. My stones are about 3" deep and they are heavy enough stone that they don't dig in them, they did dig the pea gravel when we had that. I have an unneutered male, they have to pee on every spot they can every outing and I think no matter what you have there will be some smell from that but your typical neutered dog won't do that. In the heat of summer when I noticed any smell I just added a little Natures Miracle to a hose sprayer for a fresh smell. I have 3 dogs.

Horse mats sound interesting too, wonder if they stink from urine? Can't image wet urine seeping into soil not smelling on most materials but I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My rocks are like a gravel driveway, not real tiny. They don't seem to bother their feet at all. I don't have any liner underneath and like that you can hose it down every day if you want and no mud. I think with one dog there would not be any problem with smell like there would in a public pen.
Also a little shade makes a difference in smell to as opposed to full sun that just bakes the urine. My stones are about 3" deep and they are heavy enough stone that they don't dig in them, they did dig the pea gravel when we had that. I have an unneutered male, they have to pee on every spot they can every outing and I think no matter what you have there will be some smell from that but your typical neutered dog won't do that. In the heat of summer when I noticed any smell I just added a little Natures Miracle to a hose sprayer for a fresh smell. I have 3 dogs.

Horse mats sound interesting too, wonder if they stink from urine? Can't image wet urine seeping into soil not smelling on most materials but I don't know.
Oh okay that's great information, thank you! We get mostly shade in the backyard as it backs up to a hill and there are trees on both sides of the backyard. I think the idea of putting natures miracle in the hose sprayer is a great idea too! We plan to neuter our male, but will be taking him for walks and hikes throughout the day, so I'm hoping most of the peeing will take place in other places, except of course when he first comes home and is potty training and we are keeping him safe when he is not fully vaccinated. We do plan to hose it down, which is what we did when we first moved in here with Monte. We would hose down the concrete, as well as the dirt, but as you can imagine the dirt got messy!

Now my number 1 concern is whether the dog is going to eat the rocks...
 

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Not sure if I'm too late to chime in, but I will :wavey:.

I have a dog run of sorts at the side of my condo. I tried putting down sod, but it wouldn't take - so this year I bit the bullet and had astroturf (although not that brand) professionally installed. First they laid several layers of gravel, then they put down the turf - OMG I love it!!!!

No more mud, no more climbing through the weeds that grew so big they belonged in the little shop of horrors - sooooo easy! For the most part nature takes care of clean up (after I pick up solids).

I totally admit it wasn't cheap - but now it looks presentable and neat and he loves using his potty.

And yes my Remy tries to chew on rocks too. Maybe he thinks he hasn't given me enough bills yet, and is trying to break a tooth :doh:
 

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I would not put any kind of rocks. We had a river rock area around our airconditioning units. Puppy Spip would not eat them per se but tended to chew them which is awful for teeth. For this reason (and the fact that is was not a safe zone for a puppy) we enclosed it with lattice asap.

How big an area are you looking at resurfacing and how temporary do you think it will be ?

If is is a small area I would probably lay down a good 2/3 inches of coarse sand and either put large (24 by 24) pavers separated by an inch or so or perhaps even think about artificial turf. The sand would help with drainage - you would probably still need to hose the area off from time to time if it is really small and puppy went in the same spots a lot - and any of those solution would be easy to remove when you decide to landscape for good.

ETA : Lennap beat me to it with the artificial turf idea, lol.
 

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We're doing astroturf as well after our Yogi demonstrated his affinity for all the small stones, wood mulch chips and leaf in our backyard. Hubby constructed it after I pulled about 5 stones out of his mouth and freaked out. He put netting on the side, but Yogi is able to climb it, so we are going to redo it soon. We hose it down and apply a highly diluted bleach solution to it and we plan to replace the turf frequently.
 

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Not sure if I'm too late to chime in, but I will :wavey:.

I have a dog run of sorts at the side of my condo. I tried putting down sod, but it wouldn't take - so this year I bit the bullet and had astroturf (although not that brand) professionally installed. First they laid several layers of gravel, then they put down the turf - OMG I love it!!!!

No more mud, no more climbing through the weeds that grew so big they belonged in the little shop of horrors - sooooo easy! For the most part nature takes care of clean up (after I pick up solids).

I totally admit it wasn't cheap - but now it looks presentable and neat and he loves using his potty.

And yes my Remy tries to chew on rocks too. Maybe he thinks he hasn't given me enough bills yet, and is trying to break a tooth :doh:
No no..never too late!:) We aren't doing this for another couple of weeks...so I appreciate all the ideas! My hubby is really interested in the astroturf idea, but the only reason we weren't going to do it was because this is only a temporary fixer since we want to eventually redo the whole backyard. We just felt like it would be too much money for such a temporary solution, although when I say temporary I imagine it will at least be like that for the next year or so (we are redoing kitchen first).

Do you know how many goldens chew on rocks? I know you probably don't have a number or a statistic, but is it really common? I had never heard of it before! Has your dog ever swallowed a rock? Wouldn't they need surgery if they do? Ugh...something else to worry about;)

I would not put any kind of rocks. We had a river rock area around our airconditioning units. Puppy Spip would not eat them per se but tended to chew them which is awful for teeth. For this reason (and the fact that is was not a safe zone for a puppy) we enclosed it with lattice asap.

How big an area are you looking at resurfacing and how temporary do you think it will be ?

If is is a small area I would probably lay down a good 2/3 inches of coarse sand and either put large (24 by 24) pavers separated by an inch or so or perhaps even think about artificial turf. The sand would help with drainage - you would probably still need to hose the area off from time to time if it is really small and puppy went in the same spots a lot - and any of those solution would be easy to remove when you decide to landscape for good.

ETA : Lennap beat me to it with the artificial turf idea, lol.
Haha yes, my hubby is thrilled with the artificial turf idea! But the money doesn't excite us because it is only a temporary solution. If we were taking out the backyard now and putting all astro turf in there then we definitely would, but we haven't figured out what we want to do for the backyard yet.

It's actually not a very large area. I'm not sure how to describe it but most of the back yard is concrete, and then there is a U-shaped raised border that is dirt and is surrounded and held up by decorative rocks. The previous owners planted very nice flower trees in this dirt, but...it's time to come out!;) When we first moved in here we had Monte and it was hard for him to jump up into the dirt to potty, although he sometimes did it on the concrete, he preferred the dirt.

Alright alright...hubby is looking into the cost for the astro turf...you guys may have just talked us into it;) Feel free to send in donations now haha (jk;)
 

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2. How many golden retrievers eat rocks?? I've actually never heard of this before and now I'm concerned about it.
When Cassie was a puppy, she would put ANYTHING in her mouth. Rocks, bark, trash, basically anything she found along the side of the road. Apparently to a puppy, those items are delicious. I swear, every five feet, I'd be fishing more crap out of her mouth.

Eventually, she mostly grew out of it. She doesn't go for rocks too much anymore, but she does like bark mulch. But I don't like her chewing on bark mulch since the majority of the mulch these days is chemically treated and stained... I don't want those toxins to get into her system.


The bottom line though is that as a puppy, you must watch them like a hawk. They will put anything and everything in their mouth. It takes a lot of time and patience to train them to 1.) Drop It/Leave It, and 2.) Not pick it up in the first place. Sometimes it feels like they'll never learn. And then one day you finish a walk and realize you didn't have to say Drop it!! once! :)



SMBC said:
Our dog wont be outside much, only to eliminate.
Do you have other areas for the dog to be able to run and play? Like a dog park or something?
 

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We tried a number of things in our outdoor area for the dogs (we have 3). After visiting a home and garden show a couple of springs ago, we were sold on the artificial grass. We had the company install it for us (that as in July 2011). It was the best investment we made. The dogs stay clean, it's easy to clean and it looks nice with the rest of our yard. I would definitely recommend this.

Just a sample of what it looks like.
 

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Do you have other areas for the dog to be able to run and play? Like a dog park or something?
Thanks for sharing your story! Ugh..what is with the rock thing?! We do have a nearby dog park (within a 5 minute driving distance) and my house backs up to a hill, so there are hiking trails right outside my door as well as sidewalks along the streets that go up the hills. Our backyard is not very large actually, so the only reason for him to use it would be to eliminate, and then we will be doing our exercising elsewhere.

I also have a rock eater. I have a jar full of rocks that he brings in. I have to trade a high value treat to get him to drop it.


Jodi
Seriously, what is with the rocks??!;) Has he ever swallowed them? If so, would they need surgery?

We tried a number of things in our outdoor area for the dogs (we have 3). After visiting a home and garden show a couple of springs ago, we were sold on the artificial grass. We had the company install it for us (that as in July 2011). It was the best investment we made. The dogs stay clean, it's easy to clean and it looks nice with the rest of our yard. I would definitely recommend this.

Just a sample of what it looks like.
Thanks for sharing! I think it looks really nice!! I think if we had a bigger back yard where he could actually run around and play, then we would definitely go with the artificial grass, but because it's only for elimination purposes, I'm not sure that it's worth the money. The hubby priced it out and figured that with the artificial grass, we would be spending over a thousand dollars, just on material alone. With the rocks, hubby and his dad will do the labor, and the rocks will cost a little over 300.

With that said though, I do not want my dog eating rocks and would rather pay more if you all think it'll be a bigger issue. I mean, if we get rocks and he eats them, and then we have to pay more money in vet bills and surgery, it was certainly not worth it, and not even just because of the money. I'd rather fork over more money and not have to deal with the stress if he decides to munch on rocks!;)
 
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