DIY Spray to Guide Your Dog to a Designated Pooping Area

Dog owners understand the importance of ensuring that their furry friends are well-trained, especially when it comes to answering nature’s call. Having a designated pooping spot not only maintains the cleanliness of your yard but also streamlines the cleanup process. If you’re wondering how to encourage your canine companion to use a specific area, a DIY spray can be your secret weapon.

Why Use a DIY Spray?

Before we get into the recipe and application process, it’s crucial to understand the rationale behind a DIY spray:

  1. Natural and Safe: A homemade solution ensures you’re aware of all the ingredients, making it safe for both your pet and the environment.
  2. Cost-Effective: While there are store-bought solutions, DIY versions are often more wallet-friendly.
  3. Customizable: Depending on your dog’s preferences, you can adjust the ingredients.

Ingredients to Consider

While there are various ingredients you could use, some have proven to be more effective in deterring or attracting dogs. Here are some popular options:

  1. Vinegar: Known for its strong scent, dogs generally avoid areas sprayed with vinegar. This makes it great for keeping them away from unwanted areas.
  2. Citrus: Dogs typically don’t like the smell of citrus. Lemon, orange, or lime juice can act as natural repellents.
  3. Essential Oils: Some oils, like eucalyptus and citronella, can deter dogs. However, always ensure any oil used is safe for pets.

Creating Your DIY Spray

1. Vinegar-Based Spray


  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of water


a. Combine the vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

b. Shake well before each use.

2. Citrus Dog Repellent


  • 2 cups of citrus peels (any combination of orange, lemon, or lime)
  • 4 cups of water


a. Boil the citrus peels in water for about 10 minutes.

b. Allow the mixture to cool, then strain out the peels.

c. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle.

3. Essential Oil Deterrent


  • 10-15 drops of dog-safe essential oil (e.g., eucalyptus or citronella)
  • 2 cups of water


a. Combine the essential oil and water in a spray bottle.

b. Shake well before each use.

Using Your DIY Spray

Select the Designated Area: Choose a spot you’d like your dog to use and make sure it’s suitable for regular use. It should be easily accessible and safe.

Spray Around, Not On, the Spot: The idea is to deter your dog from all other areas, making the unsprayed zone the most appealing. Reapply every few days or after heavy rain.

Positive Reinforcement: Whenever your dog uses the designated area, reward them with treats or praise. Over time, they’ll associate the spot with positive outcomes.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Always monitor your dog’s reaction to the spray to ensure there are no allergies or irritations.
  • Test the spray on a small patch of your lawn to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor the grass.
  • Remember that consistency is key. Continual application and positive reinforcement are essential for the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use any essential oil in the DIY spray?

A: Not all essential oils are safe for pets. Some can cause respiratory distress or skin irritations in dogs. Always check the safety of an oil for pets before adding it to your DIY mixture. Oils like tea tree, pennyroyal, and wintergreen are examples of oils that can be harmful to dogs.

Q: How often should I reapply the DIY spray in my garden?

A: The longevity of the spray depends on external factors like weather conditions. After heavy rain or extreme heat, it’s advisable to reapply. Under normal circumstances, applying once every three to five days should suffice.

Q: My dog still prefers other spots despite using the spray. What should I do?

A: Dogs often choose pooping spots based on old scents. Ensure that you’re thoroughly cleaning previous spots to remove any trace of old scents. Using an enzyme-based cleaner can help. Additionally, ensure you’re using positive reinforcement consistently to reward your dog for using the designated area.

Q: Will the vinegar or citrus mixtures harm my plants?

A: While vinegar and citrus are generally safe, direct application might cause some plants to wither or their leaves to turn yellow. Always spray around the plants rather than directly on them, and monitor for any adverse reactions.

Q: Is there a way to make the spray smell pleasant for humans but still effective for the designated purpose?

A: Absolutely! You can add dog-safe essential oils that are pleasant for humans. Lavender is one such option – it’s calming for both dogs and humans. Remember, the main aim is to deter, not repel entirely, so balancing the mixture is key.

Q: What if I want to attract my dog to a specific spot instead of deterring them from others?

A: There are commercial potty training attractant sprays available. If you’re going the DIY route, using the soiled paper towel from your dog’s last indoor accident in the desired outdoor spot can act as a natural attractant. The familiar scent can draw them to the area.

Q: Can I store leftover DIY spray, and if so, for how long?

A: Yes, you can store the leftover spray. Ensure it’s kept in a cool, dark place, preferably in a sealed spray bottle. Most mixtures can last up to two weeks, but always give it a quick sniff to ensure the ingredients haven’t turned rancid or lost their potency.

Q: My dog has sensitive skin. Are there any ingredients I should avoid in a DIY spray?

A: If your dog has sensitive skin, always do a patch test first by spraying a small amount of the solution on their skin and observing for any reactions. Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid strong essential oils or heavily concentrated solutions. When in doubt, consult with your veterinarian for guidance.

Q: Can I combine different deterrent ingredients into one spray?

A: Combining ingredients can increase the efficacy of your deterrent spray. However, you should ensure that the mixed ingredients are compatible and won’t react negatively with each other. For example, mixing citrus oils with vinegar can enhance the deterring power, but always do a small test patch to ensure no adverse reactions in your garden or with your pet.

Q: How do I transition my dog to a new designated poop area after using the spray?

A: Start by leading your dog to the new desired area during their regular potty times. Praise and reward them when they use this spot. Over time, they’ll associate this area with positive feedback. If you used an attractant in the designated area, like soiled paper towels, ensure you remove them once your dog is accustomed to the new spot.

Q: Will these sprays also deter other animals like cats or rabbits?

A: Many of the ingredients used in dog deterrent sprays, like citrus and vinegar, are also disliked by other animals. It’s likely that these DIY sprays might deter other critters like cats or rabbits, but the reaction might not be as strong as with dogs.

Q: Can I use store-bought repellent sprays in conjunction with my DIY spray?

A: Yes, you can use them together. However, be cautious and read the ingredients list of store-bought sprays to ensure there are no chemicals that might negatively interact with your DIY spray. Additionally, avoid overwhelming your dog with too many deterrents at once.

Q: Do weather conditions affect the efficiency of the DIY sprays?

A: Weather can play a significant role. Rain can wash away the spray, reducing its effectiveness, and intense sun can evaporate some ingredients quickly. In such conditions, you might need to apply more frequently.

Q: I’ve noticed flies around the areas I’ve sprayed. Is this normal?

A: Some ingredients, especially organic ones, might attract insects. If this becomes an issue, consider changing the composition of your DIY spray or adding a bit of lemongrass or eucalyptus oil, which can deter flies.

Q: My DIY spray leaves a residue on my grass. How can I avoid this?

A: Residue often comes from over-concentration. Ensure you’re diluting ingredients, especially oils, adequately with water. If using citrus, ensure you’re using the juice and not pulp, as the latter can leave behind bits on your grass.

Q: Are these sprays safe around children?

A: While most DIY sprays use natural ingredients that are generally safe, always supervise children to ensure they don’t ingest or get the mixture in their eyes. When creating the spray, opt for food-grade ingredients when possible, and store the mixture out of children’s reach.

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