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Yellow Spot in Lawn ..... "Wasn't My Dog."

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I love how customers want to blame yellow spots in their lawn on us when it's obviously a urine stain from a dog. I've been doing this a long time, we maintain hundreds of lawns a week, and install hundreds of lawns a year. I think I can ID a dog urine stain with a pretty fair amount of accuracy.

    But invariably, every year, we get a maintenance client or a client we just installed a new lawn for who gets a little yellow circle in their lawn. I'm sure you know the "circles" I'm referring to. And then we get a call, "There's this little yellow patch in our lawn..... I know it can't be our dog. We've always kept him off the lawn." Then I go to check it out and sure enough, it's a urine stain. But now I can't tell them it's their dog, because that would start an argument. They already told me it couldn't be their dog.

    So what I usually do is just tell them it could be another animal. If it's the front yard, it could be anyone who was walking their dog and the dog got away from them for a second. If it's the back yard, it could have been a big neighbor cat, a racoon (we have those around here and they wander our yards at night) or another animal.

    But it's just frustrating when I'm like 90% sure it was probably their dog but I can't really tell them that because they insist it wasn't. As if they were the ones who let the dog out every single time over the last 30 days. Or as if they were watching their dog every second when they let it out. I know who did it. It's just frustrating that I can't tell them. So I take the high road and explain that it's definitely a urine stain and if it didn't come from their pet it likely came from another close-by animal. At least this takes the heat off of us, because often they are thinking we spilled something. And I know that didn't happen.

    Anyone feel my pain, here?

    p.s. Way too busy this year with work. Sorry I'm never on Lawnsite anymore. Great year though! Hope all's well with you guys.
  2. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    nope can't feel your pain for a couple of reason. one i don't do lawn installs or put down fert or weed killer.

    secondly, i have a dog of my own and never once have i had a yellow patch in the lawn from the dogs urine. so for me to even accept you saying that the yellow circle in there lawn is a urine spot, i just have to either trust your word since you apparently do lawn installs and treat lawns with fert and weed apps or find you full of it.

    since i am not knowledable in this area i will choose to trust that the yellow patch is a urine stain. but i will not accept the fact that every yellow spot in every clients lawn that has a dog is a urine spot. as i said i've had a dog for 5+ years and that dog pees and poops all over the yard every single day. the only thing we get is patches of grass growing twice as fast as the rest of the lawn.

    i also have yet to see a urine spot you are talking about it any of my clients lawns that have dogs as well.
  3. TuffWork

    TuffWork LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 506


    Anyway, to the OP. I feel your pain. I've been in the exact same situation. Especially from the people who have little dogs. "but my precious little snookem's couldn't possibly leave a big enough spot to tear up the yard". I've gotten tired of lying to people just so they don't feel ******ed when I have to tell them they are wrong. I'm still extremely tactful, but it seems like I'm starting to learn that letting the customer ALWAYS be right is a good way to make bad customers REALLY bad customers. If they trust you and your opinion you can tell them what the problem is and how you and they can fix it, together.

    I'll fix the spot, but I'm gonna have to keep charging you to reseed this yard if you don't keep snookem's off of it. (I usually assume when they tell me it's not the dog it's just cause they want me to take the blame for it and fix it for free)
  4. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    yes really......

    honestly of all the properties i've serviced with dogs i've never seen a single yellow spot in the turf. the whole turf is nothing but nice thick green grass with spots that grow twice as fast as the rest does. but never yellow.
  5. TuffWork

    TuffWork LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 506

    Ok, I'm still shocked though. I'm guessin you must be in a much cooler climate or somethin.
  6. fatboynormmie

    fatboynormmie LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,270

    Hey Yardguy it is a real problem .One of my custs has a lg German Sheppard and that sucker pee's and poop's pretty much in the same exact spots everyday.The urine area is in the front yard and whole left side of the yard is fried.It's a mixture of tall fescue and weeds and I have repaired it several times but ends up dead in no time.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Ok. Yardguy 28 must be in Alaska or North Dakota or somewhere extremely cold and wet all the time. Because this is a real and regular issue in most parts of the country. To say that dogs urine doesn't cause stains in a lawn is like saying pelletized iron doesn't cause stains on concrete. To which I reply, "Oh. Ok. Whatever!" :rolleyes:

    Not only is it a common problem, it's SO common of a problem that there are literally dozens of products out on the market to help prevent it.
  8. wahlturfcare

    wahlturfcare LawnSite Senior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 544

    i have a couple units at a townhome that they tie the dog up in the front yard and they have large yellow patches and turds in each of their yards. Luckily the owners lets me fix them and makes them pay for the damages as they are liable per the association regulations.
    it's embarrasing though when people look at the properties and who you mow it and see the yellow spots.
  9. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    cooler than texas. i'm in indiana.

    slow down people. didn't you red the part of my post where i said i'll go ahead and trust your judgement that you know what your talking about?

    i'm not arguing that it is or isn't a problem. i'm just saying i have never seen it. but then again i'm not educated on that area of turf. i just cut the grass i don't treat it for anything. my clients have someone else do that.

    i'm cutting KB and tall fescue. and of all the yards i've been in with dogs, including my own, i've never seen a single patch of yellow grass. thats all i'm saying. and i'm saying it because i'm curious as to why i've never seen this problem if it's as big a problem as you say it is.
  10. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Yard Guy - I am familiar with your climate (have lived and worked in IL, IA, and MO, and you are lucky then. What I will say is that it also depends on the dogs chemistry IMHO, I had two dogs, a boxer which never caused any spots in my St. Augustine...and then a yellow lab pup for a couple months...which without a doubt created issues enough in my back lawn that I just resodded it a couple weeks ago. My guess is that it would depend on what the dog eats or the dogs chemistry.

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