Winter here in NYC is not the best from the cold temperatures and wind tunnels to the forecasts of rain and snow. But you know who probably hates it even more than we do? Our dogs.
For me, thinking about how to get my fussy pooch to do his business in the snow is a constant conundrum. My dog Beau will reluctantly walk in the white stuff but appears better at holding it in than I am at any music festival with porta potties. So, when the people at Fresh Patch reached out to me set to solve this very problem, I thought, "you know what, this could just be the trick."
I've heard of indoor potties for dogs, and I attempted to paper train Baby B with a dog litter box and some wee-wee pads as a puppy. (He used that as a bed instead.) Now he goes outside with no problem (on a good weather day) and I wondered it was the sheer artificialness of the plastic that turned him off as a true city dog used to concrete, dirt and the occasional patch of grass for his business.
I will also admit I was more than a bit worried Beau would get confused and start thinking it was OK to relieve himself indoors. Still, I decided to give this product a chance because Fresh Patch is literally, as the name implies, a mail-order grass patch from Ventura, California. I rationalized this decision since he wouldn't expect to, or ordinarily, see grass indoors so it's not bad to enforce the association between grass and an appropriate potty place.
The standard patch size (16" x 24" for dogs up to 25 pounds) arrived ready-to-use in a cardboard box so it was a very simple set up of cutting open the box and putting it down on the floor. Beau appeared immediately interested in it and gave it a sniff but he wouldn’t climb on it. Once he finally was on it, I did my most excitable “go potty” and “time to go pee-pee” voices and my dog gave me a look, jumped off and went back to his toys.
Convinced it was too much pressure, I left the patch of grass in my living room and went about my day.
The grass in Fresh Patch is grown hydroponically (without the use of soil) which helps it last much longer than normal sod. Each patch is supposed to last 1-4 weeks depending on how frequently it’s used so subscribers can get new grass sent for any of those timelines. That would definitely be useful once a used patch started to smell but this also gave me time to lightly mist it and leave it in my apartment to see if he'd come around.
No matter what I did, Beau would not use the Fresh Patch (and I even tried walking him onto it on his leash). I’m not sure if it was the freshness of the grass (compared to what he sees in the NYC parks where he’s even allowed on the grass period), or if he was associating inside as somewhere not to go to the bathroom. At this point, I decided it wasn't worth it to continue to try and convince him to use it because there's seldom lasting snow on the ground here and I still was concerned about encouraging him to go indoors just for the sake of this review.
Now that I tried it out, and even though it didn't work for me personally, I still can think of people who would benefit from Fresh Patch:
- If your dog already uses wee-wee pads indoors: This is more absorbent and better for the environment since it can be composted after it's used, plus, if you get a wooden tray, it looks a lot better than a piece of plastic, too.
- If you have outdoor space: I already recommended this to one friend who lives in an apartment with a balcony and she loves it since having to wash and mop the balcony to prevent odors is 1000% more annoying than getting this patch.
- If you have a dog that hates doing his business in snow: If you have a yard or porch, Fresh Patch could easily be moved outside and placed on top of the snow to leave some green even in winter. If there had been any major accumulation when I was reviewing this product, I would have definitely made the effort to carry it downstairs to at least see if it would work for me that way instead.
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