Dog Waste Station Buyers Guide
Dog Waste Station Buyers Guide Quick Links
Dog Waste Station Introduction
Sgt. Poopers® Conservation Services has more than a decade of experience in handling the ecological impact, not to mention the nuisance, of dog waste so we know which dog waste stations work and which don't.
We supply new pet waste stations and maintain existing ones by emptying the trash and stocking fresh poop bags so they never run out. We take the hassle out of maintaining your grounds because you no longer have to worry with maintenance, nor maintaining inventory and reordering supplies. That leaves you free to focus on subjects more deserving of your time and attention.
There are a lot of faulty dog waste stations on the market. The faults are in both the design and the construction:
- The central trash bag liner can fill up with rainwater. Believe me, you don't want a bag full of dog waste filling up with water. The water is going to have to come out and when it does, it makes an nasty mess.
- Trash bag slips down into the bottom of the trash can because the poop is heavy and the "hoops" inside the can fail to hold the liner designed due to poor "Made in China" construction. This causes a pile up that has to be emptied by hand.
- The dispenser door doesn't shut properly to keep out rain, dirt or flies.
- Wasps can build nests in the dispenser. A cloud of angry yellow jackets is guaranteed to mark the last time a dog owner will ever use a pet waste station.
- Poop bag dispensers don't smoothly dispense bags. This is mostly a problem with roll bag dispensers in which the rolls can be wrongly installed upside down (rolls should unwind from the bottom), or when they're stacked one above the other they must be loaded in their boxes. The added weight causes the rolls to bind. You don't want to make it difficult for dog owners to get out a bag.
- The decals and paint peel off due to UV and the weather cycles. This makes a pet waste station into a rusty eyesore.
- The dog waste bags are unnecessarily expensive.
- The station lacks any kind of creativeness to make people WANT to pick up their dog's waste.
- The stations are improperly installed so they lean to one side or the othter.
Eventually, a faulty pet waste station will have to be replaced. Conversely, a well-made pet waste station will last for decades.
Generating Community Awareness
How to get Your Community to pick up after their dogs
How do you get dog owners to pick up their dog's poop? Answer: The same way you get people to do anything they weren't planning to do.
Naturally, the process involves communication. But where and through what medium do you communicate? Most importantly what should you say?
Let's start by identifying what you can't do. You can't be there to enforce rules every time someone takes their dog on a walk. Budgets rule out expensive TV spots, radio ads and billboards. You could place notices on your community's website. And you can do a sign campaign. Signs are just another medium like TV, radio, outdoor billboards, posters. They are cheap. Signs can be put anywhere. But whether you do a campaign of signs or banners online, this still leaves the crucial issue of what do you say?
Here's a surprise. The skill set of persuasion belongs to the advertising profession. You might think a psychologist could solve this riddle, but psychologists don't sell things. You might think the sales profession might know the answer. But sales people are one-on-one. You can't go one-on-one with every dog owner in your community. The advertising specialty is to sell through media—TV, print, sign, banner, poster, billboard, flyer, brochure, radio, etc.
Many dog owners don't think they need to pick up their dog's waste due to a fundamental misconception.
People assume dog waste left on the ground "just turns into dirt" or they think it's "fertilizer" (plant food) and equate dog waste with "manure." Of course, dog waste is not manure. Manure only comes from herbivores—animals that eat plants. Herbivores eat only plants so what comes out is good for plants because it is plants. The operative rule here is, "plants in: plants out." Manure from plant-eating grazing animals like cows, horses, sheep and goats is good for plants because it IS plants.
A dog is not a herbivore. Dogs eat meat. Meat only comes from other organisms. So the rule here is "animals in; animals out." To wit, according to the EPA, dog waste consists of 20 million germs, microbes, pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and parasites per gram (a gram being roughly a kernel of corn).
Pathogens left on the ground from dog waste actually do not quickly die. They thrive—in the grass, on the side walk, in the dirt. In fact, in a 2008 study, the University of Arizona found on the bottom of the average pair of shoes more than 420,000 fecal bacteria from dogs! These were not dog owners, nor people who had stepped in dog waste. These were just people who had been walking around the city or in neighborhoods as people normally do. This study demonstrated that fecal bacteria spread everywhere via shoes and paws and rapidly become everyone's problem... if not picked up! In fact, they found up to 99% of fecal bacteria are easily picked up on the bottoms of shoes and transferred to clean floors and carpets inside the home. Once they're in your home, they will be on the bottoms of your feet and wherever you go—in bed, in the shower, on the kitchen floor. Turns out, the Japanese had the right idea about leaving their shoes outside.
So even people who don't own dogs wind up with fecal bacteria from dog waste contaminating their homes and bodies. Enlightening people with the truth and clearing up their misconceptions can go a long way to getting people's willingness to pick up their own dog's waste.
Walking on Sewage
Most cities now have laws on the books to fine dog owners who fail to pick up after their dog in public areas. The problem is that we have a new man-made situation today: millions of dogs, a very high population, concentrated in cities.
In the DFW area alone, there are 1.2 million registered dogs which deposit 900,000 pounds of solid waste onto the land each day. Rain and sprinklers wash dog waste directly into the watershed. Storm drains flow untreated into local waterways and waste-contaminated water is unsafe for any drinking, swimming, nor any other use.
With proper education many dog owners feel obligated to pick up after their dogs. But that's not enough to persuade everyone, especially those who instinctively reject authority. How do you neutralize a bad attitude? How do you communicate in a way that can change someone's mind for the better?
The bottom line is, communities are not using the right language to reach dog owners. People have assumed picking up dog waste is about dogs. Just look at every sign campaign ever produced to date. What do you see? Answer: You see an image of a dog. Or you see a picture of a person walking a dog.
I don't know about you, but when I'm walking my dog, I don't need a sign to remind me that I'm walking my dog. I already know that.
In other words, the assumption is that picking up dog waste is about dogs.
It's not about dogs.
In advertising, they have a maxim: "It's not about the product." To persuade people, you don't talk at them about the product. The product is not the message. The message is never about the product. Why? Because people do not buy products because they want them. They buy products because they want what the product can do for them; in other words, it's about the benefit of the product. You buy snow boots for their warmth.
How to unlock cooperation
The "product," in this case, is dog waste and the objective is getting people to pick it up. Detach yourself emotionally for a minute and consider the mechanics of buying a product like a bar of soap or pair of shoes. When you are selling you want people to pick up a bar of soap or pair of shoes. With dog owners, communities want them to pick up dog waste. The basic action is the same. You want someone to physically take something, rather than walk away.
Did you know that the greatest skill in advertising is required by a print ad because one must create a change in outlook or attitude instantaneously with no more investment than a glance. When it works, a single combo of headline and image brings about an instantaneous change in the mind of the perceiver. That mental change, begets a change in buying behavior. Everything else—TV, radio, brochures—is easier because there's more time. In a print ad, poster or sign, the magic has to execute instantly.
The right approach
Persuading dog owners to pick up their dog's waste is not about dogs. Here's how you can prove it to yourself. Does your dog care when you pick up his poop? No. Eating, walking, grooming, playing, sleeping, breeding—these are things that affect a dog itself. When you scoop poop, it doesn't affect your dog one way or the other. Therefore it's not about dogs.
Here's what is affected: The grass. The land. The watershed. The environment. Therefore what's picking up dog waste really about?
When you take care of land and water resources, there's a word for that. It's called "conservation." Communities and businesses fail to persuade dog owners to pick up their dog's waste because they aren't using the right language. It's not about dogs so showing them pictures of dogs is not just irrelevant and ineffective, it's annoying. Putting a big sign on a pet waste station that states "Pet Waste Station" is off message. Do you enjoy being told what you already know?
When you start talking about conservation you have everyone's attention because it's the correct reason for picking up waste in the first place. Conservation has to do with the land. It has to do with being a good steward. It has to do with protecting our drinking water and keeping our children safe from disease.
This just gives you the proper message. In copywriting, that's called creative strategy. You still have to go forward from this point with the execution. How are you going to execute that strategy in your community? What's it going to look like? What's words specifically will you use? That involves an additional enormous set of rules, maxims, tools, and highly developed skills—if you want anyone to notice and if you want this campaign to work. I've now brought you halfway home. If you need help tailoring a community awareness program for your town, contact Sgt. Poopers. We have the skills to do it all. Or you can use the campaign we've already created for the purpose.
The message is CONSERVATION.
spearheading conservation awareness
I explained the problem. I explained the solution. I gave you insight into the actual mechanics of the strategy. Now let me tell you how we executed the strategy.
Sgt. Poopers has done all the work for you. Our conservation campaign consists of placing dog-waste stations that mark an "Environmental Conservation Area."
If you are old enough, you may remember the "Keep America Beautiful" public service announcement that launched on Earth Day 1971. It featured actor Iron Eyes Cody playing the part of a Native American, shedding a tear over the destruction of our environment by pollution. In North America, no culture better symbolizes the spirit of conservation better than the indigenous peoples of the Americas. This powerful heritage symbolizing conservation is echoed in our trademarked arrowhead design. The sun is also a Native American symbol representing the four seasons and also the four elements—land, water, fire, and air. All are represented here, water represented as snow. Our design is calculated to stir the ancient connection to nature that lies within our collective soul.
You can replace the generic signs on your existing pet waste stations with our Conservation Arrowhead tailored for your locale. We customize each Conservation Arrowhead for you area using your specific location. We also furnish complete pet waste stations.
Our glossy Conservation Arrowhead is 12 in x 18 in, constructed from .080" aluminum and looks beautiful.
Sgt. Poopers' dog waste stations actually solve the ultimate problem — they make people WANT to pick up their dog's waste because we've made it about conservation. By being responsible, dog owners are getting involved in their own small way in the greater conservation movement. In response, some of the honor that belongs to the field of conservation now belongs to them. And that will make them feel good.
Note, we aren't clobbering people on the head with what they already know: "Dog! Dog! You get it? You're walking a dog, okay? Pick it up."
Note, we aren't just relying on guilt-drive: "Dog waste is awful to leave on the ground. Shame on you."
Note, we aren't relying on threat-drive: "If you don't pick it up, you might get a ticket."
No, we're giving people an opportunity to make themselves feel good by contributing to the conservation movement. It's subtle, but the most poweful energies are subtle. Problem solved. Sgt. Poopers is the first to solve the dog waste problem—correct objective, corect analysis, correct strategy, and great execution. Please note our campaign concept and design, including the combination of arrowhead, mountain, snow, sun, and words are intellectual properties that belong to Sgt. Poopers and are protected by trademark and copyright law.
Environmental Conservation Station
Introducing the first dog waste station that isn't a dog waste station. It's an Environmental Conservation Station where dog owners can participate in environmental conservation and instantly feel good about themselves for taking part.
Brilliant in its simplicity, our campaign is ready to implement in your community. We've done all the work so you can reap the rewards of better protected land and water resources, not to mention reduced fly populations polluting your greenscape.
The concept embodied in the conservation arrowhead does 90% of the work to change attitudes and persuade cooperation. It sets the context. It's beautiful and it actually enhances an environment by it focuses attention on the value of your immediate environment. If visitors didn't already like the environment, they wouldn't be there. So we know this message is something with which they will agree and no one will disagree.
We are also handling a key misconception that prevents participation by dog owners—the idea that "dog waste is fertilizer" and the idea that dog waste "just turns into dirt." Without explanation, our arrowhead "positions" dog waste as a conservation issue. In that context, dog waste could not be fertilizer because if it was, it wouldn't be "conservation" to pick it up. Everyone wins without arguing.
DOG WASTE BAGS
There are four main types of dog waste bags. We can provide whatever type of dispenser you want.
ROLL BAGS: Roll bags are 50% to 150% more economical than any other style of waste bag. Our roll bags are configured vertically, on end, because that makes them less prone to binding and thus easier to use. Our dispenser holds up to 600 bags so is unlikely to ever run out. Any roll of poop bags will work in our dispenser.
STRAP-PULL BAGS: These are the most expensive style of bags but are the easiest to remove, particularly for people with arthritic hands. They are 150% more expensive than roll bags.
MITTEN BAGS: These are the easiest to pick up dog waste with, particularly with big dogs. They are 56% more expensive than roll bags.
TIE-HANDLE BAGS: These are the easiest to tie off, 50% more expensive than roll bags.
We offer four styles of waste bag dispensers, one design corresponding to each style of bag. All are the same price and meet our high standards of quality construction.
The common cylindrical basket-style container commonly seen on dog waste stations are popular, but they have some problems. These are often poorly made so allow the bags to fill up with rain water (making an awful mess). They can fail to hold the trash bags in place so they fall down into the bottom of the container with poop bags on top. They tend to let in flies and mosquitoes, lets odors out, and the large opening allows people to fill them up cups, bottles, picnic and party trash which prevents their proper use. They are vulnerable to vandalism. And the internal "hoops" which are ostensibly to hold a can liner in place (and which often do not work) grab onto a full bag when you try to remove it tearing it open which makes the job more difficult than it needs to be.
Our waste receptacle has none of those problems. Our vault-style waste receptacle is sealed against the rain, sealed against insects (flies and breeding mosquitoes), and sealed to keep odors inside. It holds 11 gallons which is larger than the round "basket" kind. The chute on top prevents insertion of large items like wine bottles, etc., which fill up the trash bag and block dog owners from using it as a dog waste receptacle. It also locks to prevent vandalism.
Our stations come with a five-year guarantee.
Dog Waste Station Product Analysis
Instead of reviewing specific brands, since there are so many of them, it will be more helpful to analyze the primary design styles shared by the majority of commercial pet waste stations. Ready to go? Let's start at the top.
"STATING THE OBVIOUS" SIGN: In our opinion, putting a traditional sign with a dog or person walking a dog on top of a pet waste station is unnecessary. Like labeling a tree. If someone doesn't know by now what a pet waste station is, or can't figure it out by looking, well there may be no hope for them. Moreover, unnecessary signs clutter the environment and actually detract from a sense of peacefulness. Common areas are generally intended to be places to commune with nature. Don't ruin it with unnecessary and unattractive signs spelling out the painfully obvious. Besides, most dispenser boxes already have a sign and instructions printed clearly in plain sight just below the sign.
INSTRUCTIONS SIGN: Most dog waste stations fall into this category the instructions are of course, "Please pick up after your dog" or "Please keep this area clean." Who even looks at such a sign? In our opinion, a sign like that is just clutter.
CONSERVATION AWARENESS SIGN: Sgt. Poopers' 5-color die-cut custom Conservation Arrowhead is something new. Everyone else has just been doing the same thing since Day 1: printing one-color signs that employ zero creativity, it's like they aren't even trying to persuade anyone to pick up after their dog. So they just print the cheapest bare-minimum sign guaranteed to have absolutely no effect on anyone? It's understood they are not marketing-trained people. They don't have access to Madison Avenue for world-class creative ability. Yet there are two subjects called "marketing" and "public relations." Those subjects actually work. The Sgt. Poopers Conservation Arrowhead is a sophisticated improvement on the common sign achieved through strategic planning and creative tools to create a campaign that actually makes people WANT to be eco-responsible. The idea is to have something that functions to improve the environment and the pet waste problem. Highly recommended.
As the song goes, the head bone is connected to the back bone, so there has to be a central post to hold your sign high so dog owners will be able to know what a dog waste station is should any of them inexplicably forget and fall onto their knees shouting, "Please, what is that thing?!?"
BOX-CHANNEL POST: There are two types of posts generally in use, and if you set the post in concrete either one will work well: box frame and U-channel. Both of these normally come in two pieces making it easier for shipping, but also making it easy to adjust the height in case you do not want a sign since one section can telescope or overlap the other. These are normally "powder-coated" which means painted electrostatically and set with heat so they can endure the elements.
We recommend a box-channel since it is the strongest. At some point in the next 10 or 15 years, Larry the yard guy is surely going to ram your dog-waste station with his John Deere. In some parts, nothing runs (into stuff) like a Deere and a box-channel post will be more likely to shrug off the blow.
U-CHANNEL POST: If you are in a hellfire hurry, and the ground is soft enough, you can just pound your U-channel post into the dirt making sure it is vertical. In this way, you can put in a pet waste station in under an hour... which also allows for you to fall asleep on the job for 30 or 40 minutes of that said hour.
Once you pound in the bottom half, then attach the upper half so it overlaps or telescopes to the correct combined height. We will warn you here that the U-channel style post is a less able to withstand sideways forces when planted in the dirt, so after a few years it may very well begin to lean to the left or right. If you get the box style, which is our favorite, these are more stable. The best idea is to set your center post in concrete. The hole should be 14 inches deep. Dig a hole, insert the post, brace so it remains level, pour in concrete, and let is set up for 24 hours.
DOG WASTE BAGS
There are several kinds of dog waste bags on the market.
WASTE BAG ROLLS: Prices vary, but the hands-down winner is the roll bag. If you look at what most dog owners actually use to pick up poop, it's nothing fancy. So there's no sense spending extra money on fancier bags that are unnecessary. Rolls of dog waste bags are significantly less costly and function as well as any other kind of waste bag where the rubber meets the road... or huh... you get the idea. Besides, would most dog owners really expect a more costly for free? No.
STRAP BAGS: This style of dog waste bag comes as a packet of lay-flat bags stapled together at the top with two holes for prongs inside the dispenser. Each bag has a perforation at the top below the binding so each one can be torn away like a perforated sheet of paper from a nice yellow tablet. Each bag also has a little strip that serves as a grab handle (whoa-whoa-whoa!) making it easy to pull one off. In fact, this style is hand-down the easiest to remove by far. (Yes, "hand down" was intentional humor thanks for wondering). If you are providing dog waste bags in a retirement community where elderly dog walkers suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in their hands, residents will sing your praises for the rest of their days and talk about the wonder of these bags at every communal meal. I know, because that's what I do at my own meals.
For everyone else, the extra plastic strip, extra paper strip, and staples make this format the most expensive dog waste bag. Sellers justify this bag, saying it is cheaper because users can only rip off one bag at a time, whereas they say with a roll, people can pull of more than one.
In our experience, we don't see streams of poop bags from a roll going into the trash we empty. Besides if someone wanted to double up, they could do that with any style of bag. But honestly, we haven't seen people getting greedy with dog waste bags. Perhaps there is a movement we've never witnessed of people stealing poop bags to wrap sandwiches. Doesn't sound very appetizing to us. And again, that could be done with any style of bag.
However, as the most expensive of all dog waste bags, these might be the style of choice when you want to impress dog owners with your style. If you run a well-funded dog park in Beverly Hills, select these. Expect to pay 150% more per bag for the strap format vs. the roll format.
MITTEN BAGS: These are not as expensive as a strap bag, but they are still more expensive than dog waste bags on a roll. They are also bonded together at the top with holes for a couple of prongs. Each one is torn off one at a time leaving the "spine" at the top when the bags are gone. Each bag has extra material at the bottom, folded inside to make a puppet-like "mouth" which opens up to "swallow" dog waste. Sorry for the horrible analogy.
In our opinion, again the extra luxury of having a gusset at the bottom is nice, but while some dog owners might spend the extra money for that style, not having it would not be a barrier to picking up the waste. We don't think your purchase of this style is merited.
Here again is a bag that smacks of luxury and who doesn't like a little luxury? So if you have the budget and want a fancier bag why not splurge? For example, we can see these as the preferred bag in a retirement community that allows pets and charges plenty for community services. Truth be told, if there all kinds of waste bag dispensers were available in one spot, and I was walking my pups, I'd go for these. But if I was having to pay for them, no way would I get these.
Expect to pay 50% more than rolls for mitten style bags.
TIE-HANDLE BAGS: The tie handle style is again more expensive than the roll since they use more plastic. They are "roomy" at bottom. Each bag has a hole removed which wastes plastic and drives up the price unnecessarily. The two handles may be tied together like laces. Whatever color waste bag you chose, get one that is opaque for obvious reasons.
Expect to pay 56% more than a bag pulled from a roll.
OTHER FORMATS: We've seen drawstring bags, packs, and other styles. But we can't justify their expense. Roll bags are easy to tie off. Keep it simple and save your money.
The dog waste station dispenser is a locking aluminum box bolted to the central support post. Cost? Expect to pay from $50 to $70. In our opinion, pricing is not really a factor considering this is a one-time-only purchase and that most metal dispensers will easily last for 10 years or more. In most cases, it is better to go with commercial-grade aluminum, not plastic, to protect against vandalism. There are a number of different designs corresponding to the various styles of dog waste bags in use.
SIDE-BY-SIDE STANDARD ROLLS: If you follow our recommendations and go with standard waste bag rolls, the vertical layout (at left) is best because a vertical roll has the least friction and so is more immune to binding. These dispensers will have a series of holes side by side like the dispenser at left. For a roll bag, there's no better layout. Most dispensers have instructions printed on the door.
STACKED STANDARD ROLLS: In a horizontal arrangement (see right), some have small shelves inside to segregate each rolls, and some don't. Rain can enter through the holes and make the cardboard boxes soggy so that they collapse. In a dispenser without internal shelves, after the first rain the boxes collapse, and the weight of rolls above puts pressure the lower rolls making it more difficult to draw out a bag. Usually two or more rolls can be placed in the top shelf.
As well, as rolls are used up you will soon have one or two mini rolls when you return for restock. It's like a toilet paper roll that's 90% gone. You'd normally put a fresh roll on top of the spent roll. Due to their weight pressing on each other, one roll acts to brake the other.
It's not the end of the world, and we're not trying overplay the point, but if you are trying to encourage dog waste owners to pick up after their pets, anything that makes a dog-waste station more difficult to use may discourage some pet owners from going to the trouble.
STRAP BAG AND MITTEN STYLE DISPENSERS: Dispensers for strap bags and mitten bags have a set of prongs inside on which to hang the "tablets" of bags. These types of containers usually have larger openings as well, which some people don't like because the larger hole lets rain inside more easily. On the other hand, it's just plastic and aluminum, so water isn't really much of a problem. A worse problem might be the chance of wasps building a nest inside. At Sgt. Poopers, when we service dog waste dispensers, we spray a non-toxic repellent inside to keep wasps and insects out.
Again, these hang-type dispensers work well, but in our opinion the extra expense is not warranted as covered above in the section covering dog waste bags.
TIE-HANDLE DISPENSERS: The last type of dispenser is for tie-handle bags. We have to admit, some of these are really swank. These rolls are larger holding two 300 or 400 bag rolls vs. three 200 bag rolls in the standard dispenser, so the tie-handle style requires a specially sized dispenser. Note, they will not fit a normal roll bag dispenser.
In Dallas, we service some very popular dog waste stations. The busiest stations dispense maybe 15 or 20 bags a day. In a week, that's maybe 125 bags. 600 bags would last more than a month. So the question is, is 800 bags really necessary? Probably not. Most pet waste stations need to be serviced at least once a week to remove the trash. If you don't get a good one, the trash containers tend to fill up with rain water breeding mosquitoes and smelling like hell. So there's no way anyone's going to leave a pet waste station in a high traffic area neglected for an entire month, which means 600 bags is more than plenty.
Furthermore, the tie-handle bags are more expensive, averaging 56% more costly than standard-bag rolls. But what is cool is that when you pull one out, the next bag in line catches on the raised tab which automatically stops it from coming out. So where the standard roll requires two hands to tear off a bag, this one only requires one hand. The question is what can you do with all the saved energy? Whoop. De. Do.
Finally, even though the engineering is impressive, you have to remember what these are being used for: picking up waste. They are going straight into the trash. So is a fancy bag really needed? We don't recommend them.
CONCLUSION: The on-going cost of dog waste bags is significant enough that it makes sense to go with the least expensive solution which is still acceptable to almost all dog owners. Since rolls of standard bags are by far the most economical, we recommend a locking aluminum dispenser with at least three side-by-side 200-bag rolls.
Many dog waste containers are poorly designed and constructed in China.
FLAP-LID OPEN-MESH CONTAINER: A trash container that collects rainwater is a liability to say the least. That doesn't stop lots of people from buying them, lured by misconceptions of false economy, but the flap lids variety of dog waste containers (like the one at right) is a very low solution at best. While they shield some water, rain easily flows around the lid edge and into trash plastic bag. Hauntingly, water and large bags full of dog waste don't mix. But do mix, that's the horror of it. Especially when you experience buzzing flies and mosquitoes when you open the lid. If there was anything more likely to dissuade dog owners from picking up after their pet, this is it. What's most senseless, is that a pet waste station is a one-time purchase that may last for decades. Against that kind longevity, saving $1 a year for a nightmare garbage container doesn't make strong economic sense.
These kind of containers often fill up prematurely with picnic waste, wine bottles and fast-food cups and bags. Meanwhile they do nothing to seal in waste odor, which helps people learn how to hold their breath in preparation for Navy Seal training. The internal hoop-shapped ribs inside at the top do little to lock down the edges of a trash bag. The mesh construction allows the wind to blow the bag out of place so it falls down into the bottom of the can. Also, the mesh allows dogs to urinate directly onto the bag. Yuck.
The hoops are advertised to hold the bag up against the walls of the basket but in these made-in-China version, they often don't even come close. So if you try to use the basket in the advertised way, the bag will fall down into the container and guess who has to clean up the mess? Not the person who designed this piece of idiocy.
Summary: Let's in rainwater, flies, mosquitoes, picnic trash, Starbucks. Let's out flies, mosquitoes, and nose-shriveling odor. Rating: 0 stars. Verdict: AVOID.
FLANGE-LID CONTAINERS: A slightly better design is one with a 3/8 inch flange around the rim of the lid. This type of lid covers the top more securely deflecting rainwater away from the bag opening. However, this style of lid still fits rather loosely allowing odors and insects free passage. All the other problems as with a flap-lid container are unchanged. These containers have the same kind of hoops that will allegedly hold a garbage bag in place. I say "allegedly" since these work about as well as Chinese Finger Traps hold gangland murder suspects.
Nobody wants to open a trash can lid to be assaulted by buzzing flies. Another fault of this design is that anyone can throw anything in these type of baskets. Every week we find wine bottles, aluminum cans, and picnic trash in addition to waste bags. The problem is that excess trash can quickly overfill this kind of container — it only holds 10 gallons and is not intended for general trash. General trash leaves no room for poop bags. Flange-style rating: 1 star. Prediction: Expect buyer's remorse.
FLANGE-LID METAL BOX: These rectangular aluminum boxes hold 11-gallons, one more gallon than the cylindrical baskets above. They are also sealed to the wind, so the bag will stay in place better. But they still use the internal hoop system, which requires you to wrap the edges of the trash liner around and around the hoop-style holder inside, which takes a bit of practice and is a little tricky to get right. While it's another step up from the open-mesh round designs, the provided mechanism for holding up the bags is not great. The weight of dog waste adds up quickly and that weight tends to pull the bag down. It's enough hassle that most would not want to deal with it every week for the next 20 years.
Obviously, this design does nothing to keep people from using it as a general trash can. Trash cans in common areas fill up with trash amazingly quickly. You will then have to pay to have their trash hauled away. And speaking of that, at right you can see someone trying to lift trash out of one of these boxes that is typically already overfilled with regular trash. 11 gallons of dog waste would weigh about 88 pounds, so he really have a hard time if it was only full of that. Instead they get filled up from misuse as it's often the only kind of trash can around.
This photo illustrates another flaw in the internal hoop design for hanging the can liners on. As you can see, when you try to remove the bag, they act like Chinese Finger Cuffs chomping down on the bag like jaws. With weekly service over 20 years, that means someone will be fighting with these things 1,020 times. Better idea: spend an extra $100 and get the vault-style container described below.
Rating: 2 stars. Better than the baskets, but still a faulty design.
VAULT-STYLE CONTAINER: Finally, something purpose-built for the job. Please forgive our giddy excitement in discussing it's features; we are, after all, a pet waste company. It's a sealed locking box with a chute on top allowing only small items in like dog waste bags, and preventing larger trash. It also seals in odors, keeps out insects, and keeps out rain water! It's made of commercial-gauge powder-coated aluminum so it won't rust.
These trash receptacle are about $100 more expensive than the worthless designs already reviewed. To put that in perspective, if the life of the container is 20 years, that's about $5 extra per year for something that actually works vs. a weekly headache 52 times a year times 20 years is 1,040 times you'd have to deal with a problem container, vs. 1,040 times you will praise the day you purchased this container instead of a faulty one.
When you unlock the front of the vault, the and trash receptacle tilts out allowing easy removal and replacement of the trash bag. The container holds 11-gallons—1 gallon more than the round basket designs—so a 13-gallon tall kitchen trash bag fits perfectly with room to spare. It's sealed against the wind, so will not blow out of it's moorings. Rating: 5 stars. This is the gold standard if you can say such a thing about a dog waste can.
DOG WASTE STATION PRICES
Perhaps no one makes perfect pet waste stations. Maybe one day, we'll have germ-free space-time portals that simply teleport the nation's 10-million tons of dog waste produced annually directly into deep space or maybe the UN General Assembly. Alas, those days are not yet so in the meanwhile we've done the next best thing: assembled the ideal dog waste station that provides you with the best of all choices: functionality, durability, ease of use, and price.
Prices for dog waste stations vary greatly, from $199 up to $1,000 each. Ours is $650, but includes sophisticated marketing to protect your area in the form of a 5-color customized aluminum Conservation Arrowhead. If you live in the Dallas area, we provide professional installation in concrete at the proper height.
You won't find a better price anywhere for what we provide and we can prove it: We've done the homework for you, and with 10 years in the business, we know how to get people to pick up after their dogs. The best dog-waste stations on the market at the best price comes from dogwastedepot.com. Their price is $299 and you're welcome to buy from them instead of us. But they cannot give you our customized 5-color station header promoting conservation because that is our intellectual property.
Whether you buy from them, or us, it is exactly the same cost. We include our custom sign with their dog waste station. That's it. Our all-important header sign was created after years of experience with the problem of dog owner non-cooperation.
Where to locate Pet Waste Stations
Dog waste stations are effective (particularly when they utilize our Conservation Arrowhead) wherever dog owners walk their pets including dog parks, city parks, rest areas, common areas, green ways, downtown sidewalks, walking streets, hiking trails, neighborhood sidewalks, dog-friendly restaurants, apartment buildings, condos, town homes, multi-family properties, residential backyards, veterinary offices, kennels, pet supply stores, playgrounds, schools, and more!
Dog waste stations should be located centrally near entrances and exits of parks, trails or walking areas. Many common areas may be entered from different directions. Where you place your pet waste stations is sometime a compromise. Of course it's always best to avoid making people cross the street to get a pet waste bag since that might put someone in harm's way. If you would like us to plan it for you, we will help you select the right area and even install it for you professionally.
Dog Waste Station Professional Installation
If you live in the greater Dallas, TX area and purchase a dog waste station from us or from someone else and need it installed, we will professionally install it for you.
Our installation includes the following:
- Supply tools — post hole digger, level, etc.
- Supply materials — 80 pounds of concrete, water
- Supply transportation
- Dig an 14" post-hole
- Set the post vertically at the proper height
- Brace the post while the concrete cures
- Mix and pour concrete
- Return the following day
- Remove bracing
- Assemble parts
- Stock initial supply of trash bags and poop bags
- Clean up site
- Haul away shipping cartons
Dog Waste Station DIY Installation
If you plan to install your new dog waste station yourself, here are the steps. The best installation is to set the station in concrete. That will help stabilize it over the years and keep it from leaning.
- Tape Measure
- Post-hole digger
- Eye protection
- Electric impact driver and Phillips head bit
- 80-lb sack of concrete
- 3 quarts of water
- 2 section of 2x4 about 3 feet long
- 2 wooden stakes
- 3 inch drywall screws
SETTING IN CONCRETE STEPS:
- Call 811 before you dig (it's free) to verify there are no buried electrical lines, water lines, gas lines, telecommunication lines.
- Using a post-hole digger (generally between $25–$125 at a hardware store), dig a hole that is 14-inches deep.
- Mix 80 lbs of dry concrete and 2-3 quarts of water in the hole. Use eye protection and wear gloves since concrete is caustic. You can use the larger diameter post to help mix in the hole. Do not add too much water. Concrete should look like thick oatmeal and hold it's shape when squeezed in a gloved hand. Adding too much water will weaken the concrete by 40%. Brace the post using the 2x4s and drywall screws so it stands perfectly vertical. Let the concrete set for 24 hours. Remove bracing.
- Attach smaller diameter upper post so there is a 4" overlap. Use the 3-inch bolts provided.
- Attach trash can so there is 5 inches of clearance between the bottom of the can and the ground. This provides enough room for mowers. Use brackets and bolts provided.
- Install the waste bag dispenser 10 inches above the top of the trash can. Insert bolts from the inside of the dispenser and don't forget to use the supplied washers.
- Now attach the Arrowhead Conservation sign.
NO CONCRETE METHOD:
The posts, whether U-channel or box-channel, come in two pieces making it easier to just pound the bottom section into the ground if you opt for the quick and dirty method (not recommended, but some people do it). We will warn you here that the U-channel style post is a less able to withstand pushing and pulling forces when planted in the dirt, so after a few years it may very well begin to lean. If you get the box style (which is what Sgt. Poopers sells) these are more stable. Use eye protection and do not strike the post directly with a sledge hammer, but put something above to cushion the blow like a piece of wood. Center the post vertically and pound it into the ground at least 14 inches into the earth. Once you pound in the bottom half, then attach the upper half so it overlaps or telescopes 4 inches.
Dog Waste Station Maintenance
A pet waste station consists of four parts — sign, post, waste bag dispenser, and trash container. Properly constructed pet waste stations also set an expectation of responsibility for pet owners. We can supply a unique sign that puts dog owners in the right mindset (it's all about conservation). By making it easy for them to pick up and dispose of their dog's waste, common areas are made more inviting for everyone. No body wants to play or relax in an environment contaminated by dog waste.
Our Pet Waste Station maintenance program includes emptying each trash receptacle one to five times per week (depending on traffic volume); keep waste bags stocked up in the dispenser so there are always hundreds in reserve; cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing the station; picking up any trash around the station area; mending any broken parts like doors or locks. We use only strong, high-quality poop bags—this is important if you want dog owners to continue picking up after their pets. We maintain your inventory of poop bags and trash bags. If one station not being used or is being overloaded, we can make suggestions on better placement, or the addition of another station if needed. We also keep nuts and bolts tight, retouch paint, replace decals and instructions when they become weathered.
Many dog waste stations get stuffed with general trash of all sorts including cans, bottles, bags. In this case, we can recommend and can even supply a standard outdoor waste receptacle to catch this kind of litter. We bill once a month and provide the following services on each visit:
- Arrive each week on schedule
- Remove full trash bag
- Disinfect and deodorize inside vault
- Install clean trash liner
- Restock dog waste bags
- Clean off dirt, dust, and spider webs
- Disinfect outside vault including chute handle
- Leave it shiny like new
- Pick up any nearby trash
- Dispose of waste
Dog Waste Station Mainenance Prices
Purchase Dog Waste Stations
Customized conservation arrowhead
Four Bag/dispenser choices
Sealed Chute With locking Vault Container
- Buy dog waste stations from Sgt. Poopers.
- Sgt. Poopers maintains dog waste stations in Greater Dallas, Texas.
- Learn more about our conservation work.