Does your writing make people want to poo on your lawn?

"Dog walkers. If you would keep your pooch on the curb side of the   side walk, I would not have to replant the fence. Thanks."

Does this sign inspire people to be responsible dog owners? Do you care about this man and his fence? If you had a dog, would you secretly hope he or she had to poo when you reached this guy's house---just so you could leave it behind?   

Signs are frequently made in the heat of the moment. Think about the workplace. Ever seen an angry note in your office kitchen? I know I have. Some people just go all wacko when they see old food in the fridge or smell burnt popcorn in the microwave. It almost always inspires a sign. And, frankly, most every sign I've ever seen in the office kitchen has created animosity amongst the staff. Ever notice those signs go up anonymously?

Now, let's ignore the fact that the "fence" this guy has to replant is actually a cheap piece of flimsy, bent plastic. And, let's forget that there are only scattered rocks and dirt on the ground and not lush grass. This is someone else's property and I get that. No reason he should be subjected to poo.

However, as with most everything in life, how you respond can make all the difference. Is this man's sign the worst one ever posted? Not really. I've seen worse. But, does it motivate people to do what he wants? I don't think so. I can come up with at least a dozen other things this guy could have written that would yield a better result.

One dog poop sign that I used to see regularly said, Please pick up after your dog. Your dog will be proud of you. The homeowners engraved white letters on a red, plastic sign that was staked in his planter. Does this message make dog walkers more inspired to comply? I think it does. While the fence sign was all about the homeowner's inconvenience, this sign makes it about the dog walker's relationship with his or her pooch. Heck, yeah, I want my dog to be proud of me! (I went to take a picture of the sign for this blog post, but it was gone. I think someone stole it because they liked it just as much as I did.)

The next time you want someone to stop what you consider an undesirable behavior, think about what would make you respond favorably. Be objective. Also, weigh whether or not you'd get better results by talking with the person or by writing a note. Let's be honest, notes and signs are almost always someone's way of avoiding conflict.

If you do choose to go the way of the written word, write something down and then walk away. Look at it again in a few hours or the next day. Have a trusted friend look at it, too. Could the note use humor to make your point? Is your wording demanding or is it reasonable? Remember, words are powerful. And, very literal. Without the inflection or tone of a voice, things can be taken the wrong way.

The next time someone sets you off and you scribble that note, ask yourself, "would this make someone want to poo on my lawn?" It's a question that more people should ask themselves in my opinion. How about yours?


  1. I have lousy memory but this makes me think of the movie where the guy poops on the lawn. lol

  2. Great article. You are so right. Sometimes ones message can make people do the opposite of what we would like. I think adding a touch of humor, and not preaching from our high horse, changes how people relate to what we are asking. Great advice! 

  3. as always amber....great message! I wish people would be more constructive and offer feedback or helpful suggestions before jumping on and criticizing.

    I like to find beauty in every situation although some people are JUST POO! and will always be POO! 

  4. great point vanessa! do you consider sarcasm humor?? I find people tend to be sarcastically funny when they have something they want to say but not the cajonas to say it. 

  5. Ha ha. Very true, Jessica. Some people can be, can't they ;-)

  6. Hey Vanessa! It all goes back to "it's not what you say, but how you say it", huh? Both homeowners don't want you to let your dog go on their property, but the way they approach that goal is so different. Words are powerful and so often people don't put enough thought into the ones they choose.

    Thanks so much for dropping by from Spain! ;-)

  7. As always great post Amber.  As someone who comes across a whole lotta "poo on the lawn" this sign would not have inspired me to walk my pack curbside if I were so inclined to walk my dogs against this fence.  The presentation alone could be vastly improved.  I remember once, as I was picking up after my dog, some little kids nearby responded with a really loud "iiillll, gross".   So when I asked them why they responded that way, of course they said because poo is gross (admittedly it is) and then asked me why I would pick it up .  I asked them "Isn't it better that I pick it up rather than you stepping in it when you are playing tag?"...I would like to think that if there were any future dog owners in that little pack, that my response will stick with them always and they will be poo-picker-uppers: )

  8. What a good citizen you are, Rachel! Hopefully you've inspired the next generation to carry poop bags!

    I've had kids say that ewwww thing to me, too. I always remind them that they poo, too. They're usually speechless after that ;-)

  9. Let's move beyond the fact that a post about poo is funny. And the fact that the guy doesn't have a lush, green yard. And the fact that you came across this sign. The lesson here is just plain brilliant. Thank you.

  10. Thank you so much, Gini! I'm glad you can see and appreciate the bigger picture here. It's about more than poo. Poo is just our learning tool of the day ;-)

    Thanks for the comment and the tweet. It makes me all giddy when you stop by!

  11. In our office we have a workers compensation poster that says "If you are injured on the job" and then it has a litany of procedures you are supposed to follow. I took the poster and covered the procedures part and changed it to read "If you are injured on the job...........we will fire you". Of course HR didn't think it was too funny, but I thought it was incredibly clever; 'cause I'm funny like that. It was in our break room and actually took 2 months for anyone to even notice it.

    I guess I did get a little off track here, but of course I had to talk about myself and wanted to impress you with how 'incredibly clever' I really am..........:)

    Break rooms are the best; not making a new pot of coffee; eating someone else's food; leaving food too long, etc, etc, etc. And I have seen the notes and probably left one a time or two. You make a good point of putting yourself in the person's shoes who will be reading it and how would you react.

    See, you make me smarter all the time. Thanks for sharing......were we talking about poo?

  12. Oh, yeah. HR always loves it when people mess with legally required posters. Mmm hmmm.

    Yeah, we're talking about poo. But, we're talking about poo as it pertains to learning better people skills. I'm not gross enough to talk about poo if it doesn't have some greater value. I've got journalistic integrity, ya know...

  13. Amber, aloha. Congrats on your great headline.  You are so right that how a sign is written (or something is said) makes a big difference in the reaction of those who read it.  Hotels have found that they way they phrase using/not using towels for eco-reasons makes a significant difference in the results.

    What we say, be it on a sign, on a blog or in person is a reflection of us. What we put out is what we will get back. 

    Thx for the smiles and the reminder.  Until next time, aloha.  Janet

  14. Hey Janet! Was trying for something a little provocative with the title. Not my usual style (as compared with my last post on Winnie the Pooh), but it got lots of people's attention ;-)

    Your towel example is exactly what I'm talking about. The message could be said one way and you've feel jipped and disgruntled. Said another way, you could think the hotel was uber eco conscious and you'd want to help. People don't put enough stock in their word choices. Big mistake in my opinion.

    Thank so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  15. Great point. It's the same lesson we need to learn about how quickly we respond via social media. At times we react with a quick tweet, only to stir up more anger because of miscommunication and the words that we chose. Oh, and I always pick up after my dog. Unless I'm walking him near @ginidietrich:disqus 's house.

  16. I'm their problem child..........but not in a legal nightmare kind of way....:)

  17. Excellent point, Ken! All these platforms enable us to spout off at lightening speed. That's liberating, but alarming at the same time, isn't it?

    I hear Gini has her place riddled with security cameras just to bust people like you. Better bring poop bags next time ;-)

  18. That may be the funniest blog post title I have ever read!
    Which  does indeed prove your point.

  19. Excellent! Thanks so much, Tabitha! ;-)

  20. I realize I'm way late to the party on this one, but wanted to add my voice to the chorus of kudos for this post -- & also add this link to the discussion:

    If you haven't seen this site before, you're definitely gonna wanna block off a few hours on your calendar for this stroll through the smarmy underside of human pettiness ... :-)

  21. The party's going on 24/7! You're not late at all, Hugh!

    Just looked at the link. What a jerkface! ;-) Ha ha. I'll have to spend some time looking around that site. Looks good for some laughs and maybe a wee bit of terror at the thought that humans actually run the world.

    Thanks, Hugh!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...