Pet Waste Study

Dog owner’s perceptions and behaviors related to the disposal of pet waste in City of Boulder open space and mountain parks (OSMP)


Leaving pet waste on public open space is a depreciative behavior, with the potential to harm social and ecological wellbeing. Managers often implement direct and indirect management actions to mitigate depreciative behaviors like this. The purpose of this study was to explore dog owner behaviors and self-reported perceptions regarding the disposal of dog waste in Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) in Boulder, Colorado, in an effort to increase compliance with proper disposal practices. This study utilized direct observations of dog owners and their behaviors regarding pet waste, and separate self-reported surveys to examine dog owner’s perceptions of pet waste disposal in OSMP. The Theory of Planned Behavior served as a framework to explore how dog owners’ attitudes, norms, and perceived behavioral control might influence behavioral intentions, as well as self-reported current behavior, regarding the disposal of pet waste in OSMP. Finally, this study explored potential management techniques that may influence dog owners’ to properly dispose of pet waste in OSMP in the future.


Blenderman, A., Taff, B. D., Schwartz, F., & Lawhon, B. (2017). Dog Owner’s Perceptions and Behaviors Related to the Disposal of Pet Waste in City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. Final Report prepared for City of Boulder, Colorado, Open Space and Mountain Parks by Pennsylvania State University and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.