If you have a dog, chances are you also have a few good dog doo war stories about the time the bag you were using to scoop the poop had a hole in it or the time you stepped in something right before work because the kids didn’t want to pick up Spot’s droppings from the night before. Classic gems! Let’s face it, no one wants to bend over and pick up dog poop.
The Auggiedog Automatic Pooper Scooper eliminates the need to bend over or even touch your dog’s waste. Seems like a dream come true, but does it solve a messy problem or introduce additional problems of its own?
Auggiedog is a poop “vacuum” utilizing an auger to pick up waste from the ground and hold it in an internal receptacle. It’s a battery-powered system, with an onboard rechargeable battery and a wall charger. Once the vacuum is charged, it’s good to go for about two weeks of use on a single charge.
There is an ergonomic trigger on the handle which controls the duration of the spinning auger. A toggle button on the handle will reverse the auger’s spinning direction to dispose of the waste over a toilet, compost, or garbage bag.
Since the Auggiedog is intended to take on walks with your pooch, the handle is equipped with a couple additional features. There is a switch on its top that when pushed in one direction turns on the LED flashlight and when pushed in the opposite direction triggers the emergency alarm.
The vacuum is roughly 3 pounds, and while that doesn’t sound like all that much, I found it to be a little awkwardly weighted in both the handle and base. For me, it was uncomfortable to carry for long periods by its handle. If I were going on an extended walk, I’d just carry it by shaft to even the weight distribution.
The full Auggiedog system consists of the Auggiedog vacuum itself with an adjustable length shaft, self-standing cap for the base of the auger, charging cord, cleaning station, and biodegradable cleaning solution.
The cleaning station is also “hands free”. Stepping on the lift will open the lid and allow the cleaning and storage of the Auggiedog in the bucket.
Over the last month, I’ve used the Auggiedog on my dog’s bathroom runs. She’s a Pomeranian, so her droppings are about the size of the droppings of a Canada Goose. The first few times I tried using the Auggiedog with her, I think she had a bit of performance anxiety from me hovering behind her holding a giant stick. Then we had a misstep when I pushed the light button in the wrong direction and ended up triggering the alarm. When we did have a successful drop/pickup, the noise of Auggiedog ended up terrifying her. After a few more uses, she was able to ignore it. During operation, it’s no louder than a coffee grinder.
Fall is in full swing here, so there was an assortment of leaves and pine needles on the ground while I was testing, and theAuggiedog performed just fine each time. The auger really does lift away solid dog waste each and every time regardless of the surface. But my biggest problem with the system revealed itself on the very first use – it’s still pretty messy. Large waste can be picked up by the auger in pieces by placing the Auggiedog atop a piece, cutting it into halves, and scooping each one at a time. And let’s face it, there are still remnants left over even after the waste has been disposed of.
The cleaning system includes a concentrated cleanser, and cleaning the vacuum works similarly to picking up dog waste. The cleaning station gets filled with a mix of cleanser and concentrate. Then simply suck up the cleaning liquid from the cleaning station, and then reverse the motion back into the station bucket. This can be repeated until “clean”, but I was still having issues with smell and residue. Thus, Auggiedog has not come back into the house since that first night; it’s kept in a corner of the garage.
The cleanser is septic-friendly, so used cleaning solution can be disposed of in the toilet as well.
Even though the Auggiedog works just fine as a hands-free pooper scooper, it just isn’t a tool for me. On paper, it sounds perfect, but on the whole, it’s just easier for me to stuff a plastic bag in my pocket when I take the dog out and toss a used bag in the trash in the garage. It also saves me the $130 price tag. I could see this working well for a doggie daycare, professional dog walker, or doggie doo clean up business – people who have to pick up a large amount of waste at any one time. However, for the person picking up after just one dog, the convenience of not having to physically pick up dog waste is overshadowed by the machine’s own cleanup process.