I have 3 dogs.
Make a choice, dogs or grass
dogs like grass too
I put down a deep area of pea gravel off a brick patio. And, there were raised planters around most of the perimeter of the yard. I planted a boxwood hedge off the brick patio so as to break things up. The dogs seemed to prefer using the area on the other side of the hedge and pick up was very easy.
Take you dogs for walks when outside for exercise, then youll have healthier dogs and green grass.
Pat: I have a small space for my dog that I've laid gravel in. It works well.
I have 6+ dogs and have grass in the yard. As a matter of fact, I have the grass just for them. Does require a bit of maintenace, but so worth it when you see them play and roll around in it. If you decide on gravel, make sure it is a tumbled variety so it doesn't get stuck in their paws and hurt them. They will still need a patch of grass or something soft to lay on in both sun and shade.
Astro turf works well. I have all gravel backyard & use old area rugs on top of gravel for them to lie on. Since I live in desert I get the rugs wet so they are cooler,they like to lay out in the hot sun on the cool wet rug. it's so hot here it dries in hour or so, so no mold. when the rugs get messed up I get new one from goodwill for 25.00 they usually last a year. If you use gravel or mulch get some that does not hurt/cut their feet they won't want to play,chase ball, run across it. if you don't want to walk on it in your barefeet(sharp/hot/freezing/splinters) don't expect them too,especially if you have really small dogs. Dogs and yards are both alot of work to keep up/take care of, cannot be lazy with either even more so if you have both.