This is the back of my little rental house. As you can imagine, when it rains, that dirt patch turns into a nice big mud pit for the dog to run though on his way inside. Yuck. He's pretty smart though, and now he knows the drill...he stops to get his feet wiped before he goes past the porch.
If I owned this house, I'd probably build a big deck or porch right across the back of the house, but since I don't own, I came up with another solution that you will see soon.