Best and fastest way to paper train a puppy?
April 3, 2010 6:00 PM   Subscribe

My friend's sister is ready to give up on her puppy as he is 4 months old now and not completely paper trained. Unfortunately she is a so-so trainer and doesn't pay enough attention to him - then he makes a "mistake" and she yells at him. Now she is threatening to place an ad in the newspaper and sell him as she is "tired" of him. I'm trying to find a quick and dirty method (if there is one) to paper train him as God knows where he will wind up if she sells him. If you could see his photo your hearts would melt! One of the cutest little guys I've ever seen. Only 3 lbs and won't be more than 5 at most.
posted by Tullyogallaghan to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Honestly, it sounds like she shouldn't have a puppy anyway, might be best to let it go to someone who is up for the responsibility.
posted by ghharr at 6:06 PM on April 3, 2010 [26 favorites]

Paper training a dog just teaches it that it is ok to pee and poo inside. She needs to take the dog outside and house train it completely if she plans to keep it.

But mostly, I think ghharr is right. If she's not willing to put the effort into training the puppy properly, why bother?
posted by chiababe at 6:16 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thirding. If you want to help the puppy, try your best to be involved in the choosing of who adopts her. If she's tired of her now, she's not going to transform into a good mommy when it's no longer a cute pup.
posted by mreleganza at 6:18 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Crate training. The dog is older now, so it may not be as effective, but this is the way to go.
posted by procrastination at 6:24 PM on April 3, 2010

I'm with everyone else. Your friend's sister shouldn't be caring for a Pokeman, let alone a puppy. Help find it a good home if you really care about the dog.
posted by dobbs at 6:27 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yep, this pup needs an owner who has the time and patience to train it... help her find a forever home for it.
posted by HuronBob at 6:35 PM on April 3, 2010

She's not smart/patient enough to be a dog owner. Have her try a plant first. If she doesn't kill it, then move up to a fish and then maybe a cat. It sounds like anywhere else would be a better place for the dog.

Also, she can't sell the dog, it's illegal and her ad will be taken down immediately from craigs list. I'm guessing she's gonna have a fit when she finds out 2/3 of the people on this post said she shouldn't own a dog.

Crate training is fantastic, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who shouldn't have a dog in the first place.
posted by TheBones at 6:50 PM on April 3, 2010

Find a no-kill shelter or a private rescue group in your area and arrange for her to surrender the dog. She has no business owning any animal, and trying to sell it because she's "tired" of it will almost certainly not end well for the dog.
posted by scody at 7:14 PM on April 3, 2010

You say "God knows where he will wind up if she sells him", but he might well wind up in a better situation than he's in currently. The main thing to worry about is if she tries to give him away for free -- that's something that animal rescue organizations don't do, partly to make sure their animals go to responsible, caring people, not to labs or to people who value animals only slightly.

Finding a good home for a puppy can be challenging. I'd encourage you to work on that. Maybe borrow the puppy and get that perfect photo!
posted by amtho at 7:23 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a little confused by some of the responses in this thread. 4 months is still a puppy. 4 months is a great time to crate train. 4 months means this dog is going to be making potty mistakes (while they can be very few and far between) for awhile still. And even as an adult they may have their moments.

Putting an ad in the paper ranting about her horror stories with this dog isn't going to sell the poor little guy. She should make it a point (or you should, if she's so above taking care of something that needs her) to train the dog before trying to sell it or give it away. People aren't stupid; they're not going to buy a dog that they know has probably been abused and neglected.

You don't mention where she got the dog from, but if she bought it from a breeder, it's best for her to contact the breeder and simply say that she underestimated the time she could invest in this dog and give it back. If she bought it from a store, her best bet is to make a marketplace listing on Facebook or offer it for free on Craigslist -- but only after she's checked with friends and family or rescue groups in your area.

Puppies are hard work. Judging by the description in your post, it looks like she bought a tiny dog thinking it would be easy to care for (plus that whole thing where pocket pups are all the rage), instead of taking her lifestyle and the breed's temperament in mind.

If she doesn't have a backyard or any accessible grass, buy some potty pads. Follow the instructions. The ones I have (Hartz) even has an "expert hotline" you can call for help. I haven't called it, so I don't know how beneficially it really is, but this is a frustrating period for every pet owner. This is something everyone has to deal with.

Find forums dedicated to the breed (or breeds, if it's mixed) and look at the advice others are giving. Dogs are so different from one to the next, and having a support group during times like this can be a lifesaver. If she's too lazy to sit and read a few posts and laugh alongside those who have been there and done that, someone needs to take that pup away now.

But first and foremost, she should by no means somehow profit off of her ignorance. So avoid letting her list it where she can make money off of this poor thing.
posted by june made him a gemini at 7:24 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's no easy way to housetrain a puppy without paying attention to the process.

That she isn't very good at training her puppy and that she is getting frustrated with the process don't make her a bad person. This isn't about being a good or bad person. This isn't about being smart or dumb. It's about her expectations of what owning a pet would be confronting the reality of a live puppy in her house. Training a new puppy can be extremely hard, and much more labor-intensive than one may have expected. It seems intuitive--adorable puppy + loving home = happiness--and when things that seem like they should be intuitive are actually quite challenging, that's hugely frustrating.

If she wants to make another attempt, she should hire a professional dog trainer to work with her and the puppy--right now she's alone with the dog, and that can feel completely overwhelming and lead to frustration and yelling. If she doesn't feel up to fully training and caring for the puppy, she can select a new family for him. If he's a purebred (or visibly part-[something]), she can get in touch with a relevant breed rescue to find new owners who have the time, energy, and patience to work with this puppy.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:25 PM on April 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Also, I agree with amtho and I was going to make a similar point. It could be that this dog is a little bit more delicate. It could be that she's dealing with other life issues right now and the dog's overwhelming presence makes it seem as if it's the icing on the crap cake.

Regardless, they're both making each other miserable and someone needs to grab the wheel and take control before their behaviors get worse and someone calls animal control.
posted by june made him a gemini at 7:31 PM on April 3, 2010

She's tired of a pet she's had for not more than 2 months. Fine -- puppies are a lot of work, and a small breed puppy is generally very adoptable at a shelter, especially in a city. Both she and the puppy will be happier if it is rehomed, and then she can consider if she wants an animal which is already older, calmer, and trained, or no animals at all. The sooner she gives the puppy away, the easier it will be to find a new home, and the younger it will be when it gets trained by someone who wants to do the work.

If she does want to give the puppy up, she should speak to the local shelters and rescue places, or email her friends and ask them to pass the message along.
posted by jeather at 7:52 PM on April 3, 2010

A friend of mine works at an animal shelter. One big problem with older animals that aren't trained properly, she has told me, is that they're pretty much impossible to put up for adoption (and assuming the shelter simply doesn't have the resources to attempt training)--this is particularly true for larger dog breeds. Guess what happens to them? It's best to find someone and a setting that can provide the necessary early training and socialization, or a household/setting that's fine with an untrained animal. Stat.
posted by Ky at 8:40 PM on April 3, 2010

She may not be a bad person, but she's an irresponsible and immature one. Having a puppy isn't a decision one makes on a whim without any research unless someone is very immature (but this is why mall pet stores exist, sadly). If she did any research, she would've realized what she was getting into, and then probably ignored that research because it's so cutesy-wootsy! Wook at his wittle faaace!

However, doesn't matter in the end if she's bad or good or dumb or smart, the issue is this poor dog. Because it sounds like this is a pocket teacup dog or whatever the rage is these days, I really, really heartily suggest steering her towards a breed-specific rescue. People who know what they're getting into and who are willing to take on the breed's issues go to rescues. If she posts the thing on Craigslist or in the paper, it's much more likely that another immature person is going to think "OOOH how cute I want it now!" and then, in another few months, the novelty will wear off and the poor thing will be in the same place.
posted by kpht at 9:09 PM on April 3, 2010

Another consideration - even if she manages to get past the paper training stuff, many dogs test limits when they become doggy teenagers (around a year old, depending on the breed). So just solving this problem does not remove all the challenges that this puppy's owner will face.
posted by metahawk at 11:11 PM on April 3, 2010

Huge generalization (if you have a small dog and are a good dog owner, this does not apply to you): A lot of people who get 3-5 pound dogs think of them as an accessory, rather than as a dog. It is very possible that the best thing for this dog is to live somewhere else.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:31 PM on April 3, 2010

I just want to mention that nice people do take untrained and problematic dogs home and give them better lives. Lots of people. Not that an un-housebroken baby puppy is a problematic dog at all. It just needs time and knowledge this owner doesn't have. Personally, I only adopt crazy dogs that need a lot of patience. They seem to be happy. They are certainly spoiled.
posted by Duffington at 11:44 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mod note: few comments removed - this is not the place for "she is a bad person" sidebars, please take that shit elsewhere & help the OP answer their question, thank you
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:13 AM on April 4, 2010

Crate training.

Crate training works, and more importantly, it works with the dog's natural aversion to pee and poo where they sleep. It is not cruel in the least. It requires patience and diligence, but it can be done.
posted by Thistledown at 8:40 AM on April 4, 2010

Her instinct to re-home the dog seems like a good idea. The Animal Shelter or the breeder will likely take the dog. There are so-called rescue groups for many breeds that will re-home a dog. Even if she sells the dog, it has a good chance of a home at least as good as she can provide.

If she wants to keep the dog, someone could help her train the dog better. The dog should be going out for a chance to pee/poop at least every other hour or so, with plenty of praise for success. A crate for nighttime and time when she's not home helps, though puppies shouldn't be alone for long stretches of time. Encourage her to go to training; she'll enjoy the dog more if she and it are trained.
posted by theora55 at 8:24 PM on April 4, 2010

« Older Has the eagle landed?   |   Song Bowie wrote for someone else Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.