Someone has to deal with this shit
December 1, 2011 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Who should pick up the poop? Owner of the dog, or roommate who gets home first?

Help me figure out who is being unreasonable here, please.

I've been living with generally pretty good roommates for a couple months. One of my roommates, A, has a dog. When no one is home, Dog goes into crate.

We all have busy schedules. I leave early morning and generally get home in the 7 - 9pm range. As it happens, most days this still makes me the first one home. Usually I've let Dog into the backyard and then I call her back in about an hour.

Recently, neighbors with whom we share the yard have complained that they're stepping in poop. A tells me that now when I get home, I should either walk her and pick up the poop, or I should search for the poop when I call her back into the house.

I think this is gross, and so I said I really don't want to pick up the poop. (For what it's worth, I've never had a dog before and the first time I picked up poop was actually for this dog while A was away on a trip. I don't care for it.)

A is frustrated/angry and says that since I share enjoyment of Dog (and it is an awesome dog), I should also be willing to pick up her poop, or I should just leave her in the crate.

But sometimes Dog is in the crate from 9am til when I get home, and I can't imagine ignoring her whining when I get in the door and just leaving her there.

My suggested compromise is that I still let Dog into backyard and when A gets home, A can search for poop later. A doesn't want to do this because by the time she gets home, it will be dark. (However, it's already dark when I get home on these winter nights. Also she can do the poop search during the daytime, in the morning.)

What should happen here? Am I unreasonable in not wanting to pick up poop? Can you guys think of any other compromises?
posted by pluot to Human Relations (60 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The dog owner is responsible for the dog and its crap. Period.
posted by maurreen at 9:35 PM on December 1, 2011 [45 favorites]

"Searching for poop" is absurd.

Sorry, but I don't think letting the dog run free in a shared yard works. You (or whoever) need to take the dog out on a leash, take a baggie, watch it poop, pick up the poop.

Unless you can negotiate the building of some penned off area of the yard where it can poop with impunity, that's the only logical solution.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:35 PM on December 1, 2011 [20 favorites]

Morally, the dog owner is responsible for the poop.
posted by shothotbot at 9:38 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

If A works such long hours, A needs to consider either hiring a dog walker OR paying *you* to let dog out/pick up poo.

How long is it between the time you get home and when A gets home? If less than 20 minutes, leave dog in crate.
posted by k8t at 9:39 PM on December 1, 2011 [23 favorites]

Maybe your roommate should pay for a dog walker, who will take care of the crap.
posted by maurreen at 9:39 PM on December 1, 2011 [7 favorites]

The dog owner should clean the poo.
posted by snow_mac at 9:42 PM on December 1, 2011

If you let out the dog, you pick up the poop. No one likes picking it up but it has to be done. If you don't want to do it, tell your roommate that and that they need to hire a dog walker.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:43 PM on December 1, 2011 [27 favorites]

This is one of those situations that is so absurd to me that it almost boggles my mind.

Not that you are absurd, but that you roommate is. Of course she should be responsible for picking up after her dog. Her being inconvenienced by any of the variables that she mentions simply does not matter. And her insisting that you have a role in this is pretty inconsiderate.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:43 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

I agree that the dog owner is ultimately responsible. But you are taking on some of the dog responsibility by letting the dog out of it's crate and into the yard. I agree with your roomate: you should pick up the poop when you take out the dog. Or leave the dog in it's crate and your roomate can hire a dog walker or something.

Also: No one likes picking up dog poop. But it takes 10 seconds and it's the responsible thing to do.
posted by gnutron at 9:45 PM on December 1, 2011 [20 favorites]

I think your friend needs to hire a dog walker and pay for someone else to clean up after the dog. (I also hate to think of the dog being in a crate for 12hrs a day and this is another way to solve that problem).
posted by bquarters at 9:50 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

If you don't want to pick up the poop don't let the dog out.

The owner can't come home to clean up the poop and then go back to work to finish their shift.

And it takes so little effort to end any strife between you and your roommate and you and the neighbors. It takes a minute at most to pick up the poo and get rid of it.

On preview, what gnutron said.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:51 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

So if the dog gets sick and needs a vet, will you both share vet bills because it is a great dog that you both enjoy? Part of deciding to get a pet is assuming responsibility for paying for its care, cleaning up after it, etc. So if she wants you take on dog care tasks, it is at your dscretion.

By the same token, it is not fair for your neighbors to suffer the consequences of any of this. I do think it is very reasonable hat if the dog goes out, clean up after it immediately if it is dark, take it ou with a leash and baggies. It is fine for her to request this last part out of respect for your neighbors.

If i were in your shoes, it would depend how i feel on a certain day. Crying dog, yes, id probably take it out with all the rules involved. If you are tired, etc, leave the dog in th crate. Not your responsibility.
posted by Wolfster at 9:52 PM on December 1, 2011

Either your roommate hires a dog walker who walks the dog and picks up poop, or your roommate starts paying you for the service you are providing. What would A do if she lived alone? Or maybe A can pick up an extra chore around the house that you hate to do. The fact that she expects you to take care of something that should solely be her responsibility is way beyond any social norms.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:52 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

When you, of your own volition, are playing with the dog and taking the dog outside, and no one else is around, the dog is your responsibility. During that time, you might as well be the owner, since you're acting like one. You don't have the right to make a mess in the shared yard just because you're not the dog's real owner. If you're not willing to pick up the poop, let A know that you're not going to let the dog outside anymore and that it's her responsibility to schedule her life in a way that allows her to take care of her own dog.
posted by John Cohen at 9:53 PM on December 1, 2011 [27 favorites]

I should also be willing to pick up her poop, or I should just leave her in the crate.

This is exactly it. If you were walking the dog instead of just letting it out, you surely wouldn't wait for the owner to pick up after it.

The one catch here is that by virtue of owning a dog, one needs to be responsible for taking car of it, e.g. making sure it is let out. Since she isn't hiring a dogsitter, maybe she can cover some sort of chore/household related responsibility that you normally take care of?

On preview, about 5 people posted all at once, but I think this is still good.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:54 PM on December 1, 2011

Searching for poop is absurd. It's the owner's responsibility generally, yes, but if you insist on letting the dog out of the crate (which you don't have to do), you should have to pick up its poop.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:56 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow, your roommate sounds rather ungrateful and full of mistaken assumptions of entitlement - and she sounds pretty irresponsible to boot, if her "solution" to this is to leave the poor dog in her crate just so she doesn't have to go pick up poop. I like the idea of having her pay for a dog walker (alternatively, there are some businesses that clean up poopy yards - at least there's one where I live; maybe she can hire one to make periodic visits?), but if getting someone else to do it doesn't work and if you don't want to leave the dog in her cage (and good for you for not wanting to!), would it be any less disagreeable to you to use one of those long-handled pooper scoopers so you don't have to deal with more direct contact? One of the shelters I sometimes volunteer at has one of these out in the dog play area, with an open trash can right next to it so you can scoop it directly into the can with minimal handling/transportation - maybe you could get your roommate to buy one of these and be responsible for emptying the can every day or so? Granted, I still don't think it's fair to you to have to deal with this at all, but maybe it would make things a bit less distasteful for you while still letting the dog enjoy a maximum amount of cage-free time ...
posted by DingoMutt at 9:56 PM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

I think if you let the dog out of the crate and out into the yard then you are responsible for picking up the dog's poop. But I also think that if this dog is routinely spending 10-12 hours a day in a crate, and your roommate is happy to see it spend even more time there, then your roommate is a shitty, shitty dog owner, which is by far the bigger problem here than who picks up the nightly poop.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:57 PM on December 1, 2011 [82 favorites]

If your dog is spending 12 hours in a crate (aside from sleeping time), that's probably a sign that a dog is over-taxing to your schedules. In most cases, I would say that it's always the obligation of the owner to pick up after their own pet. In this instance, though, it seems downright mean to leave the poor thing waiting on your roommate.
I don't really buy the "sharing enjoyment of the dog" argument. Dogs are work, and leaving for work then showing up is not really good enough. If I had to come down on a side, I would say pick up the poop (it's only civil, after all) or get the roommate to hire someone to take the poor thing out for a poop.
posted by Gilbert at 9:58 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm not a big dog lover, or even a pet type...

But this is actually an animal cruelty issue, not a roommate issue.

Are you saying the dog is sometimes spending *12* hours in a crate until you get home, and then the owner doesn't get home til even later?

You know why you let the dog out. Because that is cruel.
That is too long to keep a dog penned up in a crate. Even sites that recommend crating dogs don't recommend it for more than 6-8 hours, MAX.

Ergo, the Dog Owner shouldn't be owning a dog. And if they really love that dog, they'd find it somewhere to live where it isn't just living in a box all day.
posted by Elysum at 10:00 PM on December 1, 2011 [60 favorites]

On preview, I'm going to second the animal cruelty issue. A either needs to pay someone to care for the dog while you two are at work or she needs to find it a new home.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:03 PM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

Wow, I'd missed just how long that dog is being left alone on my first read, too. Nthing the remarks about animal cruelty and severe misuse of a crate (the shelter we adopted our dog from doesn't even allow you to adopt from them unless you agree not to crate train, as they've apparently seen so many cases of dogs who have suffered from this sort of neglect ... personally I think their stance is unnecessarily extreme - I don't think crates are inherently bad, so long as they're used properly - but people like your roommate are exactly why the shelter has this policy). Please do what you can to ensure this dog gets a proper dog walker or a trip to a local doggy day-camp while you guys are at work.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:13 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Unless an alternate arrangement was made, the owner of the dog should deal with the dog. However, man, this person should not own a dog.
posted by asnider at 10:42 PM on December 1, 2011

I have two lil buddies. It is my responsibility to clean up after them. The dog being in the crate that long is terrible. It needs a walker but that's besides the point. If your neighbor steps in it in the dark then she should have done it. Get her a headlamp!!!!
posted by femmme at 10:51 PM on December 1, 2011

If you didn't share the yard with the neighbors, it would be the owner's responsibility. But if you're letting the dog out into a space used by people who don't have anything to do with the dog, be it a yard or a sidewalk, you personally are obligated to pick up after it. What you need is advice on how to convince an either unempathetic or incredibly stressed out dog owner that her crating policy sucks for the dog and that she needs to spend some money and/or time fixing it, even though she presumably isn't working those crazy hours for fun.
posted by Adventurer at 11:21 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Aside from the quality of care of the dog, or whose responsibility it is, the cost of picking up poop increases with the time after said poop is laid.

First, hunting for poop is time consuming. Second, picking up aged poop is harder. Third, people might (and from the sounds of it did) step in the poop at any time.

So based on utilitarianism alone, it's better for all involved if the person walking the dog picks up the poop.
posted by anthill at 11:26 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: MaryDellamorte has it, and I picture a caring conversation on the matter that needs to happen to get your roommate thinking the right way on this.

Since crating is only recommended for 6 to 8 hours a day (and some breeds really like crating, so that in and of itself is not cruel) you need to find out if your roommate is keen to have a dog walker in. The dog should preferably be exercised for about an hour during the day, starting at the 4 or 5 hour mark of being crated.

I'm assuming this is your roommate's first dog? Yes? Gosh, I hope so. I'd hate to hear this is something they've always done with animals.

Don't blame or shame. Plan your conversation out well. Try it out on someone neutral to make sure you are not being offensive. Execute the conversation from the position of, "Hey roomie, let's do what's best for the dog!"

See this neighbor complaint as a blessing in disguise that has alerted you BOTH to the reality that dog needs better care and a better daily life. Keep it about the dog's well being.

This is actually a pretty benign wake-up call, after all!

No. You are not responsible for the costs of a dog walker. And if your roommate can not afford to the dog walker or alter their schedule to care for the pup themselves, then please gently suggest the dog be re-homed.

This dog and your roommate are members of your (temporary) extended family. Treat them that way.
posted by jbenben at 11:54 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

None of the "who should pick up the poop" particulars matter. If the best that can be done for this dog is one walk a day after 12+ hours in a crate, and that walk is usually being let out into a back yard that's shared, and not walked on a leash to get OUT and ABOUT, that's some fucked up cruel treatment.
For chrissakes. This kind of dog ownership enrages me.
posted by asavage at 11:56 PM on December 1, 2011 [10 favorites]

Why is the dog crated at all? My dog hasn't been crated since he was house trained. Does the owner fear that he'll mess inside? My dog can go 12 hours (and this is rare) without going inside but he has free roam of the house. If you all do think he might potty inside, can you have him use potty pads?

Can you walk the dog where it's kind of OK to ignore poo? I'm very good at cleaning up after my dog in parks and sidewalks but there are spots in the city where I look the other way, weedy empty lots, abandoned grassy patches, places people aren't likely to use.

This dog really needs a dog walker if you all are gone such long hours and thank you for letting him out when you get home.
posted by shoesietart at 12:03 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

My brother's dogs like their crates but they are left open and the dogs can come and go as they please, they aren't locked inside.

Dogs need regular exercise, for physical and mental health. I agree with jbenben, talk with your roommate about the benefits of getting a dog walker and also see if the dog can be left out of the crate. If he's not destructive and not messing in the house, try not crating. My big just sleeps on his giant pillow all day.

I think your roommate should clean the poo in the yard but you should pick up the poo when taking the dog for a walk. I'm in Houston now and there are lots of out of the way places for my guy to go and so I don't have to carry poo for 20 minutes til I come across a trash can. When I was in San Francisco, clean up was mandatory and there were trash cans on most corners. The abandoned lots were definitely the exception.
posted by shoesietart at 12:19 AM on December 2, 2011

I agree with John Cohen: if you're walking the dog and the owner's not around, purely on a practical level, you have to be the one to pick up the poop. It's not fair to the potential steppers-in-poop to just leave it for the owner to pick up.

But I have to say, the dog owner A is putting you in a bad situation here: basically forcing you into doing something you dislike because he/she is willing to be crueller to the dog than you are.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:37 AM on December 2, 2011 [7 favorites]

This is why I'd love to have a dog, but won't get one: because I'm gone for 10+ hours a day and it wouldn't be a good life for the dog to be crated and not see me for long stretches at a time.

That said, it takes five seconds to pick up poop. Turn a baggie inside out and put your hand into it, then pick up the poop with the baggie-covered hand and turn the baggie right side with the poop inside of it. Done correctly, there should be no direct contact. There's really no reason why poop should be left anywhere. It's really not that difficult.
posted by SillyShepherd at 1:57 AM on December 2, 2011

All matters relating to the Dog are the owners issues. When they ought / agreed to care for the dog that was the bargain they struck really. To Care for the Dog.

But I'm also on the side that locking up a dog in a crate EVERY WEEKDAY for how long? 7-8 Hours? Thats just cruel and intolerable.

Why the hell do they even have a dog if they have no-where to let the dog live a normal life?
posted by mary8nne at 2:35 AM on December 2, 2011

How big is this dog? and how much poop could the thing produce? Even when I had 70 lb dogs they really only pooped twice a day- and if you don't like touching it there is always a scoop. Maybe you "shouldn't have to" pick up after the poop, but really how bad is it? If the dog had an accident in the house- would you leave it stink on the floor until the owner got home? The yard is your living space too.

We crate our dog twice a week and I feel guilty about that. If it's living more in the crate than out of the crate most days- it's cruel. A dog is not a toy. you can't just take it out of it's box when you want to play. You really shouldn't keep it locked in it's crate while you are home, listening to it cry.

If you having to pick up a couple of turds is the price of you being a compassionate human being- isn't it worth it? And tell your roommate to find a home for the dog where you don't need to lock it in a tiny cage for 50 to 60 hours a week.
posted by Blisterlips at 3:07 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Of course it's ridiculous for A to expect you to pick up the dog's poop. BUT. that last part of A's statement is VERY important: "I should also be willing to pick up her poop, or I should just leave her in the crate." Whether you think the whining is pathetic or not, it IS A's dog, and you can't really dictate to A that A must go search for poop. If you don't want to do so, then you should leave the dog in its crate.
posted by parrot_person at 3:09 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your roommate is right, you should pick up the poop or leave the dog in the crate. It may be A's dog but when you let it out, you're responsible for her and any mess that she makes.

Your roommate is also wrong in thinking its ok to leave the dog in a crate for 12 or more hours per day. You should convince your roommate to get a dog walker or rehome the dog since he doesn't have time to take care of it.
posted by missmagenta at 4:04 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing that your choice is to pick up the poop or leave the dog in the crate. I really hope you make the morally right choice here (i.e. just pick up the damn poop).
posted by hazyjane at 4:45 AM on December 2, 2011

I think your roommate is right that it is your choice to leave the dog in the crate or take it out. So, leave the dog alone.

But your roommate is also responsible for the dog whining, and the noise that creates. The neighbors might not be fond of that either.

Which is why a dog walker is in order.
posted by anitanita at 5:18 AM on December 2, 2011

Best answer: There are two parts to this problem.

It's the owner's job to arrange for care of their dog, which they have done by arranging for you to let the dog out to poo when you get home. Because of this arrangement, it's unfortunately up to you to pick up the dog's poop. You, however, may cancel or modify that arrangement, at which point it becomes the owner's responsibility to find an alternative if needed.

While the "leave the dog in the crate" does (not morally) satisfy the requirement for the dog owner to arrange for care of their dog while they are away, it sounds like it fails to live up to the standards of being a roommate. Coming home to a stressed out, whining dog is not something a non-dog owner (but dog enjoyer) wants to do. Heck, coming home to an additional chore is not something any roommate wants to do.

(Look at it like this - if I was your roommate and every morning I baked delicious cookies but left the pans in the sink for you to clean when you get home so you can make dinner thus tacking a chore onto your day, that's not responsible roommate behavior, even if you enjoy the cookies.)

So the solution is that your roommate needs to satisfy the requirements of being both a responsible dog owner and responsible roommate. To me, that sounds like a dog walker is in order.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:18 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

You need to discuss with your roommate that, although you like the dog, it is not your dog, and you do not want to either neglect the dog or clean up after the dog. Your roommate has to take care of his dog, which means walking it appropriately (or arranging to have it walked). Can you not let the dog out of the crate at the end of the day but not let him in the back, or will he just mess up the house if you do that?

I really feel sorry for this dog.
posted by jeather at 6:25 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it would be the good thing for you to let the dog out and be responsible for the poo but that's you being a super nice person, going above-n-beyond because you don't want to compound the cruelty of leaving her poor dog in a crate for another few hours.

Your room-mate came at this the wrong way - you are doing a good thing being there to let the dog out and she shouldn't act snotty by telling you to take additional responsibility for her pet. She should have been very appeasing if she wanted you to pick up her dog's poo - offering something in return or at least being very, very, grateful for your attentions thus far.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:15 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Roommate needs to hire a dog walker.

If I were in this situation my feelings for the dog would probably take over and I would just let it out and pick up the poop because I would feel sorry that the poor dog has such a bad owner. I would probably do this without complaint if the roommate expressed gratitude instead of acting like it's my responsibility, which is why I would then say that roommate should hire a dog walker because the dog is not my responsibility. Also it's an inconvenience to you if you have to be at home with the whining dog.

Also, why is the dog crated for that long? My general feeling on that matter is that if the dog has to be crated for most of its life because the owner is busy, then it is pretty selfish of the owner to have a dog in the first place without hiring a sitter or dog walker. It's just cruel.

Roommate is inconsiderate to you and the dog. I can't believe how much some people believe the world revolves around them.
posted by fromageball at 7:47 AM on December 2, 2011

Best answer: Unfortunately since you have taken on the responsibility of caring for the dog by letting it out then you probably should take on the added responsibility of picking up after it. From the neighbor's perspective, it doesn't matter who the owner is - you are the one allowing the dog to poop in the yard.

As harsh as it is, you have to confront roomie about them taking time to come home and take care of the dog or having them hire someone to do the same. If you don't want to pick up after the dog, which is reasonable, then you will have to stop taking it out.
posted by JJ86 at 7:48 AM on December 2, 2011

I strongly endorse jacquilynne's answer, and would add to it that it is unreasonable of your roommate to expect you to be able to enjoy your home with her dog whimpering in a crate. Unfair to the dog and you both.

You are doing the right thing by letting the dog out, but if you do that, you have to keep doing the right thing by cleaning up after the dog. My dad's motto is "No good deed goes unpunished" and it applies here.
posted by adamrice at 7:57 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

My uncle trained all his dogs to shit in one particular patch in the back corner of the yard, under a bush that dropped a lot of leaf litter.

Bright man, my uncle.
posted by flabdablet at 8:20 AM on December 2, 2011

You should not be walking the dog or letting it out if you don't intend to pick up the poop -- that is anti-social thing for you to do.

If you don't want to be put in that position, then you need to do as others instruct and talk to your roommate about making other provisions.

But frankly, while nobody likes to pick up poop, I think that you should just get over it and pick it up. It's just poop, everyone makes it. Consider it training for dealing with children someday.
posted by hermitosis at 8:56 AM on December 2, 2011

The dog owner is responsible for picking up the poop. You are doing her a favor (and being kind to the dog) by letting the dog out when you get home. That does not mean that you're responsible for the poop. If you did choose to pick it up (which is really easy, honestly) that would also be doing her a favor, and should be treated as such. Her EXPECTING you to do all of this without thanks is totally wrong.
posted by MsMolly at 9:00 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a crazy idea that just might work. Get a few heavy bowls in a bright color, or get regular bowls and tape reflective tape around them. When the dog poops, put a bowl over the poop. Roommate then gets to go directly to the poop, take the bowl away and scoop it up instead of searching for poop in the dark. Neighbor no longer steps in poop before roommate gets a chance to pick it up.

The only issue now is keeping those bowls reasonably clean, but a wipe of each bowl with a cleaning wipe of some sort might do the trick well enough. Just don't mistake them for your breakfast cereal bowls and you should be golden.

I still think you should just get your roommate to buy you a pooper scooper and pick up the damn poop yourself, but if you just won't then this might be a better compromise.
posted by hazyjane at 9:34 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wait, you mean the dog is routinely crated from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.? That is plainly inhumane. It's cruel. You can't just keep a sentient creature in a box all day, then let it into a yard for an hour by itself. Dogs don't get adequate exercise simply being let into a yard. I don't understand how, with at least three adults living in the house (you refer to "roommates," plural), nobody can make it home in the middle of the day to take the dog out for a walk. If the rest of you don't want to pitch in to give this animal a decent life, then you have a moral obligation to have a sit down with the owner and implore her to find a better home for her dog. Jesus.

As for the poop--life is going to present you with a whole lot of messes created by irresponsible people, from food spills in the office breakroom to oil spills in the Pacific Ocean. You can either say "I'm not the one who made this mess!" and refuse to pitch in and let it fester and life will just keep getting worse, or you can just do a little bit to make life better, even though it's not strictly your bailiwick. Which kind of person do you want to be?
posted by HotToddy at 10:52 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'd be horrified if my roommate picked up my dog's shit -- it's bad enough that he occasionally does my dishes.

My dog, my mess, my job. (I favorited HotToddy about the abusive 12-hour crating, tho. WTF?)
posted by coolguymichael at 11:37 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

People have already nailed the key points, but to reiterate, I think they are:

1. It's irresponsible and cruel to own a dog if you have to crate it 12 hours a day. Your roommate needs to pay someone to walk this dog at midday and in the evening if she's going to be home late.

2. It's good of you to let the dog out. You should try not to let roommate relations interfere with you doing this, because it is cruel to leave the dog cooped up.

3. When you take the dog outside, even though it's not your dog, the right thing to do is to pick up the poop. It's not nice to your neighbours to leave dog poop on a shared lawn, and asking your roommate to hunt for poop in the dark (it's not easy to see!) is a bit unreasonable, even though she should be making arrangments for dog walkers.

I would also suggest that rather than just let the dog out, you take it for a walk. You'll be a lot more willing to pick up its poop when you start to form a bond with it on walks. The dog will also love you for taking it on walks - it's what it really wants to do. Of course, if you don't want to take the dog on walks, you have no obligation to - but you seem to like this dog. You might like it even more if you go on walks with it. Everybody wins.
posted by Dasein at 12:00 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

I really don't think you should feel bad about not wanting to pick up poop, regardless of the fact that some people on here seem to be guilting you about it. Picking up poop is the worst part of having a dog and it is the responsibility of the dog owner.

Of course, I agree that your roommate is a sucky dog owner and this is all a problem. But jeez, no one should be making you feel guilty that you don't just suck it up and do it- that's not your job, period. That said- how big is this dog? Generally, my dog only poops once a day. If she's outside long enough, she CAN go more than that, but she only NEEDS to once per day. I don't have a yard- I walk her- but that's how it goes. One long walk per day during which she drops her deuce, and a few short jaunts outside to pee in between. Yes, it's convenient that you have a yard, but due to your schedules and the fact that you share the lawn with others, it appears that letting the dog do its business in the yard is not working out. Maybe your roommate should take the dog on a nice, long walk in the morning during which it poos and she picks it up. By the time you get home, maybe you could put it on a leash and let it out for long enough to pee, then back inside. If it needs to poo twice a day, then she can be the one to take it back out for a longer walk when she gets home. I don't see why the dog needs to be outside for an hour in the first place- that seems to be part of the problem here. Can't it be left uncrated inside while you're there? (If it can't, then your roommate needs to address whatever issue is preventing that from happening- whether it isn't fully housebroken, or chews on stuff, or whatever.) I think this business with the yard is a red herring- the dog doesn't HAVE to shit in the yard. This problem can be solved by just walking the dog instead of letting it run around free in a shared yard. If the dog really does need time to just be running around in the yard, maybe let it do so AFTER the deuce walk.

(Also, I want to nth that it seems really terrible that the dog is in the crate for that long and your roommate needs to be made aware of that.)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 3:03 PM on December 2, 2011

Your flatmate is essentially factory farming her dog. It is a clear cut case of animal cruelty and your first responsibility is tackling that. Then worry about the poop.
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:10 PM on December 2, 2011

Response by poster: Hi everyone, thanks for the responses.

Dog poops twice a day, to my knowledge.

I don't like to walk her because she has a habit of slipping off her collar and running away, which is stressful and time consuming.

And I believe she is crated during the day because otherwise she chews on things and will do her business inside.

I'll talk to my roommate and try to figure out the best course of action. If you have more suggestions please keep them coming!
posted by pluot at 6:23 PM on December 2, 2011

Yes, she might do not-good things if left alone all day in the house - but that is not an excuse for crating her for so long. Leaving her alone uncrated for 12 hours wouldn't be cool, either.

At the very least, your roommate could purchase a pooper scooper and harness (so she doesn't slip out!) for you/her/anyone else to use - if she's going to ask you to walk the dog, at least she could make it more pleasant with relatively small expenditure.

In my unscientific opinion, sounds like an anxious/badly trained dog (running away? chewing on things?) in need of attention. Good luck in talking to your roommate!
posted by R a c h e l at 7:20 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agreed, dog needs a harness instead of a collar. That solves that problem. And there's a middle ground between giving a dog free reign and crating her- could she be baby-gated into an area without carpeting and stuff to chew on, like a dining room/ kitchen? It sounds like your roommate just needs to invest a little more time in the dog. The fact that it's badly trained isn't the dog's fault, but she's being punished for it? That SUCKS. Your roommate needs to get at the root of the poor dog's problems and solve them, not just put her in a crate all day!
posted by GastrocNemesis at 7:45 PM on December 2, 2011

Charge the roommate $200 per month to pick up the poop. If that's worth it to you. (Nthing the pooper scooper onna stick thing - I was once a professional poop scooper at a kennel, and those things are a godsend). If that's not a good number, negotiate. If infinity dollars is not enough for you to deal with the poop, owner needs to find another solution.

Roommate should be paying you to care for the dog, I think. None of this "you enjoy the dog too!" bullshit, that is just nonsense and a cheap tactic to guilt you into doing something that is their responsibility.
posted by marble at 9:05 PM on December 2, 2011

Two suggestions:

First, take the dog out on a leash, let the dog potty in ONE 5' x 5' out of the way area that the roommate will be responsible for cleaning up later on. Neighbors will know to avoid that one spot. Better because they know the rest of the yard is poop free.

Second suggestion is to get a pooper scooper with a long handle and a 5 gallon bucket (roommate pays.) Poop in the bucket, roommate responsible for emptying.

Explain to the roommate that the crate is not a prison, and when someone is home, the dog will be happier being out with company, as dogs are pack animals. The three of you are Dog's pack.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:55 PM on December 2, 2011

How often does the situation happen where the dog is in the crate for 12 hours? Because honestly, that's terrible. And what if you had something to do after work? How many hours would the dog be in the crate if it had to wait until she came home?

If she's in a situation where she's away from the house for more than 12 hours a day and she won't spend money on a dog walker or doggie day care, she really needs to rethink whether her owning this dog is in the dog's best interests.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:06 PM on December 2, 2011

oh p.s., in terms of an alternate solution to this problem, assuming that the dog is not being kept in a crate for 12 or more hours every day (in which case I think this poor dog needs a better home):

- Get a harness so that you can keep the dog close to you.
- Train the dog to go on command, in the same place in the yard, by bringing her directly to that spot after taking her out of the crate and saying "Hurry up". This should be pretty easy, with her being in the crate for such long stretches, she probably won't want to hold it very long once she gets outside.

This will allow you to quickly and efficiently get Dog to do her business, and it eliminates the search for poop because it will always be in the same spot (for your roommate to pick up with a scooper when she gets home). I also think that despite you 'gaining enjoyment' from the dog, your roomie should be grateful to you for just taking the dog out, not to mention picking up after it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:11 PM on December 2, 2011

« Older Embed a .m3u file?   |   CSfilter: One-question test to predict if you can... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.