Roommates dog craps in my room - roommate doesn't care.
March 2, 2012 3:57 PM   Subscribe

How can I convince my roommate to put her dog away when she leaves, especially when it isn't potty trained and craps everywhere?

Ok I did a bit of searching around in old posts and didn't come up with much, so here goes.

I live with three generally good roommates. One A, fostered a dog for six months before another roommate, C, adopted the dog. When the dog first came into the home she was not house trained and would be put in her crate when no one was home and if I came home first I was happy to take her out to potty and scoop the poop. Eventually A became more lax and started just closing the dog in her room. It's her room, whatever.

Recently though, now that ownership has transferred to C (who is very inexperienced with dogs), the dog is just being left to roam the house because "A said it was ok." The dog is still not potty trained, so this means that I usually come home and she has pooped/peed in the living room or in someones room. I generally kept my door closed because my own foster dog, who is potty trained and stays in her crate when I'm gone, was crated in there. She has since been adopted so I now leave my door open occasionally.

I have made it clear that I take no responsibility for the dog. I'm not responsible for feeding her or taking her out. I only feed her if I am asked, out of politeness, take her out if I know she's been trapped inside all day, and make sure she goes to the bathroom if I am the last to leave. These are favors, not obligations. I do, however, put the dog away in her crate if I am the last to leave and she had been left out. I do this out of consideration for everyone in the house, because I assume they do not actually want the dog crapping all over the floor.

I think this is quite generous of me, since not one of them gave a toss about my dog. I took full, 100% responsibility for my foster and we never had a problem. They didn't hang out with her or feed/toilet her. No problem. I therefore expect this other dog to be her owners responsibility, especially since I don't hang out with her. She is out for 15 minutes at the most when I take her to toilet.

But I'm getting fed up. I have asked A and C both to please put the dog in one of their rooms or in her crate when they leave the house because she is not potty trained and I am tired of cleaning it up, yet I am constantly opening the front door to find an empty house and dirty carpet. Today she had pooped in my room, which I find totally unacceptable.

My third roommate, N, argues that *sometimes* the dog holds it so it's reasonable for them to expect her to hold it all of the time. She also argues that if the dog is out when she comes home she has no reason to put her away when she leaves.

A argues that the dog is C's responsibility and therefore, if she is the last one home, she has no reason to make sure the dog has peed before she leaves or to put the dog somewhere secure. This means that quite often C will leave the dog out with A, who loves to hang out with the dog, and then A just leaves the dog out when she leaves. And then the dog poops in the main house or my room because nobody took her out or closed her away.

C doesn't know the first thing about dogs or their training and just forgets a lot. I would never have placed my dog with her, had she been interested, just because she never remembers things like this.

Just now, N came home while I was taking the dog out to the bathroom (after cleaning up the poo in my room). I put the dog in her crate because I did not want to hang out with her and closed myself in my room. N let her out. N then left the house and left the dog out wandering around. I texted her about it and she said the dog was out when she got home and I was home so she left her out. But I was closed in my room, clearly having nothing to do with the dog...

Am I crazy or is something wrong here? Especially since I've asked them repeatedly and they're now arguing with me about it. My boyfriend says I'm being overdramatic, but this has been an ongoing issue and I think I have a right to come home and not have to clean poop out of my bedroom. I have trodden in it in the dark before and am just sick of it. Whatever happened to potty training and responsible pet ownership?

Is there any way I can actually get my point across? I feel a little above leaving the poo in the living room for them to clean up, but I'm honestly considering leaving the crap in their rooms at this point. I'm obviously going to be closing my door all the time from now on. I just really would like to avoid this becoming even more petty.
posted by isaynay to Pets & Animals (55 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Your roommates are children, and more than lessons in dog care, they need lessons in growing up and being adults.

Geez, people like that infuriate me. If I were you, I would move out at the earliest opportunity.
posted by jayder at 4:02 PM on March 2, 2012 [11 favorites]

"Doggie needs to be potty-trained appropriately in the next month or I am moving out."

Then move out, because these people are not going to be able to potty-train this dog because they sound like idiots tbh.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:09 PM on March 2, 2012 [11 favorites]

Move out.
posted by mleigh at 4:11 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

You live with people who think it's acceptable to have shit on the floors of their residence.

Move out.
posted by xingcat at 4:12 PM on March 2, 2012 [15 favorites]

These are not roommates, these are idiots. Move.
posted by zippy at 4:12 PM on March 2, 2012

Move out. Until then, keep your door closed and stop cleaning up dog shit in the common areas. Ignore it and go to your room.
posted by supercres at 4:19 PM on March 2, 2012 [7 favorites]

1. close your own door all the time.
2. tell N that anyone who has the right to take the dog out of the crate has the responsiblity to put it back in when they leave.
3. move out

optional step before moving out: tell them you are happy to take full responsibility for the dog. Get them to agree, then put it up for adoption with someone who is not an irresponsible fuckwit.

Without actually seeing how you're behaving, I can't tell if your boyfriend is reasonable to say you're overreacting. But I can tell you my reaction to stepping on poop in my own house would involve loud and prolonged profanity and abuse towards anyone involved, and I'd think about advertising the dog for adoption straight up if it happened twice.
posted by jacalata at 4:23 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

You need to stop being so reasonable. "The dog is not house trained. I don't care if you know or will be bothered to house train it. I care that the dog is NOT LEFT UNSUPERVISED BY ANYONE EVER if it is not fully housetrained. If you can't make this work I'm moving out because cleaning up your dogs shit is not okay with me."
posted by DarlingBri at 4:26 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Move out. Nobody should have to trod a poo-carpet.

If moving out is not an option, then you need to re-assess your responsibility for and expectations of this dog's care. This is not A's dog, your dog, or N's dog. It's C's dog; therefore, no one should be responsible for this dog but C. (Sadly.) It sounds to me that since you've been semi-responsible with it, they've come to rely on you for it. Stop doing that. And frankly, stop expecting them to wake up and get with the responsible pet-ownership when you're actually doing some of it for them and you already know that C is a neglectful pet owner. You are either going to have to be the responsible one, or you're going to have to tip toe around piles of shit in the common areas until one of them becomes more responsible, but you've got to stop doing both. You may think you have made it clear that you aren't responsible for this dog, but you haven't.

And don't just stop doing it. Call a house meeting, leave a note, send an email, whatever. "I am not responsible for feeding, toileting, exercising, crating, or cleaning up after this dog and will not be doing any of this any further."

Alternatively, house meeting about the dog, setting the rules and consequences, I guess. Can't see that going terribly well though. I mean, the dog was fostered for 6 months but never house-broken? Ai yi yi.

But what I'm guessing will happen, no matter which path you take, is that the situation will get unbearably shitty (pun-intended), much passive-aggressive dramatics will ensue, and the poor dog will continue to be neglected. So, if you can, move out asap.
posted by sm1tten at 4:29 PM on March 2, 2012

Well, there's always moving.

Just because the dog *occasionally* doesn't potty in the house doesn't mean it should be loose without having proper training.

There's way too much drama in this. The owner of the dog isn't doing right by the animal, and she needs to get rid of the dog or move out and live in shit. If there's a problem, I'd rat her out to the landlord and have HIM tell her to get the dog out or get out with the dog. An animal having an accident is one thing; an animal who continually shits/pees all over is another. Do all the animal lovers/owners who are renters a big favor and get this settled before your landlord becomes one of those who won't allow ANY animals. It all comes back to the question of who is on the lease and responsible for the condition of the apartment. If they're not on the lease, they have no say.

You are being kind to the dog and behaving in a responsible way toward the animal, but you are enabling your roommate by caring for her animal. Stop doing it. If she doesn't pick up the slack and start taking care of it, tell her you're going to report her for abuse and then do it.

And meanwhile, make sure your door is closed.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:29 PM on March 2, 2012 [8 favorites]

Yeah, first line of defense is closing your own door. Ignore A and N's refusal to help convince C to take care of her dog: they're a side issue.

Each and every single time you can, close the dog INSIDE C'S ROOM FOR THE DAY --- leave the dog in there to poop, tear the place up, whatever the dog wants to do. Explain to her that it's HER dog, so anything it does is her responsibility. She doesn't like it pooping in her room? Then she can train it.
posted by easily confused at 4:35 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

This dog is being neglected. Can you call the adoption agency and let them know. Also, move the fuck out.
posted by Brittanie at 4:40 PM on March 2, 2012 [13 favorites]

Are you a sublessee of one of these people? If so, you should try to find out whether it's possible for you to stop paying rent to someone whose dog is shitting in the common areas you're paying for.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:49 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Moving isn't really an option for me. If I break my lease I remain responsible for the rent of my room until a new tenant is found, which I am in no position to do if I expect to put another security deposit together and begin renting somewhere else. I am also a student and pretty much living off student loans with next to zero free time, so there's that. Which is frustrating.

Bluehorse, I've been treading very carefully around the LL issue. He allowed us to foster large (50lb) pit-type dogs on the condition that they do not do any damage to the house or, more specifically the carpeting. If there is damage done to the carpeting or he finds poo in the yard, he warned us that he would not allow us to have dogs. I would reeeallly like to avoid having dogs banned permanently, especially when I have fostered successfully and enjoyed doing so.

But I know that if it came down to it and I reported the damage (so that he would insist the dog leave) there would be a lot of fighting over who messed up the carpet (where this dog prefers to poo/pee) because in her first weeks my foster had a few accidents too. But whether I can foster in the future or not isn't an immediate problem. I'm sure I could negotiate with my LL.

I'm just tired of being the "bossy one/nag" in the house because I'm the only one who speaks up when I'm bothered by something. I'm crossing my fingers that they don't renew their lease, but until then I'm stuck either managing the situation or ignoring it... and I'm really frustrated with little of idea how to do either. If it were my dog I know exactly what I'd be doing. I've been told on other forums to just take over the dog's training myself, but there's no consistency in this dogs life so any effort I'd put in there would be undone as soon as A, C, and N come home.

posted by isaynay at 4:50 PM on March 2, 2012

Response by poster: And no, I'm not a sublessee.
posted by isaynay at 4:51 PM on March 2, 2012

Is the dog very old? Formerly seriously abused? Sick? Is there some other real extenuating circumstance that explains why after 6+ months this dog is not house trained? If not, these people have no business owning or fostering dogs, and your first action should be to call the rescue this dog came from and explain that your roommates are not caring for the dog and it should be rehomed.
posted by juliapangolin at 4:53 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

I had a roommate who got a dog while I lived with her. The fucking dog would get into my room (even sometimes when I shut the door, I don't even want to think about how) and chew my underwear. I didn't say anything, instead becoming angrier and angrier until I wanted to strangle dog & roommate. Everything eventually went bad between us. I don't suggest going that route. What I wish I would have said is, "It really upsets me when this happens. Let's think of a solution together." If they continue to be lame, I'd say that I was sorry, but that I was going to have to speak to the landlord? (do you have one?) about it all and maybe he/she could mediate a solution between us all. This also sets the stage with as little drama as possible for moving out if you have to do that. I'm sorry, this sounds terrible.
posted by amodelcitizen at 4:53 PM on March 2, 2012

I'm just tired of being the "bossy one/nag" in the house because I'm the only one who speaks up when I'm bothered by something.

Well, if this is really the problem, I would try to speak about the problem in a non-defensive way with as much honesty and compassion as possible. "I really, really hate to nag you. I feel like I am always the nag. But please, we have to talk about this, because it is REALLY bothering me."

I know it's possible, but it's hard to imagine anyone ignoring that kind of entreaty.
posted by amodelcitizen at 4:59 PM on March 2, 2012

Another vote for talking to the rescue about this dogs "home." it's entirely possible that the presence of someone who successfully fosters dogs (you) factored in the desicion.

That said... As you must know more than half the dogs pit down by shelters/rescues/animal control are identified as pit types, they're hard to find homes for, etc. so I understand how you might want to keep this dog out of the system.

Lock the dog in the roommates room, don't clean up, if you can stand it, and maybe see if you can convince the owner that she isn't being loving and kind to the dog by leaving it ignorant.

Good luck.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:08 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Moving isn't really an option for me. If I break my lease I remain responsible for the rent of my room until a new tenant is found, which I am in no position to do if I expect to put another security deposit together and begin renting somewhere else. I am also a student and pretty much living off student loans with next to zero free time, so there's that. Which is frustrating.

Bluehorse, I've been treading very carefully around the LL issue. He allowed us to foster large (50lb) pit-type dogs on the condition that they do not do any damage to the house or, more specifically the carpeting. If there is damage done to the carpeting or he finds poo in the yard, he warned us that he would not allow us to have dogs.

Your landlord doesn't want dogs in his property precisely because of people like C. Do you guys have a joint lease or do you each rent your own room directly to the landlord? If it's a joint lease, tell your roommates that you are giving them notice that you are moving out in 30 days because they are filthy and you consider all of your financial obligations to them finished. They will get all shriek-y and stupid with you. Look right at them and say, "Would you like me to call Landlord and tell him about the dog defecating on the carpet on a regular basis?"

Sometimes you have to be a stone badass, and this is one of those times. Stop wasting your time on these people.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:13 PM on March 2, 2012 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: julia, the dog is about two. She was initially sort-of "housetrained" (A yelled at her whenever she found poop ... the dog then became scared of poop and continued to poo inside) and then A was just super diligent about following her around and catching her and taking her out then... she never learned that pooing inside was bad... just that it was bad if there was poo and A found it. She started sneaking off. And now A isn't bothering and C is clueless. Sometimes she holds it so I guess they think she's potty-trained.

I've suggested ways to help. When my foster had potty training issues I would take care of it right away. Once she was trained she was they know my suggestions have worked. They just don't do anything. I think they're a bit in denial about how bad it is.

As for keeping her out of the system, the only reason C adopted her was because she had extreme issues with dog-dog aggression and A was stuck between a wall and a hard place. If she went back into the system she would be put down immediately. C thought she was doing a good thing and saving her life. The aggression issues are a whole other matter that I've been trying to address separately, but I've been considering contacting the shelter about it.

I don't think this is the right home for this dog for so many reasons. Just right now there is poo on my shoe. *sigh* I guess I'll just try and have a meeting about it and start leaving the crap where I find it.
posted by isaynay at 5:23 PM on March 2, 2012

Do what snarl furillo said. I know you're young and responsible and are afraid to break the lease but it'll be ok. Feces in the house is a totally valid reason to break a lease.

Write down all the days you have come home and cleaned up after the dog and take some photos. When you say "I clean up dog shit 21 days per month" it carries more weight.
posted by fshgrl at 5:35 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Call a house meeting.

Tell them that you are concerned about Dog because:

- You don't want to nag anymore
- Dog is doing damage that the landlord won't be happy about
* Which will cost you money
- Dog is pooping in common and private areas
- There doesn't seem to be a protocol about caring for Dog when C isn't home
- Some basic rules about putting Dog back in crate

And yes, you're broke, but this living situation does not sound good. Think about changing it.
posted by k8t at 5:45 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh good lord - you're stuck between trying to train the roommate to be a dog owner or possibly being a "dog killer" because you dont want poop carpet. That is truly awful.

I hope you can convince the roommate that as her next act of kindness, she should train the dog. Especially if it has issues.

Whatever happens, the roommates are idiots.

What happens if the landlord comes by, sees or smells poo, and hauls the dog off to the pound? Has the roommate thought about that?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:51 PM on March 2, 2012

Close your door all the time, leave the shit on the floor for them and move out ASAP.

My former roommate's sister (years ago) had her dog at my place for a few days and it shit on the kitchen floor before I came home from work starving. I had to clean it up so that I could prepare food in my own apartment and was so pissed off. Of course, once the mess is gone, the dog owner isn't bothered and life goes on...

I couldn't handle this. No way. Tell them you can't live life like a Hoarder's episode with irresponsible and careless pet owners. It's horrible. And you can't care more than them, because they don't sound like they are interested in changing the status quo. Time to move.
posted by bquarters at 6:24 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

You know they do TV Shows about people like your roommates, right?
posted by rhizome at 6:44 PM on March 2, 2012

It it not your responsibility at all. At all. But, if you took on training the dog yourself, you would probably be doing the dog a huge favor, for it's life now, and in the future. And it might be easier than to train the room mate. This is in no way fair to you, but maybe then in a few months it will all be over and fine and back to normal. Just a different option.

I like convincing them that the dog really needs to be rehomed, which sounds like the best option.

(of course, when you foster again, any new dog will have trouble because it can smell all the pee and poop from previously.)
posted by Vaike at 6:47 PM on March 2, 2012

I think the OP would like to see the dog find a new home, but is concerned that because it's a pit and has dog-aggression the odds are not great. Which sucks for the OP who is the only human trying to do the right thing here.

The house meeting ideas are your best shot. I doubt that sending phone photos of every mess would help... Although I'd be tempted.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:08 PM on March 2, 2012

Response by poster: In regards to having the dog removed, they're all very stubborn. I really think they'd need a shove from some kind of authority figure because they've never heeded my requests about anything (screaming at 3am, for example). I'll try the meeting first anyway and say that if things don't get better I'll be notifying the landlord. I hate to go to that extreme, but oh well.

C is getting frustrated because A, who originally agreed to help her with the dog stuff, has pretty much bailed on her in that respect. And her parents just got a yorkie, which her dog thinks are treats. Stupid.

A won't though. A never ever comes around. =/ A will kick and scream.

This is so over-dramatic. I'm trying so hard to be reasonable and mature about everything but gawd, they're driving me nuts. Everyone has their own agenda and it's impossible to just have a frank conversation without someone getting offended. I just don't want to step in poo when I come home. And I feel awful because I don't want to be neglectful (aka leaving the dog to crap in C's room all day) to prove a point. Going nuts.
posted by isaynay at 8:10 PM on March 2, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for your input though, I really appreciate it.
posted by isaynay at 8:11 PM on March 2, 2012

Break your lease. Move. Really. This is way too much drama.
posted by k8t at 8:34 PM on March 2, 2012

Moving is the only reasonable option. Calling the landlord will make you look like the bad guy, as will calling the shelter; although honestly both are perfectly reasonable adult things to do.

Moving out gets you away from the poop, the idiot roommates, the drama, and the furore when the landlord finds out that dogs have been peeing and crapping all over his house. Because he will find out, and he will not let anyone keep animals in his house again.

Just move. You can find a way to do it if you really want to.
posted by Joh at 8:43 PM on March 2, 2012

You could also just try having an enormous angry fit the next time you come home to a mess. Start with a vitriolic phone call to the dog owner and to whoever left the dog loose, followed by some abusive texting, then when they do get home Go To Town on them. Their hygiene, irresponsibility, the foulness of having SHIT in the house, what would their mother think, you've never even heard of such disgusting people, were they raised in a barn? etc etc. Repeat for each roommate as they arrive. Meanwhile post a photo and a rant on Facebook to shame them in front of their friends. Pull out your cellphone and start dialing the landlords number and threaten them openly to get them all evicted. Freak them the fuck out. Ruin everyone's day as thoroughly as you can.

The next day send a group email saying "did you enjoy that? want to come home to it every day? Guess what? That's how I feel about coming home every day to dog shit in MY HOUSE. You have the ability to prevent this and choose not to so I'm choosing not to bite my tongue from now on or to help any of you. If it happens one more time I will walk and good luck finding a new roommate in the current disgusting state of the house. No excuses, no exceptions."

Sometimes you have to have a come to Jesus talk with people. Especially lazy, feckless people.
posted by fshgrl at 9:48 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

If C is already kind of over having the dog, convince her to get in touch with the shelter herself. If she's at all reasonable then you can probably get her to see that she isn't capable of owning and training it herself, and neither you or A are going to help her.
posted by jacalata at 10:01 PM on March 2, 2012

I am no lawyer but would a health hazard qualify as a reason to break your lease? Many universities have free legal clinics that deal with landlord-tenant issues.
posted by desjardins at 10:26 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

> One A, fostered a dog for six months before another roommate, C, adopted the dog.

These words, "foster," and "adopt," they require taking responsibility.

Random dogshit in the yard? Okay, not the way I'd handle it, but eh, your problem not mine. Random dog shit in the house is WTF, totally beyond the pale. If I were friends with you, I would not go inside your house.
posted by desuetude at 12:10 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can give them the choice between taking responsibility or facing an angry landlord. Also, closing the dog in the owner's room, and not picking up poop in anywhere but your room (I know, gross!).

Also, you may want to rethink the boyfriend. Is he always this unsympathetic when it comes to your concerns? That pisses me off, on your behalf.
posted by SillyShepherd at 12:28 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ok I have to clarify. There isn't a build up of poo strewn around my house... this isn't a 'hoarders' type situation... The dog poos inside, it gets cleaned up. But the fact that the dog is pooing inside is making me nuts.

I'm fed up with the fact that the dog is left unsupervised (and so can get up to this crap) and the fact that I keep coming home to a loose dog and 'presents' somewhere in the house, despite having asked my roommates to close her up since she isn't potty trained. The fact she pooed in my room was really just the last straw.

SillyShepherd: The boyfriend's been around forever haha. I can be a bit overdramatic sometimes and get myself worked up and annoyed... which is why I'm trying so hard to be reasonable here. He usually understands where I'm coming from when I explain that it's an ongoing issue.
posted by isaynay at 12:40 AM on March 3, 2012

it's impossible to just have a frank conversation without someone getting offended.

It's OK for someone to get offended. They are grown-ups and will recover. You need to find your big girl pants and be forceful about the people you live with not treating your shared home like a dog park.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:37 AM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

The dog poos inside, it gets cleaned up.

Don't you mean, *you* clean it up? As opposed to the people who are supposedly "responsible" for it. You are not petty. You are not crazy. They are the crazy ones. They're not as bad as the people in Hoarders (which after all is about the worst of the worst), but since they don't give a damn about poop in the house or proper dog training, IMO they're on the hoarding continuum.

I'll try the meeting first anyway and say that if things don't get better I'll be notifying the landlord.
I know that if it came down to it and I reported the damage (so that he would insist the dog leave) there would be a lot of fighting over who messed up the carpet (where this dog prefers to poo/pee) because in her first weeks my foster had a few accidents too.
I think they're a bit in denial about how bad it is.

Um. Are you confident that they wouldn't pre-emptively contact the landlord before you do, claiming that the carpet damage is from your dog, not theirs? I ask because the Catshit People who I had the misfortune to live with for several months, well, The Denial was strong with them like The Force was strong with Luke Skywalker. They would assert things as confidently as normal people might tell you, "The sky is blue," but things that contradicted reality so strongly that I was speechless because my mind was spinning all "What the fuckity fuck?!"

So you may want to consider ensuring that the first thing the landlord hears about this situation is from you. Not them.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:06 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your roommates sound like the sort of idiotic people who would find another dog to look after once this one has left your home. So in the long-run you need to get better roommates.

In the meantime you need to get the landlord involved asap so he does not end up wanting money for the new carpets from you.

To help prevent that you need to document the crap you come home to every day by getting your phone out and taking pictures. You might do this for a few days and then present them to your roommates so the sheer number of pictures allows them to appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

Finally, you need to keep your door closed and tell the owner that any damage caused to your possessions, that includes shoes or clothing ruined by you stepping into the shit will be paid for by her and any damage the landlord requires paying for will also be paid by her.

But really, the only solution is to move or get them to move. And do not worry about offending them or not - it is offensive to expect you to put up with having a dog crapping on your floor. It is offensive that they do not think this is an issue or their responsibility to sort out. So if anybody is offensive it is your roommates.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:06 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everyone has their own agenda and it's impossible to just have a frank conversation without someone getting offended.

There is no agenda that transcends a dog being allowed to shit inside the house. If frank talk about this offends people, then they need offending for the good of the social contract. Think of it as exposure therapy for spoiled brats who shouldn't own dogs. It appears to me that the dog they "rescued" only to yell at for pooping inside while restricting the dog to often have no alternative, continues to be abused.
posted by rhizome at 3:53 AM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm trying so hard to be reasonable and mature about everything but gawd, they're driving me nuts.

These people sound like assholes. Housebreaking a dog should happen in 1-3 months, when the dog is first brought in, and it isn't done by screaming at the animal.

Put up a post on Craigslist, get someone else in, and get yourself into a new situation. There's no other reasonable solution, which is why being reasonable is driving you nuts.
posted by ellF at 6:56 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Man, your boyfriend needs to be more supportive. If any of my partners knew that I had stepped in poo due to the irresponsibility of my roomies, they'd be up in arms. Possibly with armor included.
posted by Devika at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2012

I honestly don't see this ending in a way that won't be financially painful to you, so you need to either cut your losses and move out or notify the shelter involved and get the dog removed.

I agree with snickerdoodle, and would like to point out that these steps are not mutually exclusive. If you're interested in both your welfare and the dog's, consider doing both.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 11:12 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok I have to clarify. There isn't a build up of poo strewn around my house... this isn't a 'hoarders' type situation... The dog poos inside, it gets cleaned up. But the fact that the dog is pooing inside is making me nuts.

We understand that, but people's reactions to the idea that there has been poo in the house should give you some idea of how angry the landlord will be. Even after you have cleaned up, well, its never really 100% clean if its ever on any soft furnishings or carpet. For an experiment, try shining a blacklight around the living areas, it may reveal the full horror of the situation. It also may provide more motivation for you to move out.
posted by Joh at 1:38 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok I have to clarify. There isn't a build up of poo strewn around my house

A distinction without a difference. You live with two dirty and irresponsible people and their (I don't think it's unreasonable to combine their ownership) dangerous dog, even if they mean well. You might even consider writing a note (paper) of observation of the dog's treatment, mailing it to each of them to have put them on notice if the dog ever acts on its aggression, but in my experience with the personality quirks of some (dangerous and not) animal rescuers, they may be immune to concern.
posted by rhizome at 1:54 PM on March 3, 2012

You are living in unsanitary conditions with irresponsible roommates and an untrained, uncared-for (except by you?) dog. You have every reason to confront them and break your lease, simply under hygiene and habitability.

Your landlord will eventually discover the indoor poop, and will take away any OK for pets in the house. And will I am guessing assign blame to all of you.

Since your roommates won't step up, you've got to leave OR have the landlord boot them OR get the dog rescued from your place. It's you or them. If you don't decide, it may be you and them.
posted by zippy at 2:14 PM on March 3, 2012

I rented a basement suite in a house from a dim couple who were absent 12 hours a day, and had actually trained their unfortunate dog to shit downstairs.

When I put up a gate to prevent the dog from entering my part of the house, they demanded I take it down, as otherwise the dog would go back upstairs and soil a carpeted area. They never took the initiative to find and/or clean up the mess, and would get all pissy and do a deliberately smeary job if I dared to ask one of them to.

My choices were either to assume daytime care for the dog by making a special trip to the house, to accept smeared feces in my home, or to clean it up myself.

I discovered that if I left a dog biscuit protruding over the edge on top of the refrigerator, the dog would spend all day in the kitchen sitting there and looking at it, and wouldn't leave the room for any reason. I'd get home from class, give her the biscuit, and in a short while, she was trained to shit in the kitchen, and her owners were trained to clean it up right away.

Of course, I was 17, and at the time, becoming the secret master of operant conditioning seemed better than direct confrontation. The solution I suggest to you is what I did next: move the hell out.
posted by Sallyfur at 2:52 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I live with three generally good roommates.

Let me push back on this. You have roommates who allow a dog that is not properly housetrained to wander through your home and let it poop wherever. That does not meet the definition of "generally good."

I'm crossing my fingers that they don't renew their lease, but until then I'm stuck either managing the situation or ignoring it...

It sounds like you are trying to stay friendly with your roommates. Normally that is a fine thing to do, but these are not people you want as friends. If your sister, or your best friend were in this situation, what would you counsel her to do? If you don't want them to renew when the lease comes up, why are you being nice? This is not the time to put being nice to others ahead of standing up for yourself.

I'd suggest calling a house meeting and informing C that either she gets on the clue train about housetraining the dog TODAY or the dog goes. It is C's dog, and someone who is not competent to manage their dogs poop is not competent to own a dog. Period. It is such a fundamental thing, there should be no argument on this point.

If you are committed to staying there and having them leave, you can tell them now that they will need to find a new place to live come lease renewal time- if they want to stay, you will tell the landlord how C has been handling the dog poop, but if they find another place to live, you will keep your mouth shut so as to not screw up the landlord reference. You have some serious leverage here. Forget about being the nice person here- your roommates are not worth it.
posted by ambrosia at 3:15 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok I have to clarify. There isn't a build up of poo strewn around my house

No, I don't think anyone here thought that there was. The fact that there is poop to clean up every day -- that's foul. And I promise you that little by little, no matter how well you clean up, it's depositing an odor in the house to which you're becoming accustomed.

Look, the only reason that normal, responsible dog owners put up with the dog shitting in their house is when it's an accident, such as puppies which are not fully housetrained or dogs that are sick or very old.

Your roommates' dogs are either miserable about having to poop inside out of desperation, or they're not even really housebroken. WTF kind of fostering is that?
posted by desuetude at 9:49 PM on March 3, 2012

Here's how I hear your story about roommates. At the end, I have some suggestions.

A rescues a dog and for six months cares for it (cares as in, is responsible for it)
A stops caring (acting responsible for) for the dog and fobs it off on C, or C takes pity on the dog and does their best to care for it as A no longer does.
A closes their door so the dog they brought into this house will not poop in A's room.
A, C, N, and you, none of you reliably train the dog, walk it for potty breaks, etc. A thinks it's C's problem. C is clueless about dogs. N is clueless about dogs and it's not N's dog. You are principled and it's not your dog.
The dog therefore is in a household that collectively does not act reliably and responsibly to guide the dog or to care for its training and bathroom needs.


A hardly fostered a dog. A spent six months of a dog's life caring for it and failed to even housebreak it, then fobbed the dog off to C, a newbie dog owner who has no clue and appears not to be getting one. A now takes no active role in the life of a dog that is not being properly raised or cared for.

A and C, separately and together, are unable to care for the dog and sound willfully ignorant of a dog's needs (dog 101 is that a dog needs regular walks and regular poop breaks every day, and training to poop outside, etc)

You and N are unwilling to step up and care for all of the dog's needs, for the reasons above.

Poop is a symptom of A and C (and N and your) neglect of the dog. A brought the dog into the home and should be responsible still. Fobbing a problem dog off on newbie C was not responsible of A.

Next steps:

1) Have a sit down with A and C and N. Point out that the dog has serious issues, and ask that A and C take the dog to a trainer so that the dog can become healthy and happy. Say also that the pooping in the house is sure to get noticed by your landlord and they must walk the dog regularly, last one out of the house (A, C, N, or you) must crate it, and that A and C should spring for a dog walker in the middle of the day to minimize the poop in the house.

2) if A and C don't agree to the trainer, call the fostering agency and report that the animal is being neglected by A, the adoptee.

3) if A, C, and N don't agree to last one out crates the dog, tell them that the poop in common areas is an ongoing problem that you cannot live with, and you will be forced to inform the landlord of a sanitation issue caused by A and C, and that you or the landlord may then break the lease on health and sanitation reasons.

I know this sounds confrontational - and it is - but it's not a confrontation caused by you. It is a sensible reaction to an outrageous situation caused by A and perpetuated by C. A situation that's no good for anyone, including the dog and the dog's chances of being placed.
posted by zippy at 11:36 PM on March 3, 2012

Given your concern that carpet damage may be blamed on your foster dog, you'll want to not only take photographs of each fresh deposit, but ensure that the photographs include evidence of the date. If your camera doesn't provide a way to do this automatically, you can use the traditional kidnapper method: include the day's newspaper (or screen equivalent) in the shot. Start documenting now, even if you haven't yet settled on a grand strategy.

Another task you can do now is to create and post an ad seeking a new tenant for your room.

My instinct would be to perform the first task stealthily and the second task brazenly.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:51 AM on March 4, 2012

Response by poster: In the beginning I offered to help A out with her dog, ie. taking her out and feeding her if A wasn't home. She basically told me she wanted to do it herself because it was her dog and she wanted to train/care for her her way. We have extremely different training 'philosophies,' so I can understand that much. But the point is when I offered to help she told me not to.

My personal fostering experience was extremely successful and now that my dog has been adopted I do feel a sense of responsibility towards improving A&C's dog's situation... so when A and C aren't home for hours I have taken her out and made sure she ate. Extremely basic care. A thinks walks fall under the training category, so I don't bother.

If I mention that she has been fed/watered/toileted this to C when she comes home, she is grateful and a bit relieved because the dog is becoming a lot to handle. If I mention it to A when she comes home, usually when I see her going to feed the dog, she gets very huffy at me for interfering and feeds the dog an extra meal anyway.

A only cares for the dog when she feels like it. If something goes wrong it's C's fault... if A is in a bad mood it's C's responsibility... but she gets annoyed at me if I try to help out.

From what you guys have said, I am either partially responsible for the dog's lack of housetraining (because I don't step up to the plate) and therefore neglectful... or A&C are entirely to blame here. At this point I'm not feeding or toileting the dog because if A is going to flip out either way, she might as well flip out over shit on the ground. She can call me neglectful or inconsiderate but I can fire back with it not being my responsibility. And I feel bad, but I've really had enough.

The dog has been holding it for the past few days, but if/when she starts crapping inside again I'll definitely document. In the meantime I've contacted a trusted senior volunteer at the dog's original shelter about the situation and what I can do. That way I can find out my options for the dogs re-homing/removal without actually setting any big plans in motion.

Thanks guys
posted by isaynay at 4:55 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe approach it in a "I don't want this to ruin our house" type of manner. If the place smells like poop/pee when you move out, you're going to have to pay for it.
posted by radioamy at 9:14 AM on March 5, 2012

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