can you save my roomies puppy from being strangled?
October 31, 2007 10:29 PM   Subscribe

can you save my roomies puppy from being strangled?

hivemind, I need your help. I'm positively becoming homicidal thanks to my roomies new pup.

the roomie works the early shift and locks the puppy in his room when he leaves the house at six a.m. not ten minutes later the puppy will begin to bark, yelp, whine and begin tearing the place up. he does not like to be alone.

I tried letting him into the garden, I tried letting him run around the house, nothing helped. he wants to be around people. but this is not my dog and I don't want to snuggle with it in the early morning hours. (besides ... he isn't completely house-trained, even though the roomie can't believe his dog created the nuclear waste site below the coffee table). the pup does not calm down. not after one hour, not after three.

this is your chance to save this cute little puppie from a very violent death. how do I calm him down? how do I get him to relax?

anyone suggesting earplugs clearly underestimates the vocal chords of the dog in question.
posted by krautland to Pets & Animals (38 answers total)
Get one of these. Fill it with peanut butter. Most dogs will gladly spend hours trying to lick every last bit of peanut butter out of the inside. Not promising a cure, but it could help. There is a lot out there about dog separation anxiety, but I, too, work at 6 am and need to get to bed...I'll check up on this when I get home in case no one else responds.
posted by gembackwards at 10:33 PM on October 31, 2007

How old is the puppy? How long is the roommate away?

Many dogs calm down when crated, but you certainly can't crate a puppy for 8 hours. If the roommate expects a young pup to be okay being completely alone for an entire work day, his (?) expectations aren't realistic to begin with. A puppy is going to want to be with his people, and you can do things to mitigate that (not making a fuss when leaving or coming home, giving him something to do while you're away, arranging for someone to take him for walks and play with him, leaving the radio on low, crating him, etc etc.) but a puppy is probably not going to just be cool with being left alone all day.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:52 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't know the age of the puppy but yes, we are talking about seven or eight hours here. she does not cool down.
posted by krautland at 11:11 PM on October 31, 2007

Would crating the puppy in the morning until you get up and head to work be a reasonable option?
posted by onalark at 11:27 PM on October 31, 2007

Taking the dog for a walk will probably chill it out. A tired dog is a good dog.
posted by ph00dz at 11:48 PM on October 31, 2007

Puppies actually like to be crated, seriously. Did it with mine (two of them at the same time--what was I thinking?). They are now 5 mo. and will wander into the crate on their own when they feel the need to just "get away". I'd propose this to roommate.
posted by 6:1 at 12:13 AM on November 1, 2007

I would suggest that the first step in dealing with this change in your environment is to treat the dog like a living thing instead of an annoyance, or something to be choked.
posted by jackofsaxons at 12:35 AM on November 1, 2007

I second thehmsbeagle and ph00dz. But you have to give it time.

How long has roomie had the pup?
posted by micketymoc at 1:14 AM on November 1, 2007

Response by poster: the pups are brand new but no, I can't be the one to bond with them. I am only here temporarily and quite frankly, I'd like to live my own life.
posted by krautland at 1:39 AM on November 1, 2007

Response by poster: and jack: I am being nice to them when I am awake. but I'd like my sleep thankyouverymuch. it's their owners who are being irresponsible. I wasn't asked here.
posted by krautland at 1:40 AM on November 1, 2007

I don't think that it's productive at all the BLAME the poster and say he needs to adjust his attitude, or anything like that. I think that everyone would agree that the choice to get a puppy is a big one, and should not be made arbitrarily. They are a lot of work and they require a lot of attention. It seems he didn't really get to make this choice (as he keeps calling it his roommate's dog). I love animals (anyone who knows me will attest to this in a big way). I also accept that not everyone has the same level of love or patience for them... Which is not saying they don't like them... I sort of liken it to having children. People will make the choice to have a child when they feel they are ready to accept the responsibility that comes with parenthood.

Bottom line: It's not his dog, and it should not be his responsibility to care for it. He should not have to get out of bed to take it for a walk. He should not have to "bond" with it. Really, he shouldn't have to "give it time" or "be patient".

Krautland: I would say that it's a matter of telling your roommate the issue, and explaining to him that he needs to take care of it. ASAP. I mean, if it was a neighbor's dog that was waking you up/keeping you up, I'm sure you would handle it the same way. If your roommate needs to make other arrangements for the dog, that's his problem... HE is the one that needs to deal with the issue. You deserve to be able to sleep and function without constant whining/crying/yelping. It's stressful, and frustrating and you shouldn't have to put up with it.

I agree with the people saying to crate the dog... For some dogs, that helps. Have the roommate buy a crate that is just big enough for the dog to stand up/turn around. Perhaps have him get a chewing type toy/treat to put it with the puppy. Unfortunately, this does not work for every dog... and depending on the age of the puppy 7-8 hours in the crate is pushing it.

Another question/comment... Have your neighbors complained at all? I imagine that if the dog is waking you up, it might also be bothering others. Perhaps that's a point you should make when telling your roommate he needs to take action.
posted by Mookbear at 2:20 AM on November 1, 2007

I read somewhere about 'separation anxiety' in dogs and whining and barking while owners were out. My dogs had this while I was growing up, and they'd bark their eyes out even if I was upstairs. I'd leave the television on downstairs to keep them company for a few hours until they got less psychotic.
posted by santojulieta at 2:56 AM on November 1, 2007

Dob your roomie in for neglect, and give the pup a chance to find a person who will treat it properly.
posted by flabdablet at 3:04 AM on November 1, 2007

The puppy should be crated in this (not good) situation. Locking it in a room is not adequate, as you've discovered. If your roomie walks the dog before he leaves, and you walk the dog before you leave several hours later, it may be okay - depending on the pup's age.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:16 AM on November 1, 2007

Do not confine a puppy to a small space unsupervised for longer than a couple of hours. Until at least twelve weeks, they to urinate/defecate multiple times a day, and being in a confined, soiled space is bad for him and cruel.

Your roommate's lifestyle does not suit a puppy. Puppies need someone else around most of the time. It was stupid for your roommate to get this puppy, it's not the puppy's fault that he is in this miserable and lonely environment, and you need to point this out to the roommate. Somewhere out there is a family with kids who will love and appreciate this dog.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:21 AM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Isn't it cruel to lock the puppy up (and bad for their emotional development?). You mentioned a garden. Is it possible to stake the puppy outside during the day?

That said, I hear puppies make great soup. You could tell your roommate, "oops, but soup!"
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:29 AM on November 1, 2007

Er..I meant "lock the puppy up in a confined space".
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:30 AM on November 1, 2007

MOVE. Seriously. You have a roommate who did not think this whole thing through. I had a roommate with a puppy in his room while he was out. First it was just 9 hours a day while he was at work, same deal as you. Then he started going out at night, etc, etc. The whole house smelled like pee in no time and he (like some of the folks here) seemed to feel like I was a heartless jerk for complaining about the barking (which was constant) saying that he didn't think that the dog barked when crated and I was just being a jerk.

If there is a dog in your house the dog is also your dog. If this is a problem, say, because you didn't want a dog then you're on the hook.

I eventually moved out and it was a relief.
posted by n9 at 4:34 AM on November 1, 2007

Isn't it cruel to lock the puppy up (and bad for their emotional development?)

If you don't do it properly, yes. Here's how to do it properly. It's more akin to kennel training than "crate" training; the word is distinctly off-putting.

If there is a dog in your house the dog is also your dog. If this is a problem, say, because you didn't want a dog then you're on the hook.

Exactly. The dog doesn't care who thinks they own him; the dog will try to bond with whoever's around.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:40 AM on November 1, 2007

This deal is evil. The little dog is sad and lonely because someone who shouldn't have a dog has decided to have one anyway. It didn't ask for this shit. You hate it for being normal. And this crating stuff is bad. Why not just drug it into a coma all day and drug it back into consciousness when you need some unfuckingconditional love?

If you're hanging around the house all day, interact with the dog, then put it in his room to shit on his floor and chew his stuff when you're going out.

(Or, for B-movie laughs, give the dog to someone who will take care of it properly. Leave a likely door or window closed but unlatched. Say that you went out and when you came back the dog was gone. Don't mention the window or door -- try to let the roommate find it. If you need to--maybe he's ranting about the impossibility of the dog getting out without your help--discover the unlatched window or door while trying all the possible ways a dog could somehow get out. So the dog escaped through the open window when someone broke in, or someone broke in and stole the dog. You don't know. You just know that there's no fucking way it got out through the door with you because you triple-check to make sure because the last thing you want to have to do is chase a fucking puppy all over the city. Deny everything. And if you're lucky, he won't get a replacement, at least until you leave this temporary and crappy situation.)
posted by pracowity at 4:47 AM on November 1, 2007

sounds like your roommate is acting pretty irresponsibly. Wanting a dog is not the same as having the capacity to care for a dog. If he really loves the dog, he should want the dog to have a better life than one trapped in a room and alone for 8-9 hours a day. But, he's probably not going to do anything about it. So...

What time does your local doggy daycare open?
posted by birdlady at 5:25 AM on November 1, 2007

> And this crating stuff is bad.

No, crating is *NOT* bad. Crate = den to a dog. Dogs like sleeping in their den all day. My dog spends most days outside when it's not nuclear furnace (summer in texas) or freezing cold (winter in texas) outside ... but when she's inside, she still chooses to snooze in her kennel sometimes even if she doesn't need to.

The roomie needs to get the dog a kennel. Get the dog a Kong toy or a buster cube or something else to keep it entertained. The dog shouldn't pee in the kennel if let out every 4-5 hours or whenever it whines loudly to be let out... dogs don't like to soil their den. Puppies can be trained to go pee on command (mine does). My dog will also go to sleep immediately if you put her in her kennel, because that's what she's been trained to do.

Yes, you will have a much more tolerable life if you help your roomie train the dog. And if the roomie isn't willing to kennel or train the dog? MOVE. Fast.
posted by SpecialK at 5:56 AM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

MOVE. Fast.

And report him to the ASPCA.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:14 AM on November 1, 2007

If anyone deserves "strangling," it's not the poor little pup, it's the irresponsible jackhole of a roommate you have. Sounds lilke he got a cute, adorable li'l puppy but forgot that it was a living creature that needed care, not a stuffed toy. Sadly, puppies like those that belong to your roommate often wind up untrained, neglected, and dumped at a shelter in adolescence when they are no longer cute and become "too much trouble/he barks/ he chews/etc."

Have a long, frank talk with your roommate. Explain that this state of affairs is intolerable. Puppies cannot be left alone for hours on end, and roommate needs to look at something like doggy daycare, or work from home for a few months, or find the poor dog a new home with someone who can care for it properly. Do you know someone who is a responsible dog owner, who would be willing to talk to the roommate about the work a puppy entails?

If all else fails, move. I wish I could say "find the dog a new home while roommate is out" but that's illegal, alas.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:57 AM on November 1, 2007

Oh why do people who shouldn't be pet owners do this to their animals, roommates and neighbors? Well behaved dogs take a lot of work. This puppy is going to turn into an adult sized, ill-behaved dog, who will be more destructive and less cute. Dogs like this end up being dropped off at the dog pound.

Crate training is not cruel if it is used properly. It is crueler to lock a puppy in a room, where he has access to electrical cords and where he will pee and chew on stuff and get scolded for it. Dogs are den animals and feel safer in small spaces. A kennel can become their safe haven. I keep the doors of my dogs' kennels open when I am home. When there is a thunderstorm or they are scared, they immediately head for their kennels.

The room-mate needs to buy a good sized crate for the dog, big enough that he can move around comfortably. Think of it as the dog's studio apartment. The dog goes into the kennel in the morning with a peanut butter filled kong. The dog should be let out of his kennel every 4-5 hours for a snack and potty break. No dog should be left in a kennel for more than 8-9 hours total a day, even with breaks, that would be cruel. The roommate needs to work with you or someone else to let the dog out when they are not home.

It can be expensive, but doggy day-care is so worth the money. Maybe your roommate can drop the puppy off at a doggy daycare, where he will get socialized, played with and cared for while the roommate is at work.
posted by pluckysparrow at 7:26 AM on November 1, 2007

Konolia: dogs are pack animals. They like to be with their people or with other dogs. How do employed people have dogs?

1. Sometimes they have multiple dogs so they can keep one another company.
2. They hire dog walkers to come take the dogs out during the day.
3. They make sure their dogs get plenty of exercise, so they are tired during the day and less likely to get bored and bark or destroy things.

In this case, I agree with aeschenkarnos. Puppies need to be taken out every four hours. If your roommate can't do that, he shouldn't have a puppy.

Dogs' personalities are formed by three or four months. If a dog has a miserable beginning in life, it's more likely the dog will be difficult for the remainder of it. If the roommate wants to keep the dog, he needs to a) sign up for puppy training classes, ASAP; b) either find a way to come home in the middle of the day, or hire someone else to do it; and c) crate-train the dog. It's not cruel, as many others have said; it is standard procedure in the humane dog-training world.

If the roommate isn't prepared for a puppy, perhaps he should give it to a local shelter and instead consider, down the line, an adult dog.
posted by stonefruit at 8:10 AM on November 1, 2007

Crate = den to a dog.

If you're going to compare a cage to a den, consider that a den is not a place you get locked into alone all day, bored to death, afraid to pee but desperate to do so. A pack of wolves (wild dogs, etc.) will live in a den, coming and going as needed, because they're social animals; they don't deposit each cub in a separate hole in the ground, roll a rock over the entrance, and leave it there alone all day.

If you stick a dog in a tiny box, remember that it's not natural, not enjoyable, and that almost any dog, given the choice, will not spend the day in one. At the very least, arrange for a pee break at the midpoint of the confinement.
posted by pracowity at 8:24 AM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

First of all, he should not be leaving a brand new puppy alone for 7-8 hours a day. Until they're a few months old they need to go out every couple hours. If he wanted a dog but did not have the time to invest in a puppy, he should have adopted one at least 6 months old.

What you're describing sounds like separation anxiety. This can be caused by a lot of things, but the end result is that when your roomie leaves, the dog doesn't think he's coming back. This is what has to be fixed, and it's not easy. Your roommate will have to spend hours and hours fixing this, leaving for increasingly longer periods (often just waiting outside the door if necessary), and reappearing before the puppy starts going nuts. By doing this it will remove the reinforcement that barking and yelping will eventually make his owner show up again. It also gets the dog used to the fact that every time he leaves, he will be coming back.

Also, some dogs do fine roaming free during the day without their owners, but for many dogs it makes them even more anxious. Crating is definitely something to try, although until this separation anxiety is fixed it will probably not do much good and might even make it crazier.
posted by chundo at 8:33 AM on November 1, 2007

If you stick a dog in a tiny box, remember that it's not natural, not enjoyable, and that almost any dog, given the choice, will not spend the day in one.

We let our dog roam free, but she spends the whole day sleeping in her (open) crate regardless. A lot of dogs just don't like the extra responsibility of being alone in their master's home without supervision.
posted by chundo at 8:36 AM on November 1, 2007

What kind of dog is it? If they got it from a breeder, chances are the breeder would want it back if they knew this was happening.

This really is a terrible thing for them to do. You can't leave them alone for that long. I mean, can your roommate go 8hrs without peeing?
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:27 AM on November 1, 2007

This really is a terrible thing for them to do. You can't leave them alone for that long. I mean, can your roommate go 8hrs without peeing?

For a puppy, yes, this is not good. Adult dogs routinely go 8-10 hours without peeing, especially once they get into the habit. If I try to take my dog out sooner now, she won't go. Dogs usually only drink water when they're thirsty. They don't drink socially or need coffee to wake up, so they don't need to go as frequently as people do for the most part.
posted by chundo at 9:31 AM on November 1, 2007

Ignore it. Get really good earplugs. It has to learn that crying/yelping/whining will not get it attention, so there's no point doing it. Leave it locked in the room, its not your responsibility (as you said, you're only temporary - you don't want the dog getting used to you), then when your roommate comes home and finds his door scratched to pieces and his room covered in wee and dogshit he might understand that he can't leave his pet alone all day and expect you to look after it.

...and tell him to get another dog. Dogs are not pets you can have just 1 of - if you want a life.
posted by missmagenta at 10:19 AM on November 1, 2007

The roommate clearly doesn't have enough time (or fore-thought) for the one dog he already has - suggesting he get another is a terrible idea.
posted by canine epigram at 12:30 PM on November 1, 2007

It's more akin to kennel training than "crate" training; the word is distinctly off-putting.

Oh please. They started using the word "crate" because they thought "cage" was too cruel. If you go along with this kind of crap, next you'll be replacing kennel with "semi-large stimulating healthy doggy envirosphere."

My dog loved her crate.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:17 PM on November 1, 2007

Caesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, teaches crate training for separation anxiety. He does also recommends a walk before going off to work and then putting the dog in the kennel or crate so they feel safe while you are gone.

We are lucky enough not to have to leave our dogs alone all day but when we do leave them for any length of time, they go in their crates. At night, they go in their crates. They will often go over to go in the crates and whine to go in on their own. They like it there.
posted by tamitang at 8:49 PM on November 1, 2007

Response by poster: okay, this is frustrating me. I am supposed to walk my roomies dog? uh... only if they do my laundry.

btw: said roomie went partying tonight and I am sitting here sleepless. that pretty much did it for me. I'm writing an email to the landlord.
posted by krautland at 11:54 PM on November 1, 2007

I don't blame you, Krautland. Jeez. This person sounds like the textbook definition of "irresponsible dog owner." I hope this results in the poor dog finding another, better home. Good luck! And let us know what happens.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:04 AM on November 2, 2007

Response by poster: yeah, I think this person is way too immature to be a responsible dog owner and quite optimistic about his own capabilities.

alas, he was asked to leave and has since done so. the apartment he has moved into is rather large, so at least the dog will have a decent-sized place to explore during his work hours. I hope it goes well.
posted by krautland at 2:43 AM on November 5, 2007

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