New Puppy at Home with Cat and 16 Month Old Twins... Help!

Updated on July 13, 2009
K.R. asks from Windsor Heights, IA
16 answers

My boyfriend decided a month ago to unexpectedly bring home a puppy! We have had it a month now and it hasn't been going that well in my opinion. The puppy was 4 weeks old when we got it. It has been sleeping in a kennell at night since we first got it (well it was a box the first week or so). It does pretty good in the kennell but when he gets let out in the morning he cries when he goes back in for over an hour until i get up for work to let him out for the day.

The 2 biggest problems have been potty training and him scratching, chewing, and knocking over my boys. I don't think we are consistent enough with the potty issue to make it work. I insist that he doesn't go in the front yard so i walk him around the house to go but when jeff lets him out he just boots him out the door for ten minutes while he gets ready for work and lets him go wherever. The dog is never going to learn if he keeps getting different directions! Any potty training suggestions. He still poops or pees in the house at least once every day!

the issue with my boys is that he already chews their stuff and he jumps up on them and scratches their arms and knocks them over. How do you get a puppy to stay down? We are taking him to training classes in late summer or early fall but until then i don't know what to do with him. I've never had a dog and i hate having this one in our house. My boyfriend swore he would take care of it and clean up after it but i am the one who gets stuck with all the work and i hate it.

i was just wandering if anyone has had similar experiences... i wouldn't be surprised if the puppy had to find a new home cuz i don't think it's going to work since he can't be responsible for HIS pet. ( i have a cat and do every aspect of his pet care on my own)

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the responses! I didn't mention before but the puppy is a black lab/ golden retriever mix. I have already started some of these suggestions before i read them cuz my friend told me some things about giving him toys he can have when caught messing with the baby toys. And for the responders who must have misunderstood me, i am taking care of the puppy and giving it plenty of attention. even though i am not excited about having it i still walk it and feed it and bathe it because it isn't the puppy's fault that his "daddy" doesn't take care of him as promised. He will be going to classes but they don't start another session at our local arl until august i think.

So, i will be striving for consistency and if i have to i will train the dog myself since i'm the one who wants my house to remain the way it was before the puppy came! If my boyfriend had his way the puppy would be loose in the house and sleep in our bed but i won't allow it! He has a kennell that he spends about 50% of his day and all night in. He is let out for outside playtime, potty time, and supervised inside playtime in the evening when the whole family is home together.

thanks again for all the responses. I'm going to use the weekend to get a start on puppy training.

Does anyone know if a cat can teach pack order? my cat has been showing the puppy who is boss since he came home... i didn't know if that helped with the pack order thing or not though....

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi K., I know you have a lot of great responses, but I'll give you my 2 cents. Everyone in the household needs to train the puppy, probably not your little ones at this time. You need to be very consistent. When you do take him outside on a leash, make it for 5 minutes in the same spot, if he doesn't go take him back inside. Do this multiple times a day. At this time he shouldn't be going in the house. Don't leave water out for him all day, unless he's been playing hard outside. Feed him twice a day only. If he goes in the house, say NO outside and take him outside.

With him jumping on your boys, say OFF, and just push him down lightly. Give him lots of toys if he's a biter yell OW in a high pitch voice and walk away and ignore him. He's a puppy and he's going to do puppy things. You need to be very consistent. Talk with your boyfriend, he needs to do this too. If you both don't do the same, he's going to be confused and a naughty boy. So really work with him and your boyfriend-since he did bring him home. It will all work out, just give it some time. I hope this helps, I know I was late on my response.



answers from St. Cloud on


First off, there is a big difference in training dogs and cats. I always keep my puppies in a very large box they cannot climb out of or a dog pen/cage. They should actually be in there all the time except for every hour out to do their duty and then back in. It is good to take them out in the evening for approximately 1-2 hours, first take them out to potty, then back in to spend time with the family and then back to potty and finally back to bed. When finding them chewing, which is normal for any puppy until they are about 6 months (when they get their adult teeth), some longer; slap their behinds with a rolled up paper or a fly swatter. They will very soon get the message. Also, be with the dog when it is around the children and make sure it knows it cannot jump on them. It takes time, but it is well worth it. I just lost my soul-mate who would have been 18-years-old in September and believe me, he was not the easiest dog to train, but I dearly wish I had him back. Good luck and always remember, a dog is your best friend, they don't argue back, scream or yell and they always forgive you with a pat on the head.



answers from Appleton on

How frustrating!! The puppy is being a puppy and your boyfriend is being a typical man.
Puppies teeth just like human babies so they chew. He needs chew toys. Experts recommned not giving them shoes because the puppy won't know the difference between old shoes he can chew on and good shoes he can't. Remember he is a baby and away from his mother and in a new home. With a lot of patience and consistancy the puppy will learn how to become a part of his new family. Dogs are social beings and need to be part of a family or pack. They tend to play rough and jump on each other. Right now he is seeing your son's as his siblings. He will learn to not jump on people. I would contact a grooming salon and see if you can get his nails trimmed and talk to the groomer about handling his behavior. Taking him for a walk every day might help he might be just too energic and need to run it off.
About the boyfriend. I have experienced this hand so did my daughter with her hubby. They promise to take care of the puppy and feel that if they take the puppy out when they are home and buy the food, it's taken care of. But we know better.
I would also recommend that you watch the Dog Whisperer or get some of his books. If you truely can't handle the puppy find him a new home rather then yelling at him all the time.



answers from Omaha on

I'm not trying to sound rude but it's a puppy, so you are going to have some accidents in the house. I will say I totally understand how you are feeling. My husband brought a puppy home the same day that our daughter came home after being born. It was crazy and I hated that dog for a while but now I love the dog. In fact that dog and my daughter(which is almost 4) are like best of buds. She is actually learning from all this as well. One of her chores is to feed the dogs.
It will get better! Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Dear K.,
First of all, your boyfriend should have talked this over you before bringing a pet into the home, but the real thing that worries me is the fact that this puppy NEVER should have been taken away from it's mother until it was AT LEAST 8 weeks old. Second, it's a puppy! They pee, they poop, they chew, they's what they do & yes, you both need to be consistant with regard to potty training & have A LOT of patience, just like with children. There will be good days & bad days, but if you're patient, consistant, loving & use positive reinforcement, he'll probably be a great dog in the long run. Give him about 6 months, because for as young as he his, he's going through some crazy adjustments too.




answers from Madison on

It seems like a very bad decision on your boyfriend's part to bring a puppy home when you already have two young children to look after. A puppy is like having another baby. They do require lots of time and attention!!

Your puppy is just being a puppy. It is natural for them to chew, nip and jump. You can't expect to lose this behavior until he's out of his young puppy stage. I agree with the other poster that said this puppy was also too young to be brought home. They're suppose to stay with their mother's until about 8 weeks old, so he is very young to be with you.

Either your boyfriend needs to step up and be responsible for the puppy or the puppy needs to find a new loving home where people have the time to take care of it. You already have enough on your plate taking care of two young children!!



answers from Rapid City on

He shouldn't have brought a puppy home without talking to you first, but it is done and to make him give him up now would be like him asking you to give up your cat. Insist he takes care of the pooper scooping and bathing him. When he is old enough, have him fixed, it will settle him down and keep him from being as agressive. You can start training him now. Cut up a piece of bologna or hotdog or use liver treats. Make sure there isn't any distractions so do it during the time your children are sleeping. Hold a treat in one hand, swish it across his nose so he knows to watch the hand and say "Watch me" as you bring the treat up to your nose. Work on this as much as possible. Give him the treat only when he is sitting and looking you in the eye. Once he has mastered this use the Watch me command whenever he is being distructful. Remove the objects he is chewing on and give him one of his own toys or chew bone. Make sure he has plenty of chew toys that squeak because that is his reward for chewing on them and not the kids toys. Make sure when you take one of the kids toys away you say "NO" then give him his. They learn to only chew on the ones with their smell that way.

Potty training seems to be going good for you if there is only one accident a day. Watch to see if it is the same time every day and make sure you take him out at that time. Another thing you could do is hang a bell by the door low enough for him to hit it with his paw. Each time you open the door to let him out, ring the bell. You might show him that he can ring the bell by taking his paw and hitting it saying "get it" then try telling him "get it" and see if he will try. He will soon associate the bell with going out to go outside and will ring the bell when he needs to go out. This works great with my dog since when she would scratch on the door, if we were in any other part of the house we wouldn't hear her. The bell I use is a cowbell that lets out a loud ring so I can hear it no matter where I am in the house. Only problem is she has learned if she wants my attention she will ring the bell to get me to stop what I am doing and let her out even if she doesn't really want out. When she starts doing this I just put the bell up for a bit.

Once you have the watch me command down, you can work on the "come" command which is one of the most important commands since it keeps them from running out of the yard or going places they shouldn't. I take a treat and like the watch me command I let her know I have it then bring it from the side to my chest saying come. When she comes I give her the treat. You can also do this with the lay command. Make him lay while you are saying "Lay" or "down" and that might mean that you have to pull his front feet out to show him you expect him to lay. When he is laying give him the treat. When he has this down, use the lay command or down command whenever he starts to jump on someone. One more thing you need to do is make sure that he knows your children are alpha or boss. Have him lay and let the kids one at a time pet him, scratch his belly and mess with his feet. Make sure he is submissive when you do this. Always feed your children before you feed him if they are awake. Another thing I did when my dog was a puppy was use a rolled up newspaper (just one section, not the whole paper) to hit on my hand for a loud clap if she did something she shouldn't, like get up on the table. I called it puppy paddling (sometimes I would swat her on the hiney with it light enough not to hurt but enough to have the paper make a noise). Wasn't long if she was caught chewing on something she shouldn't I would say "need a puppy paddling?" and she would stop. She is now going on 10 years old and there isn't a dog around that is as fun and amusing as she is. She has different tricks, the favorite is when I hold my fingers like a gun at her and say "stick em up" and she will stand on her hind legs with front paws straight up in the air. I say "bang" and she lays down and rolls onto her back playing dead. She is a cockerspaniel and is so smart. When we first got her everytime we would say "is someone here?" she would let out one bark and go to the door. My husband thought this was really funny so he would do it over and over. She finally learned that she could go to the steps in the livingroom and look in the mirror on the china hutch and see the glass door to see if someone was at the door. Then when my husband would be watching tv she would bark once and head down to the door. He would get up and say "oh someone must be here" and go look to see no one was there. He sit back down and she would do it again. This went on for a while and I sit back laughing because I knew she had turned his game around on him. They really do have a personality like a child.

Dogs are wonderful pets and yes they are high maintainence but they are well worth it if they are trained and behave in a proper manner. It might take work when they are small, but once they get it they are such a pleasure to have around.



answers from Janesville-Beloit on

I'm a vet so I hope you can appreciate my pet advice!!! First of all, if the puppy was only 4 weeks old when you got him, he was way too young to be taken from his mother and siblings. Thus he wasn't able to learn basic manners that humans have a much more difficult time communicating, such as bite inhibition.

The most important thing to remember is that having a dog for a pet is very much a shared responsibility, regardless of who's idea it was. The puppy certainly doesn't understand that it was your boyfriend's idea and thus the more willing you are to participate and contribute, the better results you will have. Potty training is actually quite easy and comes down to not letting the puppy go in the house. This most definitely will involve both adults in your house making an effort but if you both work really hard at it, it should only take a few days to accomplish. Puppies learn to go potty based on the type of surface that is under thier paws. The big secret is to prevent any accidents on the carpet/hardwood floors and give lots of praise for potty on the grass. Prevention means taking puppy outside FREQUENTLY. Puppy does not need to have run of your house and should be kept close to you at all times to prevent accidents as well as getting into trouble such as chewing. He has absolutely no idea which things are appropriate to chew on and which are not. You need to teach him that... again by lots of praise for chewing on the Kong/rawhide/cow's hoof. Punishing you puppy for going potty in the house and for chewing inappropriately is futile and typically results in further expression of inappriate behavior. This is because puppies crave attention, regardless of if it is negative or positive. Catch your puppy doing something good and give lots of praise and you will be amazed at how quickly he will change his naughty behavior.



answers from Wausau on

you can order a jump harness online to help with staying down.



answers from Duluth on

I agree wholeheartedly with all the previous responses! He is a normal puppy but this is too soon, too young, too much work with twin babies!! Way too much to expect of you!

I don't know for sure if the puppy is too young to be potty trained. We crated-trained our puppies very successfully and it took about 3-4 days. They stayed in their crates... they mostly sleep anyway. They have instincts that make them keep their sleeping area clean. Take the puppy out of his crate, take him outside. Use a command word (we used "hurry up") so they have a signal for what to do. Watch him, praise him when he goes potty and say "good hurry up," lots of praise! Then feed him - about 3x daily at first, play with him for 10-15 minutes then back in his crate. He will sleep. We both worked full-time and I came home for lunch and did this before work, at lunch time, after work, and before bed.

Take care of yourself!!



answers from Minneapolis on

you have private mail on this...but i forgot to add-the pup has to be registered with the city you live rabie an distemper shots-beforehand...there is nothing simple or cheap about owning a dog...if you need more info-feel free to contact me...good luck...



answers from Milwaukee on

I have been in same type of situation, although I agreed to the puppy, just to get my husband to quit asking after 4 yrs straight pretty much. We have a black lab who is almost one and we are due with #2 in Oct with a 2 yr old. Our dog has knocked down my son many times and chewed on so many of his toys it drives me crazy. The training class did help a ton, and we only went for 3 sessions. We got a prong collar, which has been the best thing, teaches them like their mother would. Also using a spray of bitter apple (find in pet stores) in the mouth when barking inapropriately, chewing, or you can spray it on things you dont want chewed also. I swear the dog is more work than a kid so you have to be dedicated, we have come close to getting rid of ours b/c hubby wasn't training, walking, cleaning up, etc like he promised. I also take care of our 2 cats by myself. Our cats are dominate over the dog, but they just beat up on her because she is so hyper and it scares them, but now they have started to come around more instead of hiding upstairs. Oh and keep with the kennel b/c if you let her on your couch, bed, etc you show puppy they are equal to you, not you are #1.



answers from Minneapolis on

I feel what you are going thru! My hubsand brought a 6 month old puppy when my 2nd babe was only 4 months old. I almost filed for divorce. Ha! They say that the 1st year having a dog is tough. You just have to be patient. It will get better after a year. Make sure you stay with the obedience and training. My husband and I both work full time jobs so making time to train her has been tough. When we first got our dog, she would chew and get into everything. She is a year old now and still steps on my heals and gets in my way all the time! When I am headed up my stairs, she always has to go first. It annoys me! She is great with our children and has become a huge part of our family. My 3 year old absolutley adores her. I have enjoyed watching the 2 of them develop a close friendship. Our dog is truly a Marley! Only she is black! If you haven't seen that movie, I recommend it. But just to warn you, have a box of kleenex close by!
Watching that movie helps remind me not to give up on her!
Now she is a year has become a woman. Yea! You can only imagine how fun it is here! I heard from someone it's good to let your dog go into her firt heat before getting her fixed.
Right at this moment, I turn my head to see what the dog is doing...she is chewing my 11 month old's stuffed toy! AHHHHHH OLIVE!!!!! Got to go! Good luck and Hang in there! It WILL get easier! :)



answers from La Crosse on

I don't believe it is too late to give the puppy to a family that can care for it and raise it. It isn't your job, its your guy's. Give him a week or two, if he doesn't pick up the slack then he shouldn't have a puppy. It isn't fair to you, your kids, your K. or the puppy to have you being unhappy and the puppy being unruly. I agree that it is a shared responsibility. It is a job for the whole family, but since the decision was his, he can take the brunt of it for now.
Don't forget that dogs are pack animals, for now make sure the dog knows that he is on the lowest wrung, especially below the babies. and when they are old enough make sure they show him who is boss.



answers from Minneapolis on

YIKES! Your boyfriend made several mistakes - the biggest bringing home a puppy at 4 weeks! They should not be separated from their mother until 8 weeks at the earliest. This puppy is having a lot of separation anxiety. You need to get your whole family into puppy training ASAP! It's the only wait it'll work long term. It's pretty obvious you don't want this puppy, and if you're really honest with yourself and your boyfriend, you'll figure that out and find another loving home. So, if you're not going to commit to the time and love this puppy needs, please please please find it another home! Yes, I'm a total dog lover and happy owner of a 3 1/2 year old boxer who brings us much laughter, joy and love.

Good luck,



answers from Lincoln on

I'm going through the same thing now. We got a new puppy at the end of may. He is now about 3 months old. When you take him out to go potty, make sure to make a big deal out of it with praises. that seems to have helped our puppy. Another tip would be to keep stocked up on the chew sticks. When you see him starting to chew on something he shouldn't, redirect his attention to a chew stick. I was reading the other responses and saw that someone suggested a cow hoof to chew on. You shouldn't give those, they can splinter off and get wedged into the puppies gums and cause all kinds of problems. Pig ears are a good choice. I've never met a dog that didn't like them.

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