Potty Training Puppy Predicament

I have worked with my family for almost two years. When I first started, the family had a dog. My duties DID require feeding the dog, taking him for a walk or two, letting him out, etc. My duties did NOT include any kind of housework or cleaning, just kids and dog, so it was fine. It was SUCH an easy going dog, and GREAT entertainment for the kids!! I did not mind at all. Unfortunately, the dog passed away this past January. Now, 5 months have passed with no dog. I show up Monday morning.. Lo and Behold there is a new 8 week old puppy, AND an 8 week old kitten!

So here is my predicament. It was just assumed that I would take care of these pets, since I took care of the last pet. This dog is not potty trained. And even though the cat is somewhat low maintenance, both animals need to be watched at all times! They get into everything, and the dog pees and poos everywhere!! I’ve been doing this now for only 5 days, and I’m completely fried!! Between watching two kids (age 3 and 6) and the two pets, training the dog and cleaning all potty messes, I don’t have a MOMENTS rest, even when the kids go to bed at night! MB has been extremely understanding and apologetic.

Yesterday, the dog had diarrhea and I was just darn sick of cleaning it!!! So I put a paper towel over the mess, and when DB came home he freaked out about me not cleaning it. (Not a thank you for the messes I cleaned ALL day long, he was just upset for the ONE mess I didn’t clean.) I took this opportunity to say look, no one asked me if it was ok that you added two pets to my daily duty. You assume that I know how to train a dog, and that I even want a puppy around. Basically, DB belittled me and said “its not a big deal, it is the way it is, we pay you to do it, etc.“ Mb sticks up for me, though. And she’s been *trying* to come home in the middle of the day for at least some temporary relief. I’m thinking the only way to ‘fix’ this situation is to get a raise to help compensate all the extra stress. (Although I highly doubt that’s going to fly with DB.)

Obviously the pets aren’t going anywhere, and obviously the parents aren’t going to do their part of caring for their new pets, so it’s once again left up to the nanny. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions here? How much of a raise I should ask for, how I should word it, or other words I can use to explain to my bosses (especially DB) about this situation? I should also add that MB and DB do NOT want the puppy crated. Even when I’ve tried to crate the puppy, it whines and barks and cries nonstop. AND, there is NO outside yard to put the dog! For temporary relief, I just stick him in a room with the door shut, but have tons of messes to clean within minutes it seems. Help?!


you're not a dog trainer said...

My answer is that absolutely you should get a raise. This is a completely separate job honestly. A puppy is a huge amount of work that's now been added on to your responsibilities. I've done a fair amount of pet care/dog training, and I advise people to not get a puppy when their kids are very young. It's just too hard to properly train a puppy while dealing with small children. I mean it's possible, but it takes dedication and it's NOT easy.

I've seen quite a few families try to get a puppy and then realize that they have no time/energy to deal with it. So they just leave it to its own devices, and then when it grows into a huge holy terror they take it back to the breeder.

So yeah, you should get a raise. Or MB or DB should take some time off work to deal with the potty training phase. (I realize that's probably not going to happen, but it is another option) Tell them that you did not agree to this new set of duties, and they can either pay you more, or they can come home to a whole lot of paper towel covered messes on the floor.

And ps, they're pretty dumb not to crate their puppy. It's shown to be the best way to potty train (in addition to close supervision), and I have yet to meet a qualified trainer who says it's a bad idea. My dog is now 4. She's never locked in her crate anymore, but she chooses to sleep there every night, and when we travel it's a huge comfort to her. It's not being cruel, it's giving your dog a safe place that's their own.

N is for Nanny said...

I would suggest that MB and DB make other arrangements for the puppy, until it is better trained. While a raise seems appropriate as you are (temporarily) doing more work, more money would not leave you less fried and I can't think of any way attend to your charges, while giving the puppy the attention it needs. If the puppy isn't crate trained and can't be left unattended for more than a couple of minutes (which sounds like the case) how are you supposed to deal with kid potty issues or take them to the park/museum/playdates?

I would tell MB/DB that the dog's needs are detracting from your focus on their children and that until the dog is better trained, like Old Dog was when you started, they need to explore options for the dog that can focus on him and his training - doggy daycare would be ideal, but even a good dog walker would be helpful. (I'd further suggest that they use a doggy daycare that provides transport for the animals.)

Alex said...

What about asking about sending it away to camp? We always rescue dogs and the last one was an absolute terror (she is great now!) and so she went to doggy camp for 3 weeks where they trained her. It worked wonders, we could go visit her and it did a lot for our sanity. Could you suggest that?

hmmm said...

wow. been there. it is awful. the kids i looked after were terrified of the full size dog their mom got and left with us. i almost had a nervous breakdown. it was gone withing 36 hours.

and i LOVE dogs. but training a dog with no support or strategy is not a fair requirement, and honestly will not be successful.

my friend had the same situation and cried in front of her boss the first week.

tell them they HAVE to meet with a trainer with all three of you there for the session. and that you will NOT stay at the job unless the dog is crate trained. that is the only way i have seen dogs successfully trained with kids around.

honestly, you are in for a hellish year. dog parenting is like kid parenting, everyone has their own ideas about it and a lot of people are totally nuts and impractical.

OhhPlease said...

People do not seem how much work a puppy is. People just think "ohhhh cute! A cuddly puppy is going to be so much fun and soooo easy!" Wrong! Training a puppy takes a huge amount of attention, responsibility, and patience. And without a crate to help train it can make things even more complicated and stressful. And adding a kitten and kids to the mix sounds like pure hell. I cannot believe DB reaction and comments to you. He sounds like an inconsiderate jerk. And by his reaction alone and him belittling your concerns I doubt he will be on board for a raise. The PP suggestion of doggy camp sounds great. But once again I am not sure DB would be interested in that since he thinks training a new puppy is so easy! I would say to them that they need to let you crate even for some relief. A puppy crying in the crate will subside. And crate will help with training and make things more tolerable. They should concider getting a dog walker/trainer to come muliple times a day to walk the pup since they do not have a yard. BTW what breed of dog did they get?

Rhiannon said...

Wow! I've had the diarrhea incident happen to me before when I was pregnant and having "morning"sickness all day! I couldn't deal with it. I couldn't even look at it and when the mom got home, she let me know that it was very disgusting for her to have to come home to that at the end of her work day.

As for the raise, I don't think you should ask for a raise as much as you should let them know that the puppy (and kitten) do not fall under you responsibilities. When you were hired, it was your job to help care for a trained, adult dog. Not to train a puppy. You are not a qualified trainer and that is what a puppy needs. Otherwise they are headed for one of two things; a lifetime with a dog who is unruly and disobedient, or realizing that they can't handle an adult dog who ruins all their stuff and getting rid of the dog.

They are also jeopardizing their relationship with, what sounds like, an exceptional nanny.

Good luck!

Beezus said...

I came back to my family after Christmas only to find an 8 week old Mastiff puppy. That brought the count up to 3 year old triplets, a 7 year old, 2 dogs, a ton of fish and a parrot. Not fun. It was also winter and snow is a pain in the ass to potty train a puppy in. The 7 old was eager to help me,and the back yard was fenced, so we would take the puppy out in shifts. She also loved to be in charge of feeding and we would rotate. A word of advice with the crate, if the puppy has been walked,fed and watered,and you know he doesn't need anything,put him in his crate and put a dark blanket over it.My family has bred dogs for years and it's a little trick to help the pups settle down and eventually quit the barking.

Village said...

Holy crap on a cracker. The puppy needs to be crate trained. The puppy won't poop where he sleeps. This is not negotiable. That is how you train a puppy, with a crate.

I'd be job hunting yesterday. It's a shame, but if you can't crate train the puppy, and there's no backyard, what choice do you have? The parents are being unreasonable. Do you really think they would put up with this if they were home all day? And what the hell do they do at night? I'm guessing they crate the dog.

PS If you HAVE to stay, then just put the puppy in a enclosed shower. At the end of the day, wash him and all his poop down the drain. You aren't being given the tools to train him, and it sounds like the parents can't be trained either. I'd be putting paper towels over all his messes, and leaving it for the parents. Like I said, best to get job hunting.

Lyn said...

This is why I am a cat person. So sorry OP, that sounds hellish! One of my past families rescued a mastiff puppy when I worked for them but thank goodness had a back yard and a crate. So thankfully the dog was outside most of the time I was there. I only had to clean up a potty accident once. And then it was only because it bothered me to have to see/smell it for the rest of the day.
If I were you I would suggest hiring a dog walker/trainer to come by a few times a week. I wouldn't ask for a raise even though you deserve one because this is a temporary situation. Give them a list of options for how the dog situation is to be handled when you are on the clock and then stick by them. If they don't agree to crating the puppy for at least part of the time you are there then I would leave. Good luck op!

Nan said...

I think you need to tell them to hire a doggy trainer or talk to them about how hard Iit is for you and see if they have a new plan. Or quit ? good luck! SIDENOTE. How do I post a story ? I need advice about a job that I'm still upset about and need opinions.

Phoenix said...

aw I love kittens. They are so cute and so fun and they are not as tough as puppies. I don't like dogs or training them. I would have asked for a raise or i would have told them to hire someone for the dog or take the dog to a doggie daycare. It is not fair to you and it is rather rude of them to assume you would just take care of a puppy.

bostonnanny said...

I 100% agree that you must crate this dog. Set up a routine where you let the dog go pe, feed, walk and play with the dog for a bit then crate it for 2 hours then do the routine again. Place the crate in a closed room and stick a toy in it. The dog will get used to the routine and have far less accidents. I would also tell the family that if they don't want to pay for doggy daycare this is the only way you will be caring for it but the dog also needs to be professionally trained. You are not a dog trainer nor have the skills/education to properly train the dog. I don't think a raise would be worth it. If they can't potty train the dog properly now they won't be able to leash train, teach commands and that will just lead to more issues long term. By the way when u leash train get a choke collar it works wonders.
My dog was crate trained and is now being leashed trained years later because I was a first time dog owner with little knowledge, thankfully I've corrected all the bad habits and my dog is great

MissMannah said...

I agree with the PPs who said he needs to go to puppy school. Send him away for a couple of weeks so he can get properly trained. Potty training a puppy is NOT your job!

Dr. Juris said...

It's nearly impossible to potty train an 8 week old puppy, and even when you do, you have to CONSTANTLY take it out to make sure it doesn't relapse. Argh. That's bullshit, and I'd be looking for another job. (Especially given the DB's reaction--what a DOUCHE!)

Phoenix said...

honestly though it does depend on the dog. I've had two puppies that NEVER had accidents in the house. but both of those puppies had been born and raised outside. They thought that dirt was the only place they were supposed to go potty since that is what they did from birth. That was nice.

but since you don't have that. There are puppy pee pads you can get. They are square and they have a plastic backing. You can train the dog to go on those if he is in the house. That is better than nothing. Everytime he pees somewhere tell him no then place him on the pad. That is the best you can do for right now,

dogs are awful to train. I hate it. I've always had a dog and they suck. At least the kitten is fun. Even when they are being bad they are cute. Like when they climb up the curtains all the way to the top and hang there and scream for help. They are cute.

Dr. Juris said...

Lol, I'm a dog person myself, Phoenix, so I don't find cats cute, but I agree that training a dog is a pain in the ass. I personally refuse to get a dog younger than 6 months old EVER, because the time spent training them is awful. (And you can't blame them--they're babies and have tiny bladders that they haven't figured out how to work yet.)

nannytothree said...

I've been in the same position. Family brought home a new puppy, didn't think to tell me until I arrived Monday morning, then got mad when I didn't want to take care of it. I am a dog person, and have never had any trouble training dogs, but it's a lot of work, and not something you just spring on your nanny. I kept a dog log (yes just like a nanny log) with everything I had to do with the dog throughout the day. It only took 3 days to convince them to send him to doggie daycare, and then they ended up giving him away anyway.

christine said...

All of the advice for the OP on how to approach the bosses and recommendations on how to crate train, hire help, etc. is good. Except, this is not her dog and it is not her problem.

This is how I would approach the bosses... let them know that taking care of the puppy is a full time job- one she did not sign up for. Then, ask them to send it to puppy camp or whatever place would train it to not have accidents in the house. Mention that the time spent on the dog is time spent NOT with their children and they are your first priority. Lastly, wait and see if they do anything. And, if they do not (which I suspect they will not), begin to leave the piss and shit where the puppy leaves it, even if that means you have to leave the house because it's disgusting.

I predict two outcomes- they fire the OP or they get rid of the puppy. And, if OP gets fired, it probably would be a good thing, as these people seem like real idiots.

To Love, To Rescue said...

I don't know if you should ask for a raise because it is a temporary burden. This puppy would make your life hell for awhile and then will turn into a dog (if they have it trained) that won't be a big deal at all. I see where you're coming from in that you feel you deserve a raise because I know how much work a puppy is, and I think you deserve a raise too at the moment. But I think the parents will immediately think it's ridiculous because it's not going to be a puppy forever and then when it's an older dog you're getting paid extra and no longer doing the work. Then they're immediately on the defense and this conversation goes down the drain pretty quickly from there.

I like the other suggestions about puppy training camp. I also really liked what nannytothree did - keeping a log to show them how much work it is. If these people got an eight week old puppy (the youngest dog you should be able to get from a breeder) without talking to you when you are the one in the house all day to take care of it, they obviously don't know what the hell they're doing. Show them.

I rescue dogs. I've raised and trained puppies as well as adult dogs with behavior issues. It sounds to me like your bosses are the kind of people who will drop this dog off at a shelter in the next few weeks because having a puppy seems like fun but they don't want to put in the work. It sucks that you have to deal with their irresponsibility!

Bethany said...

Man! I feel for you, OP! I have nothing else to add, you've been given great advice.
How selfish of them! I am constantly amazed at how thoughtless people can be.

RBTC said...

i resued and fostered an awesome cat named Molly for 3 months who i loved though i could not keep her permanently.

awesome ending - molly was adopted by an awesome family whose last cat died at 20 years old

more awesome- they accepted my offer to babysit molly if they went out of town

can it get more awesome?- they are now on a month long trip to europe and insisted on paying me $20 per day even though i would do it for free - they say that's what they paid their last catsitter who just came and fed the cat once per day - $20 per day

and my understanding is - here in houston, it costs $15-25 PER VISIT to walk a dog ie about $50 per day to walk a dog more than once

something has got to change in your situation

ultimately it's not fair to your charges - and that is your ace in the hole.

some advice - when speaking with the parents - make copious use of their child's names - ie " My main concern is for janie and harry because i love janie and harry son and janie and harry....."

it's not easy for parents to argue with their children's names

let us know what happens

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

How rude of them to get a new puppy and kitty, then just assume you would care for them since you cared for the last one! Very inconsiderate if you ask me.

Anyway, what is done is done so now what to do? I would ask your bosses for a small raise since you now have extra responsibilities in addition to childcare. Your bosses may say that you worked for your current rate when they had their last dog. Tell them that this dog is a lot more work since it has to be house-trained. If they do not understand, then it is entirely up to you if you have the patience and energy to house train this puppy along w/the awesome responsibility of caring for a child.

Good luck OP. This sure stinks. (No pun intended.)

Village said...

I hope the OP lets us know how this is resolved. I'm not only curious, I'd like to learn something from how she handles this.

OP here! said...

Hi all- thank you so much for such wonderful advice!!!!

I did get the "pee pads", and they made a huge difference for puppy!!!! He mostly pees on the mats, but still poos wherever he feels like it!!
As for the potty messes everywhere, I stopped cleaning them, UNLESS the messes were in my charges rooms/play area, because it's not fair to make them play in, near, or around contamination! The parents got the clue that the dog is not my responsibility. (Slight whining about how leaving the messes ruins their floor, but owell.) It's not my job to train it, clean it's messes, OR change the children's schedule, play times routines, etc to accommodate puppy. The bottom line was the puppy was taking away valuable time and attention from my precious charges!

I suggested they invest in a puppy trainer or a puppy camp. They said they wanted to train him themselves. 2 days after that, they decided to find puppy a better home (which is in process right now), but are keeping kitty! At least she's potty trained! :)

Thanks again!

Phoenix said...

yay! good news. Keeping the kitty is always better anyway. I'm glad your bosses finally came to their senses

Beezus said...

Are they going to throw the cat out when it chokes up it's first hair ball or meow mix colored barf log too?

People are ridiculous.

nynanny said...

Jeez, thanks alot! I just laughed so hard from your comment I choked on my own cereal! lmfao!

Bethany said...

Well, I hope that puppy finds a home with people willing and able to put the time into puppy training.

I'm glad things seem to be working out for you OP.

I'm sorry you are employed by idiots.

Phoenix said...

people don't know how much work puppies are. I hate them. It is a shocker when they find out that they are just as hard as children to train. And if they grow into big dogs that are untrained it is a nightmare. i agree that people like this are awful in the fact that they shouldn't adopt when they don't have the time.

But I highly doubt that this little kitty will be having any furballs soon. i have 6 cats, two are persian and they don't cough up hairballs. None of my cats do. And when a cat throws up its not that big of a deal. So I think this family will be ok with the kitten. The worst things that kittens do it chew on wires. I've had to replace my wires to my TV, phone and computer. When they get older they can do really naught things like go into my cupboards and tear open my bread and eat it when they have food sitting in their bowl.

Village said...

Thanks for letting us know what happened. What a great solution to the problem.

I made the mistake of getting a puppy once, and it was miserable in my apartment. It ate my sofa, and to my amazement, the sofa was insured by the maker, who replaced it. (This was a long time ago.)

I re-homed the dog to a family with three preschool children and a backyard. The puppy was so happy. I visited from time to time, and I was happy too!