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Categories: Puppy Training

Q. My fiance and I just adopted a 3 month old pup. We live in a small condo and he's barking non stop and peeing in the apartment, soiling his crate. Can we leave him outside all day? My fiance wants to return him, what should we do?

I feel terrible even writing this email, but I would like your advice on this. 2 weeks ago my fiance and I purchased a rescued 3 month old GSD mix. We were 3 weeks out from our wedding and about to close on a new fixer upper home w/ only floorboards in place. We thought this would be the ideal situation while puppy training. Well, the close on the house got delayed, so we are now 2 adults, 2 cats and an untrained puppy in my 600 sq/ft carpeted condo.

The puppy naturally is having accidents. He seems to pee inside even after having just gone outside. We take the puppy outside at 5:00am, then we feed him, then we take him outside again around noon, then we take him out at 5:00pm. He plays for 2 hours w/ the neighbor dogs, then dinner and then 2 more trips out before bed around 11. For a while when he peed inside he would go in the litter box (which is inside his XL dog crate) but now, he seems to be eliminating everywhere in the cage when he is locked in there and then laying in it. He's also defecating in there now. Everyday we come home to an hours worth of mess. Now, we are getting letters from the neighbors that he is barking non-stop all day while we are at work. He certainly wakes up every two hours at night crying and barking most nights. (We don't acknowledge him when he cries. Keep the TV and lights on.)

We just closed on the new house yesterday and with all the work we need to do on it, my fiance is upset that I need to be with the dog instead of working with him on our home and we can't bring the puppy over b/c of the mess. Furthermore, we can't move in for a few weeks due to the construction and we don't want to leave him there alone.

My finace thinks its best to take him back to the rescue group. He says we can't take on a puppy with our wedding in a week, needing to fix up our new home and attend to the puppy's needs. It's not possible for us to continue coming home every lunch break either and frankly he is just getting over tired. He thinks it is best to later consider getting an older trained dog after we have settled into the house and the wedding and honeymoon have passed.

I feel irresponsible in hind sight for getting a puppy with all we have going on and frustrated b/c the puppy is just being a puppy, but it is a lot more then we expected. I'm also concerned that this additional stress on our new marriage may be unnecessary.

I'm wondering if there is anything we can do better? If this is typical behavior and how long it will typically last? Is it OK to leave the puppy outside all day, or will he not be housebroken? Lastly, do you think it is better for everyone involved to find a home better suited for this puppy's needs?

Thank you for your input. I truly enjoyed reading your site.


A. I honestly think the puppy would be better in a new home, especially since you and your fiancé are not in full agreement on what to do.

If you had gotten a puppy from me, and told me what was going on, I would insist on taking it back. A puppy’s foundation is so important to his success at being a good family companion and he’s getting a lot of rehearsal in bad habits and behavior and he’s not getting any beneficial training.

Do the puppy a favor and allow the rescue to rehome him with someone who’s in the right place in their life to give him what he needs.

Cindy Rhodes
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