Love Takes Time….

We have a new foster pup staying with us at the moment – a six month old Chihuahua/min pin mix named Jasmine.  She is a joyful soul who loves to play fetch, wrestle with toys and snuggle up when it is time for a nap.  She loves her big foster sister Sadie and likes nothing better than to climb on top of her back to sleep or nestle by her side.  Sadie has accepted Jasmine into the household and I have noticed that there is a ‘pep’ in Sadie’s step as if some of the younger dog’s energy is flowing into her.  My daughter loves Jasmine and already the two enjoy a relationship that is lovely for a parent to see.  Sadie in turn has been enjoying more attention from all of us so that she doesn’t resent the new addition. 

My husband, on the other hand, is having a harder time connecting with Jasmine.   Wherever she lived previously (she was delivered to the local shelter in a box by two men who said they didn’t want her) she was not housetrained, which means she is now on a toileting schedule.  For anyone who has experienced toilet training a puppy, it is a time consuming process, but we have been pretty successful so far.  That is until my husband takes over.  Though he would argue that he's just unluckier than I am, I have a suspicion that he is not quite as diligent with the process as I am.  Regardless of the reason why, there have been more accidents on his watch than on mine.  It is also pretty fair to say that he is not as consistent as I am when it comes to walking the dogs (sorry, honey).  The last walk he took them on was an abject failure, as it was freezing cold and no one wanted to be outside anyway (including the dogs).  Add to this the fact that although he is a very confident, enlightened man with modern sensibilities, he was not particularly overjoyed at having to use a fuscia leash to walk a tiny dog that was wearing a pink striped sweater to keep warm.  Despite all this, where do I find him at the end of the day?  On the sofa with the little dog asleep on his chest and a big brown one at his side, so however much he grizzles about her, I’ve noticed a nice bond developing.

Until yesterday. 

My husband was on dog watch for the day as I was out rescuing a chained pitbull, and he went to take a shower.  He put Jasmine in her crate for safety as he didn’t want her to walk around the house unsupervised.  On coming out of the shower he noticed a rather pungent smell and his worst fears were realized.  Jasmine had pooped in the crate.  Keeping his calm he cleaned the crate up and went to work in his office.  Jasmine snuggled up on the chair next to him and all was quiet.  Then the heaving started.  Jasmine began to make loud retching noises and as my husband desperately looked around for something to catch what he knew was coming out of her mouth, she vomited.  Fortunately he had cupped his hand under her mouth and caught most of it in his palm.  Cursing quietly he looked down at the mess to see what had made her sick.  In the palm of his hand lay a nicely rounded ball of poop, her own poop that she had obviously eaten while she was in the crate waiting for him to return from the shower. 

The best relationships are born out of travesty, enduring hard times together and battling through.  My husband is a very kind man and loves dogs, working tirelessly with me to help dogs around the world, but sometimes, like many people do when raising a pup, he loses it.  He likes Jasmine, but there is still room for growth and it is a lot for him to transfer a little of the profound love he has for our lab Sadie onto a peeing, poop eating, vomiting Chihuahua.

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41 thoughts on “Love Takes Time….

  1. Ashley

    Great post! I've had the odd foster myself that I didn't "click" with right away. Something about our personalities just didn't gel. I loved them all the same, but maybe was a little bit less sad when they went off to their forever homes. But I guess that's part of why we foster - they're not our perfect dogs, but someone elses.

  2. Brenda Mosley

    When I met my hubby Sam in 1996 I was the manager of a animal shelter,,he knew what he was getting into before we got married and my love of animals.He would help me clean cat cages with tissues stuffed up his nose because he is allergic to cats bit not all cats.He also help me pick maggots from a dog who had been left to die paralyzed in his back end.I knew that if he could do that he could handle anything.We have been married 14 yrs and have 8 rescued,stray or adopted animals.I take care of them 100% of the time because his job keeps him on the road...when he is home tho he keeps after the two Min Pin pups to go potty and yes he has caught puke in his hand before too..patience is a virtue and sounds like your hubby and mine have that,,luv ya girl ,,keep doing what you do...Hugs,,Brenda and her Fur Babies,,

  3. Paula Nowak

    Great story! Our sweeties sure put up with a lot sometimes. Jasmine is just adorable, not sure how he can resist.!

  4. vivian snodgrass

    Victoria, Thank you for sharing your personal story. Last year, my girlfriend and I got a little tiny baby Yorkie. He has been a real terrierizor. I am so glad those baby days are about over. He really was a handful. I took a lot of pics though, because I had read that Yorkies don't look the same as when they are puppies. So true.

  5. Lisa Fekete

    It is a ifficult time to potty train a new pup. I am glad the poor little foster dog has such a great family to live with as she waits for her forever home! I hope she will find a family to love her and care for her properly.

  6. Hope Garlick

    That was truly an inspiring post. As I have witnessed neighbors and friends who fear, or just don't like dogs bond with them after my persistent education and exposure to my 5 dogs.


  7. Dominika

    Toiletting and love, tell me something!
    Me and my boyfriend have had a rescue for about 9 months now and he loves him dearly. Our housemate's rescue jack russel is the difficult one! My boyfriend can't seem to develop a good relationship with her and walks and tolietting is always a trouble.....fear/excitement peeing and not wanting to get leashed by him. Unfortunately housemate only blames it on my boyfriend not loving her enough. What she doesn't realize is that it is difficult for both the dog and people other than her to have an easy relationship with the little one. We just don't spend as much time with the dog as she does!

  8. mechi sobbrero

    OMG they are so cute!!! I reminds me my 2 dogs, I have an old mix 20kgs queen and a 2 years old jack russell terrier demon. have the same pictures than you but in my own house! It has been such a challenge to teach good maners to this "creature"I

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  10. Saira

    Great post. It's very true of fostering too, sometimes the bond takes longer to form but it always does! I foster for a rescue, this post definitely rings true. Especially with the spouse being a little more lax with the rules. 😉

  11. Catahoulagal

    Gotta love potty training. Be careful with those chi/minpins, they steal your hearts. I fostered one found on the streets with demodex mange and only 9 weeks old. Needless to say after 4 weeks, we decided she had a place here with our three dogs already here. Pitiful Pearle (she was really ugly) is now two years old, beautiful, has a title in weight pull, working on Rally Obedience and goes to work with me training dogs and teaching our community about proper dog care. She is pure joy and I'm a foster failure. I did foster and lovely GSD mix who went to a wounded warrior as a PTSD support dog. That one was a success.

    Thank you Victoria for bringing positive dog training in the homes of so many.

  12. Dee

    Great post. I can relate.
    My hubby loves our two dogs now (one from a shelter, one from from a friend of a friend), but was reluctant to let me have them. The older one won him over in no time flat.
    The younger one is still not completely there. She came to us at a year old with toileting issues +. Hubby still has moments when he comments, "She's not MY dog." After a year of a lot of work, she still poops in the house when I'm not around.
    I take on 95% of the doggy responsibilities around here. Quite happily. Until...

    I broke my leg about a month ago while walking my dogs. So hubby has taken on more doggy-care, including getting up with them in the morning. The older one was vomiting in the middle of the night. He was the one to get up with her and clean it up. He started to get frustrated with the younger one, until I pointed out that she was sleeping in (I had spent months training her to let me sleep until 6:30). It was his favorite pooch that was interrupting his sleep. His attitude shifted toward the younger one after that. It was like his mind was stuck on "if there is a dog to blame in this house, it is the little one."

    I started pointing out how much the younger one has progressed. Hubby has noticed and started to appreciate her more. She is a little clown and very affectionate. He spends less time resenting and blaming her and more time being amused and loved by her now. And since enough time has passed that we have a routine with my broken leg limitations, the dog has calmed down. That helps a lot. She pooped in the house when I was in the hospital and once when I first came home, but hasn't since.

    I am pretty mobile in the house during the day, so I can do most of the doggy care during waking hours. That helps take the pressure off of him.

  13. Linda Michaels, MA Psych

    Hi Victoria,

    I so love the title of your article. Plus, you are hilarious. I laughed out loud at the "fucsia lead" and other accoutrements section.

    As a writer and VS trainer, I also appreciated the approach you took in your counter-surfing article in your Bark Magazine column. First dispelling some obvious "quick fix" solutions that seem to make sense but immediately illustrating the fall-out that easily comes with using such methods. Love it. I'm adding your counter-surfing article to my hand-outs!

    Linda Michaels, MA Psychology, CPDT
    Victoria Stilwell Licensed Trainer
    Coastal La Jolla to Carlsbad, CA

  14. Cara Swann

    I have a min-pin I rescued from the local animal shelter, Rambo. That is the name the shelter folks gave him, and I soon understood why: He has to be alpha-dog. I also inherited a daschund about a month after Rambo, when my step-dad died; he'd asked me to take Oscar.

    Fortunately, the two are best buds, but Rambo is still the boss. Rambo ate poo when I first got him, but happy to say, I stopped that by training. I think min-pins seriously want to rule the roost, just a bit of their nature.

    I would LOVE to foster dogs from the local animal shelter, have the space/time/good location...but the ones I've tried, Rambo just will NOT allow to live here. I have tried all kinds of techniques, but he is totally nuts when I bring another dog here. Even when we go on our walks, he's at first friendly with other dogs but if one follows us, he turns on it and, not joking, will go for their throat, no matter how large. Rambo also does not like men (I'm a widow, live alone), but seems to be okay with women. Perhaps traumatized by a male in his past?

    I wish you could give me some advice about this, but I know you are a busy lady. I LOVE your show, by the way!

  15. missbliss

    HI Victoria,

    My dogs are chihuahua rescues from APR too, just like Jasmine. Unfortuantely, one of them passed away recently. Before his death, he was having some serious stomach problems. He would have accidents, and in an effort to hide them from mom, he would unfortunately eat them. So I know firsthand what it's like when a dog throws up that particular kind of mess. I'm a patient person and have learned to tolerate many gross things in the name of loving dogs, but that was probably the absolute worst mess I've ever had to clean up. So I feel for your husband.

  16. Katina Z. Jones

    You can see that this sweet little girl has found a good friend in Sadie, but is it possible that perhaps her reactions with your husband are a result of abuse by the men who brought her to the shelter? I've read that dogs will eat their own poop when afraid that they will be punished...and if she HAD been brutally punished for relieving herself in the house, it would be easy to see why she would be so fearful of your husband's reaction in light of how men had treated her before. Maybe she just needs a whole lot more positive experiences with your husband to counteract the damage that may have been done to her before by men who should never have gotten her if they hadn't planned on training her properly. Poor thing...but lucky girl that she found her way to you!

    Katina in Atlanta

  17. Lynn

    Your Jasmine is too precious.... all will well eventually! You are a miracle worker when it comes to dogs!!!

  18. Elaine McNeely

    I'm so glad that I live on my own because it's such a rare man who would put up with the accidents my rescue Hector has. He lived 5 years in a bad place with his sister (who did not survive) and the result of his abuse is a fear of everything. He won't go out if it is windy or if the neighbors are out even when my other 2 dogs go out. He hides under the bed so I can't take him out with the leash unless he knows we are going for a walk. Any loud noise causes him to run and hide. He has ruined my carpet in my bedroom from going potty on it, but I just keep putting the potty pads down hoping he doesn't miss. Eventually I want to get hardwood floors. However, he is the most cuddly dog I have and I wouldn't trade him for the world so he has a good home for the rest of his life - even if it means I live alone for the rest of mine (well except for my daughter and her boyfriend who I wish would move out 🙂

  19. Felicity

    We rescued a chiahauhua mix and he eats his poop sometimes also. In fact, he eats almost anything. That is one of the ways, sadly, he was able to survive the first nine months or so of his life. When he was picked up, he was skin and bones and scabs due to demodectic mange.

    Now he is a happy, furry, well nourished little brat, but he sometimes still eats his poop. Some habits die hard, but he has survived, and that is the miracle.

  20. Jennifer

    Victoria , My chihuhua looks exactly the same as the one you are fostering in color . She needs to be trained though , heard the clicker don't work , but want her to start with some simple commands. Then want to get her up to obeying me . Any ideas, because as of right now she ignores me when i call her sometimes .

  21. Tracie

    I loved reading this story. I love reading about other chihuahuas. We adopted ours from a shelter. She was on death row. Anyway, It's nice to know that my dog isn't the only one who eats poop. GROSS

  22. Nancyfourdogs

    We have a rescue 2 year old border collie type living with us for about two months. She is bright as a star . . . but the poop eating is tough! My strategy is to go out in the icy, deep crusted snow and have doo diligence in collecting and disposing of the poo. I'm waiting to fall in love with her--it will be easier when this deep snow cover is gone. I have to remind myself to take stock of all that she has learned in her short time with us and continue to appreciate the fun she has with the old collie! Thanks for everything.

  23. andyspal

    Now that's the reality of a new dog! So great of you to share this with us. It can be a struggle, and I can understand the frustration. Kudos to your husband for perservering nonetheless. He sounds like a terrific guy!

  24. Connie

    Uh oh! 😀 My sympathies to your husband - I know how he feels. We have a poop eater as well. Actually, now we have two, as the first one taught the second one in fairly short order.

    I'll never forget one night when Angus (a Lab, our first) was about six months old. My husband's mother telephoned to talk with both of us, and my husband insisted that we put Angus outside so he wouldn't disturb our conversation. Angus needed both eyes on him at all times, so I put him on our back porch and stood at the door watching to make sure he didn't get into any trouble.

    At one point he left the porch briefly and disappeared into the darkness, but he came right back - chomping in an exaggerated fashion. Concerned that he was eating something inappropriate, I stepped outside to extract it from his mouth. Balancing the phone on my shoulder with my mother-in-law still on the other end, I opened his mouth and pulled something round and hard from his throat. I looked down expecting to see a rock, and instead I found myself holding a perfectly round, frozen ball of poo.

    I said a few words that were not at all appropriate for my mother in law before I regained the presence of mind to hang up my end of the phone. 🙂 Tell your husband that it is still possible to love a dog who does this to you! Maybe not for the first few minutes afterwards, but eventually. LOL

  25. Pam Entwistle

    Boy, can I relate. We adopted a Lab/SharPei mix in November and she was sucha a terror at first!
    She tore a picture frame to piece, chewed a hole in a wall, de-carpeted a stair and chewed a hole in the
    hallway carpeting. We told her she is lucky she is so darn cute!
    At first my husband wasn't too sure about her but now she has settled in nicely, goes in her crate with
    no problems, and chews on HER toys.
    You are so right in saying Love takes Time.
    I am happy to say Abbey is in her forever home now.

  26. Shauna (Fido & Wino)

    At first my husband thought our second dog, Kayloo, was "okay" but "kind of ugly."

    Now he goes on and on about how beautiful she is and baby talks to her constantly. Sometimes bonds take time 🙂

  27. Matthew Groff

    Hello Victoria,

    I just had to laugh at your description of your husband taking the little dog for a walk: "he was not particularly overjoyed at having to use a fuscia leash to walk a tiny dog that was wearing a pink striped sweater to keep warm. Despite all this, where do I find him at the end of the day? On the sofa with the little dog asleep on his chest and a big brown one at his side." I can just see that now. A man laying on a sofa, with a little dog sound a sleep on his chest and a big brown lab, laying right next to him, either on the floor or on the sofa along side his legs.

    When my dog was alive, a Black Lab/Doberman mix rescue we got from the local SPCA, he would do the same thing. One time he would literally try to lay on top of me while laying on the sofa, and the next time he would lay next to me almost across my legs on the sofa. He would even try and sit on my mom's lap when we would sit on the sofa! He thought he was a Lap Dog!

    What I miss the most is waking up in the morning and seeing his face next to mine. He would climb up onto my bed and lay his head onto my pillow and sleep next to me. Sometimes I would wake up through the night and I would be unable to move my legs, because he was laying across my legs or was laying right next to them and had the covers pulled tight next to my legs so I could not move.

    My dog had lived to be 18 1/2 years old. He also liked to eat poop every once in a while. For some reason he would mainly do it only in the winter. The joke we would say was "he likes poopsicles instead of Popsicles!" Then he got arthritis real bad in his hips and knees and could barely walk, and was hardly eating. That is when we knew it was time. I still miss him, and it has been over 10 years, closer to 15 years.

    We would love to have another pet, but my dad has trouble walking and now I have trouble walking due to back problems, so we are unable to care for any animals. Hopefully someday I will have another pet!

  28. Tory

    Oh my goodness, this couldn't have come at a better time. I am currently fostering a mom, her pup got adopted already, and housebreaking has been so difficult. It *seems* as though the previous owners just left her outside because a) She hates going outside unless I am with her, b) She won't go to potty unless I am outside with her, and c) She has no obedience training whatsoever. BUT, the face that she can love me so much despite obviously never been adequately taken care of endears her to me so much. I am now just giving her constant supervision and if I am working in the house, she is in the same room as me.

    At least until my mother, who has Alzheimer's, forgets and lets her out, lol.

  29. Jeri Scott

    In July we took in a rescue Chihuahua whom we named Rosy. Rosy was left in a triailer in 100+ degrees for a week and a half, no food, no water. When she was found she was 3 lbs and the resuce folks did not expect her to recover. She did and we adopted her. She is between 2 and 5. We had to train her from scratch but she is the most loveable dog we have ever had but we have a hugh problem. She is beyond terrified of a leash. We have even hired a dog trainer who came twice and it did not work out. As we are retired we travel and she goes with us. We really need her on a leash at the rest stops and anywhere else. She does not run from us so this is not a problem but it is the law. We need help. We have tried all kinds of things but she is so terrified we have given up and carry her where ever we go. We welcome any suggestions.

  30. Darla Temple

    I love your story. I too have a rescue pup. Junebug is a 2.12 pound toy fox terrier. She is between 10 months and two years old. She was in a cage for her entire life. She has not been socialized to people or pets. Junebug is afraid of everything, me, my husband, the door, footsteps, the wind even her food bowl. Do you have any tips for training a teeny tiny rescue pup who is literally scared to death?

  31. Buffi

    I loved reading all the stories and commiserate with the puppy parents of poo eaters.
    We have a 2 yr old yorkie-poodle mix that's the definition of trouble. When my 13yr old cocker spaniel had to be put down I bought a young poodle to keep the yorkie company. I later learned that the poodle had some real social issues. My only guess is that the people 'who couldn't handle a puppy' kept him locked in a cage for long periods. He didn't really even know how to play and wasn't properly housetrained at the 18months old we got him at. It took 6 months of love and attention for him to get the basics of 'chase the ball' and still doesn't understand that he needs to bring it back. He just likes to run after it, lol. As for the housetraining, the poodle still relies on the yorkie's potty schedule and won't tell us on his own when it's time to go out. As for commands, we mainly rely on 'sit', 'stay', 'stop that!' and the occasional 'what do you think you're doing?' lol! For some reason, they think 'come here' is optional.
    The poodle is also a poo-eater. ICK! He loves cat and horse poo the best. Double ICK! Anyway, we've never been able to break him of it and the vet said that there's no real way to break them except to give the other animal medicine that makes thier poo taste bad. Our answer is to keep the boys on a leash at all times outside and we take a flashlight in the evening to keep an eye out and deter any 'snacking'. We also keep the one inside cat's litter up out of dog reach.
    I'm pretty darn blessed that my boyfriend bonded quick to both the dogs (especially the poodle- that was supposed to be mine! and the cats (who live outside). I swear he's the Pied Piper of pets.
    Our main accident problem is when the kids miss thier turn to take them out or we sleep in too late.

  32. Cheryl

    We are currently undergoing potty training with our Pom-Chi Sammy. Some days he gets it better than others. I just wonder if small dogs have a harder time holding it??? Anyway, we have found Nature's MIracle to be a lifesaver for cleaning up whatever your pup spews. 🙂

  33. Moogie

    Note to Victoria's poor hubby: You have GOT to keep the poop cleaned up!!! Yeah, I know it was a just a lapse while you were showering, so you get a pass THIS time..giggle.. But w/ puppies, be diligent and CONSISTENT!!..With EVERYTHING!..It really pays off w/the adult dog you end up with...

    But I KNOW you've heard THIS before, hasn't he Victoria????

    Luv y'all!

    " The Moogie"

  34. Judy

    This is to all who are having trouble potty training their dogs. We adopted our Lab/Chow mix Kenzie from PawsAtlanta in Decatur,GA a month ago. A neighbor suggested a bell on the door for her to let us know when she had to go out. Since she was only 10 weeks old, and a little bit of a thing when we got her, reaching the bell was out of her reach. We did, however, pick her up and touch her nose to it each time we took her out. One month later, she has more than doubled her weight and has gotten quite tall. She hits the bell on her own now each time she has to go out. This has made her training so much easier. I can confidently say she is 100% house trained now.

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  36. Donna

    🙂 I love reading your posts.....I just wanted to say that my husband and I are working very hard to house train our puppy.... We have been at it now for three months or so and she is starting to get the hang out of it....It is the strangest thing though, she hardly ever has any accidents with me (I stay at home with her all day) but with my husband it is a completely different story. I used to get so frustrated with my hubby for not keeping a closer eye on her...but I am starting to see that it really isn't his fault as much as it is just how she is with him. Maybe she tries harder to communicate with me or I read her better because we have bonded more from spending so much time together? I don't know....but try as he might it still is a struggle for my hubby. I just thought I would let your husband know that he is not alone! 🙂

  37. celena

    that was cutttttttttte puppy. hay my dog is a jack russell his name is buster and he barks at other dogs how can I fix it email me so i can see what you think i should do so email me

    From ,
    PS ; I am 12

  38. celena

    I'm geting another jack russell in the summer with my brithday money so how sould i tran it is going to be a puppy PLEASE EMAIL ME

  39. Chiffon Law

    Why did Jasmine poop in her crate and eat it? Was it her way of saying I don't want to be in the crate? Just curious why it may have happened.

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