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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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Walter, we are without a dog for the 1st time in 31 years of

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Walter, we are without a dog for the 1st time in 31 years of marriage, but are renting a small townhome and are not home for 1/2 the day. We'd love to get some sort of dog that is litter box trainable and easily trainable in general. We've had Boston terriers in the past and love them, but they seem to be 'buriers' of their litter so the litter box training doesn't seem feasible. I'm not a big fan of fru-fru dogs or barkers - any other recommendations?


Dr. Scarlett :

Hi,

Dr. Scarlett :

I think any dog can be litter box trained. Probably easier with a puppy as you will be housebreaking and can stipulate where the dog is to "go" while you are training.

Dr. Scarlett :

I take it you aren't interested in a cat?

Customer:

no, the wife is allergic to most cats, though if you know of ones that are somewhat hypo-allergenic maybe she would consider.

Dr. Scarlett :

There are some supposedly "hypoallergenic" breeds of cats available--might be worth a search for a reputable breeder. Back to the dogs--what makes a dog "fru-fru"?

Customer:

I've heard of miniature pinschers being easy to litter box train - are they easily trainable in general.

Customer:

haha - fru-fru I guess would be real furry and a lot of coat maintenance

Dr. Scarlett :

I like MinPins. I think they are intelligent little dogs and should be trainable. In general I would look for a female dog over a male; small breed male dogs (particularly Shih Tzus) tend to mark their territory and are harder to housebreak. But the females don't seem to have that issue.

Dr. Scarlett :

I like Maltese a lot, but they do require grooming. Yorkies and Poms are good little dogs, too, but again, need grooming.

Dr. Scarlett :

Chihuahuas are pretty smart little dogs.

Customer:

we love boston terriers, but both we've had would dig up the yard 'burying' their waste. That would seem to be a mess waiting to happen in a litter box. Is that a common trait with bostons?

Dr. Scarlett :

I would plan on getting a puppy so you can start the housebreaking to litter immediately. You might also look into the boxes with astro turf instead. The urine flows through into a tray (with an absorbant pad underneath) and the stool stays on top for easy removal.

Customer:

Are the Maltese or chihuahuas more barky than other little dogs?

Dr. Scarlett :

Good question. I'm not really sure, to tell you the truth. Terriers are bred to go after small prey, which generally burrow under ground. So they will like to dig. Maybe find a Boston mixed with something else that isn't a terrier?

Dr. Scarlett :

Chihuahuas can be rather yippy (as well as nippy at the vets! They are one-family kind of dogs).

Customer:

thats a good idea. the bostons were pretty headstrong too - but that was kind of a good trait. What about shitzus or shitzu mixes? I've seen people keep them shaved down almost smooth which would be OK - make them less fru-fru

Dr. Scarlett :

A "Teddy Bear" (which is a mix of Shih Tzu and something else, but sold as a real breed) is a nice dog. Grooming again.

Customer:

the dogs would spend a lot of time alone most weekdays - any better than others at handling that?

Dr. Scarlett :

Keeping the dog in a "puppy cut" would definitely eliminate fru-fru and I think it is a great look. Do you like poodles at all? They can be kept short, are very smart dogs, and may be a little less yappy than others.

Dr. Scarlett :

Pugs aren't too barky, but they do make snuffly noises.

Customer:

we had poodles when I was a kid, my wife doesn't seem to like them for some reason.

Dr. Scarlett :

I have a miniature Australian shepherd that was a cute fluff ball (but not fru-fru). Lots of energy, however.

Customer:

so basically, if started early on pretty much any dog could be litter box, or turf box trained?

Dr. Scarlett :

There are a lot of poodle mixes around, too.

Customer:

Pugs seem cool - do they have a lot of health issues? I've seen some pug/boston mixes - wonder if that would be a good combo health and intelligence wise

Dr. Scarlett :

Yes, I think you can litter box or turf box or puppy pad train any dog if you get them young. When you potty train, you take them (ideally on a leash) to one spot and tell them to "go potty" (or whatever). Give them a minute or two to go and if they do, then you reward them with a small little treat and some playtime off leash (or for a longer walk outside). If they don't go, then you put them in their crate for 30-60 min and try again. The key is to only reward them when they go in the right place.

Dr. Scarlett :

Pug mixes are probably healthier. You want one that doesn't have a very squished face and the nostrils should be nice and open. If you anticipate going through a private home, ask if you can meet any of the older pups to get a better idea of temperament. A good breeder should be willing to have a prior customer talk to you about their experience with the dog.

Customer:

thanks Dr., you've been very helpful

Dr. Scarlett :

Good luck! I'm sure you will find the perfect pup!

Customer:

hope so. Thanks

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