What is the ratio of problem dogs you have had?

asked 2016-04-07 19:39:10 -0500

I've had about 10 owners book with me, with some repeat bookings. 90% of the time if the client does a meet & greet they book with me.

8/10 dogs have severe problems. I don't feel the owners are being as honest as they should be about these issues. I always ask at the meet & greet before booking-house training, aggression, crate training, and my favorite special quirks. Every dog seems to have an object they love, hate, or fear. It's so cute, I've heard all kinds of things exercise balls, rubber bands, empty boxes, water bottles, paper etc..

I know dogs are going to be more nervous & need more potty breaks in a new environment. So if an owner says their dog gets 2 walks a day I figure one walk when they first get there then 3 more for a total of 4 the first day & 3 every day after. If they say they're crate trained I still prepare to do some gentle encouragement like leaving treats in the crate during the day to get them comfortable.

Some examples I was told a puppy was pad trained as long as first thing in the morning I took her out of her crate & carried her to her pee pad. She started dripping immediately when I picked her up, so I'd have a pad right outside her crate. Other than first thing in the morning she went everywhere but the pad. On the balcony, on the couch, in the kitchen, in the hall, in the bathroom. She didn't understand when I said "Stop!" when she started peeing on the floor. She'd continue to pee as I carried her to her pad, then be annoyed I was keeping her on her pad. To me this means a dog is not pad trained at all.

I was told a dog was house trained. Despite numerous walks he peed on the couch. I wash everything with enzymatic cleaner, including the sofa covers.

I was told a dog was house trained & crate trained. Despite numerous walks, every hour during the day, he peed everywhere in the house. When I told him "Stop!" during the act he was completely bewildered like he didn't know what he was doing was wrong. He'd go in his crate without much encouragement but start whining in the night. A young puppy I could understand this behavior, but not an adult dog.

It's not like the owners are telling me there's a small problem; they're telling me "Oh no, he's 100% house trained!" An accident here or there from any dog I can understand. When it's most of my clients most of the time I just wonder if everyone else is having the same experience?

Any chance it's the area I'm in, Los Angeles?

I'd really like to hear the details other sitters are having with dogs ... (more)

edit edit tags flag offensive close merge delete


YES, owners are not always honest is there descriptions of their dogs. I have had a few with problems. One had horrible anxiety and was all over the place when no one else was in the room. The owner was retired and spent their entire lives with the dog. I try to be really careful about retirees.

Marti C.'s profile image Marti C.  ( 2016-06-28 20:03:40 -0500 ) edit

One of my first dogs through rover was ok in the meet and greet, but aggressive and bit my dog during the stay, so I kept it outside on a lead after that. This dog did not have many teeth, that was the red flag that he bites a lot...and doesn't let go! I found out this dog stayed in a crate a lot!

Marti C.'s profile image Marti C.  ( 2016-06-28 20:07:06 -0500 ) edit

Absolutely. I'm learning to read between the lines during meet & greets. Thanks for the tips on retirees, I haven't had any yet so it's good to know to look out for that.

Christiana G.'s profile image Christiana G.  ( 2016-07-06 18:08:03 -0500 ) edit

I've watched over 20 different dogs and thankfully have only had issues with 3 or 4 dogs I've watched. The current dog I am watching is one of those "issues"/problem dogs. The dog pooped in my house within 10 mins of arriving, & owner did not inform me ahead of time that dog has open wounds on leg

Shannon T.'s profile image Shannon T.  ( 2019-07-20 15:55:56 -0500 ) edit

Hold on now on retirees...I'm retired and have 3 dogs. None of them are a problem. I disagree that retirees pose an issue because they spend a lot of time with their pets...I see how it "could" be an issue but it could be an issue with any age group really. Give us chance...I'm also a sitter

Stan G.'s profile image Stan G.  ( 2019-09-15 17:29:22 -0500 ) edit

I have a dog with terrible anxiety - continually humped me for 3 hours (and his nails have not been cut), peed on the carpet in my building as he was going for his walk (I followed the owner's walk/pee schedule), constantly barks all day to the annoyance of neighbours. They never bathed him either!

Patricia B.'s profile image Patricia B.  ( 2020-01-10 23:55:55 -0500 ) edit

Yes,100% of dogs have issues.Dog behavior begins/ends w/owners who NEED to commit to WHY an issue exists & HOW to control it. DAILY training/positive reinforcement is only way to improve dog behavior. Age/diet/breed/environment play a role as well! Owners can really screw a dog up. Stay calm. Woof.

Daniela S.'s profile image Daniela S.  ( 2020-09-14 12:43:00 -0500 ) edit

Agree! OWNER profiles need much improvement.

Daniela S.'s profile image Daniela S.  ( 2020-09-14 12:45:49 -0500 ) edit

I’ve been on Rover almost 2 years and really fed up with owners’ dishonesty. I have many wonderful experiences, but too many awful ones. People lie, and Rover does NOTHING to encourage owners to be as awesome as we have to be! Nothing! Business model seriously flawed!...

Dominique & Michael Q.'s profile image Dominique & Michael Q.  ( 2020-11-25 10:32:45 -0500 ) edit

...(continued)... I am doing mandatory daycare ‘test’ day or night from now on to prevent any more catastrophes. What we’re experiencing is the consequences of the decline in human character. That’s why people lie and don’t care what their dogs do to us!

Dominique & Michael Q.'s profile image Dominique & Michael Q.  ( 2020-11-25 10:34:13 -0500 ) edit

17 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted
1 2 next »
answered 2016-06-28 13:20:15 -0500

I think like children, some parents oversell their pets. I've had a couple of "housetrained" dogs have some accidents. In one case, I had a dog that always managed to pee on itself even using a pee pad or outdoors. We've had a biting incident, too, and then was accused for having an unsocialized dog,. Many owners also don't seem to know how bad their dog's separation anxiety is, even if they've left them at boarding or a sitter before. The biggest problem in NYC is having clients who have dogs that well, don't really belong in the city - either they need way more exercise and space, or they don't do well with people. Wish some people knew their dogs more, and put in the time to describe and fill out the profile.

edit flag offensive delete link more


So true. I work really hard on my profile & wish the owners would too.

Christiana G.'s profile image Christiana G.  ( 2016-07-06 18:09:19 -0500 ) edit

Very true about having breeds who don't do well in the city. Most of my problems have come from hunting/working breeds who are kept as house pets with not outlet for all that energy.

Jessica M.'s profile image Jessica M.  ( 2016-07-23 09:35:00 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-05-08 03:25:50 -0500

Potty accidents aren't uncommon, though persisting problems are. I'd say about half of the new dogs I watch (probably more, I don't take many new clients these days) have one or two accidents on their first stay, and rarely on subsequent stays. Usually it's shortly after drop off or on the first night. It's nearly always on the floor, though a couple pups have lifted a leg somewhere, like the corner of the couch or a cabinet (not necessarily marking, but just doing what they were accustomed to doing outside). The most helpful thing I do is take dogs out for a walk within minutes of the owners leaving, before they have a chance to go inside. When they go outside, I give them lots of praise, and for nearly every dog I've watched that's been enough. In the house, the dogs are in a fairly confined area (there are doors/gates to everything off of the living room) and I monitor activity for any suspicious sniffing until I know a new dog's needs and habits. I've only had one pup who had repeated indiscretions throughout his stays with me.

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2016-04-08 12:54:06 -0500

I've done nearly 100 stays and have only had 2 dogs that had significant problems (one bit me, the other bit my dog). However, I think we define "problem dogs" differently. I wouldn't consider a dog that has an accident (especially as a puppy), or whines at night to a problem dog. They're in a very different place, with very different smells, sometimes it just takes awhile for them to get the hang of things.

We also keep a very regular schedule, puppies go out every 2 hours, adult dogs every 4 (except at night of course, when we sleep).

edit flag offensive delete link more


Right. I was just trying to keep the headline short. I guess I should have put What is your ratio of dogs that have displayed behaviors that were outside of the expectations the pet guardian set for you? :)

Christiana G.'s profile image Christiana G.  ( 2016-04-16 16:46:21 -0500 ) edit

Yup, when you board dogs, you are looking to clean a lot of pee! Every dog I've had, except for one, has gone in the house on at least one occasion. I don't even ask if they are housetrained anymore, unless it is a puppy, but only to learn about the potty schedule.

Jessica M.'s profile image Jessica M.  ( 2016-07-23 09:37:44 -0500 ) edit

I've just ordered a male belly band for markers. Hoping it works.

Suzanne E.'s profile image Suzanne E.  ( 2016-12-29 08:29:17 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-07-07 08:57:48 -0500

For me it's been 2 out of every 10 have issues. Have noticed that fearful rescue dogs have the problems. Just watched a terrier rescue who was supposedly house trained. Shed had it for 10 years. Peed and poo in the house for 6 days. Also wouldnt eat its kibble,but was obviously hungry so I had to supplement with ground turkey.

edit flag offensive delete link more


That's been about my ratio as well

Jessica M.'s profile image Jessica M.  ( 2016-07-23 09:38:00 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-04-10 09:32:26 -0500

All of a sudden I have become the pee pad expert so let me give you some insight. When owners say their dog is pee pad trained that's fine and dandy at their house, because they are use to the placement of the pee pad. You can put pee pads all over the house but they don't get it because it is most likely not in the same spot the dog is use to. I currently am boarding a pee pad trained dog and he is very trained. The owner told me where to put the pad and to tell him "pee pee, poo poo" and he'll know what to do. I was totally impressed because I have not had success with other pee pad trained dogs. In fact my profile states I do not take dogs that are pee pad trained but I took a chance on this one.

The other thing is that I don't take puppies. They have to be 2 years old and older. Perhaps I can recommend a longer meet and greet to analyze the dog. I had a meet and greet a long time ago and after about 30 minutes (the first 5 minutes I already knew I wasn't taking the dog) of chit chatting about the dog she then mentions, "sometimes the dog will wear diapers" What! No way! that already told me he is not house trained. Just little things they really don't want to mention to you, but with enough prying some information might come out. Ask a lot of questions.

edit flag offensive delete link more


Thank you for the insight. I see my issue is with taking young dogs & yeah pee pad placement can be confusing for pups.

Christiana G.'s profile image Christiana G.  ( 2016-04-16 16:40:29 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-07-08 11:03:52 -0500

I joke with new clients that a dog gets "one free pass." Anxiety is high in a new place - a pup gets one accident. Some of my regular clients, without fail, will relieve themselves in my house within the first hour - but that's it.

My solutions have been to take the new dog outside shortly after their parent drops them off. It doesn't matter if they peed on my front steps before they walked in, this eliminates a lot of anxiety accidents. Additionally, I find myself doing longer meet & greets to really make sure a dog fits. I'll even sell it as a free day care or go have a lunch with the girls. This gives me time with the pup in my home, with my dog and me, without the parent around. I know some services in my area charge for this, but I don't just because I consider it part of an extended meet & greet. It's really the best for both me and the dog. It's especially important for extended stays.

I have struggled with one client who always sneaks off in the middle of the night to poop and pee in my kitchen. This is after going outside immediately before bed. I put a baby gate up. I am not kidding when I tell you she JUMPED OVER THE GATE to poop in my kitchen. I now have an inpenetrable block to the kitchen at night when she stays with me. At home she has pee pads she uses over night. Unfortunately, it has become trial and error to find her spots to potty in the middle of the night. If her parents weren't so awesome and generous, she wouldn't be welcome back. She's a sweetheart otherwise.

Puppies are another category altogether - they're still learning, so there are bound to be accidents, even when you're diligent. I've found that putting pee pads by the door will at least help your clean up easier.

edit flag offensive delete link more


Oh, man. Every single dog I board sleeps in a crate at night for that exact reason!

Jessica M.'s profile image Jessica M.  ( 2016-07-23 09:39:06 -0500 ) edit

That's such a good idea. I've had M&G that went really well. Dog got comfortable, didn't potty in my house, ignored my guinea pigs, perfect. Then they come back for the stay and won't leave the guinea pigs alone, bark all day, accidents all over the place. I'll try the extended M&Gs as well now

Mor G.'s profile image Mor G.  ( 2016-07-29 22:15:07 -0500 ) edit

I had such a good laugh with that posting!

JoAnn C.'s profile image JoAnn C.  ( 2018-01-01 16:52:42 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-04-08 14:24:03 -0500

8/10 does seem high. I've been boarding for over ten years (although it was more of a hobby until 2014), and I haven't had that too many. I firmly believe in total management to prevent problems, and I know that has contributed to a lot of the success I've had. That and I've just been blessed with really good dogs!
We've had two sets of blinds destroyed, and some housetraining accidents, but that's pretty much it. When boarding was a hobby, I never did Meet and Greets. Now that I've branched out, I absolutely require them. They're shorter than a lot of folks...only about 20 minutes. If I see signs of any behavior problems, I'm prepared when the dog arrives for the stay. At the first sign of housetraining problems during the stay, I immediately tighten supervision and revoke freedoms. I've only had one dog that persisted in marking. You might consider rephrasing some of your Meet and Greet questions? I'm not very good at this tactic, but instead of asking a general question about housetraining, I ask, "how many times a day do you take your dog out to toilet?"

edit flag offensive delete link more


Yeah meets are essential. Many times mine go on for over an hour. Could you give examples of "tighten supervision & revoke freedoms"? I'm curious if you have some good tactics :)

Christiana G.'s profile image Christiana G.  ( 2016-04-16 16:45:15 -0500 ) edit

We already have our doggy area baby gated, and the dogs spend most of their time there with us. Their house manners dictate the level of supervision and freedom within that area, and if they have any extra privileges like going upstairs to my bedroom.

Leighann H.'s profile image Leighann H.  ( 2016-04-16 18:01:14 -0500 ) edit

Dogs that show signs of chewing or poor housetraining, are restricted to the doggy area and are never left alone, except for maybe a few seconds (I run to the garage for something, etc.). If I can't watch them, they're crated.

Leighann H.'s profile image Leighann H.  ( 2016-04-16 18:05:22 -0500 ) edit

If they have really poor housetraining or are persistently marking, they are restricted to the doggy area and tethered to me. Crate if I'm busy. I haven't had to do this very often. A variation is for them to drag a leash around the doggy area (also good for dogs that like to play Keep Away).

Leighann H.'s profile image Leighann H.  ( 2016-04-16 18:06:47 -0500 ) edit

That's great, thanks for the help! Things have been better :) The only issue I have now is with crating dogs. The owners assure me their dog is crate trained but in practice that is not the case. I have a dog now that pants & drools in the crate, she is obviously stressed in the crate :(

Christiana G.'s profile image Christiana G.  ( 2016-07-06 18:12:49 -0500 ) edit

Thats been my issue. I require them to be crate trained, however some are clearly not....but how do you know they're not until its night time and they're howling?!

Serina R.'s profile image Serina R.  ( 2016-08-12 07:47:06 -0500 ) edit

Do a test daycare day or night before booking longer stays. I require a test now to be sure it’s a good fit.

Dominique & Michael Q.'s profile image Dominique & Michael Q.  ( 2020-11-28 18:28:50 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-05-06 16:17:47 -0500

The dogs that I care for have been much better than the many fosters that I have had over the years. Of course, I've had the "they're 100% potty trained" dogs that weren't quite as perfect as described. There may be marking issues or anxiety behaviors, but I deal with them and usually within a day they are a natural part of our household.

That said, there have been a few dogs that I have given suggestions for at pick-up: please neuter, microchip, find some training classes, leash train, socialize, etc. These requests come with an explanation of a problem I had and how I handled it.

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2016-08-12 13:46:58 -0500

I think Rover gets alot of dogs that CANT go to professional kennels. My ratio for problem dogs has been very, very high. Even fostering dogs it was more like 1 in 10. Rover seems to get 8 in 10.

I'm finding owners overestimating their dogs abilities. For example they say you can leave her for two hours, she okay. But then if i leave for 10 minutes, dog has meltdown. Says She's good about being kenneled. Kenneled dog barks for hours non stop. Knows commands. Can't even get dog to sit. Etc.

I find when I do my m&g it doesn't tell me the full story even then. I'm a pretty good reader of dog behavior and body language. That being said, theres some issues that aren't visually apparent. So my problems are when the owners don't tell you full story or eles overestimate what dog can do.

I don't have too much a problem with potty trained. I'll keep in kitchen until can determine level of bathroom ability. Also adjusted profile to say must be crate trained. However last few ones, the owners said dog fine in kennel and dog barked for hours.

I've had to cut my days way back. Simply because if owner isn't upfront about issues, you'll be the one responsible. So I went from offering overnight 7days a week to 1 day and the other services from 7 days to 2.

edit flag offensive delete link more


I'm having this problem right now, severe seperation anxiety. This dog is driving me insane, we can't sleep or leave the house to do check ins. The owner said he will whine then go lay down. We left the house for an hour and a half and it ate up the bottom of our DOOR. Never stays quiet, alwaysloud

Shannon T.'s profile image Shannon T.  ( 2016-12-30 04:58:38 -0500 ) edit

Shannon, I feel your pain. I haven't been able to leave the house the last two days because I'm sitting for a new dog whose owner "underestimated" his anxiety problems. I've just changed my profile to only sit for repeat clients (which will not include this one!!).

Alicia H.'s profile image Alicia H.  ( 2017-01-03 15:01:38 -0500 ) edit

I’ve decided to do a test daycare day or boarding night before booking longer stays now. This may help us all to prevent the awful stays that drag on forever.

Dominique & Michael Q.'s profile image Dominique & Michael Q.  ( 2020-11-28 18:24:56 -0500 ) edit
answered 2017-01-02 11:20:55 -0500

I have had very good luck with dogs - only one nightmare pair (peed all over despite constant potty breaks, then attacked me when I tried to take them outside). I have 6 dogs staying in my home right now + my 3 and everyone is getting along and playing. It takes some good introductions on neutral territory but as long as no one is able to display dominant behavior or marking I have good luck. It sounds like I'm an exception though!

I require every dog be kenneled at night and when I am not home, no exceptions. I have had my door scratched, carpet pulled up, etc and it is NOT WORTH IT.

I do have some dogs that can't go to normal kennels - for example one hurt himself so badly when he was kenneled he had to go to the hospital, long before I had him. He was found tied to a tree and has some emotional issues. His owner knows I have to have a completely open schedule with no outside Rover walks and he is a special case.

edit flag offensive delete link more
1 2 next »

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account. This space is reserved only for answers. If you would like to engage in a discussion, please instead post a comment under the question or an answer that you would like to discuss

Add Answer