Training a Puppy Is a Lot Like Getting a Root Canal

And who loves root canals? That’s what I thought. Though I’ve never had one, it doesn’t sound like the most pleasant thing in the world. Here’s to hoping I never have to have one but I’m starting to think that training a puppy is just as painful, if not more.

Down here in Guatemala we have a serious puppy/dog problem. They are everywhere. As much as I love it here, this problem tears my heart apart. The strays end up dying, the puppies get dumped off on the side of the road and left to die.

I started fostering puppies about 6 months or so ago. I take one in, clean it up, get it back to health and then adopt said puppy out to a good loving home. I generally don’t get too attached to them because I know they aren’t staying. I also don’t bother doing any training because they aren’t here long enough.

Until this little jerk showed up.

About a month or so ago, someone put out a call in a Facebook group. 8 puppies were put in a potato sack and dumped off in his yard. He needed homes, fast.

I thought about this for a while. Ok. I’ll be honest. I thought about it for 2.5 seconds and messaged him. Yup. I have room and I’ll take one. This little 8 week old fluff ball was delivered to me and life has never been the same.

And then the fun began. 🤦‍♀️

Now I did just mention that I don’t get too attached and don’t bother training them? Yup I did, but this guy… I dunno about him. I may have to keep him 🐾❤. He’s ridiculously adorable, lovable and cuddly. I have to admit, he’s not the cutest. He’s just fun!

I’ve named him Boo because I seriously suck at coming up with cute puppy names. This one suits him. So now he has a name and a safe loving home. Now what?

Well guess who gets a harebrained idea to start training it to do things like, you know, piss and poop outside and all other things dogs are supposed to do? Ya.

Here we go…

It’s been a really really long time since I’ve trained a puppy. Like probably 20 years or more. I’m pretty sure in that time I’ve lost a lot of patience.

The first thing he needs to learn is that my apartment is not a huge toilet. He doesn’t understand. He really likes to pee in my bedroom and I have to say, I’m really thankful he’s paper trained. My friend here did that while she babysat him for 2 days. Yay!

But I still have to teach him to go outside. You can’t piss on paper for the rest of your life. Other dogs will laugh at you.

I take him out.

“Look at this big beautiful toilet. You can piss and poop wherever the fuck you want out here. Isn’t it magnificent?” Apparently only I think this is amazing. He does not share in my enthusiasm.

We hang outside for 15 minutes or so. We come back and in, ya, you guessed it. He pees. On our way back to the apartment he takes a dump right in front of my neighbour’s door.

Dude. Seriously? I do the only thing I know. Tell him that’s bad and clean it up. Sigh. This is not gonna be easy.

Now I’m really trying to keep an eye on his eating and drinking habits so I know, or I think I know, when he’ll have to go outside. Nope. There’s no reason or rhyme to any of that.

He’s found his cute (insert sarcasm here) barking voice so now I’m trying to take cues from that. Nope. No reason or rhyme to any of that either. Is he barking ’cause he has to go out? Is he happy? Is he mad? Is he just excited and being a silly puppy?


He drinks water. I give him some time. I watch to see if he starts getting antsy. We go outside. Now keep in mind, I’m home all day working, writing, creating, scheduling, etc, so having to stop work in the middle of something can get frustrating (this is where iva’s patience wears thin). Especially when we go outside, he does nothing, we come back in and he does his thing.

For the love of God and everything holy dude. Really?

This goes on all day. Every day. Up and down, in and out, cheer him on and yell at him. Ooph. Give him treats, tell him no. I’m exhausted!!

And can we talk about chewing? Wait. Let’s not. We’re working on that too. He has more toys and other play things, including my slippers, than a spoiled 3 year old kid but chewing on my bamboo chair is just way more fun. Oy.

I don’t spank. I think that’s ridiculously horrible. I have a spray bottle with water. It works. For the most part.

“Please leave my chair alone. Where’s Mr. Bunny?” He has no clue what I’m talking about. Mr. Who? What? “Not my shoe. Here. Take the slipper!!” Ugh!

Never mind.

I’ve officially lost ownership of my meditation chair, my slippers, the area rug I stand on to do my dishes and my heart ❤. He owns them all, and then some.

Getting up in the middle of the night to pee is like walking through a mine field. You just never know.🤷‍♀️

It’s non stop action around here day in and day out. Some good, some not so good and some downright hopeless.

But independent of all this whining, bitching and moaning about training Boo, I have to be honest, I ❤ this little asshole (one sec while I retrieve my sandal from his jaw). Yes, training a puppy is tough af but the joy he brings me every day (mostly) makes up for all the frustration I go through and, is priceless.

And I have to give him some credit. He now knows how to sit nice for a treat. Yay Boo! Progress!

Of course I can’t close this without a pic of the little shit. 🐾

Baby Boo 🐾❤

Words of advice from an exhausted foster puppy mom. Don’t take in a puppy unless you’re prepared for all the hard work. Yup, it has its rewards but they don’t come without you tearing out all your hair, losing shoes, slippers and bamboo chairs (idgaf how many toys you bought it) and going through a shit ton of paper towels and disinfectant.

Oh what fun!! 😝

Though I’m still not entirely sure I’m gonna keep this guy, at least I’ll have him trained before he goes off to his permanent home (or die trying).

Peace and Puppy Love

xo iva xo

Self help Guru|Expat|Website: mini self help eBook series here:

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