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The in laws dog......

(26 Posts)
BetterNotBitter Mon 22-Apr-13 12:17:31

Ok, so the situation with my in laws is long, complex and awful and not something that I'm going to bore you all with. There's one bit of it though, that I'm not sure what to do about....

We (thankfully) don't see them often, maybe every 4-6 weeks for an hour or so. We vary venues for meeting up, sometimes soft play or for lunch somewhere. We don't really like them coming to ours (many, many problems in the past with them visiting) but don't like to always suggest a neutral venue so they come to ours every now & again.

In December we went to theirs (they wanted us to). Our Little girl ( now 15 months, 10 months then) is really frightened of cats and dogs. They have a big golden retriever so in December when we visited my husband gently suggested to them that as LO wasn't familiar with their house, maybe having the dog in the room initially would be abit overwhelming on top of visiting a new place and would it be ok if they put the dog in the kitchen. We didn't think this was unfair, the dogs food, water & bed are all in the kitchen anyway, and we were only there an hour so it's not like she was put out for the full day. They agreed but when we got there FIL went on & on & on about how sorry he felt for the dog 'his poor baby' shut out of the room and kept going out to see her, coming back in and telling us how sad she was all alone. I felt terrible & caved in so the dog would come in, the baby screamed and we ended up leaving early.

The next few visits took place at ours or a neutral venue, but MIL insisted we go there last weekend as we hadn't been for so long. We felt we should but after last time didn't like to ask them to put the dog out (stupidly I think I hoped that after last time they'd do it unprompted) we got there, the dog was in the room, our LO was totally petrified, shaking, crying, clinging on to me so tight she marked my skin! They never offered to put the dog out, FIL wouldn't even leave the subject, instead he wrestled with the dog, making her growl. Then tried to get me to give him LO so he could wrestle with the dog?! He kept dragging the poor dog over to LO ( who never got off my knee) and trying to get LO to stroke the dog, going on & on about how the dog is his baby and LO was being silly.

It was awful. Again, we left abit early. We didn't say too much while we were there as things are already terrible between us and them. We were briefly estranged last year things have never recovered and were trying to keep the peace at the moment but thinking really it's pointless.

So, my dilemma is this. I think it's their dog, their house. If they don't feel comfortable putting the dog out that's totally fine, but I don't feel comfortable putting LO into that situation so as far as I can see the easiest solution is that we don't go there. Simple as that. That being said, I know they'll retaliate with the argument that LO has got to get used to the dog and only being around the dog will do this. I can see their point but I don't want to put her through it, who's being unreasonable?

ajandjjmum Mon 22-Apr-13 12:23:40

Next time they suggest you go over, be very bright and breezy, but say firmly 'No - until DD gets bigger and not worried about dogs, I don't think it's wise'.

I get irritated with the dog being their child business, but we've been there, and to be fair, we only see PIL occasionally, and they shouldn't have to run their home around us. Sympathise though! smile

PacificDogwood Mon 22-Apr-13 12:24:18

Stick to your guns, meet on neutral ground minus dog.
Your DD is still tiny - of course she will have to learn to tolerate dogs without panicking, but she may never like them. Give it 6 months, see how she is with other dogs you might meet, then try again if it feels right.
Imagine the shere size of a Golder retriever compared to a 1 year old.

My DS1(10) was petrified of dogs when little; he can now tolerate them and quite likes some of the dogs he knows better.
DS2(9) was more than once found snogging strange dogs in the park when he was little, tongues an'all - yeuch and dangerous.
So one of them I had to teach not to have a nervous breakdown at the site of any random, well behavied dog who passed our fenced garden walking nicely on a lead, minding his own business.
The other one I had to teach to ask permission from the dog's owner first before approaching. He is absolutely dying to get a dog which circumstances don't permit at the moment.

Yy, your in-laws house, their rules.
Your baby, your rules.
I hope she'll grow out of her fear when she's ready.

quoteunquote Mon 22-Apr-13 12:25:10

If you stop making a big issue over it (the child is getting the anti dog vibe from you), and your child will get use to dogs.

or spend a life time stressing that there are dogs everywhere.

Harsh but you need to decide which way you are going to go on this, I would choose the first, far easier in even the short term.

If you want advice on how to do that then I'm sure that can be given.

DiscoDonkey Mon 22-Apr-13 12:25:35

They are, they think that they are doing you a massive favour by forcing your dd to get used to dogs. It's not about the dog being their baby it purely about "oh we'll show betternotbitter how to get her dd to be fine around dogs, all this fear of dogs nonsense can be sorted out by us"

I think it's fine for you to say you won't be visiting at the house.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 12:26:57

why SHOULD you put your LO through this? If they were in any way sensible they could perhaps help her to get over her fear of dogs but they are hardly going about it in the right way, are they? making the dog growl??

I really would not go there again. FIL obviously thinks more of getting his own way re the dog than of seeing his grandchild.

Callisto Mon 22-Apr-13 12:29:13

Why is your child so terrified of dogs? I think the suggestion that her life will be easier if she gets over this asap is a sensible one.

FayeKorgasm Mon 22-Apr-13 12:30:42

They are being very unreasonable. I say this as the owner of a Labrador. If we have friends come to stay and they have children who are not comfortable near her, she stays in her room. Children trump dogs. Dogs don't have hurt feelings, that is madness.

As for wrestling with a dog to make it growl, that is cruel. He is sounds like a twat. I don't blame you not liking seeing them much!

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 12:31:55

yes I agree Callisto, but not by forcing her to interact with a wrestling and growling dog. It has to be done sensitively and not in a situation where there is already heightened emotion.

raspberryroop Mon 22-Apr-13 12:34:54

The Child is 15 months !- flooding therapy is a bit severe even from the die hard get over it doggiests .

DiscoDonkey Mon 22-Apr-13 12:36:11

There are ways of helping children get over their fear of dogs, but not the way her fil is trying to do it.

Both my ds's were afraid of dogs (just lack of exposure to them) but are now much, much better but it has taken time and wasn't just a case of forcing them into rooms with them.

Floralnomad Mon 22-Apr-13 12:36:33

There is obviously way more going on here than an issue with a dog . Yes your PIL should remove the dog if they want to see you and your child but TBH the being scared of the dog thing is your doing as at 10 months a baby would not be scared of dogs unless they'd had an issue with a dog previously. You should find a friend with a suitable dog and knock that on the head as being scared of dogs can be quite limiting later in life when kids want to play in the park etc. if you don't want to see your Inlaws for other reasons then don't ,its your life .

BetterNotBitter Mon 22-Apr-13 12:36:54

I agree that the shouldn't have to change their house for us.

It's an odd one with the dog fear, LO doesn't mind them from a far. If she's in her pushchair and one is on the other side of the road she just shouts 'woof woof' but she just can't stand them in close proximity.

Me & her daddy both like dogs, I have no problem with them at ll, we've always talked about dogs to her in an 'ahh there's the doggie' way not in a negative way.

She just doesn't like them. The same as she doesn't like upsy daisys bed on in the night garden?! I'm thinking the dog thing will be something she will get over as she gets bigger and certainly if she was 4 I'd be more open to reasoning with her that the dog won't harm her etc but she's so little she doesn't understand yet and I'm unwilling to push her.

Divided opinions on here though so maybe just a difference of opinions rather than one side being unreasonable.

DiscoDonkey Mon 22-Apr-13 12:39:48

Don't think it's fair to blame the OP for her dd having a fear of dogs. When DS was 10 moths old he was afraid of men with beards fairly certain it was nothin I did!

pinkbear82 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:40:05

with the nicer weather (!) due soon how about suggesting meeting somewhere you can all go for a walk - with the dog.
your lo can be safely in buggy and get used to dog being around - perhaps throw a ball/give treat with help.

it takes the focus off of everything, and hopefully you can get lo a little more relaxed and then take baby steps for indoors once it's needed - but if the walks go well hopefully that won't be for a while!

BetterNotBitter Mon 22-Apr-13 12:41:39

Having written that, I think my main reason for thinking they're being unreasonable with this one is that they frequently complain that LO isn't comfortable with them, they don't get to see her as often as they'd like etc but yet then aren't willing to 'help' her feel comfortable. Fair enough, try her with the dog, but if she's clearly uncomfortable maybe then put the dog out and try to salvage some quality time with their granddaughter?

nananaps Mon 22-Apr-13 12:45:10

God you sund like me & my inlaws!
TBH lifes too short, i have a fear of dogs, inlaws wouldnt remove the dog from the room when i went so i didnt go for 7 years.
Every one was happy. Job done.

Bright and breezy is the way to go as another poster suggested, it worked for me. Think i said something along the lines of " dont want to have the dog chucked out in its own home so why dont we meet xxxx"

Like you i only ever saw them about twice a year (they live 20 minutes away from us!)..many many issues with them so nothing unusual for me to not go.

PacificDogwood Mon 22-Apr-13 12:45:38

I am a 'doggieist' (hmm at the phrase), I grew up with dogs, I'd love to have one again, yet still I had one who was almost phobic of dogs and one who loved them on sight. They had had no good or bad experiences. No idea where either preference came from.

I think it is unfair to expect a 15 month old to be reasonable or rational.
The OP clearly has a very sensitive situation with the inlaws going on, so without provoking any fall-out I think saying 'we'll see you elsewhere until DD is a bit older' seems fair enough to me.

The going-out-for-a-walk idea is a good one too IMO.

ThePendant Mon 22-Apr-13 12:45:51

Both my DC were terrrified of dogs at that age and an hour of contact like this would have done nothing to improve this.
IME things only improve when they are a bit older and get to spend longer periods of time in a house with a dog and in a situation where they can gradually get used to there being a dog around.

raspberryroop Mon 22-Apr-13 13:09:48

Pacific you are not a doggiest if you can see that the onus is not on a 15 mth old to modify their behaviour ! YKH or whatever on the park thread is a doggiest - the rest of us are just dog lovers

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 22-Apr-13 13:11:41

Clearly you should be telling a 15 month to get over it.


Ragwort Mon 22-Apr-13 13:15:24

Just don't visit them; I really, really don't like dogs and I am 54 grin - I don't go to friends' houses if they have a dog (& DH won't visit anywhere with a cat grin). My friends know this and put up with it, and arrange to meet me in different places.

You have to make it very clear that you are happy to meet up with PILs at X,Y or Z venue - just not at their house.

What is your DH saying about this? Surely he can talk directly to his DPs about this.

Fairydogmother Mon 22-Apr-13 13:20:11

i dont think you are being unreasonable by asking the GPs to not force your child to like the dog, pet the dog etc.

but why is your child so scared in the first place? some more helpful suggestions to make to the GPs would possibly be for them to tandem walk the child and the dog vv calmly, buy your child a stuffed toy dog perhaps?

sounds to me like they simply cant see why she would be afraid but they may need more assistance and direction from you to resolve the issue.

and people DO see their animals as part of the family so it would be best if you got over that fact!

PacificDogwood Mon 22-Apr-13 13:20:56

Ah, I see the difference grin. I got all excited: me, getting a radical label for once in my humdrum life... At present lurking on the Dog House is my replacement drug instead of having an actual dog sad.

13loki Mon 22-Apr-13 13:22:46

When we visit in-laws in Australia, we don't go to SILs house anymore. Her dog is allowed everywhere, and licks faces, and my kids get eczema from allergies. I would expect a grandparent to be more worried about how their grandchild felt than that their dog had to be out of a room for an hour. I wouldn't be visiting them. YANBU

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