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My DMum and her dog...

(101 Posts)
elportodelgato Thu 28-Jan-16 15:58:20

Ugh, I need some quick advice...

My DMum is retired, lives very close to us and provides us with childcare for our 2 DC, one night a week after school, and occasionally other times, including having them overnight perhaps once a month. She also lets us borrow her car once in a while - by prior arrangement and we contribute to the running costs of the car depending on how much we've used it. This is just background!

We are insanely grateful for her support, of course, and the kids love having her nearby.

So DMum recently got herself a little dog, very sweet little thing, not yappy, affectionate and well-behaved with the DC and the DC ADORE it. At first, when the dog was a puppy, we understood that she needed to keep it with her at all times, but the dog is older now (around 9mo) and DMum is still extremely reluctant to leave it home alone for any real length of time (eg: will put it into doggy daycare if she has to go out for anything longer than about 3 hours). She's insanely attached to the little beast and it does make her very happy.

However, DH has an issue with the dog being in our house quite as much as it is. We have a cat which gets stressed when the dog is around, the dog chews things, and has also wee'd on the floor and (once) on one of the DCs beds, plus she lets it up on the sofas. We are not dog people at all, the house is not set up for a dog, and we really (if we're honest) would prefer not to have a dog about the place. DH in classic DH-blundering way has now raised this with my DMum and has upset her - she says the dog comes wherever she goes, end of. And also feels like we're trying to make her choose between seeing the DGC and being with the dog. We feel the dog should be able to be left at her house if she's only coming to ours for a few hours - obviously with exceptions if she is coming for longer periods - but we don't like the assumption that we're OK with having a dog about the place and the situation just seems to have evolved...

So please tell me if we are being unreasonable, ungracious, freeloading idiots who should suck it up and put up with the dog, OR if we are within our rights to say 'our house, our rules' in these circs? I am genuinely confused and am seeing my DMum tonight...

lastqueenofscotland Thu 28-Jan-16 16:06:16

Some dogs do not cope being left. 4 hours is the recommended maximum. But you have every right to say don't bring the dog as well. My pil have dogs they won't leave for more than 2 hours we just work around it!

nocabbageinmyeye Thu 28-Jan-16 16:09:50

Yanbu, people bringing their dogs with them is something I have only ever heard of one couple in real life doing otherwise I only see it here, I think it's weird and would not let anyone in our house with their dog in tow. Just because she helps doesn't mean you have to let her and her (newly acquired) dog in to your house

RumBabaPudding Thu 28-Jan-16 16:11:55

Can't she take your DCs to her house after school instead of coming to yours?

lunar1 Thu 28-Jan-16 16:14:16

Can she have the children at her own house?

Emeralli Thu 28-Jan-16 16:14:31


Your house, your rules, your house can be dog-free if you prefer it. My house is pet-free because I feel dogs/cats indoors are unhygenic, I wouldn't want one on my carpets or furniture. Dog slobber and hair is unpleasant. Dog smell is unpleasant indoors too and hard to get rid off.

You are well within your rights to say no dogs in your home.
In a way, she does have to choose between seeing her grandchildren and bringing dog with her. If she's not prepared to leave dog at home, you'll need to find alternative childcare, but I doubt she would really prioritise an animal over her GC.

The dog will be fine on its own for a few hours. She is being disrespectful and a bit ridiculous to insist on bringing it into your home.

GabiSolis Thu 28-Jan-16 16:15:53

Do you pay her for childcare?

I think if your DH spoke to her with an "our house, our rules" type attitude, he needs to apologise. As you have let this situation evolve, as you say, you need be gentle with how you approach this. If you really can't see a way where you can tolerate the dog being in the house, then why don't you propose for your mum to have the DCs at her house?

Godstopper Thu 28-Jan-16 16:17:51

How about a compromise?

Dog goes in, say, kitchen (she could use a stairgate-thing), or, be crated for a few hours with e.g. a kong/chew ?

Quite acceptable to not want a dog on sofa and roaming the house; but if she is regularly helping out, there are workarounds. I wouldn't leave mine on their own for longer than 4 hours, and I'd be reluctant to do that regularly. By the same token, I wouldn't expect people to accommodate me: they are my dogs to deal with.

However, if I were voluntarily helping someone regularly who had a blanket ban on them being around at all (crated), then I wouldn't bother helping them much longer.

GabiSolis Thu 28-Jan-16 16:17:59

Btw, be wary of taking advice (i.e. ignore it) from people who are telling you the dog will be fine on his/her own when they are not dog people and do not understand their behaviour.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Thu 28-Jan-16 16:18:07

My first thought was your kids have probably wrecked her things jumped on her sofas weed on her floor -

The dog will get better - maybe restrict access -

Does DM pay for damage or clean up? Do you at her house?

budgiegirl Thu 28-Jan-16 16:19:05

YAB(a little bit)U. She's in a difficult situation, if you are wanting her to look after your children. Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and can't be left. Even if they are ok, she shouldn't leave them for more than 3 or 4 hours. If looking after your children means that she needs to leave them longer than that, then I think you may just have to accept that the dog needs to come with her.

You could try and come to a compromise, asking her not to let the dog upstairs, putting a blanket on the sofa before the dog is allowed on it making sure it has things to chew on - it will grow out of this, 9 months is still very young.

honeyroar Thu 28-Jan-16 16:27:27

You say your oh has an issue that the dog is in your house so much, but if I've read it right it's only once a week and occasionally other nights at her house??

You do one across a bit thoughtlessly towards her. She sounds like she does a lot for you and your family, but that you can't do anything back to make her happy. There must be some way of compromising. Could the children go to her house instead, or could you find another form of childcare after school and just use mum when they stay at hers overnight?

It sounds as though the dog is making her happy. If she lives alone, surely that's a good thing? I wouldn't leave my dog for more than a few hours either.

elportodelgato Thu 28-Jan-16 16:28:13

Thanks for the replies, lots of food for thought.

We don't pay her for the childcare she does, she is very happy to do it (she tells me this often). However I think DH feels we would all benefit from a scenario where we pay for the regular weekly childcare we need and then ask her to just do more ad hoc babysitting / have the DCs at her house a bit more. She has taken the DCs to hers this evening to get around the dog issue, but it's a drive away and the traffic is often really bad in the evenings. It's reassuring for me to hear from dog owners who don't bring their dogs everywhere - I've never had a dog so I'm a bit clueless as to what is normal.

DMum also has an (irrational?) fear that her dog will be stolen out of her house and 'used as bait for fighting dogs' - the dog isn't a rare breed or anything very special (though it is very cute) - is this a legitimate concern? even with the dog locked inside her house?

Florin Thu 28-Jan-16 16:29:31

If you want free childcare (you are extremely lucky to have it) you need to accept the dog. However surely there is a middle line. Dog not allowed on the sofa and a travel stairgate when she is there to stop it going upstairs. We will leave our dog for a special occasion if we really can't take her for an absolute max of 5 hours, but we say 4 hours to allow for delays. If we go to other people's house we always ask if she can come but if it is and people know it might mean we can't come. We take her crate so she can be put away sometimes and we make sure she doesn't cause any damage. We are lucky that she is properly house trained and doesn't chew. I don't let her on anyone's sofa unless the home owners invite her up. However I wouldn't leave her on her own on a regular basis she is part of our family and she would hate it and I wouldn't have a member of my family being upset. You either come to a compromise about the dog or you need to think how to afford childcare.

elportodelgato Thu 28-Jan-16 16:30:54

PS: yes the dog is making her very happy indeed and I wish my DH and I had discussed it more fully before he waded in and upset her. He's quite practically minded and didn't consider how it might make her feel...

I think the solution is to put the kids in after school club that one night a week and ask her if she's be hapopy to do more ad hoc sitting, and possibly more at her house than at ours

Hihohoho1 Thu 28-Jan-16 16:33:38

Oh dear op.

Your mum provided you with free child care snd helps out. The dog is sweet and gentile and the kids love the dog and love gran.

Ok so the dog behaved like a dog does but he's not aggressive or biting.

Your dh sounds very mean and ungrateful.

I am going to provide my ds/dil with 3 days a week free childcare, we too have a puppy of 9 months who loves to be part of the family. I wouldn't leave him for longer than 3 hours either.

Is you mum alone? If do don't underestimate how much company he gives your dm.

You may not be dog people but you can be empathetic to your mum who helps you out.

Your dh should apologise or risk loosing her good will and your free childcare and support.

NoSquirrels Thu 28-Jan-16 16:41:25

As others have said, your mum actually sounds like a nice, caring dog owner, not leaving her dog for too long. Doggy daycare is a good thing, but you can't really expect her to pay for care for her dog whilst she's saving you money on childcare! Plus presumably the doggy daycare is not available of an evening anyway, which is your problem.

I think if you want to keep having the free childcare at your house, then you need to suck up the dog coming too, and impose limits - fine to say just in kitchen/not on sofas etc. But be aware that you won't be the one policing the limits if you're not there, and if the dog's not used to it then it's really making things difficult for your mum when she's doing you a favour.

The dog getting stolen is not really a legitimate fear (not to say it could never happen, just pretty statistically unlikely) but that doesn't mean the dog will be fine being left anyway - they're all different.

Ultimately your DH's solution sounds good, but you will need to handle with extreme tact for your DM not to be wildly offended. Better if you'd put limits on where the puppy could be/where it could go much earlier in its life and discussed your preferences with your DM then, as now you've set precedents, but just deal with the situation as you see it now.

fidel1ne Thu 28-Jan-16 16:46:22

9 months old? It's STILL a puppy!

Do you insist that the childcare has to take place at your house? Because if not, isn't the obvious solution for the DC to go to her? (And if so, isn't that a bit much for FREE anything?)

Grandma's house (and Grandma's pets) are fun for DC.

GabiSolis Thu 28-Jan-16 16:49:01

Has your DH apologised for the way he spoke to your mum? From the way you described it, it sounds like that's the starting point for further conversation.

As for dog being stolen being a legitimate fear....difficult to say without knowing the area and the frequency of dognappings. It could be argued that it is not good practice to leave a dog unattended as a pattern though, in case someone is watching. But it's more about the distress caused to the dog in being left, rather than the risk of theft.

PaulAnkaTheDog Thu 28-Jan-16 16:49:56

She's doing you a favour. You need to work out a way for this to work where she can have the dog with her, or she has the kids at hers.

fidel1ne Thu 28-Jan-16 16:50:36

DMum also has an (irrational?) fear that her dog will be stolen out of her house and 'used as bait for fighting dogs' - the dog isn't a rare breed or anything very special (though it is very cute) - is this a legitimate concern? even with the dog locked inside her house?

Dogs and puppies are being stolen for that purpose, yes.

A rare breed would be more likely to fetch decent money sold on as a pet, in fact, so less likely to be used as fight-bait.

Anyway, leaving a 9 month old dog alone for any period is plain unkind.

Your mum sounds nice smile

MidnightAura Thu 28-Jan-16 16:51:23

i think yabu in the kindest way possible.

The dog is still young and shouldn't be left alone for long. We have a 7 month puppy and we don't leave her for over 4 hours. That said we only take her to my Mums if she invites her.

You say your Mums dog is well behaved and your DCs adore it. It could be worse, the dog could not like the children. I think as your Mum does so much for you I don't think you should kick up too much of a fuss especially with the free childcare.

mmmuffins Thu 28-Jan-16 16:52:07

I also put my dog into day care if I have to leave her more than 3 hours. They are social animals that should not be left alone for long periods of time. Your mum sounds like she takes good care of this little dog. And as others said, doggy care adds up £££ wise.

YANBU to not want the dog at your house, but you might want to be a bit more flexible. Deal with traffic and take your DC to her house, or perhaps make a dog-friendly area at yours?

MerryMarigold Thu 28-Jan-16 16:52:15

I think it will be hurtful to your Mum to put kids into afterschool club because of the dog vs dh issue. I think much better for dh to apologise and say, can we work around this and use some suggestions here eg. stairgates and blanket on sofa. They are not big deals really and will mean you mum gets to keep up her relationship with dc without feeling pushed out after she has been so supportive to you. I think you could also reduce the 'other times' she is in the house with the dog, so if it's an overnight, the kids go to hers (sleepovers always more fun anyway!).

I sympathise to some extent. My dmum microwaves her cat's food when it's cold in Winter. She also has to leave promptly 'to feed the cat' if it gets to 6.30pm as 'the cat has not eaten since breakfast' and can't possibly wait 15mins or half an hour hmm. This is a young cat who spends all her time outside catching birds, has a cat flap and doesn't care about anyone. It also scratches But hey, the cat makes her happy, and being a Mummy all over again to a small fluffy thing.

LineyReborn Thu 28-Jan-16 16:52:24

I don't think the OP's husband sounds 'mean and ungrateful'. I imagine he doesn't want his children's beds pissed on by a dog.

I think the compromise the OP is thinking of sounds reasonable. Plus a stairgate.

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