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To refuse to have her dog at our house

(22 Posts)
pinkladyapple Wed 22-Jun-16 12:05:35

My OH's sister has a very energetic dog. He barks if anyone walks past the house, jumps up at people to say hello, and will just run out into the road unless you're quick with the lead. Don't get me wrong the dog is very friendly, just excitable.

They'll ask us to have the dog for a few hours because the dog barks at and jumps up at visitors and it scares some people (again, dog is harmless but they have dog-phobic friends) almost every week. Usually OH just takes him for a walk, but other times we have him at our house if they have certain guests or tradesmen that are there a while. We only live a few minutes walk away.

We have to have him because it's "not fair to keep him shut in the garden for that long, and sometimes he'll just keep barking". My problem is I have cats. And if we have to have their dog it means my cats have to be shut upstairs, or they're locked outside for several hours which stresses me out as they never go out for very long normally. When the cats are allowed back in the house/garden again they creep around as they can smell that a dog has been there.

I discussed it with OH who agrees with me about my reasons for putting an end to it but has expressed concern about offending his sister. I have a good relationship with her too - more like a friend than a relative. I just feel they should be training their dog to not jump up at people or get him used to being in the garden.

AIBU? And how do I go about raising the issue diplomatically?

hownottofuckup Wed 22-Jun-16 12:08:20

Just say 'no I can't it's not fair on the cats. Have you looked into training or some other long term solution?'
Then say nothing.
Not your circus, not your monkeys.

WreckingBallsInsideMyHead Wed 22-Jun-16 12:43:54


They need to work on training their dog to be calmer, and in the meantime find s better solution that doesn't inconvenience you and your own pets

"It's not fair to shut the dog in the garden" but it is fair to shut your cats upstairs?

I'm a huge dog lover btw, but I think you've done more than enough to help and it's time to put the onus back on the dogs iwners

KoalaDownUnder Wed 22-Jun-16 12:47:19


You just described my dog...except that I'd never ask that of anyone. Especially someone with cats!

My dog, my problem. Same for her.

DeathStare Wed 22-Jun-16 12:52:57

Maybe tell her that next time you have the dog at your house she'll have to have the cats at her house at the same time. That should stop her asking!

Morporkia Wed 22-Jun-16 13:11:39

YANBU. ask her over for coffee and just explain it's not working out for you....your cats are suffering, you find the dog a handful and worry about him escaping then getting lost or hurt. to be frank, if she knew she would be away from home for all those hours, why get a dog?

Morporkia Wed 22-Jun-16 13:14:02

sorry didn't read it properly, i assumed that dog was left alone.. why doesn't she consider getting a kennel for when the dog has to be kept away from people? then he can be in the garden, but still have a comfy, sheltered place to go.

Savemefromwine Wed 22-Jun-16 13:15:23

My darling dog is Just as nutty op and I wouldn't dream of asking anyone to have her like this. What a cheek! As a one off well ok but not constantly.

It's not working for you so just tell her. Your cats are as important to you as her dog is to her.

kali110 Wed 22-Jun-16 13:16:41

Yanbu at all.

It's not fair on your cats.
We looked after a friends pets few months back and my cats were so upset. I felt awful.
Do you have male cats?
Be careful they don't start scent marking grin

Laiste Wed 22-Jun-16 13:18:58


Be honest and lay your cards on the table during a coffee with her. With DH there as well. Just say what you've said here about it being difficult for you and that it's just swapping one set of animals to be shut away for another.

I wouldn't get too bogged down in suggesting alternatives though, as it implies that your feelings are outweighed by her needs. Bit deep sounding but assertiveness training teaches you to gently stick to the point. ie: You are sorry, but are declining to keep on having her dog.

ineedwine99 Wed 22-Jun-16 13:19:50

Not at all unreasonable, your house is your cats house and they need to feel comfortable and relaxed. She will just have to leave the dog outside with a shelter and some toys while visitors are there

CoraPirbright Wed 22-Jun-16 13:20:08

Yanbu. Your cats trump her dog in your own home. She should look into getting some better training. Is the dog still quite young? If so, it may calm down over time. Also is it an uneutered male? If you neuter him, it is the responsible thing to do (no siring of unwanted pups) plus that may calm him down too.

Perhaps you could phrase it to your SIL that you are worried that you can't control/keep the dog safe - attack it from that angle? Also she surely must have some sympathy for your poor cats?

Wolfiefan Wed 22-Jun-16 13:20:30

She's using you as a free dog walking/sitting service? Tell her it is not convenient. And direct her to a professional she can pay.

AlwaysDancing1234 Wed 22-Jun-16 13:21:11

Don't wait until she asked again, next time you see each other just say (or better still get your DP to say) "I'm sorry but we won't be able to look after Dog anymore as its too stressful and upsetting for the cats. Have you thought about dog training?"
Maybe look up local dog training classes so you can suggest something specific to her?

mmmuffins Wed 22-Jun-16 13:22:11

I also have an excitable dog, and baby gates to control where in the house she goes without shutting her away. YANBU.

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 22-Jun-16 13:22:27

Bloody cheek! I have 2 dogs, puppies dog is nutty (but we're working on it). I don't expect anyone to have to put him with.

The good old "that doesn't work for me" is the way to go.

StarlingMurmuration Wed 22-Jun-16 13:23:05

I love Deathstare's idea. Next time suggest a pet swap and say, "They may scratch the furniture or spray around the house the first few times, but I know you won't mind!" I'm sure she'll change her mind pretty quickly.

Damselindestress Wed 22-Jun-16 14:48:29

YANBU. If it was a one-off that would be one thing but regularly expecting you to take care of her untrained dog for free isn't fair on you or your pets. She should pay a professional.

NoncommittalToSparkleMotion Wed 22-Jun-16 14:56:26

Yanbu. My dog's an asshole. I deal with her because I try not to be one too.

You don't need to help out again as it didn't work well for you. That's really all you need to tell her.

Zucker Wed 22-Jun-16 15:07:25

What an odd thing to ask someone to do while they're going to be at home purely because they don't want to listen to the dog barking!! Tell her to give her head a wobble and sort the dog or put up with it.

pinkladyapple Wed 22-Jun-16 17:59:17

Thank for agreeing with me guys, it's just very awkward when it's family. They treat the dog more like a child than anything else and when I've mentioned bad behaviour it falls on deaf ears. I had the same breed growing up and helped my parents with training so I do know what I'm talking about, and my suggestions on how to train the dog to be road safe for example get laughed off. The dog is neutered, is almost 4 years old.

I think maybe I'll try and bring it up in conversation. Maybe I'll say something like "Oh they cats hate the smell of my hands after I've stroked your dog here. I hope you're not going to ask us to have him again because last time they were so freaked out I wouldn't want it again." ?

AlpacaLypse Wed 22-Jun-16 18:05:06

Nicely worded pinkladyapple!

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