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Help, it's going to be the weekend from hell...

(25 Posts)
Pigeonpost Sat 22-Aug-15 22:29:38

We have some friends coming to stay for two nights next week. They have 2 rather high maintenance children (we know them really well) aged 2.5 and 4.5 who, according to my friend when we spoke tonight, are now scared of dogs (not sure why, no reports of any specific incidents, they don't like cats either but luckily our cats don't like the puppy anyway...), arrrgh. Our sprocker puppy is 17 weeks old and therefore not very big but quite bouncy. She is generally very good and responsive to being called but New Children To Sniff are her favourite thing ever. She thinks all new children want to play with her and will bite a flappy trouser leg pronto if she gets the chance. She doesn't take long to calm down and get used to the New Child but I can't see how we'll get past the first few minutes without World War Three breaking out.

Friend asked the following tonight:-
1. Is the dog jumpy? Yes, she is a puppy...
2. Can you keep her in a cage away from the kids? No, we gave up crate training after a week because she kept pooing in it and we couldn't keep her in a crate for the whole two days anyway obviously
3. Can you shut her in a room away from the kids? No, our house (it is a new-to-us house so they haven't seen it before) is very open plan with one room opening into another and in my experience, kids are crap at closing doors.

Our own kids are 2, 4 and 7 and fine with the dog although she does still give them the occasional nip if when she gets over-excited or one of them stupidly sticks their face right up to hers no matter how many times they have been told not to.

I am thinking of seeing if I can borrow a stair-gate or maybe two to try and split the house up a bit but our house is very long and thin so that working will be very dependent on said children and adults remembering to close the bloody things and not leaving the outside doors open (we have outside doors in virtually every room downstairs) so the dog can run round.

I have explained to my friend that if she can explain to her children that if the dog comes up to them they need to stand still and look away then she is less likely to try and play with them than if they scream, flap their arms and make yelping noises. Friend doesn't think this will work (and I'm minded to agree as mine were pretty useless to start with).

What else can I do?! Put her on her lead as soon as they arrive and let her sniff them whilst on the lead and maybe get them to give her some treats and chuck a toy round outside with her to deal with introductions in a nice calm way? Or does that make her think they will always play with her? We're puppy training on Wed night this week so I will try and get there early and ask the trainer for some survival tips but any advice anyone can offer would be very gratefully received! Her husband is very Victorian old school in his attitude towards kids (his kids, our kids, any kids...) and is exactly the type to smack an excited puppy hard on the nose in an entirely inappropriate manner which will make DH and I cross so we absolutely need to get an action plan in place before they arrive.

mrslaughan Sat 22-Aug-15 22:38:03

Maybe they just shouldn't come........
[helpful.....]

ozzia Sat 22-Aug-15 22:39:26

Loooooong walk followed by some training before they arrive so dpup is more inclined to be exhausted. I used to give my pup a filled bone from pets at home when people scared of dogs arrived too as then he was distracted

This gives you time to get them in and talk to the children (and adults!) About how to be around dpup.

Praise any positive behaviour you see around the dog from your dc or theirs.

Maybe turn it into a game, practise what to do if the dog comes near and they don't want it. They can take turns at being the dog running up.

I'm mean, I tell people it's ddogs home and no he won't be shut away.

These are ideas I've used in the past - i am not a dog behaviourist though. Good luck smile

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sat 22-Aug-15 22:43:02

DD2 didnt like dogs until we babysat one for two weeks, she learnt dog language, body language etc ... you need to speak for the dog! So e g the dog like to sniff mouths, not lick! I would say... hes just asking what you had for lunch... kids will be fine, they can always go home. Your house, your dog !

Pigeonpost Sat 22-Aug-15 22:45:25

MrsLaughan: yeah, that was my instinctive response to be honest! They were always going to be hard work at the best of times (for numerous reasons) but this Will Not Help...

I think a trip to The Range to stock up on a load of brand new dog toys and treats is in order. Bloody puppy wasn't remotely interested in a kong filled with peanut butter and no longer seems interested in carrots so I shall look for something else which takes ages to chew.

clam Sat 22-Aug-15 22:46:17

Sod that, tell them it's not going to work and maybe rearrange when their kids have got over themselves the puppy's older.

MaitlandGirl Sun 23-Aug-15 00:18:47

I have to admit I'd cancel the visit. Puppies this young are very fickle and spaniels are very sensitive. I can't see it going well with 2 young children who can't be trusted not to run screaming every time the puppy sniffs them.

You'll be tense and worried which the puppy will pick up on and it's not fair on either of you.

I'd wait at least 6mths then rearrange the visit.

MaitlandGirl Sun 23-Aug-15 00:19:33

Or borrow 2 crates for the visiting children!!

Bubble2bubble Sun 23-Aug-15 12:29:04

If the kids are genuinely scared of dogs then it's not a great idea really is it? Sounds like it could be very stressful all round and way more hassle than I would be prepared to put up with
If they absolutely have to come, then stair gates are good as it doesn't completely isolate the puppy but keeps her safe from the kids

CrabbyTheCrabster Sun 23-Aug-15 12:38:06

You can't (well, shouldn't...) take a 17 week old puppy for a 'loooooong' walk - they should have limited exercise whilst their bones develop.

I would cancel, personally. The friend clearly has no idea of what having a young puppy entails. A puppy this young shouldn't be shut behind a stairgate for long periods anyway - it'll get up to all sorts of mischief! This is a critical time for socialisation and training and you don't want it all fucked up by screaming, flapping kids.

Booboostwo Sun 23-Aug-15 13:42:32

Ideally cancel, this doesn't sound like it's going to be fun for anyone.

If you can't then keep the puppy on a lead when they arrive and take everyone out for a walk so that the puppy can observe the new childre while everyone is being distracted by the walk. Try showing the children how to behave around the puppy but you any end up with the puppy on the lead inside thehouse for two days. If the friend's DH so much as raises his hand towards the pup tell them all to fuck off.

ShooBeeDooBeeDoo Sun 23-Aug-15 13:48:24

I would postpone/cancel or else let them have details of a local B&B. Otherwise it will be a nightmare for you and your family, including the dog.

You might also end up falling out with your friends if they come.

mrslaughan Sun 23-Aug-15 14:57:46

I'd be more worried about the pig of a husband hitting my dog!!!

chelle792 Sun 23-Aug-15 15:09:04

At 17 weeks it's really important that pup builds up positive associations about children. Stupidly, ex MIL introduced my puppy to my nephew in my absence. It went wrong (they allowed pup to chase and pounce at toddler) and I've had a battle ever since to encourage good, calm behaviour around kids.

I'd cancel

confusedandemployed Sun 23-Aug-15 15:15:01

Jeez the husband post did it for me, not that most of the other info wasn't bad enough. Cancel. Why would you put yourselves and your DDog through it?

Branleuse Sun 23-Aug-15 15:34:14

why dont you suggest that your friends find a b&b close by and meet you for days out if they really think their children wont handle being around your puppy

CrabbyTheCrabster Sun 23-Aug-15 15:47:46

shock fucking hell I missed the bit about the husband|! I'd be hitting him hard on the bloody nose if he lifted a finger towards my puppy! hmm

Pigeonpost Sun 23-Aug-15 17:14:36

Thanks all. I actually emailed DFriend this morning and set out my reservations suggesting that they postpone the visit until next year when DPup is older and calmer. I didn't out and out say "we don't want you to come" as I felt that was a bit harsh but they are the sort to cancel a playdate because one of my kids has a snotty nose and they don't want to catch it so I'm hoping they take the bait. They are tighter than a gnats chuff so absolutely no way in the world they would pay out for a B&B (plus we live in a very touristy destination and finding somewhere over the bank hol will be a nightmare). I presented it to her as being better for her kids rather than better for us but most of you are right, I just can't do with the hassle tbh. They are vague what time they will arrive anyway (for various reasons that I won't bore you with) so timing a walk to either start or end with their arrival will be tricky. I might be doing the husband a massive disservice as really I have no idea what he'd do but he has no experience of dogs (or indeed any pets at all) and the way he shouts at the kids (mine as well as his own) raises red flags. It would have been a difficult visit anyway just because of how they are generally even without the dog (which is a shame as they are really good friends but that's what happens when you move a long way way and they have to come and stay rather than going home to their own house with their strange little ways).

Chelle, the puppy is very well socialised with kids (ours are 2, 4 and 6) and she sees other kids all the time, she just gets over-excited when she first sees a new one. We're working on it obvs but these things take more time than we have available between now and the weekend.

Booboostwo Sun 23-Aug-15 17:40:31

Tell them on of your DC's had chicken pox! That should put them off!

BrumpyGollocks Sun 23-Aug-15 18:00:04

I Agree with Boo!grin

If they do decide to still come though baby gates are a great idea, I have them in all of the downstairs doorways at the moment,it is much easier since they've been put up.

There are great ideas for Kong stuffing all over the net,one of mine won't touch peanut butter but loves mashed hard boiled eggs mixed with natural yoghurt & grated carrot,I freeze this recipe also.

Good luck if they do come op,sounds like you'll need it !

Pigeonpost Sun 23-Aug-15 21:18:01

Oh hell, they say they still want to come because the children need to get used to dogs. Arrrrrrgh. Wish me luck Doghousers...

Booboostwo Mon 24-Aug-15 13:05:35

Chicken pox quick and a suspected case of diphtheria for good measure so that you are quarrantined by the police.

Pigeonpost Sun 30-Aug-15 22:12:03

All alive and unscathed! One child wasn't actually that scared of the dog and the other didn't like going near her but was otherwise fine. Didn't even put the stair gate up in the end as I couldn't work out how to! DPup was BRILLIANT! Took her for a walk just before they arrived so she was tired and stocked up on about a million filled bones and fake pig's ear things which she has now distributed liberally around the house and a new squeaky toy and she was fine. No jumping or nipping at all, not even with my kids. Really pleased.

Booboostwo Mon 31-Aug-15 01:09:46

Great update!

orlakielyimnot Tue 08-Sep-15 20:58:35

Phew, that worked out well Pigeon!

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