My Parents won't train dog - DS terrified and new baby due in August

(15 Posts)
thepartysover Tue 19-Mar-19 09:43:07

Hi there

Hoping for some practical advice. My parents inherited a terrier (that was already trained) some time ago an d absolutely adored him. He passed away 2.5 years ago and they have since got a puppy. Same breed: wire haired terrier mix (looks most like a cairn terrier). Since then they have done little to nothing to train him - other than to make sure he did his business outside. They've had him for almost 2 years, so he is no longer a puppy yet still acts like one - jumping up, biting, barking. The only kind of discipline they seem to engage in is to say "stop that" or "no!" but it doesn't work. My son - who is fine with other dogs - is terrified of this dog, to the point where he doesn't want to go to their house. I have another child due in August and I'm increasingly worried about how the dog might react to that, especially once the baby is mobile / on the dog's level. Ideally I would like to encourage my parents to take steps to avoid further upset before then.

I have no idea why they got a puppy if they weren't prepared to put the work in to train him but obviously that's a moot point now. Is there anything that can be done at this stage to try and change the dog's ways? I also feel that perhaps the dog doesn't have enough stimulation as my parents are older and don't have the energy to walk him until he's tired / satisfied (they live in a rural location but can't let him off the lead for the reasons above, plus the fact he would run away).

All advice very gratefully received.

OP’s posts: |
Disfordarkchocolate Tue 19-Mar-19 09:47:33

We don't visit my PILs as their dog is badly behaved, constantly barks and is badly in need of more exercise. It's sad because we used to like visiting them and they love our son, it's sad but that's how it is when you don't properly train your dog.

Rattymam Tue 19-Mar-19 09:48:59

Tell them you won't be visiting again until they train and control their dog.

They are welcome at yours for visits WITHOUT the dog.

Megan2018 Tue 19-Mar-19 09:50:53

Just refuse to visit.
It's their dog - their choice. But it has consequences. They will only see the DC without the dog.

If they care enough about that they'll do something about it. Dogs can be trained at any age but the older they are the more work it is and they will need expert help.

I love animals and I'd want my DC to be happy and confident with dogs but there is no way on this earth I'd risk them with an untrained dog. Poor bloody dog too - they like boundaries, it is probably very stressed actually which is a terrible combo with kids.

ALargeGinPlease Tue 19-Mar-19 10:07:13

My MIL puts her aggressive terrier about her grandchildren, and then moans that we don't visit often.
If we do go, I make sure the dog is shut in a different room, if she lets the dog out (which she often does), I will either shut it back in again, or if she tells me not to, we leave.
At the end of the day, it's her choice to have the dog running free around my DC, and it's my choice whether I allow my dc to be put in danger.
Not much you can do re training their dog. It's something they'd have to commit to and it sounds like they don't want to/can't do.

thepartysover Tue 19-Mar-19 10:07:20

Yeah - I'd agree about the stress. To me (not in any way experienced with dogs!) he looks frustrated by lack of exercise / confused by where he fits in when people other than my parents are at the house. There is also an issue where my parents get annoyed that my son is causing "a fuss" but he's genuinely frightened as the dog chases his round and sees his fear as part of the game. I think the advice about not visiting is right, which is a shame.

OP’s posts: |
Ohyesiam Tue 19-Mar-19 10:09:39

Don’t go ther and tell them why


Tolleshunt Tue 19-Mar-19 10:18:53

Be straight with them. You will not be visiting with the children until the dog is trained, for the safety of the children. You could point out it's for the dog's benefit too, as I'm sure they wouldn't want to have it put down if it were to go for a child.

Ihaventgottimeforthis Tue 19-Mar-19 10:22:09

I did this - stayed away from my parents for a few days till they started taking me seriously about my concerns over DS and their dog.
DS wasn't frightened of their dog, quite the opposite, he would crawl all over him, hang on his collar etc and DM wouldn't be properly supervising. Their dog was a rescue, and whilst he was behaving very well, he was young too and I thought my DM & DF weren't watching closely.
So I stayed away until they agreed to book dog into training classes and take my concerns more seriously. Four years later, DS & dog are best of friends.

Ihaventgottimeforthis Tue 19-Mar-19 10:25:24

I'll add that I also taught DS about how to behave properly around dogs & treat them with respect as he was part of the problem, which clearly isn't the case here.
I feel sorry for your you & your DS, I hope it doesn't cause him to have a lifelong fear of dogs. Be tough with parents, you need to protect your DC's, never is the phrase better safe than sorry more appropriate than being careful around dogs !

thepartysover Tue 19-Mar-19 10:26:25

Ihaventgottimeforthis - that's cheering to know!

I've just sent an email detailing my concerns, especially with a baby on the way. I've spoken to them in person about it a lot but hopefully having things in black and white will help. They're definitely aware of the issue but my mum in particular is a bury-your-head-in-the-sand type. Again- why get a puppy if you haven't the energy or inclination to train the poor thing! Argh.

OP’s posts: |
Seniorschoolmum Tue 19-Mar-19 10:35:17

My ex bought a wire haired terrier puppy and ds who was 6 and staying with him was bitten. Ex didn’t know to take him to a doctor so he got a bad infection, I took ds to A&E, who are required to inform the police of dog bites to children.
Snce then, ex is very careful. I had to threaten to stop access to get him to deal with the issue properly.
That may be your only option- refuse to visit unless the dog is under control or elsewhere.

Ihaventgottimeforthis Tue 19-Mar-19 10:40:07

Good luck thepartysover - I literally got to the point where I was nearly shouting I don't want DDog to bite DS's face off, because if he does it will be your fault!!

Cue roll eyes etc from parentals but they got the message in the end. They were also lazy about poo picking so I had to tackle them about that too, again by shouting "If my DC's play in their poo it'll be YOUR FAULT".
Parenting DC's and parents AND their dogs is hard hard work!

thepartysover Tue 19-Mar-19 11:35:34

Ihaventgottimeforthis that's exactly what it feels like! The bigger issue here is my parents and their attitude towards these things. It has been the same with my mum smoking and then vaping - she expects everyone to live by her standards.

It's a very good point about biting, actually. My son is old enough to run away(!) but I can't imaging a situation in which the dog wouldn't see a baby as totally fair game. It's frightening to think about.

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 19-Mar-19 11:37:33

The dog can be trained - it can be done at any age. However, your parents will need to be the ones doing the work, and it sounds like they're not motivated (do they recognise that there's a problem?) so nothing will happen.

If your parents aren't willing to put the work in, then the only solution is to avoid the dog - either they come to you without the dog, or the dog is shut away when you visit.

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