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My future in-laws have a rat-terrier mix that has a growing aggression problem. I have grown up with dogs and absolutely love dogs but I cannot stand this one. I think my problem is more that my in-laws don't recognize the growing problem or think there is anything wrong with him. I have witnessed him snap at people three times now since I have known them (2 years) and I have heard multiple people mention to me that they have had similar incidents, and it concerns me. Two of those incidents were with children both unprovoked with limited warning signs...

Although we don't have children yet, we do plan on having them and we were planning on having my in-laws babysit them. Now I'm questioning that decision because of the dog. My fiance and I both feel the same way and he has mentioned the snapping thing to his parents a couple times.

I guess I'm just frustrated and I don't know what to do. I don't want to cause tension with my in-laws because they are great people but I also am concerned for any children that we have and would hate for something really bad to happen. I also want to make sure that I'm not just overreacting and being too "mama bear."

Thank you!
 

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You're in a tough position. Unfortunately, it's their dog and if they don't mind the way it acts, there's not much you can do. However, you are within your rights to be concerned about any future children you have. I would imagine that if you don't bring the child over to their house, they will wonder why. At that point, the door will be open for you to explain that you don't trust the dog around your child. If they want to see their grandchild, they will have to do it at your house while they have the dog at their house.
 

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The other option, in terms of future children, would be to ask them to keep the dog in a kennel or another room while your child(ren) is/are there. It is curious that your future in-laws don't see the dog's snappiness as a potential problem, though. Is it just that the dog has air-snapped as opposed to actually sinking its teeth into someone? Or that they assume that a small dog can't do any damage (which is ridiculous). As someone who owns a small dog, I really don't like it when small dogs are allowed to get away with rude behavior just because they're small, as it makes people assume that all small dogs misbehave or can't be trained, neither of which are true.

BTW, I don't mean to imply that there's no reason to be concerned about snappiness so long as an actual bite doesn't occur. I was just wondering if that's what your in-laws might be thinking.
 

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My mother in law has a Charles Springer Spaniel that is aggressive and very needy, and she also has a really obnoxiously hyper cocker spaniel. Neither of her dogs listen to her. She brings them with when she visits us, and expects us to quarantine our two large dogs from her dogs because her dogs don't get along with anyone.

It's a really tough situation, and we are in the same boat kind of, as we are trying to have a baby. It worries me if she comes to visit what her dogs might do. Our dogs are trained and listen to us. She yells at her dogs and they don't listen to her for anything. I've been considering asking if she can leave that at home, but my husband said she'd probably get really mad at me.
 
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