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My Fiance's Dogs

November 4th, 2004, 06:50 AM
Dear Prudence,
I need help. I love my fiance, who is an awesome man: responsible, fun, loving, respectful, and has his life together. However … I hate his dogs. My fiance indulged them as puppies, and as a result, they are now bratty adults. Until recently, he didn't do much training, so they bark constantly, go to the bathroom in the house, beg for food (they will jump into your lap or onto the coffee table), and don't obey even simple commands. They drive me crazy, and I have tried insisting, coaxing, and reasoning with my fiance to train them … telling him they will be better dogs for it. I have my own dog that I've worked hard to train, and she is well behaved, so I know the time and patience it takes. I see the dogs every other weekend (we live several hours apart), and my feelings for them are steadily going down hill. My fiance knows that I think they are spoiled and need discipline, but he does not know the depth of my feelings. As much as I would like them to be gone, I could never ask him to give them up. It's not a topic I constantly bring up, as I'm trying not to nag him, but if I read an article or something in a book I offer it as something we could try. I'm almost at my wits' end. Looking toward our marriage next year, I just know living with them on a daily basis will be the cause of many arguments and much stress. I wish to avoid that. Any suggestions?

—Dog Lover Gone Rabid

Dear Dog,
Prudie is taking her life in her hands by even dealing with this letter because when she mentioned cats in a previous column, her computer started to smoke. But here are some ideas. Maybe the poorly trained dogs (well, OK, untrained) could be sent to doggy discipline school? It is unlikely, at this point, that you could make any headway with them yourself. Perhaps get a heated doghouse? You are right to feel you can't ask him to ditch his pets, BUT you need to arrive at some solution before you marry and live there full-time. It is important that your fiance know of your wish not to nag or be angry, but also that you have grave concerns about the stress and predictable arguments. (And your own "good dog" is not particularly helpful here. In people terms, it would be as if his kids were the juvenile delinquents and yours was the class valedictorian.) You are right to want a workable solution before they play "Here Comes the Bride," and Prudie hopes you get it. You must lay your cards on the table ... and not the coffee table.

—Prudie, preparedly