My fiance’s parents come from a culture where dogs are tied up outside and don’t come in the house, and certainly don’t lick humans and get attention from them. They were great with our past (smaller) dogs, but they have complained they “don’t like coming to [our] house” because of our new dog wanting their attention.
This really upsets me, because we love having family game nights and dinners, but they just want us to go to their tiny apartment instead, to avoid the big dog. I am really trying to change my mind-set and see where they are coming from, but man it is so hard, because I have such a strong love for animals. I can’t imagine someone going to a house and just wanting to ignore the pets and have nothing to do with them.
Is there something I can do here? They have asked us to crate him while they visit, but I find that so unfair to him. On one occasion, my fiance obliged and left him in the backyard, only to discover he got into things (of course he did!).
So my options are to only have family night at their house or crate him when they come over. I would understand this if they were scared of him or he was jumping on them constantly but neither of these things is happening! Am I being stubborn?
— Love Me, Love My Pets
Love Me, Love My Pets: Extremely. Just crate the dog.
And please “understand this” not because of this or that reason for disliking big dogs, but because these people are not you, and therefore you can reasonably expect them to look at things the way they see them, and not the way you see them. Period. Please apply this concept liberally beyond just dogs and homes.
Plus, your fiance has every right to welcome his parents in his home — and you owe it to your guests to make them feel comfortable, within reason, more than they owe it to you to have the same “strong love” for animals you do. (Which they owe you 0 percent, by the way.)
And: “I can’t imagine someone going to a house and just wanting to ignore the pets and have nothing to do with them"? Just wait till you meet people who aren’t charmed by your maybe-someday toddlers. Yikes.
Plus, crating is within reason, because it’s not torture. It’s arguably better for the animals to be in their cozy space than out and around people who see them as a nuisance.
I hope covering these details didn’t muffle the main point: that you think like yourself, they think like themselves and civilization hinges on your not conflating the two.