Uncommon Sense: “How Do I Deal with My Stepdaughter’s Messy Dogs?”

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Whenever my stepdaughter visits, she brings her two large dogs. She has never asked us if it’s OK that they come inside, and they make a mess. How can I accomodate her needs and ours?  —Pooch Problems


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22 thoughts on “Uncommon Sense: “How Do I Deal with My Stepdaughter’s Messy Dogs?”

  1. She may not see it as a mess. If you do not mind having the dogs in your home, let her bring the dogs but let her know every time you see a mess . If she does not clean it, let her know next time that she cannot bring them and give her the specifics from her previous visit.

  2. If you are a new addition to your stepdaughter’s family, or if your relationship with her is poor, making her and her dogs feel absolutely welcome is more important than any mess they might make while visiting, and you should say nothing. If your relationship with her is strong enough, you could purchase a baby gate to keep the dogs in an easy-to-clean room such as an entryway or kitchen, where they can still see and interact with human family members during the visit, but can’t make a mess. Call your stepdaughter ahead of time to ask if she thinks they would be okay that way, and suggest that she bring their favorite blanket and toys from home. Buy a bag of dog treats to make the transition go smoothly for all involved.

  3. Give your daughter-in-law a list of boarding pet salons. tell her she is always welcome but you can not tolerate the mess her dogs make.

  4. It’s summer. Hold your next family gathering outside. The next time your stepdaughter visits, point out that the dogs had such a wonderful time outside and (strongly) suggest that they stay there on future visits as well. If winter is a consideration in your area, designate a specific area of your house (i.e. the kitchen or the laundry room) as the “dog zone” and confine the dogs there. If your stepdaughter protests, and her Father sides with her, have the house professionally cleaned after her next visit and invite her and her Father to share the cost. I take my large dog with me when I visit my Mother who does not have a dog. He is very well behaved and does not shed much. However, I always pick up his toys and vaccuum just before we leave. It’s called “being a responsible adult.” Your stepdaughter should give it a try!

  5. I’m guessing you really don’t want HER to visit and complaining about her dogs is an excuse. She was there before you, get over it.

  6. Your problem is two fold.
    1) You need to work on improving communications with your extended family.
    2) The dogs:
    A] As they come in the front door, escort them straight out the backdoor to your fenced yard or doggy proofed playroom, where there is water and snack and a place to romp.
    B] Gather up some local Doggy Daycare pamphlets and mail them to your stepdaughter. (I’ve actually done both of these.)
    C] Pack a picnic hamper and set the visit up to be held at the local dog park.
    D] Where ever they play, ask your stepdaughter to help pick up before they depart.from the visit..
    NOTE: Since she is your stepdaughter, you may want to discuss these options with your spouse first, so the two of you can present a calm, loving,united front of acceptable options from which she can choose to help resolve the issue..

  7. The problem isn’t the stepdaughter or her dogs. Your husband is the problem. He needs to tell his daughter that she is always welcome and there’s a great kennel nearby for her dogs.

  8. My best advice is to lock them outside if its not to hot. Or you can put a baby gate and lock them in there in like a corner of the house or something!

  9. This falls under being considerate, has a dog owner this should be a must do!
    With care explain this to your stepdaughter Im sure she will understand

  10. As a dog lover, myself I imagine your step-daughter considers her dogs like her children and can’t imagine why she shouldn’t bring them over. Maybe to help contain them (which I am sure she will also appreciate the gesture), set up an area for her dogs to have all their own. In a certain room, or if you have a screened/closed-in porch, make up little beds with old blankets and water and toys. Then when she next comes over with the dogs say that you have a special surprise and show her and the dogs and then let them stay there while you all go sit down. She will most likely appreciate that you took time to think of her dogs and they will be contained so as not to make a mess all over your home.

  11. We, and most of the extended family are dog people. But, we are clear with each other about which homes the dogs are welcome in. We do not even bring small dogs to certain homes. We always ask before bringing them anywhere, because it may not be appropriate for every occasion. You didn’t state whether these visits are short term or long term, or what type of mess they make, or whether you have dogs, or your stepdaughter’s age. Situation is more difficult if she is a minor and can’t leave the dogs with her mother! If this is the case, your husband has to grow a set and handle it, and you would have to accept the outcome, and be a good stepmother. Just be clear about your feelings. Daughter may think that her dogs are welcome. Either way, she needs to learn that even where they are welcome, their mess is not. Leave emotion out of the discussion. You don’t need to defend why you prefer the dogs not come. You have the right for your home to be dog-mess free.

  12. First, ask her to get doggie daycare or have a friend watch the dogs. If she refuses then ask her to bring 2 cages for the dogs to stay in while at your home. They can be taken out when she wants to walk or play with them.. It is your home…take charge.

  13. First, get in synch with your spouse—you’re the STEP-parent—make sure you’re both on the same page about this. Then, remember that it’s your house and you get to make the rules. Tell this thoughtless step-daughter that she’s always welcome, but the dogs aren’t. If you can afford it, offer to pay for a doggie hotel.

  14. You didn’t mention if your step-daughter has kids of her own, but for many people, their dogs are their children and they treat them as such. Just as you would make your grandchildren feel welcome, it means a great deal to your daughter for you to make her dogs feel welcome. Even though you may not be a dog lover yourself, your daughter is and she very likely sees her dogs as her family. I am sure you love her and love having her visit, so put aside your messes for a bit and enjoy the time with her. As mothers we make sacrifices all the time for our children and they will always love and remember us for that. The dogs’ messes will be forgotten quickly. Her memories of visits to your home will never be forgotten.

  15. I enjoy our visits but the doggie surprises not so much so can we please keep the dogs outdoors or visit at your place.

  16. You know I love seeing you and your dogs. My only problem is, I don’t have dogs therefore it would be wonderful if you could stick around and clean up after them or hire me a maid. Would you care for some tea dear?.

  17. Next time she asks to visit, ask her to bring a dog house or a similar lodging for the dogs to stay outside. If she doesn’t take the hint, ask her to leave them at home.

  18. First, quit treating your step daughter like a visitor and start treating her like family (including her dogs). Come along side her and help/teach her how to clean up messes and care for the dogs….that will show her that you care for her, also.

  19. make accommodations outside and insist the dogs stay there. otherwise ask that they stay somewhere else while you visit.

  20. Can’t wate to see you. I’m sure the dogs will really enjoy the pet resort and grooming solon just down the road.

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