I cannot stop my mother in law feeding my dogs, as we work together and the dogs come to work with me every day. She feeds them sandwiches under her desk. I have asked her to stop but she takes no notice.
One of my dogs has allergies and I like to keep my eye on what he eats. She still will not listen if I tell her to stop. She will say he is not allergic to food and the vet is talking crap. Sometimes, our dogs stay with her and when we get them back, they act like they don’t want to be with us. In fact, Charlie our male dog, growls at me if I pick him up or stroke him.
I have had arguments with her regarding these problems, but she thinks I don’t know what I’m talking about. She treats them like human babies. I think she likes it that the dogs don’t like me. Can you help me please? Any advice is welcome.
There are several things going on here. One is that your mother-in-law doesn’t respect you. She overrules you on matters that you alone have authority over. I would have a talk with her and ask her why she does it. She may brush you off at first and deny there’s a problem, but persist. Without anger, ask her why she ignores your decisions about your dogs’ diet, as well as the advice of your veterinarian. Depending on how badly her treats impact your dogs’ allergies, think about not bringing them to work with you. If not bringing them to work is not an option for you, provide some treats that your dogs can enjoy and ask your mother-in-law to feed them those treats. Or confine the dogs to an area where they cannot get to your mother-in-law’s desk for sandwiches. I knew one person who tied a long leash around his waist at the office, and clipped the other end to his dog’s collar. The dog had to go everywhere with him. After a few weeks, he took off the leash and the dog stayed by his side, never left his office, and didn’t wander around anymore. It might work. It might also make a point.
As far as the dogs acting like they’re not happy to see you, don’t take it personally. Dogs don’t live in the future or the past the way humans do. You should, however, seek the help of a
trainer to deal with the dominance displayed by Charlie when you try to pick him up or stroke him. It could be that he dominates your mother-in-law while you’re away and he needs a reminder when you return. But dogs can grasp the concept of different relationships with different people, so some training might help. If your mother-in-law enjoys the fact that your dogs are not overjoyed to see you, that’s spiteful. You should address that with her, also.
You may not get anywhere by talking to her, but you may make a point on another level. Imagine that you’re your mother-in-law. You engage in these little passive-aggressive behaviors to get a rise out of your daughter-in-law. You’re creating a problem for her. But what would happen if, every time you do, she comes to you and you have to have this big talk about it. The fact that she’s passive-aggressive tells me she wants to avoid confrontation. If she has an uncomfortable conversation with you every time she does something like that, now it’s her problem, not yours. I’ve done this and it really works. Don’t be angry or dramatic. Just be serious and thorough. Look her in the eye. Ask her to answer your questions instead of brushing them off. Don’t let her get out of it quickly or easily. Tell her you really want to understand her point of view. She’ll tire of that quickly and stop triggering it. Give it a try.
By the way, where is your husband in all this? If he won’t stand up to mommy now, he never will. Ask him to talk with her, too.