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Will you help me sort my thoughts?

Asked by longgone (7441 points ) May 19th, 2014

My sister owns a three-year-old maltese mix called Amy. In the last months, this dog has been getting more and more wary of strangers. We’ve been working on it, and are in the process of drafting a “treatment plan”. She learns fast – and hasn’t gotten aggressive yet – so we’re confident that turning her around is still possible.

I’m worried about a different issue: In two weeks, my family and I plan to visit my grandfather for the weekend. At least four other people will be there, none of which Amy knows. To make matters worse, my granddad is one of the most stubborn people I know. He’s had dogs for a million years, and he does know a lot about them…but it’s very likely that he will consider our careful training plan a waste of time.

I have three options:

1. Do Amy a favour, and stay home with her. That would make me sad, though. I don’t see this part of my family much.

2. Leave Amy, and possibly my own dog to keep Amy company, at a local kennel. Problem is, I haven’t found a kennel I like. There is one that sounds good, but there, she would be housed in a group of up to 30 dogs. They are outside all day long, supervised by experienced staff and free to run in an enormous “play space”. It would be bliss for many canines, but Amy, predictably, is very timid when harassed by other dogs. This option would also be moderately expensive, but we would just have to deal with that.

3. Take Amy. With this option, it is possible that someone manages to corner Amy, pressuring her into more unwanted behaviour. It is also very possible that, trying to prevent the aforementioned, I get into an argument with my granddad. It is no fun to argue with him, and I would like to avoid it.

Thoughts? My family tells me not to worry, which is good advice in general (I worry way too much). In this instance, though, I’d rather worry beforehand than deal with a dog who’s learned that – if all else fails – a bite will get rid of those pesky hands…

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