What do we do when our au pairs don’t like our pets?
No au pair is required or should be expected to take care of a dog by walking him, feeding him or training him. Pets are most assuredly not the responsibility of an au pair.
While a pet-friendly au pair may be happy to help with dog chores, that’s always at his or her discretion, and host parents should understand that they can’t assume the au pair will do anything more than make sure the dogs doesn’t escape out the front door or go too long without water in his bowl.
But what if the au pair and the dog just don’t get along?
JM Host Mom shared this problem in our conversation about New Year Review: Reset Au Pair Expectations for 2012. It was one of three issues that she was struggling to deal with. I think this problem is significant in its own right, so let ‘s talk about it.
Here’s JM Host Mom’s concern:
The dog. She hates our dog. Our dog hates her. Our dog is a sweet little dog who is very active and exciting. Granted, she’s not the easiest dog in the world IF you let her run wild and don’t correct her. But we’ve tried to be compassionate and have spent HUNDREDS of dollars on an in-home trainer since our au pair arrived to try to help. The poor dog gets so upset and anxious that she barks constantly at the au pair.
The au pair is not doing the things the trainer taught her. The au pair complains about the dog, and locks her in her crate for long periods of time because it’s the easiest thing to do. We keep asking her, “are you doing what the trainer taught us?” and she says, “well, no…” We tell her to do what the trainer taught us (it’s not like it’s that hard) and NOT to lock her in the crate (which just exacerbates the dog’s anxiety and makes it worse). But nothing changes. We keep coming home and finding the dog locked in the crate.
The au pair says “oh she’s only been in for a quick ten minute time out,” but we’re pretty sure she’s been in there a LONG time because we can tell by the dog’s behavior (she’s our dog, we know what she’s like). Any suggestions?