Family’s not following rules? Dear Labby advises

Dear Labby,

I just got an adorable Morkie puppy (Maltese/Yorkie mix). I’m staying with my family until I move out in August, and they are enjoying having the pup around more than they are willing to admit. I know it’s their house, but they are beginning to disregard the schedule and rules I put in place for my puppy. Granted, this isn’t a horrible problem but I fear she’s picking up bad habits because of it.

Should I step back because I’ve brought the dog into their house and not worry so much about her behavior? Or should I speak up and put my foot down to keep my puppy in order?

Signed:

I’m Trying to School A Little Lapdog Rather than Elicit Lots of Angst That Inadvertently Vexes Elders

It’d be one thing if you’d moved back in to your parents’ house, rent free, and told your mother to rearrange the living room or asked your father to give the polka records a rest. After all, it’s their house, you’re just passing through.

But the shaping of a living, breathing animal is very different from having to tolerate a little accordion music. Since your folks have agreed to accommodate both you and your pup, it’s perfectly legitimate to ask them to respect your training regimen.

Call a family meeting, I.T.S.A.L.L.R.E.L.A.T.I.V.E. Ask your parents for their help in creating a well-mannered delightful little dog that will continue to be the apple of everyone’s eye. “Dad, I’m really counting on you to ignore those big puppy eyes and refrain from feeding her table scraps–begging is a hard habit to correct.”

If that doesn’t work, try nasty threats: “Lay off the bacon sharing unless you want to see the food again… in your shoe!”

I recommend the first approach.