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home : columns : dear harriette October 22, 2020

9/26/2020 8:11:00 AM
Reader worried about having to choose dog over relationship

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I just moved in together about three months ago with each of our dogs. We have brought our dogs together for playdates before, and they were always playful. Since we have moved in, and they are together all the time, they are fighting and terrorizing our household. We have tried to keep them separate, but it's becoming an inconvenient task to make sure they never see or hear each other, which is quite impossible. They bark and go after each other every chance they get. My boyfriend seems to think we have to get rid of one of the dogs, but how do we begin to even make that decision? I know I do not want to give away my dog and I couldn't expect him to either. Where do we go from here? -- Feuding Dogs

DEAR FEUDING DOGS: I recommend that you two invest in a dog trainer who can take your dogs for a period of time and help them to get acclimated to each other. Trainers can often teach dogs how to behave in a way that can be challenging for owners. The trainer can also come to your home and work with the dogs there to see if you can reach peace in the household.

As far as letting one of your dogs go, that is virtually an impossible decision, certainly not one that I can make for you. If you end up believing that your household cannot survive both dogs together, you may need to find homes for both of them and start over again. Obviously, that would require very carefully finding the right home for each, so that they can prosper. Consider that a last resort.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an assistant manager at my store, with only two other associates. We do not have a store manager at the moment, so it is just us three. One of my co-workers does not respect my role in our store. While working the floor, he tells people that he's "basically" a manager because he handles things when I am not around. When I am around, he constantly makes the wrong decisions and repeats the same mistakes. When he digs himself into a hole that he cannot fix because he doesn't have proper credentials and his customer is now angry, he has to interrupt my customer and me to mend the relationship with his customer and compensate them for the confusion. This co-worker doesn't listen to my directions when I train or correct him. I am at my limit with this employee. I don't know what actions to take or how to inform my district manager. Any suggestions? -- Fed Up

DEAR FED UP: In your engagement with this employee, take the educational approach. Remind him of how you work with customers. Point out that when he has a problem, he must be discreet when he brings it to you, especially if you are working with another customer. Do your best to teach him even if he doesn't want to learn.

When you do get a new manager, privately mention your concerns. Ask for help in being able to do your job and guide this employee. Approach the situation clearly and matter-of-factly. Be strong in your role as assistant manager and ask your manager to help you with solutions. This shows your desire to cultivate your leadership skills.

If you get resistance from your manager, only then lodge your complaint with the district manager, making it clear that you are looking for guidance and are not trying to be a tattletale.

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