Love ya, but your dog is driving me nuts!

The other day, a friend asked me what's the nicest, most tactful way to tell his good friend that her dog is driving him nuts.  He says her dogs are very badly behaved, completely out of control, are terrible beggars, and even jump in his lap and try to steal his food when they're sitting at the dinner table.  And yet his friend does nothing.  It's getting so bad he really doesn't want to visit her anymore, but he really likes his friend and doesn't want to hurt her feelings.  In this case, I definitely consider myself fortunate to be in a position where people not only expect but pay me to tell them when their dogs need training.  But what about someone who isn't a dog trainer?  How should he or she handle this delicate situation?  Darn, if ever there was an occasion for a Hallmark card, this is it!  I really don't see this as much different than instances where you don't like a friend's spouse or significant other, kids, parents, etc.  It's a sticky situation.  He wondered if maybe buying her some dog training classes might be a nice way to do it.  I don't know if there really is a nice way to go about this, though I do like that idea a lot.  Not only would he be dropping a hint, but he's also showing her  he cares enough to help her with the cost.  But on the other hand, she might still be offended.  After all, it's pretty much the same as buying a dust buster for someone to let her know her house is a mess!  Plus, as we all know, people are real sensitive about their dogs, just as much, if not moreso, than they are about their kids.  Even still, for me, the direct approach is always best.  Simply, "hey, love you, but you're dogs are working my last nerve!" Delivered with a smile, of course.  And then, an offer to buy some lessons and even attend with the friend would be icing on the cake.  I figure if they're close enough, the friendship should survive this revelation.  This did get me thinking of some other creative ways to drop a hint to a friend or family member that their dog's behavior is bothersome:

1) Tell her you found out you're allergic to her dog.  No, not all dogs, just hers.

2) Every time her dog does something out of line, point and give the dog the CM "pssht."  And I do mean every time.  I guarantee before long, you'll start getting on her nerves.

3) Tell her you've given up her dogs for lent.

4) Buy her a bumper sticker that says, "My Dog Isn't Smarter than Your Pre-Schooler."

5) When together talk only about cats, cats, cats all day: how superior they are to dogs, how well behaved they are, how you like them so much better, and on and on.  She'll either get the picture or she'll get you a cat!