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Is there anything I can do about next door's dog?

(12 Posts)
ShowOfHands Fri 05-Aug-11 16:30:49

I have no idea what sort of dog she is but she's big and powerfully built, has v sturdy and muscular front legs/chest and comes up to my thigh. She has a sort of square face and is a mottled dark brown/grey colour. Not sure if knowing what she is would help.

Anyway, she- according to her owner -'does not like strangers'. We've lived here for 9 months and over the winter it wasn't so difficult as the dog wasn't in the garden so much and neither were we but now the weather's nice she's out there all the time. She clearly doesn't like dh and me (snarls and growls through the fence, tracking us as we move round the garden, barking warnings at us if we move too near to the fence separating our gardens) but she REALLY doesn't like 4yo dd and it's starting to frighten dd. The dog leaps up and bodily flings herself at the fence, barks continuously, snarls, seems to be trying to get over the fence half the time. And she does not stop unless we take dd back indoors.

We've talked to the neighbour who just says 'oh she doesn't like children' and 'yes she's funny like that' but is this normal? Is there any onus on the owner to stop the dog behaving like that? I don't want to fall out with the owner, she's pleasant enough, but I'd like to be able to reasonably suggest something to her that might help. At the moment we can't enjoy our garden because the dog's trying to get at dd all the time. The owner does pull the dog away with a sharp 'stop that' if she's out there too but often the dog's out there alone and without intervention she just carries on.

LordOfTheFlies Fri 05-Aug-11 17:19:53

I have a notion of where you're at .My DD is older than yours (9) but doesn't like/is scared of dogs.
Next door have a lovely, child friendly lab. Neighbour is a CM.

I would think that while the dog is in her own garden there is nothing you can do.
Is the dividing fence yours or neighbours.
Is it high enough?
If it was your neighbours then I'm sure legally she would have to make sure her dog was contained, especially as she admits the dog doesn't like children.

If it's your can you improve it, maybe line of trees in pots?

Maybe she doesn't want your DD to approach the dog if you meet her outside?

If the dog did get into your garden, that's a whole other ball game!

exexpat Fri 05-Aug-11 17:30:08

Can the dog see your DD through the fence, or just hear or smell her? If it's a question of seeing through the fence, perhaps you could put another layer of something along it to block it out.

But otherwise, if you think the owner is a reasonable sort, maybe you could invite her round while her dog is in the garden and your DD is in yours, so she can see/hear all the growling and threatening behaviour, and how persistent it is, and maybe realise how disturbing it is from your point of view - then she might be more responsive to your requests for her to take the dog inside when you are using your garden.

LordOfTheFlies Fri 05-Aug-11 17:47:43

A biggish dog leaping at a fence and barking would scare the BeJe*us out of me, never mind a small child.

Can you video it (with all the barking) just in case she doesn't get it?

ShowOfHands Fri 05-Aug-11 17:50:07

The dog can see dd. Not through the fence bit but further down, as you go into the garden, there's a line of thick conifers, backed with a high mesh fence. So the dog nips through a gap in the conifers and is up against the mesh fence, watching dd's every move and stalking along next to her, snarling, baring teeth, barking until we get to the fence bit where the dog can't see us but can hear and smell us and starts banging herself against the fence, scrabbling with her claws, snarling and generally barking like dd's a cat.

The fence, mesh, conifers etc belong to the neighbour. We own the fence on the other side. The dog won't get through I think and I don't actually want to stop them enjoying their garden. It's private property too so I presume they can largely do what they like but I wondered if it shouldn't be suggested to her that the dog needs some training. Presumably it's behaviour you can stop? Thing is, the dog isn't taken out much as their garden is big but she's a powerful animal and if she doesn't like children then surely there's a risk when she is taken out. I have no idea about the responsibilities of dog owners.

The owner knows the problem as she works in a shop down the road and when we pop in and chat she sometimes says 'oh I heard M (the dog) telling off your dd again, she's always been like that with dc'.

The odd bark and excitable behaviour's fine but this dog seems to think dd's dinner.

ShowOfHands Fri 05-Aug-11 17:52:09

DD isn't scared of dogs in general btw. We're very careful to play down what the dog's doing, tell dd she's just guarding her territory and to just stay well away, not look at her, approach her or ever hold out a hand near the fence.

It does make you jump though. More than once I've chucked a basket of washing in the air in fright as she bowls across the lawn to leap up at you.

foolserrand Fri 05-Aug-11 18:10:21

There's a great little device called the "pet corrector". It's an aerosol can and emits a nasty hiss noise when depressed. the theory behind it is that the sudden shock of the noise distracts the dog (or cat) from the negative behaviour. They aren't cheap, but they work.

A cheap alternative is an empty bottle with some stones in. Throw it at the fence when the dog is being nasty. It will learn.

The owner should supervise her dog at all times if it is showing aggression but as she doesn't, I would personally react in her place.

ShowOfHands Fri 05-Aug-11 18:17:30

Oh gosh. I'm not sure I want to intervene myself. Is that really a good thing to do? I don't want to antagonise the dog or her owner (really she's quite pleasant). I'd like her to take responsibility for her dog's behaviour. She won't though realistically.

foolserrand Fri 05-Aug-11 18:25:55

Ask her first. My suggestions don't hurt, annoy or cause you to come into direct contact with the dog. It will just stop it bothering you. If my dogs were doing that, I would be fine with people stopping it if I wasn't. It's not fair on you to have this creature ruining your time in your garden.

scarlettlips Fri 05-Aug-11 19:54:14

I was just wondering if you have met the dog out with it's owner whist on a walk etc, how does it behavior? Is it's owner present in the garden at the same time as your DD? Does it also behave like this or just when it's left alone?

Clearly it's very territorial. Boredom and isolation aren't helping this poor mut.
I say poor as clearly it's owners don't know how to properly socialize their dog.

I think you should invite your neighbor over and have them watch (out of sight) their dog whist your DD is in the garden playing...and politely suggest that something needs to be done. Keep a diary and if you can video from a bedroom window.

I'd also add another layer to your garden...if nothing else to make DD feel safer and happier whist playing.

Failing that, barking is a nuisance. If you inform your council they have a duty to investigate it. And a noise abatement notice can be served.

Are you in England? You might find this useful? www.defra.gov.uk/publications/2011/06/21/pb13573-dogs-law-you/

Good Luck

ShowOfHands Fri 05-Aug-11 20:07:40

As I said, yes the owner does see it sometimes and tells the dog to 'stop it' while pulling it away. But she does spend a lot of time out there on her own. There's no way the owner couldn't know tbh as it's a big, loud dog having a very visceral reaction to dd's presence.

We've only seen her out with the dog twice, usually heading for the vet down the road but we haven't had dd with us at the time. First time the dog barked madly as we passed and the second they were across the road and the dog was busy barking at a van.

I'll have a look at your link, thanks...

Rhinestone Fri 05-Aug-11 20:11:48

Your neighbour is the kind of irresponsible dog person who really annoys me. The dog is just being a dog, it's not being bad or anything, it's just behaving in an undesirable way and the owner needs to take responsibility.

Yes, they have a right to enjoy their garden but you presumably feel on edge whenever you're in yours. I think the suggestions of getting neighbour round and / or videoing the dog are excellent but you need to lay it on the line that she needs to alter this behaviour or you'll be talking to the council.

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