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Unpredictable husky next door - any advice? (long post - sorry)

(16 Posts)
Solopower1 Thu 11-Dec-14 07:31:14

We have just moved into a new semi-detached house. Our neighbour has a husky who seemed friendly, but one night I was outside the back cutting up cardboard, and the dog went ballistic, snarling, growling, barking and trying to get over the fence, which is very low - about waist height. On his back legs, he is nearly as tall as I am, and half of his body was above the fence.

I have little grandchildren who visit me regularly, but I am too worried about the dog getting over the fence to allow the children to play in the garden.

As we come out of our back door, the dog's head is just inches from my arm. He always runs to see who is coming out, as he was friendly with the man who lived in the house before us, and who gave him treats.

The neighbour has a big garden, but the dog hardly ever goes out. He just lies curled up most of the time, and sometimes howls in a really sad way. We are concerned about him (and we were even before he became aggressive to me). When we first moved in, my son (19) wanted to ask the neighbour if he could take the dog for walks, but I don't think it's safe, because the dog could attack other dogs or even children - we just don't know him well enough yet.

The only things I can think of to do are to ask the neighbour if I can give the dog treats, to make friends with him, and to put up a higher fence. However, I am worried that the council might not allow me to alter the fence. Plus it seems really unfriendly, just after we have moved in.

The neighbour is a bit frosty, tbh - she never says hello, or even looks at us, but I am gong to make an effort to make friends once I finish work. At the moment, I hardly spend any time at home at all.

Any ideas??

goodasitgets Sun 14-Dec-14 03:28:07

No advice but sad
A breed that needs long walks. I dog sat for one, I think I totalled 50km the week I had her, I was collapsed on the sofa and she was dragging her lead over to me grin
Sounds under exercised, bored and fed up

goodasitgets Sun 14-Dec-14 03:30:22

Oops just seen about your son - that could work, all the ones I've known have had to be kept on lead due to habit of not returning if let off grin
Walking would probably help a lot if he is interested and wants to befriend dog?

Solopower1 Sun 14-Dec-14 12:07:50

Yes, Goodasitgets, he is, he would love to have a dog of his own (but we are both out all day and I am away most weekends).

What worries me is what would he do if the dog suddenly went berserk. I think he needs to give it some treats beforehand and go for walks with the neighbour and dog first, just so that he gets an idea of how obedient the dog is. But it all depends on how willing the neighbour is to 'share' her dog.

During the holidays we are going to see what we can do.

Thank you for your response.

tabulahrasa Sun 14-Dec-14 12:33:03

Has he been friendly every other time bar that night?

Some dogs can just be a bit wary of weird things (what they consider to be weird I mean) in the dark btw, without it actually meaning anything else.

Poor thing should be getting walks though sad and they usually recommend at least 6 foot fences as huskies are known to be quite good at escaping.

Solopower1 Sun 14-Dec-14 13:21:20

Yes, Tabulahrasa, he has been friendly, apart from that incident, and we all stroked him and talked to him over the fence. I was very happy at the thought of such a lovely dog next door. I think you are right - let's hope it was a one-off.

However, my confidence has been shaken a bit, and my son said that if he (the dog) did launch himself over the fence at one of my grandchildren, even if I were in the garden with them, I would not be able to fight him off.

The neighbour on the other side of me has put up a 6-foot fence, which is probably illegal, as he has young children who play in the garden. But I was just wondering if it might be a rather extreme reaction in my case.

tabulahrasa Sun 14-Dec-14 13:40:25

It is a bit extreme in that...making a lot of noise at a fence that most dogs could get over (assuming it is a 3 ft fence) and actually attacking is a pretty huge escalation of behaviour, and so it's fairly unlikely that it would suddenly decide to do that.

But, it's probably the least stressful solution - for you and the dog tbh, it means the dog wouldn't have to be worried about what you're doing as he won't be able to see you.

I mean, having a dog barking at you in your garden isn't exactly fun and the dog is clearly upset while doing it.

You could contact the dog warden and the council (if they're council houses, I'm assuming they are as you mentioned them in respect to fence heights) but putting up a fence is easier and less likely to annoy your neighbour than doing that.

Solopower1 Sun 14-Dec-14 15:41:22

Yes, Tabulahrasa - I really don't want to get this out of perspective. What you said above is probably right, imo, in that it was dark, and the noise of the cardboard being cut might have upset him. Also, I'm sure if he had really wanted to attack me, he could have got over the fence, and he didn't. But he was quite ferocious ...

I don't think I would ever consider contacting the Council about the dog! I think his problem (if he has one) is most likely to be down to lack of exercise. I think I need to develop my relationship with my neighbour - which is difficult at the moment, because I am never there.

Solopower1 Sun 14-Dec-14 15:42:41

And I am thinking about a fence.

tabulahrasa Sun 14-Dec-14 16:34:49

I wouldn't contact the council either...but you'd be quite right to if it was causing a problem for you smile

If it was me and the cost isn't an issue, I'd just stick a fence up - I doubt the dog will do anything worse than the big scary display that it's already done, but, that's not what you want when you're in your garden don't need to be worrying then if something's going to stress out the dog.

Solopower1 Sun 14-Dec-14 17:42:28

Well cost is an issue - a big one! Also, I don't want to alienate the neighbour. But I am beginning to think a fence is probably a good idea - plus trying to make friends!

Thanks for your advice. It helps to 'talk' things through. smile

writingbeagle Sun 14-Dec-14 17:57:50

Just to give a different perspective (and not wanting to alarm you - I've been watching this thread for a while and wondering whether to say this...) I used to run along the road I live on (country lane). A couple of times I ran past a dog which was right up with both front paws on the wall barking at me. It was really aggressive and it frightened me to the point I got DH to speak to the owner who he knew a little bit. They said that he couldn't get out... Well, you can guess what happened, one time I was running, same thing, except then the dog vaulted the wall, ran up to me and bit me. It was a kind of warning bite - just one on the top of my thigh - but it left a massive bruise and a whole load of teeth puncture marks. Luckily, someone alerted the owner who came out and took him away, but I was really shaken up and have been too scared to run outdoors on my own since.

I'm pretty sure I was very unlucky and it was an extreme reaction, but I was very aware that if I'd been a small child, the bite would have been chest/neck height. My point, OP, is I would trust your instincts if the dog seems aggressive. I didn't own a dog at the time but I think I just felt that it's aggression was more than just barking in its own garden.

So, I'd speak to the owner but seriously think about the fence if your grandchildren are out in the garden. Even if the risk is tiny, you'd never forgive yourself if something happened.

Solopower1 Sun 14-Dec-14 18:09:31

How awful for you, Writingbeagle - especially that you have not been able to run since. Some dogs do chase runners and cyclists - it can make you feel very nervous.

Thank you for posting. I appreciate the other perspective. I probably will get the fence!

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 17-Dec-14 22:09:13

My neighbour has a black lab that we have never once seen them walk or play with in the garden. Sometimes they let him out but just to toilet and they just chuck him out and shut the door. If he sees any movement in our garden - anything - he runs up and down the boundary snarling and snapping and barking til they run out, swearing at him and drag him inside. (It's not like an untrained, neglected dog is going to have any recall).

It also howls all day. As if they go out they leave it alone.

I have been contemplating ringing the council Dog Warden. Maybe you should too..?

Why do people buy huskies if they can't offer them several hours' a day exercise? They're working dogs - there should be a law preventing people from owning these dogs - they do seem to often be unreliable and vicious.

Six foot fence, too. Mine is being replaced by the council. They have never in their history put up anything but a three foot fence between gardens. They're giving me a five foot fence.

Toooldtobearsed Thu 18-Dec-14 11:13:28

Solo could you not put some trellis up? It would mean you could tell your neighbours you want to train some climbers, and so not fall out with them, but would give you an added sense of security. It may also reassure the dog who was probably just defending 'his' garden.
I know if push came to shove any dog could knock trellis down, but it should be a good deterrent, providing he is not determined to get in!

Solopower1 Fri 19-Dec-14 05:50:09

Toooldtobearsed, I like the idea of a trellis - it wouldn't seem so unfriendly. I think what others have said is right too, in that it would be better for him too not to see us. It might make him calmer.

JoffreyBaratheon that's very unpleasant for you, and it is not fair on the dog either. I think people get carried away with the idea of having a dog, or they see a cute puppy, without understanding that there is an enormous amount of walking needed, especially for a large dog. The dog next to us is absolutely beautiful - he would win prizes - but he is unhappy. He should be running miles every day - it's not a nice life for him. Glad you're getting a fence.

But I'm not sure I would call the dog warden. If they did find that the dog wasn't being looked after, they might take him away, and if no-one wanted him, he would be put down. I'd hate the thought of that. Plus, your neighbours would never forgive you!

It's better imo to try to discuss it with the neighbour, but how do you talk to someone who is treating a dog like that?? I'm afraid I'm a bit of a coward - don't think I would be able to stand my ground. And my neighbour seems to hide from me - I never see her. We haven't given up on the idea of making friends with the dog, and possibly offering to walk him. Just waiting for the hols.

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