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Would you be offended by someone not trusting your dog?

(93 Posts)
LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:07:17

NC as very identifiable situation that I'm seeking advice on from various sources. Firstly, I am very afraid of dogs. I can't help it, it comes from childhood experiences. I don't mind being around dogs on leads but I am terrified of them loose. I rarely have to encounter this so up til now, it hasn't been an issue.

However, my neighbours recently acquired a dog. A couple of months ago he was a tiny puppy and I didn't mind him. However, it's a pitbull and has very quickly become big and intimidating to look at (to me, someone already scared of dogs).

They don't seem to take it on walks; they let it out into the garden throughout the day. There is no division between our gardens, just a path running down the middle.

When I realised the dog was pooing on our lawn - several big piles on one morning - I was fuming but politely went over and mentioned it. They were apologetic, cleared it up and mowed our lawn. I don't think they saw why I didn't want it in the garden at all, even if they cleared up the poo but they offered to put a fence up and to keep the dog on their walled patio until the fence is up. I was happy with this. Everything was civil and friendly. I didn't see any more poo on the lawn, though a ball belonging to my son that was left out has been bitten and deflated so it's possible the dog has been back in the garden or maybe it was something else.

This morning, I took my 2 year old out to play and the dog came out onto the patio. No sign of the owners. It jumped up with its front paws on the patio wall and was watching us intently - probably friendly, but I am worried it thinks of the whole garden as its territory as it has had free reign to run over our lawn up until I asked them to stop it. Anyway, I don't have a rational reaction to dogs, my heart was pounding and I was shaking with fear. I'm pretty certain it can jump over the wall. I took my son back in the house quickly and called out to the owner. A few minutes later, she pounded on the door demanding to know what had happened. I said nothing had happened but I was worried the dog would jump the wall so had come back inside and asked if she'd shut the dog in for a few minutes so I could go back out to get my toddler's toy (ironically, a toy dog which he loves). She argued that the dog wouldn't jump the wall - she said he could but he won't. I said I was sorry but I just don't trust it. She snapped at me to call the authorities then and stormed back into her house slamming the door.

Up until now everything has been friendly and whilst I explained that dogs make me nervous, I haven't expressed any anger - though, I'm actually raging that they would let their dog have the run of our garden and to use it as a toilet even if they were happy to pick up after it. I can only think that she took great offence when I said I don't trust the dog. But I have two young children, limited experience of dogs and I have no idea how they are training this one so why would I trust it?

I was really upset this morning, both from the panic I felt on seeing the dog and thinking it was going to jump and from the unpleasant shift in her attitude. Her husband is a verbally aggressive, shouty man - I have previously witnessed eight police officers restraining him outside our house one Sunday afternoon. These are not people I want to antagonise.

But, I can't use my own garden. I don't trust them to restrain the dog adequately. They have been promising the fence every weekend; supposedly it will go up next weekend but I'm worried that it will only run either side of a hedge which I doubt is high enough to keep the dog behind. I'll probably never be able to relax with a dog so close but if I felt the fence and hedge were high enough, I could take my kids out with the rational knowledge it was safe.

Right now, with no fence I can't go into the garden at all. My 5yo has chicken pox so we are confined to the house completely. I'm keen to sell later this year so don't especially want this to escalate into a dispute. I just want them to make sure that the dog cannot access our garden and I think that's fair.

So, as people experienced with dogs, would you be offended by my attitude towards the dog? Does anyone have any advice about how I can resolve this?

(Yes, I know I could get help with my fear of dogs but I'm not in a position to pay for any sort of therapy and it doesn't have an impact on my life usually - until now, when a pitbull is sharing my garden!)

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:13:29

Just to add, other neighbours have complained about the dog barking. It doesn't particularly bother me so I've said nothing about it, but that might have made her especially sensitive to further criticism of the dog.

tabulahrasa Sun 15-May-16 13:15:05

Not that it matters much, but if you're in the UK it won't be a pitbull.

You're perfectly within your rights to expect them to keep their dog in their own garden, scared of dogs or not and it's something they should have planned to do as soon as, in fact before they got the puppy.

It's not ok to be having your dog going into your neighbour's garden, especially if you know they're scared of dogs.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Sun 15-May-16 13:17:21

The dog should stay in his garden, but since he is, that shouldn't be a concern.

Pit bulls aren't very big and are also illegal in the UK. Are you sure he isn't a Staffy?

I love dogs but I sympathise as am frightened of some breeds, but I do think it's very unreasonable to mither your neighbours because their dog was in his garden.

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:18:24

I am in the U.K. The man next door told me it's a pitbull and it looks like one from my search of Google images. That search also told me pitbulls are illegal here so maybe it's a cross between a pitbull and something else? Would that be allowed? He definitely said it was a pitbull when I asked him.

Dakin1 Sun 15-May-16 13:19:39

That sounds horrendous sad I would be livid if a dog shit in my garden where my kids played, even if the owners did clean it up. I hope the fence solves your issue and you manage to sell asap - ideally to dog lovers with no kids!

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:19:56

And, kate, I think the dog can jump over the wall so how do I know it will stay in its garden? I don't want to test it out by waiting to see if it does!

aginghippy Sun 15-May-16 13:20:18

I wouldn't be offended, I am the one who chose to have a dog. It's not compulsory to like dogs or even tolerate them. Your neighbour is being unreasonable.

You can't control your neighbours' behaviour or turn them into nice people. IIWY I would put up my own fence, not rely on the neighbours doing anything. That way, you can be confident that the fence will be high enough and strong enough. Yes, it's an expense, but you will gain peace of mind and avoid getting into any disputes.

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:21:49

That is a good point. Our own fence would solve the problem. I'll get a quote for one.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Sun 15-May-16 13:21:55

I am fairly sure even pit bull crosses are illegal, unless you have a special licence. A lady who used to live near me had a pit bull, but she had rescued her from an underground fighting scene sad The dog was actually lovely around humans but violent to other dogs so as a condition of her keeping the dog she had to have a muzzle on in public (the dog, not her owner obviously!)

As I say, I do really sympathise as I'm terrified of Dobermans. I know they are incredibly intelligent and lovely dogs but a really rough family had three when I was a child and they used to hurl themselves against the flimsy gate when you walked past and it really frightened me, so I do sympathise, but just the same when you boil it down you're effectively insisting they don't allow the dog out when your child is out, which isn't fair?

tabulahrasa Sun 15-May-16 13:25:38

"The man next door told me it's a pitbull"

All that tells you is that your neighbour is a bit of a tosser...and you already know that by the fact they think it's fine to let their dog go in your garden.

If you can, yeah, get your own fence, you shouldn't have to, but it's probably the quickest easiest way of keeping the dog in their garden.

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:27:57

Well, if their dog is illegal then that might explain why she was so prickly about it? I'm looking at pictures of dogs online and the one it looks most like is a pitbull. It's brown and white. It is a big dog though. I don't know why he told me it was a pitbull unless he meant it as a joke.

kate, you're right - I am unhappy when the dog is outside at all and I know that's not reasonable which is why I asked. It's hard to be rational about it. But they leave the patio doors open and it can wander in and out at will when the weather is nice so I don't feel like I can take my kids out at all. Our own fence is obviously the answer though and it will sort the problem.

pigsDOfly Sun 15-May-16 13:28:13

I was also wondering about it being a pitbull. I take it you aren't in the UK OP?

Not sure what you can do about it tbh, sorry that's not helpful. But if they aren't controlling their dog it rather depends on the laws in the country you're in as to what can be done about it. Have you spoken to your other neighbours about the dog running free? They can't be happy about it surely.

You're certainly not unreasonable to be very wary of a pitbull, or any other dog come to that. Would you be in a position to put a fence up: realise you shouldn't have to but from the sound of them I would think it unlikely they're actually going to do anything about it.

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:30:13

It looks exactly like this but more brown and not quite so stocky.

MissBattleaxe Sun 15-May-16 13:30:17

I think they are being unreasonable. It doesn't matter what kind of dog it is. If you don't want it in your garden, then it shouldn't be in your garden.

murphyslaws Sun 15-May-16 13:30:19

I'm sorry but you can't trust any animal. That owner does not know if it is in a bad mood. It might get startled

How many accidents with animals happen and the owners are adamant it has never happened before.

I love animals but I don't trust them X.

elephantpig Sun 15-May-16 13:30:33

I have a teeny little poodle and wouldn't be offended if you didn't trust him. I have a family member who is a little jumpy around dogs but mainly just hates dogs rather than is scared. That doesn't offend me either.

I'm an only child with little experience of children and I don't feel comfortable around them. I want my own at some point then I'll 'get' them, but right now if a kid comes running up to me I have no idea how to react. I would hope that my reaction wouldn't offend you, and that you would just realise that I don't really want to be left alone with your child.

I don't understand how one persons feelings on your preferences can be offensive. 'I'm so offended that you don't like pasta'
'I'm offended that you wouldn't choose my house to live in'

It's really weird...

MissBattleaxe Sun 15-May-16 13:30:52

Forgot to add: if they don't exercise it then they are not very good dog owners anyway.

pigsDOfly Sun 15-May-16 13:32:04

X post with several other pps. Must type faster.

Well, if it definitely is a pitbull you need to report it. I rather suspect he's realised you're nervous of dogs and is being nasty though.

pigsDOfly Sun 15-May-16 13:32:30


LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:32:32

I am in the U.K. Other neighbours have a big fence so the dog can't get into their garden. They have complained about it barking though.

I don't know how we will afford a fence as no spare money just at the moment as we've had a new kitchen this year but I'll get a quote and find a way to pay for it. I think that's the only answer really and I feel like the problem is one that can be resolved now - I felt really helpless before.

tabulahrasa Sun 15-May-16 13:34:31

He'll have said it was a pitbull because there are certain types of people who like people to think they own illegal dogs, it'll be a staffy cross, probably with am bull in there, there are people who breed them to look a bit like pitbulls hmm

It doesn't really matter what kind of dog it is though, it shouldn't be in your garden.

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:35:55

Yes, his pitbull comment was likely unpleasantness and it could be a Staffy. But even if it was a chihuahua, I wouldn't want it in my garden. I agree with murphy, any animal could be provoked or ill and behave unpredictably.

LaserShark Sun 15-May-16 13:36:30

Thanks, tabula, that makes sense.

Dieu Sun 15-May-16 13:38:38

It's probably a Staffie and she's getting sick of negative attitudes towards it confused

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