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worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs
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Author:  littlebird [ Mon May 28, 2012 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

We live on the second floor of a set of triplexes. The people diagonally downstairs from us (not right beneath us) have two pitty-type dogs and a couple teenagers. They are pretty nice people, the dad is very chatty and friendly and the girls cat sit for us. The stairs that the 4 upper level apartments share end right at the foot of these guys' porch and front steps. Their porch is separate from our stairs though, and usually baby-gated with the front door open and the dogs in and out (in summer).

Anyway, that's the set-up. It's been great, my toddler loves to look at the dogs and their two girls love her, so we've spent a fair amount of time hanging out at the bottom of our stairs chatting with them. They've been good about the dogs, never have them physically unrestrained and seem to be aware of keeping them out of my dd's space. I am pretty dog-safety conscious... I love dogs, but I'm not interested in other people's (generally ill-behaved) pets jumping on my kid.

However, I am starting to get concerned. The female dog is more barky than the other, and will occasionally, if the owners are inside, bark at me while I walk up the stairs. She puts her paws up on the railing and will bark until you're past a certain stair. This is seemingly triggered by random things, sometimes she doesn't do it at all. She also seems to bark more at people passing by on the sidewalk. It really does seem to be increasing.

Then, the other day, the two of them started barking insanely at another dog passing by. Like really angry vicious barking. The poor dog shiitake himself and the owner basically had to run by the house. The owners were not around, which is unusual... usually they reprimand the dogs quickly. I was about to come down the stairs when this happened, and decided not to. It suddenly hit me... these are two dogs (i.e a pack), large, young and energetic, reactive, and only separated from the sidewalk and my stairs by a 3 foot high baby gate and porch railing. Like, it literally never hit me how easily those dogs could get out until I witnessed them freaking out at this dog.

Nothing has happened yet. I don't want to think that something might happen. But I feel like I should do something, and I'm not sure what. I'm almost wishing I could get on the other side of that gate a little bit to actually touch and interact with the dogs and get a better read on them.

Any ideas?

Author:  skinnydaisy [ Mon May 28, 2012 9:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

i think it's hard to comment on any dog's behavior without knowing them, which seems to be your conclusion too. if meeting the dogs would make you feel better about sharing a common space with them, then you should go ahead and ask the neighbors if that could be arranged. i bet they'll be open to it!

Author:  jessica_weirdly [ Tue May 29, 2012 8:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

That does sound like a tricky situation. I understand you are concerned for your child's safety, rightfully so, but consider the possibility that these dogs' barks might be worse than their bite. There are plenty of dogs I know who bark and bark but are basically harmless. However this is really an issue because dogs shouldn't be barking like that, as it is disruptive to the peace of the neighborhood. Maybe you could suggest that they train the dogs not to bark? This is simpler than it sounds as there are all kinds of devices that will gently reprimand the dog when it barks, such as collars that spray citronella. Also I think you could set up a time when you and your child could meet the dogs. That would probably make you feel safer and the dogs would recognize you as friendly and unthreatening.

I absolutely hate how people don't take responsibility for training their dogs....any idiot can own a dog and their neighbors are the ones who have to suffer. Hopefully your neighbors are friendly and responsible.

Author:  linanil [ Tue May 29, 2012 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

I have 2 dogs, 1 of them becomes one of the hounds of hell when someone comes on our porch and she is inside the house. One day, a UPS guy was delivering a package, I thought she was behind a baby gate in the house but she slipped by me and out the door and started barking at the UPS guy on our porch while I tried to grab her, but she ran away instead. She is just a very protective dog of what she defines as her domain. Now if the UPS guy had try to grab me, I think at that point, she might've done something but who knows. She has been to training and I can calm her down if I am directly interacting with her but if I have to open the door, I usually go outside because I can't talk to someone and not have her bark at them. She has never bitten anyone and LOVES people but when she is inside the house and someone is on the porch, a switch seems to turn on in her brain that she MUST protect her house.

Author:  jerusha [ Tue May 29, 2012 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

The barking wouldnt bother me too much but the putting-the-paws-on-the-railing-bit would. They might not go and bite your kid but jumping on it might hurt it already. Maybe they could install a better/higher gate?

Author:  Tiaratron47 [ Tue May 29, 2012 10:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

I think you should definitely ask to meet the dogs. I would also probably tell the owners about the "freaking out almost got out of the gate" situation. It sounds like they are relatively responsible pittie owners and may not be aware this is happening. I know that I would want to know if my pibble was acting this way...I'm especially sensitive to this because I know that if she would get out and something would happen, it would perpetuate the bad wrap the breed has. Plus, it would mean greater consequences for my dog, because my area is not super pibble friendly.

Author:  Petunia [ Tue May 29, 2012 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

Definitely talk to the owners and meet the dogs - if they are not a threat to you, you can try the following -tell the owners first so they don't think you are taunting the dogs.

If the dog barks at you - stop and wait for her to be quiet before proceeding (face down or to the side so she doesn't think you're challenging her) - if she barks and you keep going the dog thinks she chased you away - so she 'win's. Also, if the owners agree, you could try tossing a treat as soon as the dog is quiet.

I don't know how involved you want to get, but if you walked the dog or just have her sit etc on command it could help.

You are smart to be cautious!

Author:  ilovemountains [ Wed May 30, 2012 4:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: worried about downstairs neighbours' dogs

I agree with asking the owner to meet the dogs and also with asking them to get a taller gate. If you feel weird about asking about the gate, you could always frame the question as being concerned that your daughter might get too close. I also think it might be a good idea to mention your concern for the dogs if they were ever to get out, either by getting hit by a car or from the repercussions if they were to harm another animal/person.

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