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Dog problem - not mine (long)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, I live in a house that shares a yard with another house. My neighbours (a classic idiot couple) have just brought home a dog, without consulting with us at all - the dog is a badly socialised chow, I have no idea if he knows about other animals etc.. and we have a 4 month old cat. At the moment, my cat is used to being able to play in the yard when we are home - she loves outside and I am not prepared to take that from her. So, the problems I have are manifold.

First off, I'm worried about my cat's safety. Secondly, I'm worried about the dog, because a) it may perceive us as a threat
b) (This is where the idiot couple part comes in) - the guy has told me he plans to keep the dog chained up. I told him uncategorically no, that this was cruel. He says he wants to keep it as a guard dog and only let it loose at night. (well, what happens when I come home from an evening out?)
c) this presents a problem, because if he listens to me and lets the dog run loose (it doesn't look likely) I can't let our kitty out for fear of what might happen and she will be extremely unhappy.

I know if this turns into a major issue, he will end up taking this dog to a shelter (or keeping it chained - in which case I have to step in by alerting the shelter where I volunteer) and grown dogs chances are slim... I don't want to see this dog put down because of a person's stupidity.

I went up to the dog earlier, tried talking to it. It barked at first, then growled, then just lay down at the end of it's chain whilst i spoke to it, but wouldn't let me touch it, or approach. It doesn't seem overly aggressive, just unsure of itself and the new situation. (they got the dog from a friend )

I'm thinking that a good strategy would be to try to befriend this dog as much as possible and get it to trust me so if I can convince this idiot to give it freedom it will view me as a companion (because this man clearly isn't going to be) but the cat situation still worries me. Can I socialise this animal to my cat?

I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation, but I really need some ideas
post #2 of 10
Boy oh boy where to start!

First off, if these people just got the dog, the dog is going to be out of sorts for a week or so. The place is unfamiliar, it hasn't gotten used to the new routine ertc, so it's likely to regard everyone, including nice people like you, as suspicious.

Getting a dog with the intent of keeping it chained has got to be one of the most brainless and cruel things a person can do. In some states it is even illegal to keep a dog chained for extended periods of time so they may even be intending to break the law.

If there is a new dog there I would not let the kitty out period. You don't know how the dog will react, some will give chase for fun and some chase with intent to kill the varmint. A lot of dogs can't tell the difference between an unwanted small animal intruder and someone's beloved pet.

More than likely you can befriend the dog and get it to trust you, but I wonder if your neighbor will try to circumvent that. Taking on the training of a badly socialized adult dog is a lot to ask.

If you get it to the point where it trusts you then maybeyou can try allowing your cat near it while the Chow is on leash to see how it reacts. Personally I wouldn't do it unless I were sure the dog would obey me.

I feel bad for you and your cat but I also feel bad for the dog! It isn't the Chow's fault that it had a dumb owner who didn't socialize it and now has another one who wants to turn it into a nasty dog on a chain. Sheesh!
post #3 of 10
First off, a dog on a chain will act aggressively because it is protecting its territory. The dog may not be as poorly socialized as you think, just doing its percieved job. Also chows in general aren't super nice dogs, they usually bond to the owner. They are the dogs that wag their tail and bite you. Don't get me wrong, I've known some good chows, but they are rare.

Personally I would invest in some kind of enclosure or fencing to keep your cat in your side of the yard. Maybe even tell the owner of the new dog that they need to fence their dog in. Talk to your landlord about your worries, maybe even your landlord could put in a fence to split your yard up. That seems like the best solution to me, he has a right to have a dog, and you have a right to have a cat. He needs to keep his dog in his portion of the yard, so you should do the same with your cat.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, well, it does appear that the dog is a bit friendlier than I first suspected. He has let me stroke him now, he just seems very starved for attention. I don't think he's a pure-bred chow now that I've spent a bit more time with him.. although the "wagging his tail and then biting" thing is still worrisome!

One good sign is that he let me approach even though his food bowl was right there, and even sit next to it.. so there may be some hope for this dog.

I took him a blanket to lie on last nite (the owners were planning on leaving him outside all nite in minus temps with NOTHING ) and told the people they need to get him a kennel asap. It appears the woman doesn't even LIKE dogs. Her husband just got it for himself.

Our cat never approaches the other house ( and consequently their side of the yard) - I'm thinking that maybe I can supervise her outside time until I'm a bit happier with the dog's progress. Man... the last people who lived in the house next to us had a kitten they always left outside in the cold - naturally, it would come spend it's days curled up in our house where someone actually paid attention to it. Always seem to get stuck with the idiots...
post #5 of 10
First I want to say, there is nothing wrong with using a chain or tether as a means of confinement. Chains/tethers do not abuse. Humans abuse.

It sounds like this guy got a dog to be essentially a living alarm system. He says he's going to let the dog run loose at night? Do you have leash laws? If so, I would print them out and stick them on his doorstep. If that doesn't work, call AC if the dog is running loose.

You may also have laws about what consitutes proper shelter for an outside dog. I would look into those, and call AC if he's violating those laws.
post #6 of 10
Is their any way you could put up a fence between the two lots? I'm assuming you're in a duplex of some sort, even if it was just a chain-link; or have the neighbours create a dog run? (MUCH kinder then chaining him up ).

Otherwise I strongly recommend you put something in the backyard the cat can fit into but the dog can't. If the dog does chase the cat chances are she'll end up over the fence.

Surely you guys have some sort of board/representation way of resolving problems between the houses? That is very disappointing your neighbours are being so irresponsible.

I know we used to rent in the city where the landlords told my husband they would put in a fence as soon as he moved in, well they never did. Our neighbours had this poor old & every untrained lab that they kept in a 3'x3' pen most of the day. We'd get screamed at because their dog was so desperate for attention & some canine interaction he'd go NUTS when he saw our dog. It was a very sad situation (didn't help the guy was a drunk and a donkey to boot).

Best of Luck!!
post #7 of 10
It makes my blood boil when I hear of people buying large dogs JUST for security.
They are living creatures for gosh sake, not some inanimate object. Get a freaking alarm system for your house and some security lights, moron! (Not you, the neighbors, that sounded like I was yelling at you)
I don't really have any advice, but I would probably be doing as you are, making friends with the dog. Poor thing sounds so starved for attention, you may be in the process of making a nice new friend! Seems his owners couldn't care less.
for your situation, for the doggie, and for your kitty, keep her safe!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
well, bit of an update..

To clarify, he wasn't going to let the dog run loose as in, in the street, but rather in the yard.

The fence idea would be great, but I know beyond question that our harpy landlady would point blank refuse. The property (and our rent) just aren't worth enough for her to make those kind of modifications.

But, having said that, I have managed to come to some kind of compromise. Kitty is indoors when we go out in the day (usually for about 6 hours) I let her out only when we are home, and having convinced our neighbour to let the dog run around during the day (in the yard), I also got permission to tie the dog up for the few hours a day when the cat is out - she won't go near it, her first reaction upon discovering (thru the window) that there was a dog in the yard was a loud hiss, followed by moving away from the window!

I have been working on befriending the dog too, and my neighbour seemed very surprised when he discovered that 'his' dog seems to respond better to me than himself

Well, thanks for the advice (and btw Nes, the idea of something only the cat can fit in is a REALLY good one. I think I will do that anyway!)
post #9 of 10
Outdoor cat tree maybe? So she'll feel safe.

Yeah I had a feeling you guys rented, I know that sucks the landlandords aren't going to do anything. I'm glad to hear you are informing your neighbours and making them better pet owners!! You never know, I've heard chows are very loyal to their owners, maybe they will fall head-over-heels for the poor thing & start doing right by him!

Or you will & adopt him from them

post #10 of 10
IMO I'd build or buy a good sturdy cat enclosure to let the cat sit outside but be protected.

Heaven forbid that your cat would one day wonder close enough to the dog to be seriously hurt or killed. I know not all Chows are cat killers, but a chained up dog tends to be more aggressive and I would want complete safety for my cat at all times.
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