Neighbors Have Aggressive Dog

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That's mine.- That too. It's- all mine.
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 12:19pm PST 
My neighbors have a beautiful white pit bull mix named Balrog who I almost never see outside- and today I found out why.

The neighbor was outside with Balrog when I checked my mail, so I walked over to the fence to say hi, since my neighbors have generally been cool people. Balrog comes trotting over to the fence- and immediately goes into that awful, silent stare, the one dogs do when crap's about to go down. Well, that's a big dog, and I didn't want to provoke it further, so I looked down so I wasn't meeting its stare and crouched down on one knee so I wasn't towering over it. I wasn't super worried since the fence was between us, and the owner was right there.

No dice. Balrog lunged, and would have attacked the fence had his owner not grabbed his collar. There was no growling or snarling- he just ran to the fence, froze, planted his paws, hit that stare, and waited maybe two or three seconds before lunging.

He's a perfectly sweet dog with his owners, though obviously now the neighbor has admitted he has a problem with strangers. I'm a bit worried for my dogs, though they rarely even see Balrog (I have chihuahuas), and my yard is fully fenced in about 3 feet high. I'm more worried for me, though- what if Balrog gets out? They have a fence that's open in the front, no gate, so if he escapes the house, he can go anywhere. If I'm outside my yard, I might be in big trouble.

I don't want to cause conflict with perfectly nice neighbors who have been there for almost a year and always been perfectly nice and have thus far controlled their dog perfectly well. My question is, what should I do? And if the dog does get out and I do encounter him on the street, what do I do THEN?
Jake & Sweet- Caroline

Tricolored- Hounds for life!
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 12:25pm PST 
I would just be vigulent about look for the dog when you're out and about. I mean if you've rarely seen teh dog that means they probably keep him inside and sine they know he has issues are probably making sure he doesn't "escape" or get loose.

I mean he very well could have just been protecting his people since the neighbor was out with the dog. I mean i'd be startled by it but unless the dog has attacked someone and the owners were kind of la de dah about it I would leave it alone and just be watchful.

it sounds like your neighbor knows what he's dealing iwth and is being responsible. I wouldn't make trouble unless you had a real reason too.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 1:39pm PST 
It's just a matter of being aware and attentive. These are people who love their dog, manage him responsibly. You can't approach them on some theory that they may be careless one day. It's like anything when it comes to managing dogs responsibly....you are aware of what the potential dangers are and take extra care.

My childhood dog, Hatteras, was extremely aggressive. At our summer home, on the same dead end road, there was Chips, a German Shepherd. His owner had a photo studio in his house, a business, and Chips was his property protection dog. He was crazed with aggression. Had full access to a screened porch. Made it no better that both of these dogs were intact males.

When I was a kid, some friend's GSD crashed through a window when he heard his "kids" screaming out on the street, so I was pretty clear on the fact that in a fit of passion that Chips could have blasted through simple porch screening. It was a daily tension walking past that house, for those two dogs, and both were BIG, were loaded for bear when they saw each other. This wasn't some fear issue thing. It was sex, territoriality (Hatteras was extremely protective also)....so WAR! shock Each knew of each other and wanted the other dead.

Still, you can't go talk to someone who manages their dog well (Chips was never loose, was walked on lead, as was my guy) and is contained on his own property. So it came down to each time I walked by that house, I was extra careful to doublcheck before walking by, did my best to keep it unprovoked....and held my breath! laugh out loud

If I were you, leave your home, look both ways, carry you poochie half a block down and on your way home scoop your pooch up early on your way home. I know it's tension, but also your own paranoia and it's good for dog owners to be supportive of each other when they can.

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 2:16pm PST 
I agree with the others. You can't let yourself stress out about the possibility when they've so far proven themselves to be responsible for his behavior and containment. Not every dog likes strangers, or even accepts them all that well and that is perfectly okay, as long as the dog is managed responsibly.

Maya was the type of dog who was only okay with strangers in certain situations - me or my fiance brought someone in, or on a walk or at a park. Otherwise, all bets were off and she would lunge, snap or growl. If everyone on my street worried about her aggression, I would have never been able to walk her or take her outside and I likely would have been run out of the neighborhood.

Instead, people ASKED before approaching, stayed out of my yard and away from it(she was never left unsupervised anyway), and anyone who knocked ALWAYS waited to be let into my house unless they were extremely well known(very close family who she saw on a regular basis).

Honestly, I'd stay vigilant and keep an eye out, but if they've so far proven their responsibility in managing such behaviors in their dog, then I wouldn't be too overly worried. It's highly possible too that he doesn't like strangers, but is fine with other dogs - it happens. If you have a cell phone on you, keep it for when you go for walks. Take an extra leash if you can. You can walk with a walking stick, or some form of pepper spray. And just keep your eyes out for any dogs wandering without owners so you can scoop up your little ones if need be. I like Tiller's suggestion.

As the owner of a reactive dog, I'm already vigilant in this manner, lol, but it's the same thing I'd do if I was worried about a potentially dangerous dog on my street.

Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 3:17pm PST 
Just to add also, that just because he was showing defensive and/or aggressive behaviour behind the fence in his own territory, does not mean he's an aggressive dog in general. How many dogs guard their home or are wary of approaching strangers? It's just something i tend to expect from certain breeds and types of dogs in their own home. That said, i'd remain vigilant at all times, but don't get to stressed about the situation or fear the worse. Sounds like his owners are responsible people.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 4:07pm PST 
I'm with Tyler... almost any one of my dogs will sound like the battle is on if you walk up to my fence, particularly if I am out there with them, and I have NO question that should you reach in, you WILL get bitten. HOWEVER, you can simply open my house front door and safely walk inside with ALL the dogs inside loose. You may get licked to death, but you will not get bitten by a single one.
By the same token, IF they are out of that fenced area, same thing. No problem at all, they will nicely greet you and be your best friend.
The fence is their area and it is their job to protect it, or at least they think it is.

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Wed Apr 17, '13 4:57am PST 
I also agree with Tyler on this one. I have two Akitas,their home and their people are just that,theirs,and off limits to threat by strangers. On the other hand I can take them to places like Petco,walks around the neighborhood,or other places/events where there are both people and other dogs with no issue at all. At home they are simply being the guardians they have been bred to be and honoring their breed nature of being aloof and wary of strangers,once you are given the once over and approved,they are fine and no harm from outside will come to you while you are under their charge,they of course decide when that ends.laugh out loud