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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m done with it.
I’ve been training my dog alone for 7-6 months now against his reactivity, and on the 12TH he turns a year old. We saw so much improvement in our time, but all of that has been lost.
Recently we had some new neighbors move in, along with ~4 dogs. They’ve absolutely flipped my dog over the edge. Just today, their yorkie has ran up upon me and my dog TWICE with no leash in sight, screaming it’s head off like it‘s about to attack. I’VE had to yell at it to have it back off, so luckily no bites landed yet.
Their other terrier mix alerts the yorkie, and has come into our yard on multiple occasions as me and my dog train. They’re like double trouble! And the neighbors have brought a NEW puppy into the situation!
Now my dog barks almost every time we leave the house, or he hears barking in the distance, or whenever he see’s a person or dog stroll by. Not only barking, but lunging and growling too. It’s been a horrible feeling to see all the work we’ve done undone in the span of a week. I‘m only 14. I don’t have the finances to hire a professional trainer, or the ability to drive off and find a different place to train.

So I suppose my question is, what do I do now? I’m not sure I can handle having a dog who flips his lid every time there’s a passerby. Any tips are appreciated.
 

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Hi there, and I am sorry you are experiencing this! I would be frustrated as well.

My first suggestion is that you go over to the new neighbors, and try to talk with them. Be totally grown up, utterly polite and calm, and don't for one minute let them see your anger or frustration. Smile. Be friendly. Start by saying welcome to the neighborhood. Explain that you are working your butt off to train your dog, and that their dogs being loose in the street are causing a problem. Check the laws where you live before you go, because most places it is illegal for dogs to run loose, but don't say that first thing so they don't feel threatened. Just ask really nicely if they would please keep their dogs fenced in or on leash.

If they do not respond well, get mad or defensive, then don't try again, as it won't help. If they say they will keep their dogs in, but then don't, talk to them again. Keep in mind that you can call animal control on them if the laws there are on your side, but don't ever threaten them. If this goes on and on and you fail at trying to get them to do the right thing, then you could call and report them. but give it a couple of weeks at least, if you can talk to them. Maybe even offer to do something for them....take their dogs for a walk? I don't know. But if you can get them to like you, you will possibly succeed.

Meantime, just train your dog in the house, or in a location where those dogs cannot see you. Maybe you can take your dog for a walk going out the back, to a different street or a park, and work with him there.
I hope something here will be helpful to you.
 

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Where are your parents in all of this? At 14 they should have your back and be part of this interaction with the new neighbors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Where are your parents in all of this? At 14 they should have your back and be part of this interaction with the new neighbors.
My parents are very dis-involved with the dogs training, and have the belief that this is just how some dogs are. Hell, my dad has even suggested to let them fight it out.
 

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My parents are very dis-involved with the dogs training, and have the belief that this is just how some dogs are. Hell, my dad has even suggested to let them fight it out.
I think you need to TRY to sit down and seriously talk to your parents about this. Explain that you are interested in dog training and even "passionate" about it. Ask your parents to give you 30 minutes of time.. uninterrupted time.. and try to convey the importance of this.

Heck.. if you are 14 and training a dog you are not:
Spending all your time on your phone.
"Out" with friends.
Doing drugs.
Getting into trouble.

Instead the dog has you:
Outdoors.
Getting exercise.
Learning skills.
Getting the dog to be a better family member.

ASK for their support.. and if there is something they constantly harp on you to do, stop giving them reason to harp.

I know it is hard. I had horses growing up. The support I got was "not a lot" and I "muddled through" anyway. Would have been a lot nicer if they had supported my goals!
 

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I'm sorry you're going through this. I have a reactive dog, and I know how much it can suck when other dog owners aren't respectful of you or your dog.

Have you spoken with your parents about the neighbor's dogs? If they should start a fight with your dog it can be very possible for you to get in the middle and get bit. Your parents should be asking the neighbors to better control their dogs, or alerting authorities if the neighbors fail to comply. There's not a lot you can do about the barking, but they absolutely should not be running into your yard!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm sorry you're going through this. I have a reactive dog, and I know how much it can suck when other dog owners aren't respectful of you or your dog.

Have you spoken with your parents about the neighbor's dogs? If they should start a fight with your dog it can be very possible for you to get in the middle and get bit. Your parents should be asking the neighbors to better control their dogs, or alerting authorities if the neighbors fail to comply. There's not a lot you can do about the barking, but they absolutely should not be running into your yard!
I’ve talked to my parents about it, but they don’t seem to want to say anything.
Not only is it the nieghbors dogs (though they’re the most common), it’s random dogs up the street too.
Should I stop walking him? I’ve always heard it’s the best form of exercise due to the exposure they get to the world, but if that exposure is directly harming him...?
I’m at my wits end about it.
 

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I don't walk my dogs in my neighborhood. Like you are experiencing, there are too many loose dogs as well as dogs behind chain link fences that go nuts. And, yes, I have one set of neighbors across the street who are constantly letting their small dogs out to run into all our yards and I have a large dog who is very much afraid of other dogs.

Being 14, you are a bit stuck in that you can't just hop in a car and go elsewhere. Do you have a fenced yard? If so, try activities that you can do there - chasing balls, hide and seek, tricks, agility, etc.

You might want to save up for an uber ride once a week or so. Take the dog someplace fun - a local creek or nature park, etc.

If you choose to approach the neighbors, my advice is to turn it onto you. Don't ask them to keep their dogs inside because you might want to take your dog out. Instead say "Hi. My dog is afraid of other dogs and I am trying to work with him. I am doing obedience with him every day at 4 pm. Would it be a bother to keep your dogs inside or out back from 4-5 pm? I just don't want my dog to get scared and accidentally injure your dogs."

If they take an attitude, then you can give up on them. But they may decide to "play nice" and keep them inside for that one hour. And maybe if they see you doing obedience with your dog, they might be inclined to try it themselves.
 

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If you choose to approach the neighbors, my advice is to turn it onto you. Don't ask them to keep their dogs inside because you might want to take your dog out. Instead say "Hi. My dog is afraid of other dogs and I am trying to work with him. I am doing obedience with him every day at 4 pm. Would it be a bother to keep your dogs inside or out back from 4-5 pm? I just don't want my dog to get scared and accidentally injure your dogs."
Much better advice than I gave, actually. I think if you have a regular set time, they may be willing to work with you on that. A really sincere kid asking nicely is pretty hard to ignore or send away unless they are total jerks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Alright then! I’ll 100% be talking to my neighbors in the near future. Do you guys think it would be a good idea to muzzle him in the meantime, though? He’s doesn’t have a bite history, but as they say, a dog hasn’t bit until it does.
Sorry for all the different questions, just thought I might as well get them out of the way in this thread!
 

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Personally I would not muzzle the dog. for one thing, you have not gone through the necessary steps to train him to be happy accepting a muzzle. You can't just pop it onto the dog and expect it to go well. You will only add to his stress, and distract him from your training.

Second, there shouldn't be any need for that if you have your dog under control and on a leash at all times.
If you see other dogs coming you can move into the house with him.

Do you have a fenced yard? If not, is there any chance you could get your parents (or the landlord if you rent) to put a fence up?

But, first, talk to the neighbor. It might go better than you think and then all this other stuff will be unnecessary.
And, I don't think you should ever apologize for asking questions. We are all here to do our best to help each other and offer our experience, so questions are always welcome in my opinion.
 

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I agree. One of the most important behaviors for YOU is to always be observant. You should be keeping an eye out for what's going on around you so YOU can react quickly. That will do more than a muzzle will.

Also, if you use a muzzle now, you make it less important for the neighbors to watch their dogs.

One last thing is to check with your local animal control about the laws. In most places, if your dog is in your yard (controlled on leash or behind a fence) and another dog comes onto your property, your dog would not be faulted for an altercation. If your dog is on public property, it is more of a gray area, even if leashed.
 

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I’ve talked to my parents about it, but they don’t seem to want to say anything.
Not only is it the nieghbors dogs (though they’re the most common), it’s random dogs up the street too.
Should I stop walking him? I’ve always heard it’s the best form of exercise due to the exposure they get to the world, but if that exposure is directly harming him...?
I’m at my wits end about it.
If you feel like the constant triggers are negatively affecting your dog, then yes, it might be best to stop walking him through the neighborhood. Exposure is good, but it has to be controlled and at a distance where your dog is under threshold, and if you have dogs running up to you so frequently that's certainly not controlled.
 
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