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How To Deal With Your Neighbor’s Aggressive Dog
Dealing with a neighbor’s dangerous dog is a tricky, stressful situation. No one should have to feel threatened on their property, or anywhere in their neighborhood.
Speak to your neighbor and tell them that their aggressive dog makes you feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Keep track of and record the dog’s aggressive behavior if it continues and revisit your neighbor. Only call animal control if you speak to your neighbor multiple times and nothing changes.
In this article, we’ll offer several solutions to deal with a dangerous dog in the neighborhood. We’ll also tell you what to do in the unfortunate event of an attack.
Table of Contents
- What are the Signs of Dog Aggression?
- What Should You Do About your Neighbor’s Aggressive Dog?
- How Can I Protect Myself from an Aggressive Dog?
- What Should You Do If Your Neighbor’s Dog Bites You?
- Related Questions
What are the Signs of Dog Aggression?
Some people mistake a dog’s playfulness for aggression. For example, dogs will sometimes growl or bark while they’re playing with their human or other dogs. It’s important to make the distinction between playing and aggression.
Here are some warning signs that happen when a dog is behaving aggressively:
- Standing rigidly and motionless
- Leaning forward
- Ears standing up straight
- Teeth bared
- Snarling or snapping their teeth
Seeing a dog behave in this manner once does not necessarily mean that they are dangerous or always aggressive. When a dog is dangerous, you’ll see these behaviors regularly.
What Should You Do About your Neighbor’s Aggressive Dog?
Your course of action will generally depend on the behaviors that you’ve witnessed from the dog. If your neighbor’s dog is consistently aggressive and causing trouble for you or your pets, here’s what you can do:
Step 1: Talk to Your Neighbor
If the problem is happening when your neighbor isn’t around, it’s possible that they don’t know about it. If this is the case, approach them in person, in a non-confrontational, casual manner.
Let them know that their dog has behaved aggressively towards you, and it made you uncomfortable/nervous/scared. Ask them if they could try and keep their dog contained in the future. You might learn that your neighbor knows that this is an issue, and they’re taking steps to correct the behavior.
If the dog was present when the incident occurred, you may have to tread more lightly. If the dog was off-leash, ask if they could make sure to use a leash when walking their dog. If they were outside when their dog charged into your yard, ask them to keep a closer eye on the dog.
Step 2: Record Aggressive Behavior
If possible, try to document whenever you see the dog behaving aggressively. This could be useful if your neighbor doesn’t believe their dog is misbehaving. It could also be useful if you end up having to file a report.
Step 3: Pay Another Visit
If the problem isn’t solved, or there’s another incident, try talking to your neighbor again. Give them another chance to explain or to correct the behavior. You may have to diplomatically insist that they keep the dog on a leash, or tie him to a dog run in the yard.
Now is the time to start documenting all the steps you’ve taken to attempt to resolve the issue. Write down when you’ve talked to them, and what you talked about. This could help in the future if it becomes a legal matter.
Step 4: Call Animal Control
If the situation hasn’t resolved itself by now, you’ve probably done all that you can personally. Especially if the dog owner wasn’t receptive to your requests or acted defensively.
Now would be an appropriate time to call your local animal control branch and report the aggressive dog. The animal control officer will take down your contact information and ask for any information you have. This will include the details of the incident/s, name, and address of the dog’s owner.
If you have any photos or videos of the dog’s behavior, mention that to them. Be sure to mention if you’re concerned that the dog will injure you, someone else, or another animal.
Step 5: Wait and Document
Give animal control about a week to take action before you do anything else. In the meantime, continue to document further aggressive behavior from the dog. Call the police if you notice the dog roaming the streets or onto your property. Make sure you mention that you believe the dog is dangerous and could hurt someone.
Step 6: Escalate
If it’s been at least a week and animal control hasn’t paid a visit, call again. Let them know if any more incidents have occurred or if you have more photos or video evidence. If they don’t seem concerned, or tell you to wait, ask to speak to a supervisor.
How Can I Protect Myself from an Aggressive Dog?
Even if you’re doing everything you can to deal with a neighbor’s dangerous dog, you should prepare for the worst. Arming yourself with knowledge on how to protect yourself from a dog attack is useful for anyone.
If you find yourself in the proximity of an aggressive dog, you should:
Step 1: Stay Calm
First and foremost, stay calm, cool, and collected. Dogs are sensitive to your body language and can recognize the signs of fear and stress. Do not yell or swing towards the dog – this will provoke it.
Step 2: Get in Control
Be sure to avoid direct eye contact, but keep the dog within your peripheral vision. If you’re carrying anything, like an umbrella, hold it out in front of you calmly. This makes you appear bigger, asserts your space, and tells the dog that you don’t want his space, just yours.
Step 3: Maintain Composure
Stand still, and remain assertive. If the dog is convinced that you’re not a threat, it will most likely lose interest. Sometimes, however, the dog will remain convinced that you are a threat.
Step 4: Brace for Attack
If the dog charges anyways, let them grab onto something that’s not part of your body if possible. For example, if you have a purse, hold it out in front of you. Or if you’re wearing a sweater, let the dog pull that off of you.
Step 5: Do not Run
Understandably, your first instinct will be to run. However, this will surely trigger the dog’s predatory instincts and they will chase you. If you’re on foot, the dog will most certainly outrun you. So instead, as soon as you can, slowly back away as soon as the dog is distracted.
Step 6: Protect Your Body
If you cannot avoid being bitten, do it the right way to minimize damage. Protect your face, chest, and throat at all costs. Make a fist with both hands to protect your fingers. The least damaging place for a dog to bite is your shin or your forearm.
Step 7: Don’t Pull Away
Your first instinct when you’re bitten, of course, is to pull away. But this could do a lot more damage to your body. Instead, let the dog latch on and try to grab its back legs and lift it off the ground.
You can also try to strike it in the nose or throat to stun it. It’s okay to yell for help at this point. But don’t scream – this can encourage them to double down.
Step 8: Use Your Weight
If you still can’t back away to safety and the dog won’t leave you alone, try to immobilize it. Try your best to get into an advantageous position and put all of your body weight on the dog. Straddle the back of the dog and put part of your weight on the back of his neck until help arrives.
What Should You Do If Your Neighbor’s Dog Bites You?
Here are the steps to take immediately following a dog bite:
Step 1: Obtain Contact Information
Make sure you can identify the dog owner. Ask for their name and contact information. If they won’t give this to you, and you know where they live, take down their address. Also, ask for proof of rabies vaccination for the dog, otherwise, you might have to get tested for rabies.
Step 2: Seek Treatment
Even if your injury was minor, if the dog broke the skin you need to get medical attention as soon as possible. Dog bites pose a significant risk of infection if left untreated. And if you intend to take legal action, you will need proof that you sought treatment.
Step 3: Take Pictures
If possible, take pictures before and after your injury was treated. Ask your doctor or nurse how to safely remove any bandages to take pictures of the wound. They may even be able to help you get a good picture.
Step 4: File a Report
Call your local animal control office to file a report. Especially if the dog has a history of being aggressive, it’s important to build a paper trail for evidence. Also, you’ll want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you or anyone else again.
Step 5: Call a Lawyer
Contact a lawyer who specializes in dog bite cases. They’ll ensure that you’ve gathered all the necessary information to build up a case if that’s the route you’re taking. If you intend to sue or even just cover your medical expenses, it’s important to seek legal advice right away.
Can I Use Pepper Spray on My Neighbor’s Dog?
You can use pepper spray if the dog attacks you, or if the dog enters your property and is aggressive. You can also use it if you see the dog attacking another person or animal. If the dog isn’t posing a threat to you or anyone else, you can’t legally use pepper spray on it.
What Should I Do If My Dog is Attacked By My Neighbor’s Dog?
First, try not to panic, yell, or scream. Do not attempt to separate the dogs yourself. Try to distract the other dog, or call your dog away. Encourage the other dogs’ owners to do the same if they are there. Afterward, report the incident immediately and seek medical treatment for your dog. Get the owner’s contact information if possible, or take a picture of the dog. Report the incident to the police, or animal control.
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