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Old 13.01.2021, 17:26
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

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This has caused me to freak out a bit, didn't sleep all night, and now trying to figure out what to do. A few questions:
1. Is she right? AITA? Am I mistreating him?
2. What is the chance that he gets taken away? How does that work? Do I get a warning first? I would rather change job/country before losing him... He's my world, and I have no idea how I would cope without him.
3. Does anyone know of a walker in Lenzburg/Wohlen who can handle a slightly more challenging dog? Cost isn't a factor, as long as the person is insured and knows what they are doing.
4. Comments, thoughts? What should I do? I bought this house because of the garden, so he could run around; but now I'm really doubting the decision...

Hey Spinal, I can totally relate to your issues and also have an amazing Aussie.
One thing, having him in Switzerland, taught me is to be careful who you accept advice from. In South Africa, where we are from, people have border collies (and similar) as apartment dogs all the time and it is no issue. When we first arrived here and did that initial compulsory dog course, we were basically told that Chihuaha's are the ideal pet dog. After that I stopped listening. Some people just want you to have the dog which is least intimidating for them or problematic for society as a whole. When last have you seen a Rottweiler or Doberman in Switzerland, and these are incredible family dog breeds.

We have an Aussie, both of us work full time, we take him out for 20 minutes in the morning, someone always walks him for at least 30 minutes at lunch and then he gets another 30-40 minutes in the evening. Also sometimes go and jog with him, although he doesn't even like that so much. He has lived in an apartment with 2 full time working people his whole life and you couldn't find a better apartment dog. In fact, when we are at home, we barely see him during the day because he just sleeps under the bed. We did this against all swiss and internet forum advice because we knew that from where we come from, dogs adapt to their owners (to a certain limit of course). Your dog gets walks, your dog can go outside during the day, your dog does have company, your dog does get loved. He is absolutely fine!

So 1) No, she is wrong. You are not mistreating him. His behaviour on the leash or being territorial is completely normal as well. Not all dogs are friendly drooling golden retrievers at all times. Of course, its our job to keep them out of trouble and I'm sure you do that. All Aussies DEFINITELY don't need to chase sheep 3 hours a day. Ours barely likes to chase another dog at the dog park.

2) I can not imagine them taking away a well looked after dog from an owner that loves him. He is NOT even being left alone all day. You are doing nothing wrong. He hasn't attacked anyone and he doesn't bark all day. A dog is allowed to growl as well, as long as you have him on the leash and under control.

3) We also lived in Lenzburg and Jenny Holliger (Jaystierbetreuung) walked our dog during the day. She is wonderful and adored him. We were very happy with her. And she never complained although at the time he was young and still pulling on the leash a lot.

Also, we had the worst experience with a dog school in the Lenzburg area that almost made us give up on our perfect puppy because they were so negative and strict and judgemental and all-round awful. I won't give the name online but PM me, if you want to know who to avoid. All our issues dissipated after we changed dog schools and he was the pride and joy of every class thereafter.

4) Try not to worry too much. If you need reassurance find a good dog school and go at least once a week and then you have something positive to show and an 'expert' in your corner, if your stupid neighbour does try and make an issue. The classes have to be FUN, for you and the dog, otherwise turn around and walk right back out, is my advice. He has a garden, maybe get your mom to throw the ball around for him for a bit during the day, Aussies can definitely be taught to fetch and bring with treats. Don't give others the power to get you down. Does your dog seem unhappy, most likely not. Are you unhappy, with him? Most likely not. Let the miserable neighbour go on in her miserable life and embarrass her by being super friendly all the time. My husband does that sometimes and it throws them so off balance, it's actually a class act.

Good luck and try and sleep well. There are so many weirdos in this world!
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