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Old 13.01.2021, 14:53
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AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

I have an neighbor that I don't see eye-to-eye with. I've done my best to go down the amicable route, but now need a second opinion.

Background: I have a dog, who is 4 years old. He's a aussie, absolutely adorable. He's had some issues (he was mistreated as a puppy, my partner got him when he was 8 months old as a rehome), was diagnosed with ADHD and a thyroid problem. That said, with some fairly routine training he's gotten very good. He doesn't bark (except when the postman comes or at the border, he really doesn't like people touching his house or his car), and gets along with other dogs, as long as he can greet them. If he's held away (on a leash), he gets very vocal , pulls, lunges, etc - but only to go greet the other dog. As a result, he needs a confident walker to handle him, as when he lunges, 25kg of mass can cause quite a transfer of momentum We are working on this now with my mother (who also has a dog).

I walk him every day in the morning (a short walk about 20-30 mins), and then in the evening a longer walk. During the day if I'm not at home, he stays at my mother's place (two floors up - with her dog), and has free access to the garden (he "talks" when he wants to go into the garden - which sometimes is every hour if he hears people on the street - he loves running alongside them inside the fence). He also has several toys which he likes, and plays with moms dog when he isn't sleeping. My partner used to take him for long walks during the day (she doesn't work), but she's out of the country for a while thanks to COVID. My mother tried chipping in by taking him for walks, but given her age, I would rather she doesn't in case he pulls her over.

In the meantime, I'm looking for a dog walker to do an hour a day, but in the sticks (near Lenzburg) where I live it isn't the easiest to find someone who can walk a dog that isn't the easiest to handle (obviously have a post on petsitting24). Either way, he's never left alone (except for maybe a hour here or there when I bring my mother to a store or something like that), and always can run around the garden with the other dog if he wants. He's come to my office for work on some occasions when mom couldn't look after him (to the great amusement of my colleagues - turned out no-one got any work done, and he got LOTS of cuddles and attention).

Issue: My neighbor (who I've had issues with in the past - she wasn't particularly friendly when I moved, and on one occasion complained to my partner that our "blinds are always closed", and this "looks suspicious" (we have blinds facing the street on the ground floor, and keep these closed to prevent her seeing into the house). Anyhow - she's stopped me yesterday and gave me a 15 minute lecture on how aussies are not house dogs, and he needs to be chasing sheep for 3 hours a day, and would report me to the authorities and they would take him away.

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...

Last edited by Spinal; 13.01.2021 at 15:41.
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:05
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

Long story short, don't worry

People can always complain
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Old 13.01.2021, 16:04
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

you own your home, you don't leave the dog unattended and it sounds like you have a fenced garden.

there is nothing wrong, the kantonal vet would confirm that if this person reports you.

I would not engage in conversation with the person any more.

And stop closing your blinds FFS, she wants to see you naked!
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Old 13.01.2021, 16:10
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

Tell your neighbor to F off.

I would.

One of the best words of advice someone ever gave me is "We teach people how to treat us." Your neighbor sounds like a control freak who expects the world to revolve around them. I suggest putting them in their place so they know you're not going to put up with their bull****.

People like that don't realize that the problem is them, because they don't introspect. They're too busy judging the world around them instead. It sounds like your neighbor must have a very sad, lonely life to be so concerned with what the neighbors are doing and what they do with their blinds, etc.

If your dog's noise isn't bothering them, I think there is nothing to worry about on your end.
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Old 13.01.2021, 16:26
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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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Old 13.01.2021, 16:27
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

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you own your home, you don't leave the dog unattended and it sounds like you have a fenced garden.

there is nothing wrong, the kantonal vet would confirm that if this person reports you.

I would not engage in conversation with the person any more.

And stop closing your blinds FFS, she wants to see you naked!
LOL - she's a bit intrusive... then again, I understand she works at the airport in some sort of customs role, so maybe it's part and parcel of the job...

Regarding the garden - yes, it's fenced... actually double-fenced! When we moved, he would stick his head through the hedge, and then bark at dogs passing by. This would cause quite some fright to some people, as they couldn't see him (fence was only on the outside of the hedges).

While we worked on that, I put a second (low) net on the inside of the hedges, so he couldn't stick his head through the hedges. This helped also protect my hedges (which started getting a few holes in the areas he liked to camp out).

At the same time, he would get told to come inside every time he barked... and got a treat every time he ignored the dogs or just ran around excitedly... He's incredibly smart, and learnt in no time (less than a week) that he shouldn't bark at dogs/people walking by, and hasn't since.

I've also emailed blv... I know this is probably a small thing, and I should have nothing to worry about... but honestly it's driving me insane. I can handle most DR scenarios (and often do for work), but don't touch my dog!

EDIT: Typed my response before seeing this:

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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.
3. thank you! I'll reach out to her, will google her. (edit found her and emailed her, fingers crossed!)

We actually went to two dog schools in Zurich before we moved, the first one we hated (very judgmental, wouldn't allow Milow to play with other dogs or interact). The second we loved (actually private lessons with the trainer's dog and Milow). Sadly too far now. Will pm you for details of both schools, my big issue is I don't speak German... so always looking for schools/trainers that can speak English, Italian or French.

4. Mom adores him - and actually they play ball all the time (both in the house and in the garden). He's also quite adept at "search" (hide a toy he likes, and let him find it with his nose). Only downside is he knows I hide it under pillows/blankets, so now tends to pull these off the sofa as a first step! He's gotten around 40 words now, and can pickup new words in a matter of days. It's scary how intelligent he is...

Last edited by Spinal; 13.01.2021 at 16:49.
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Old 13.01.2021, 16:59
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

I would love to meet you all - humans and canine! I'm sure Rookie (JR Cross, born in Portugal), Lillie (Yorkie, rescued in Italy), and your Best Friend, would get on like a house on fire!
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Old 13.01.2021, 17:02
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

We've been speaking of him so much... only fair you get a chance to see him



This is a fairly old picture, he's since learnt not to hide in the laundry basket (and I've learnt not to hide his toy in there!)

M.
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Old 13.01.2021, 17:27
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

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We've been speaking of him so much... only fair you get a chance to see him



This is a fairly old picture, he's since learnt not to hide in the laundry basket (and I've learnt not to hide his toy in there!)

M.
He is so cute, thank you for sharing a photo of him!
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Old 13.01.2021, 17:45
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

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We've been speaking of him so much... only fair you get a chance to see him



This is a fairly old picture, he's since learnt not to hide in the laundry basket (and I've learnt not to hide his toy in there!)

M.
Yip, definitely, he clearly looks like a very abused puppo! Glad we have these justice-warriors in swiss neighbourhoods to correct such matters.

Sometimes, if only the dogs could speak! When I think of the lives other dogs in other places in the world have

Was he nice and clean after the washing machine and did he jump into the dryer too?
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Old 13.01.2021, 17:47
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

I'm so sorry you and your pup are being targeted like this, Spinal.

From what you write, you sound like a fantastic owner. You are doing the right things, you are being responsible, you are making sure your dog has what he needs, you are keeping him and everyone else safe.

I would guess there is nothing to worry about. The Veterinarämt generally do not seize a dog without an investigation. If your neighbor files a complaint you will have a chance to prove that you are a responsible owner and your dog is a good canine citizen.

My first reaction is: 'Illegitimi non carborundum'.

Most of my dogs are on the... less than perfect spectrum. It's sad that so many here seem to think that 'imperfect' dogs have no value. This can be a tough place to be an advocate for our canine friends who are 'works in progress'. But take heart - you are doing the right things.

Having been through a vicious mobbing campaign myself, I would advise getting proactive, for your sake and for your pup's.

First, talk to the trainers you have worked with already, ask them for a letter attesting to your responsible ownership, or if they would be willing to speak with the Veterinäramt on your behalf.

Dog schools are closed now due to COVID, but trainers are allowed to do 1-1 sessions in behavioral cases. So contact the trainer Capetownian recommends and book some individual sessions now. I stress this because you want to have as many 'authority figures' on your side should it come to a complaint. Showing that you are currently working with a trainer goes a long way.

----

Secondly, keep a diary of your dog's day, including how much exercise and activity he gets. I like that you are doing brain training work as well (search games are fantastic for mental stimulation) - be sure to include that in your diary. Because it sounds like the neighbor's plan of attack centers around appropriate activities you want to show that despite not having a convenient herd o' sheep your pup is getting appropriate alternative physical and mental stimulation.

Side bar: I, too, lack a herd o' sheep. Yet the Meloncollies have never felt deprived of their heritage. Treibball - which we play in the garden - is a great alternative. Activities that are specifically designed to use the herding instinct should show that the neighbor is an (insert expletive here). Playing Treibball in the garden has the added advantage of being a rather pubic display. Everyone, awful neighbor included, can see how much fun your dog has with you.

(If you find you like Treibball - or any of the other dog sports (Aussies often excel at agility, for instance) - consider getting involved in a class later on...)

---

When you find a suitable walker, do make sure they are indeed fully insured, and talk to your insurer to make sure you are as well. And plan for a fair amount of walking with your walker, so that you feel comfortable with their ability and responsibility. Again, I mention this because of the troublemaker of a neighbor. And if possible, have the walker take your dog on trails away from your neighbor's spying zone.

---

You might also want to contact the advice service offered by Tier Im Recht.
https://www.tierimrecht.org/en/legal...dvice-service/

This is a foundation whose mission is advocacy for animal welfare. They cannot take on individual legal cases, but perhaps they could recommend someone who could advise you as to legal grounds in your specific case. If your neighbor escalates the situation and begins a harassment campaign (the blinds thing worries me) investing in a chat with a lawyer might be worth while.

---

I'm so sorry you are going through this. There are some truly awful people in this world.

I hope things calm down for you - do keep us updated.

Sincerely wishing you all the best.


ETA:

Just saw the photo - now that is one seriously adorable pup!

Last edited by meloncollie; 14.01.2021 at 12:08.
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Old 13.01.2021, 18:09
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

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3. thank you! I'll reach out to her, will google her. (edit found her and emailed her, fingers crossed!)

We actually went to two dog schools in Zurich before we moved, the first one we hated (very judgmental, wouldn't allow Milow to play with other dogs or interact). The second we loved (actually private lessons with the trainer's dog and Milow). Sadly too far now. Will pm you for details of both schools, my big issue is I don't speak German... so always looking for schools/trainers that can speak English, Italian or French.

4. Mom adores him - and actually they play ball all the time (both in the house and in the garden). He's also quite adept at "search" (hide a toy he likes, and let him find it with his nose). Only downside is he knows I hide it under pillows/blankets, so now tends to pull these off the sofa as a first step! He's gotten around 40 words now, and can pickup new words in a matter of days. It's scary how intelligent he is...
Jenny is an angel, all the best attributes of a lovely swiss lady. She doesn't speak much (any?) english but she is fluent in dog so I'm sure you will manage. Maybe she can also speak french...
Search is a great game for Aussies, he is clearly a very lucky dog, you are doing more than everything right. We are convinced our dog is completely fluent in 'the english' and often need to spell things when we don't want him to understand. It sounds crazy but is true. Their spelling isn't so good though . You love them more and more the older they get and they behave better and better.

Since we are sharing, let's see if this works. Ah, look at that I even managed an Avatar - what a productive day!
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Old 13.01.2021, 18:15
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

I’m facing an issue with my neighbor who’s complains every time that I turn on the TV... yesterday I told her clearly: go to the hell... I won’t reject
My right to make you happy. If you are annoyed move to a place where you can’t hear any sound...

“I will speak with the landlord.” “I’m the owner...”

I’m sick and tired of this people. Honestly.
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Old 13.01.2021, 18:18
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

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This is a fairly old picture, he's since learnt not to hide in the laundry basket (and I've learnt not to hide his toy in there!)

M.
Not a large dog. My last landlord had 1 of them and his backyard was like 8x3 meters. Sometimes I walked her, a nice calm dog. It also helped the dog was like 8 years old or more

Concerning the neighbor, there is crazy people that has a life goal bully others with the law. By the way, covered by legal insurance?
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Old 13.01.2021, 18:22
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Re: AITA: Dog vs Neighbor

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I have an neighbor that I don't see eye-to-eye with. I've done my best to go down the amicable route, but now need a second opinion.
....
Issue: My neighbor .... stopped me yesterday and gave me a 15 minute lecture on how aussies are not house dogs, and he needs to be chasing sheep for 3 hours a day, and would report me to the authorities and they would take him away.

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.
...
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...
I don't know if this would work, so it's here only as a suggestion.

Go and see your dog's vet. It sounds like you are already ensuring that your dog gets the treatment he needs. Describe your life at home with your dog.
Do not mention the neighbour. Ask your vet outright: "Do you think my dog is healthy (within the limitations of the issues we're already working on) and happy or does he, in your opinion, need something else in his everyday life? This dog means everything to me: am I treating him properly?"

If the vet feels something is severely amiss, he/she will surely reply: "Well, yes, I am concerned that what you're doing isn't good enough because of a, b and c." In that case, work on fixing those, and return to report to the vet. As soon as the vet feels everything is okay, ask him/her to put that in writing. File that doctor's certificate.

Don't bother to seek out your neighbour. Do whatever you like with your blinds. Love your dog. Then, if the neighbour speaks to you again about your dog, say: "Well, after that time you spoke to me at the start of January, I thought through all the many measures we have in place to keep our dog happy. I couldn't really think of something we were supposed to be doing differently. However, I do want the dog to be happy, so I checked with my vet. We had quite a long conversation about how the dog lives out his everyday life. After that, the vet gave me the All Clear, and a doctor's certificate that the dog is fine."

If the neighbour does set any authority on you, then, too, you can pull out said certificate.

If you don't really trust the vet, you could do the same exercise with someone in an official club, or similar, perhaps for your kind of dog, asking them to come to your home and check on everything, and give you tips, and then write you a letter to say that they've inspected your home and you are looking after the dog properly.
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