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I already have an opinion on my situation. But I am soliciting feedback from dog lovers to see how my opinion compares to everyone else's. I will try to summarize situation without editorializing too much.

For two years my neighbors have owned a male Akita. The dog is driven by dominance. Example: A toy is thrown. He will go stand over the toy and dare any other dog to come near it. He does not actually touch the toy himself. And no other dog I have seen would dare challenge him for it either.

I have personally witnessed the dog in five dog fights. The most recent resulted in my black lab having to have surgery. This is the most vicious attack I have seen, with deep punctures and head shaking.

The owners have acquired a female puppy Akita as well. I feel the male Akita's aggression escalated because he was being dominate/protective of the female dog.

Regardless of WHY the male akita dog does what he does, the bottom line is the dog has a consistent history of aggression, with the latest attack resulting in deep puncture wounds, no bite inhibition, and the owners were unable to control the dog. ie. They/we were powerless to stop the attack.

The setting for this is in a garden home community with small yards, lots of pets, and lots of small children.

Here is my question to the group: Assume this was your neighbor, and the Akitas live next door to you. As a neighbor, what are the minimum conditions that you would accept living next door to these Akitas? ie. What would the neighbors have to do to make you comfortable with the situation?

It should be noted that the dogs are generally friendly towards other pets and people.

Example topics:

Is it safe for them to walk the dogs without muzzles?

Is it safe for children to play with the dogs?

Is it safe for the dog to be kept behind a wooden six foot fence? (i.e. could the dogs dig under fence into my dog's backyard and attack him while people are not present?)

Is it safe for one person to walk both these dogs at the same time?

What are the odds of the female turning aggressive like the male?

Should the dog be treated differently now that he has lost bite inhibition and tried to kill?

Remember, I am asking what you would like to see as a neighbor. i.e. If the owners insist on owning such pets, what additional precautions would a responsible person take, if any?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Just as a side note aggression is more driven by fear than dominance. If he was a dog confident in his social standing... he wouldn't feel the need to guard toys with his life or chase down random people and 'eliminate the threat'.

I believe a lot of jurisdictions have a limit on how many bites a dog can inflict on other animals/humans before it is euthed. If it can be proven that the dog has inflicted x number of moderate/serious bites the animal can usually be seized.

At the very least for an dog-aggressive dog I would expect the owner to be in control 100% of the time, whatever that takes. Not opening doors until the dog is leashed, and being able to keep leash in hand at all times. Definitely no off-leash walking or running loose on the property. But just estimating from the amount of hurt this dog has caused already I'll wager that you can count on the owners to not give a flying crap about the safety of other people and dogs. What I would do instead is...

-Check in with animal control and get the lowdown on their approach and laws regarding vicious dogs. Report the bite if you haven't already.
-Avoid these dogs at all costs: Don't walk on the same side of the street as them. Keep your dog (and kids if you have them) away from them, and encourage others to follow suit.
-Don't leave your dog outside unsupervised if you are concerned that the dogs may dig under or jump the fence.
-Carry bear mace or pepper spray, whatever is legal where you are. I am told that it is not a magic solution (though I carry it myself when walking dogs to fend off wildlife, aggressive dogs and people if necessary) BUT if the owners are there and see you aiming a canister of mace at their dogs face you can bet that they will be a bit quicker to at least try and control their dog!

It's always so horrible to see dogs like this. It really has nothing to do with dominance; it is either the result of pathological issues with temperament/psychology or poor/no effort to socialize the dogs to humans. Seeing that these people bought another puppy knowing full well that their current dog is dog aggressive, I'm betting on the latter.
 

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The toy guarding is not about dominance, it's about resource guarding and resource guarding is usually driven by insecurity not a need to be dominant. Basically the dog is paranoid someone will take their thing and they are telling everyone it's there's and to back off or else they will attack.

Dog Aggression can be driven by fear, barrier / leash frustration, or just a hatred of other dogs, it depends on the dog but again it usually has very little to do with dominance. The dog is trying to drive off or kill the other dog not dominate it.

It's also important to note that dog aggression does not usually mean the dog will also be people aggressive.

No it is not safe to keep a severely dog aggressive dog behind a wooden fence. Wood fences can be hopped, dug under, and some dogs can also manage to break the fence boards.

It may or may not be safe for a child to play with that Akita, it depends on what the dog resource guards, and the child should NEVER be left alone with the dog. Then again I would not leave a small child alone with your lab either.

Walking the dog without a muzzle would depend on how much control the owner has over the dog. Personally I would not.

The dog did not lose bite inhibition, it had perfect bite inhibition and knew exactly what it was doing. The dog should be treated as what it is a severely dog aggressive dog and every precaution should be taken to ensure that the dog cannot get loose and attack another dog. If the owner cannot take those precautions then the dog should be humanely put to sleep.

My minimum standards would be keeping the dog contained or on leash at all times. The dog is not allowed in the yard alone but must be kept in an escape proof kennel or in the house. When walking the dog two leashes are used, one attached to a harness the other held loose and attached to the collar, and the dog needs to wear a muzzle. If the dog is a door dasher then the dog needs to be either in a kennel or in a room behind a closed door before anyone opens the door to the outside.
 

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I would be very concerned about living near these dogs, as my dog is much smaller (23 pounds) than an Akita. If it were attacked, I'm fairly certain it would be killed. I would definitely avoid the dogs, and I certainly wouldn't allow a child to play with them, even if they do not appear to be aggressive toward humans. If the male is resource guarding, and a child reached for something it regarded as his, such as a toy, he might very well react aggressively. Given how much larger an Akita could be than a small child, that could easily be disastrous. I also agree that I really wouldn't leave a small child alone with any dog, no matter how child-friendly. Any dog, sufficiently provoked, might react, and some children really can go past a dog's reasonable limits quickly, simply because they either don't know any better or because they decide to disobey whatever rules they've been given regarding the dog. Or they just react without thinking, due to their obvious immaturity (they are, after all, kids).

I'd also be really concerned as to why they suddenly acquired a female Akita, even if it is still a puppy at the moment. If the male hasn't been neutered, they may be thinking of breeding Akitas, and the owners don't sound like they're responsible enough to own a dog, much less breed dogs.
 

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You said the Akita was normally good with pets,does that mean the dogs it fought where challenging/harassing or attacking it and than the Akita took it to a whole another level or did the Akita just run up and maul other dogs?
A dog with bite inhibition may actually lose it if the other dog is biting them as well,so I don't like to judge a dog in that situation. Even if that dog normally does have bite inhibition with other dogs,but a dog that straight goes for another dog and grabs on should be muzzled in public.

Dog aggression is also not the same as human,although a child shouldn't walk,be alone with and they need to extra careful the kid does not let the dog loose the dog I can't say it would actually harm them.

I wouldn't want to live by that dog because he would be the type of dog my dog would fight,and would probably get in a nasty one.
 

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I agree with Foresthound, a dog can seem like it's a 'good' (relative term, hah) pet or more accurately a friendly and stable dog until someone crosses a boundary that the dog is extremely sensitive to... charging up to the dog, grabbing the dog, getting too friendly or unfriendly, towering over it, looking the dog in the eye, etc. This can go to extremes where all another dog has to do is approach the dog or suddenly walk into view and it has startled the aggressive dog so badly that he panics and tries to 'eliminate' the threat.

The difference is that ideally; naturally, a dog will show warning signs and allow that person/dog a chance to back off. Dogs don't naturally 'like' to fight; even those that are bred for dog fighting. If there is an opportunity to de-escalate the situation they will take it. But if handled improperly by humans (ignoring/discouraging growling, forcing the dog to be around things that they want to get away from, etc) they give those that they are afraid of less and less chances before they resort to fighting them.
 

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I live outside a very small town in the middle of nowhere Idaho. I also live about mile outside the town limits. I'm in the the country, but still in a small neighborhood - there are about 9 houses on our road. A dog like that wouldn't last long around here...it would be shot before it attacked neighborhood dogs more than a few times...much less five times.

The dog owners would probably get a firm warning about it on the first attack or two...then someone would do what they promised and solve the problem of a vicious dog.

Law enforcement around here kind of turns a blind eye to that kind of stuff if they find out from a number of neighbors that the dog has been biting/attacking pets. Also around here a rancher and legally shoot any dog on his property...(they might be there to chase livestock).

So people here, if they are serious about their dog's well being...don't let their dogs run around. However, a lot of them do work in their driveways and are out in their front unfenced yards with their dogs and any stray dog coming from some other place could cause problems. And if a dog gets shot on a property that is not their owners, like I said, the law doesn't really get involved.

In more 'civilized' areas I suppose the only thing you can do is keep calling the authorities...video the dog off it's property as proof and hope that anything it attacks time and again doesn't die before something is done about it. If your neighbors were serious about their dog never hurting anyone again, it would be muzzled before ever allowed to outside...but even then a dog can escape out a door before being stopped.

Sorry to hear your dog got hurt. I hope your 'neighbors' foot the whole vet bill.

Stormy
 

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What were the circumstances of these attacks? I am just wondering since you say this dog is normally friendly with people and pets.

I don't want to comment and what should or shouldn't be done with the Akita because I don't know the dog or the owner.

There is a couple in my building with a large aggressive mutt they got from the shelter and I have no issues with them around. They walk the dog on leash unmuzzled, they let the dog off leash in the courtyard at night after making sure it is empty and when passing in the hall they either move the dog off to the side if there is room or they both step in front of him. I know the dog is aggressive so I keep my dogs away from him, I do not approach him and if I had kids they would also be kept away from him and it works perfectly for all because the dog is happy when left alone by strangers anyways.
 

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I already have an opinion on my situation. But I am soliciting feedback from dog lovers to see how my opinion compares to everyone else's. I will try to summarize situation without editorializing too much.

For two years my neighbors have owned a male Akita. The dog is driven by dominance. Example: A toy is thrown. He will go stand over the toy and dare any other dog to come near it. He does not actually touch the toy himself. And no other dog I have seen would dare challenge him for it either.

I have personally witnessed the dog in five dog fights. The most recent resulted in my black lab having to have surgery. This is the most vicious attack I have seen, with deep punctures and head shaking.

The owners have acquired a female puppy Akita as well. I feel the male Akita's aggression escalated because he was being dominate/protective of the female dog.

Regardless of WHY the male akita dog does what he does, the bottom line is the dog has a consistent history of aggression, with the latest attack resulting in deep puncture wounds, no bite inhibition, and the owners were unable to control the dog. ie. They/we were powerless to stop the attack.

The setting for this is in a garden home community with small yards, lots of pets, and lots of small children.

Here is my question to the group: Assume this was your neighbor, and the Akitas live next door to you. As a neighbor, what are the minimum conditions that you would accept living next door to these Akitas? ie. What would the neighbors have to do to make you comfortable with the situation?

It should be noted that the dogs are generally friendly towards other pets and people.

Example topics:

Is it safe for them to walk the dogs without muzzles?

Is it safe for children to play with the dogs?

Is it safe for the dog to be kept behind a wooden six foot fence? (i.e. could the dogs dig under fence into my dog's backyard and attack him while people are not present?)

Is it safe for one person to walk both these dogs at the same time?

What are the odds of the female turning aggressive like the male?

Should the dog be treated differently now that he has lost bite inhibition and tried to kill?

Remember, I am asking what you would like to see as a neighbor. i.e. If the owners insist on owning such pets, what additional precautions would a responsible person take, if any?

Thanks in advance!
Answering your questions in order IMO:

Yes, depending on why the Akita attacked the dogs, if they are not actively seeking out dogs to go after and just need space I think muzzles are not necessary.

To play with the dogs, I don't know. Doesn't sound like there has been any human aggression so just based on your post I think supervised play is fine.

To me the fence sounds okay. Dogs can jump over or dig under fences but like I said it depends on the Akitas are they just minding their own business and attack when a dog comes near, are they searching for dogs to attack, do the sight of dogs set them off, etc.

Depends on the level of aggression but I would not walk these dogs by myself.

Akitas are known for not being very dog friendly, and it's definitely possible for the female to become aggressive too.

Yes they should be treated differently than other dogs after 5 fights. If they were my dogs they would be in training and other than that I would not bring other dogs around them period.

If they were my neighbors I would like to see the dogs in training more than anything. Training and effort to keep their dogs away from other dogs.
 

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What were the circumstances of these attacks? I am just wondering since you say this dog is normally friendly with people and pets.
A couple of people asked this.

I was stupid to let my dog in their backyard, even supervised. So please don't point that out. I made a terrible mistake by trusting my neighbor's judgement.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'd also be really concerned as to why they suddenly acquired a female Akita, even if it is still a puppy at the moment. If the male hasn't been neutered, they may be thinking of breeding Akitas, and the owners don't sound like they're responsible enough to own a dog, much less breed dogs.
The puppy is supposed to be a 'show dog'.

The male dog was neutered in order to get the puppy. This is one of the factors that made me decide to make a stand. (I'm taking off my impartial hat now.) After the first five fights (that I know of), they should have gotten the dog neutered. But they didn't. They only got him neutered when they decided to get a puppy, and I'll bet you money the breeder would not place the dog in a house without an unneutered dog. This says alot about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would like to thank everyone for their considerate replies. I just wanted a reality check to make sure I wasn't off base.

Had I posted this in most forums, it would have veered off topic very quickly. Everyone here read my post and actually answered my questions. This is very impressive. I hope you can feel my sincere gratitude.
 

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Well thank goodness for that responsible breeder then!!! The last thing these people need to be doing is making puppies.

Hopefully animal control involves themselves here, especially since there is another dog in the house. Unspayed females are known for being... well, bitches and with a dog-aggressive dog in the house I could easily see them coming to blows against each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The toy guarding is not about dominance, it's about resource guarding and resource guarding is usually driven by insecurity not a need to be dominant. Basically the dog is paranoid someone will take their thing and they are telling everyone it's there's and to back off or else they will attack.

Dog Aggression can be driven by fear, barrier / leash frustration, or just a hatred of other dogs, it depends on the dog but again it usually has very little to do with dominance. The dog is trying to drive off or kill the other dog not dominate it.
I am not a professional and do not claim to be. But I have worked with dogs all my life, read books, taken classes, etc. Perhaps my lingo is off.

The dog is all about being the alpha dog. With every dog he sees, he will run up to it, chest bowed, to challenge it. I don't think it is about resource guarding because he is not food aggressive. I think his brain is wired that it is all about being alpha. I think it is a need to be dominate. It is a very different behavior than the dog who is guarding his bone and growls at other dogs who come near it. His behavior is very different than that.

And I think the owners made a fatal error by reinforcing the behavior with this stupid thing she was taught at Petsmart to growl at the dog. When I first met the dog I could tell it needed to immediately be neutered and receive advanced training--not basic obedience training that are appropriate for 99.9% of dogs.

Anyway, perhaps the first four fights were 'dominate' fights, and that is why the Akita did not inflict severe puncture wounds. But the latest attack was him trying to protect the female, and that is why he tried to kill my dog. But my dog is a submissive lab and did not / would not do anything threatening. So that is a flaw in my theory, and why I come back to dominance.

Maybe he is insecure about being dominate?

If anyone has a link to the exact definitions of 'aggressive' and 'dominate' I would like to read them.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Last post. Someone mentioned bite inhibition. My comment is based on Ian Dunbar's Bite Scale.

Basically, I agree that the dog has shown a persistent history of aggression, increasing in severity. I think the latest incident was level 4 or level 5, and I think moving forward the dog will be more prone to fully clench and puncture its victims.
 

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...I think that he's being insecure about being insecure!!!

When we use the terms dominant around here we are talking about dominance on the terms that the posters are using it (as it has about a million definitions), and thats usually dominance as defined by dominance theory.

To set something right; dogs can be very intimidating without meaning to if they are the goofy type, or are younger or simply not very socially apt (sticking their face in other dog's faces, etc). You see this a lot with dogs that are very bubbly, puppyish or playful in nature. They often set big dogs on edge and set small dogs running away screaming and they have no clue why anyone would think they are so scary!!!

I work with one or two dogs (including my own) that would be considered especially 'dominant' according to dominance theory. They are confident and calm but outgoing around other dogs, establish clear boundaries and hold the dogs that they play with to them. They are the dogs that I would least expect aggression from. They know very well that they are in no physical danger; even when playing with a goofy adolescent lab with weak grasp of 'manners' or 'boundaries'.

Look through my pictures at Lexy and Comanche. The lab pup can run up and tackle the GSD at full speed, grab him in a 'hug' around the shoulders and mouth/nip his face. He isn't alarmed, threatened or defensive about this in the slightest. He will even play coy to get her to chase him if she is too shy/submissive to play rough with him (which he loves). He is definitely what many would consider a dominant dog, or more accurately, a domineering, confident and bold personality. But he is a dog that I would least expect fearful/aggressive behaviours from.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
A couple of people asked this.

I was stupid to let my dog in their backyard, even supervised. So please don't point that out. I made a terrible mistake by trusting my neighbor's judgement.
Hey? Where did my link go? Did a moderator edit it out? If so, why?

The original post had a link to my animal control complaint. It listed all the specific incidents. If anyone would like to read it you can private message me. Apparently the moderators have a concern about it being posted publicly.
 

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I am not a professional and do not claim to be. But I have worked with dogs all my life, read books, taken classes, etc. Perhaps my lingo is off.

The dog is all about being the alpha dog. With every dog he sees, he will run up to it, chest bowed, to challenge it. I don't think it is about resource guarding because he is not food aggressive. I think his brain is wired that it is all about being alpha. I think it is a need to be dominate. It is a very different behavior than the dog who is guarding his bone and growls at other dogs who come near it. His behavior is very different than that.

And I think the owners made a fatal error by reinforcing the behavior with this stupid thing she was taught at Petsmart to growl at the dog. When I first met the dog I could tell it needed to immediately be neutered and receive advanced training--not basic obedience training that are appropriate for 99.9% of dogs.

Anyway, perhaps the first four fights were 'dominate' fights, and that is why the Akita did not inflict severe puncture wounds. But the latest attack was him trying to protect the female, and that is why he tried to kill my dog. But my dog is a submissive lab and did not / would not do anything threatening. So that is a flaw in my theory, and why I come back to dominance.

Maybe he is insecure about being dominate?

If anyone has a link to the exact definitions of 'aggressive' and 'dominate' I would like to read them.
These links may help clear up what I was trying to explain about dominance, his most likely being fearful rather then dominant, and resource guarding

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/

http://www.dogforum.com/training-be...guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/

http://www.dogforum.com/training-be...y-leash-aggression-barrier-frustration-12538/
 
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Hey? Where did my link go? Did a moderator edit it out? If so, why?

The original post had a link to my animal control complaint. It listed all the specific incidents. If anyone would like to read it you can private message me. Apparently the moderators have a concern about it being posted publicly.
I removed it as it had your neighbors' names and address (see the little note under your post). Please do not share any identifying info belonging to others without their permission here (and really anywhere online). :)
 
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