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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I live in a complex that is run by an HOA. They are a crappy do-nothing HOA, but they do have a rule against aggressive pets.

My dog is a rescue, and within a week after we got her, she decided that she was going to be our protector. Before that she was friendly, at least with all humans.

OK, so now we go through a big routine to get her in and out of our apartment. We use a hard pulling harness, a head harness, a thundercap, and a muzzle to get her straight from the door to the car with no problems, and then we walk her outside the complex.

She has not bitten anyone, but she has barked a few times. We've pretty much figured out how to avoid even barking.

There is an issue with harassment from a really bad element, as in: trying to get her to bark so they can complain, but that seems to be dying down now.

The current issue is: another neighbor who lets his dog run around loose, and seems to be vindictive about my saying anything about it. I talked to him once, I talked to his wife, and they still kept doing it. He seems to have an idea in his head that he can train his dog to come on command. So he practices this on our street. It doesn't work.

I went to talk to the site manager about it, he talked to this neighbor, and now the site manager is giving me the silent treatment. Who knows what kind of slander went on there. It's not the first time the site manager has given me the silent treatment because he misunderstood what was going on with me, and I'm tired of that, so I just want to avoid him now.

The only bad behavior this neighbor has witnessed, was my dog lunging at another dog once, and my s/o had a hard time holding her. He is not allowed to hold the leash any more, because he's a stroke survivor and has balance issues. So I have to be the one, every time, and I am the one now. We don't want anyone to know he's a stroke survivor - this is the kind of place where the weak are preyed upon.

So she did not get a chance to get at this other dog, and that dog owner has moved out anyway.

And now this neighbor just had a really long talk with the security guard, this afternoon. It may or may not have been about my dog, but I'm worried about it.

I looked it up in the HOA rules:

Displays of violence or aggressive behavior by any pet should be immediately reported to Animal Control, and the pet owner shall be subject to fines starting at $100.00 per occurrence, up to and including request for removal of the animal from the community at owner’s expense
Does this mean that Animal Control would have to be called in first, before they would start fining me?

If this wording is not clear, then how is it usually done?

Would it be ridiculous for them to fine me $100 per bark?

Sometimes she still gets a bark in, like this morning - a woman across the street got out of her car unexpectedly (didn't know she was there) and Turi got one bark before I bundled her into the car. The woman was not perturbed, and ignored it.

And this neighbor with the loose dog, has continued to it run loose, sometimes even without supervision. Yesterday it was running around loose, and they weren't even home. He is a good dog, after awhile he went and waited for them in the stairwell. I just don't want to deal
with any chance of a dog fight, and it seems trying to prevent that just brings out the vindictiveness in people.

The site manager is not the community manager, but I'm sure I could have done without whatever this neighbor said.

This place sucks - slander is the general practice around here. Only the guards seem to be careful about believing what people say, without proof, but this is a new security company.

So my question is - how is the issue of an aggressive dog
usually handled by HOA's?

She is a completely lovely dog when she is inside with us, but outside she has decided to be our protector. Sometimes she even barks at nothing, when we are out on walks.

I'd appreciate your thoughts, thank you...
 

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I've never had to deal with a HOA and won't move into a place with one. IMO the wording is vague, displays of violence or aggression... That can mean different things to different people. Many non dog people can take any barking as aggression, while we know that is not the case. That would make me nervous. I wonder if you could get that clarified for you. I'm also wondering if she isn't feeding off you while outside. If you are nervous it could be making her more nervous and on guard. She sounds like she is getting reactive, but that doesn't mean aggressive. I have to run right now, but if you go into the training sticky section there is a post on reactive dogs. It may help you out.
 

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My dog is a rescue, and within a week after we got her, she decided that she was going to be our protector. Before that she was friendly, at least with all humans.
@iditarod656, Of everything you posted in 2 threads, this is what stands out to me. Your dog went from being friendly - "at least with all humans" (your words) - to being your protector inside of a week.

I read your original thread, lots of key words. Stressed, frustrated, not steely enough, not doing well with staying calm, becoming stressful for me, *just* *frustrated* etc. Is that you or the dog?

Are you trying to protect your dog from its' fears? Or is your dog trying to protect you from yours?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi annageckos,

She could be feeding off me. It's very hard for me to remain calm too - I live in a section full of drug dealers. But she will even bark on my neck from the back seat, at nothing, outside of the complex.

I recently had the couch surfing friend of of a neighbor who lives right across from me, threaten to shoot me because I looked at him wrong. But we had control of her the whole time because we were prepared - he was waiting for us when we got back from walking her. She did not bark. We called the police, and explained about how he made it about the dog when it was really about him not liking how I looked at him. They decided she's a good dog, I guess because she stayed in the bedroom without barking, while they were in the apartment, and they noticed that.

Ok, I will go read the article about reactive dogs, thank you.

Maybe I should go talk to the on-site security supervisor?
He's nice, and we are getting to be friendly with him.
It always seems to be only one guard that I end up working with,
out of the whole bunch.

About getting the clause clarified: The actual HOA community manager and I are not on such friendly terms, and since I'm a renter, I'm supposed to be going to my own RE manager mostly. And I'm not happy with him either - he's the one renting to the drug dealers. I'd just as soon pay for repairs myself just so I don't have to see him any more.

Neither of these people are doing their jobs. Maybe I will talk to the security supervisor, and try to go through him.

It's good to know that many non-dog people will take any barking as aggression, but it isn't necessarily so. Knowing about that could help a lot.

I'd bet they don't have any clear idea in their heads about what they mean by aggression. It's a horrible HOA - it's a national company, and they get 1 star reviews from everybody.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@iditarod656, Of everything you posted in 2 threads, this is what stands out to me. Your dog went from being friendly - "at least with all humans" (your words) - to being your protector inside of a week.

I read your original thread, lots of key words. Stressed, frustrated, not steely enough, not doing well with staying calm, becoming stressful for me, *just* *frustrated* etc. Is that you or the dog?

Are you trying to protect your dog from its' fears? Or is your dog trying to protect you from yours?
Well, psychotherapy is out of my reach at the moment. How well would most people do in a neighborhood where people threaten to shoot you
if you look at them wrong?

I'm mostly worried about the vindictive neighbor who could be slandering my dog right now. I don't really feel like going on the offense any more over it. Like warning the guards that he is letting his dog run loose.
 

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I use to live in an area like yours. It can be very stressful. I was threatened too. Having the dogs helped me feel safer. I think if you try to work on the reactive issues it will help. If your dog is good with people you could socialize her away from the neighborhood. Pet stores, hardware stores, parks. I find them good places to get the dogs use to seeing people. And even if you don't feel confident try to act it, I think it may help both of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I read the article, and this sounds good. I started trying it yesterday.
I took extra cookies, and had her sit & gave her cookies when somebody walked by (at the park across the street).


This morning we walked by a section of a fence that has a dog living behind it - she remembers the spot where this dog lives, and always barks. I walk her on a sidewalk that is quiet because there's a tall brick wall.

So she barked, I had her sit facing me, she sat there and barked 3 times, then stopped. then I gave her the cookie. This is without the dog being out in his yard, mind you.

We started using cookies to try to help with the potty training (still
working on that one), by giving her a cookie every time she pees outside.
Now she wants a cookie every few feet, on walks, and will jump in front of me to let me know she wants a cookie.

She has gotten over her fear of riding in the car, but now expects a cookie before jumping in the back seat.

And we have to give her a lot of cookies when we are in the car in the parking space, because there tends to be a lot of activity in our stairwell,
and she barks. So that works, but wow lots of cookie eating.

She is making some slow progress on getting over fears - she's not afraid of anything hiding in the balcony any more, ore the trash bins, or strange trash bags on the street and etc.

So I think this will help, but then how do I eventually get her off the cookies?
 

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I read the article, and this sounds good. I started trying it yesterday.
I took extra cookies, and had her sit & gave her cookies when somebody walked by (at the park across the street).


This morning we walked by a section of a fence that has a dog living behind it - she remembers the spot where this dog lives, and always barks. I walk her on a sidewalk that is quiet because there's a tall brick wall.

So she barked, I had her sit facing me, she sat there and barked 3 times, then stopped. then I gave her the cookie. This is without the dog being out in his yard, mind you.

We started using cookies to try to help with the potty training (still
working on that one), by giving her a cookie every time she pees outside.
Now she wants a cookie every few feet, on walks, and will jump in front of me to let me know she wants a cookie.

She has gotten over her fear of riding in the car, but now expects a cookie before jumping in the back seat.

And we have to give her a lot of cookies when we are in the car in the parking space, because there tends to be a lot of activity in our stairwell,
and she barks. So that works, but wow lots of cookie eating.

She is making some slow progress on getting over fears - she's not afraid of anything hiding in the balcony any more, ore the trash bins, or strange trash bags on the street and etc.

So I think this will help, but then how do I eventually get her off the cookies?
You shouldn't make her do anything to get the cookie. She needs to associate the appearance of the trigger with the cookie in order to start forming a possitive association. When you make her do something to get the cookie you run the risk of her thinking it's being obedient to you and not the trigger that gets the cookie. Here's a website that explains it a lot better then I just did Care for Reactive Dogs . This website may also be of use to you Fearfuldogs.com .

Another tip I can give is to use the highest value treat that you can. I'd use real meat, cheese, hotdogs, etc. Whatever she REALLY loves and save it for working with her on the reactivity, don't use it for anything else. Break whatever it is up into tiny pieces no bigger then a pea, and feed them one at a time. If she's done really well you can give her a jackpot of a bunch of pieces at once. Doing that lets you work with her longer while preventing her from getting fat.

I understand the frustration, I've got a dog much like yours, mine is fearful of people and large dogs, he's chosen to try and run people and dogs off by barking and lunging rather then running or hiding himself. The methods on the CARE website are what we use and he is slowly getting better.
 

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I just noticed you asked about getting her off the cookies. The answer is that you don't. Think of them as her paycheck for a job well done.

What your goal should be is to have the use lessen so that she can see a few people before getting her paycheck. With my dog I've managed to slow down the use of his rewards. So that I now, with most people, I can give him a few treats as we walk past, rather then treat after treat after treat. Like I said in the other post, I break the treats into tiny pieces so that he's never actually getting what amounts to a bunch of whole treats. On a good day I can make 2, 4 cal, treats last the whole walk.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you everyone :). I guess I've been training her wrong! So I will start to leave out the sit command, and just give her the cookies.

Thanks for the web sites too, they are great.

I am using plain large dog biscuits from Smart & Final. They are easy to break into small pieces. Any red dyes don't sit well with her.
 
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