Dogs who frighten people

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Sue234
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Dogs who frighten people

Post by Sue234 » Wed 29 May 2013 15:40

Hi, I wonder if anyone can give me a bit of advice. We have a small modern villa on a Residence in Collioure which we let out - first visitors expected in a few days time. A French couple who, we understand, are permanently renting a house behind ours have two dogs who seem quite bored and just love to get their fun by suddenly jumping at their (mercifully secure) boundary fence and barking and growling aggressively at passers-by. Unfortunately their garden is at head height and it makes you jump a mile, even if you are sort of expecting it. I'm worried that visitors to our house, who have to run this gauntlet to reach our front door, will be very frightened, especially small children.

The dogs' owners seem quite nice people and have tried to "talk" to their dogs, and then us, to show their dogs we're no threat, but to totally no effect. Now they just say " Arret" or similar, to similar lack of effect.

I'm planning to call on them to ask if a solution might be found but does anyone have any ideas if this also fails?

Just to add, we've got to go back to the UK next week and, despite the worrying dogs and the crazy weather at the moment, this is still heaven on earth for me! Hope there are a few of you or more who agree.

Sue

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Kate
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Post by Kate » Wed 29 May 2013 18:58

Difficult one as the owners are obviously co-operating 'to the best of their ability' - teacher speak for trying but not doing very well - so you can't really say much more. Maybe the best thing to do would be to warn friends in advance in a humourous way that the neighbours' bark is worse than their bite and just try and take it in your stride. I know what you mean though when you say it can still make you jump even though you're expecting it. No solution I know, or useful advice. Maybe it will be better when you come back as the sun will be out (eternal optimist me ) and they might want to stay in the shade??? Good luck however you play it.

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Post by tia » Wed 29 May 2013 19:18

legally I don't think there is anything you can do ( even if the owners didn't cooperate), but you could try bribary ( to the dogs not the owners). Just giving them a little biscuit or tit bit as you go by so instead of running and barking at you they run and wait for their treat. at first you give it to them while they are barking and little by little you encourage them not to bark and them give them the treat. Not guaranteeing it'll work but might help.

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Post by Sue234 » Wed 29 May 2013 19:22

Thanks Kate,

I completely agree that a light touch is probably best, and I will try to explain our situation to the neighbours in case they'd consider tethering the dogs on long lines, but which don't quite reach the garden boundaries. Unfortunately, hot weather could make it worse as the hedging around the boundaries provides the only shade!!

We've got our two Labs here with us at the moment and we just thank our lucky stars the boundary fencing is strong or I think the other two dogs would have done some serious GBH to them by now. Our two just scuttle past as fast as possible. I have to add though, that everyone who passes is treated to the snarling and barking whether they've dogs with them or not - they're very democratic in their approach!

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Post by Sue234 » Wed 29 May 2013 19:37

Thanks for your advice also, Tia

That may be worth a try and I might ask the owners' permission to give it a go; the dogs are pretty fierce though and I have spend a month or two trying to make friends. I've done a bit of dog training in the past and have tried all the gentle, oblique approaches with them to no effect. They just get a certain look in their eyes and you know to back off.

My problem is the people who'll be renting our villa throughout the summer, who won't expect to have to deal with this. Ah well, we've just bought the villa and it WAS let out last year when the furry furies were in residence across the pathway, so may be all will be ok.

Thanks again for the advice folks. I think this is a fabulous website and so useful for all things P-O related. May it continue to flourish for many years. :!:

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Post by Owens88 » Wed 29 May 2013 20:29

Can you put up a very high fence on your side of the boundary? It won't stop the dogs barking but if you create a sensation that they are 'contained' it might help your renters.

I know that you said the fence is secure. I mean high beyond mere containment needs.
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Sue234
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Post by Sue234 » Wed 29 May 2013 21:38

Thanks for that John,

Unfortunately, or thankfully, depending on how you look at it, the fierce dogs aren't actually against our boundary but by a public walkway that leads to our villa and two others (unoccupied at present, as holiday homes often are). So the pathway isn't ours to erect more fencing on. I'm confident the dogs couldn't actually get at anyone walking by; it's more the stealth by which they creep up at head height (due to the rise in the land) and "open fire" so to speak. It can absolutely shock you - and I'm a dog lover. I think these dogs need more walks and things of interest in their lives. As it is, this must be a great game for them! I guess we're just going to have to grin and bear it.

Thanks again to all for the suggestions.

Sue

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Post by MountainGal » Thu 25 Jul 2013 17:36

tia wrote:legally I don't think there is anything you can do ( even if the owners didn't cooperate), but you could try bribary ( to the dogs not the owners). Just giving them a little biscuit or tit bit as you go by so instead of running and barking at you they run and wait for their treat. at first you give it to them while they are barking and little by little you encourage them not to bark and them give them the treat. Not guaranteeing it'll work but might help.
i agree with the idea totally, but not to offer the treat when they are barking as this is rewarding the undesirable behaviour. It would be good to ask the owners to bring the dogs outside for a treat (one at a time) and give them a treat and a fuss, when they stop barking at you, you can give treats when you pass, but obviously check the owners are ok with this too.

Hope this helps.
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Dogs who frighten people

Post by Sue234 » Thu 25 Jul 2013 18:26

Thank you MountainGal,

What you say, and Tia, makes a lot of sense and I might give it a try when I'm next in Collioure later in the year, if my halting French will allow! Perhaps dog language is the same everywhere - a treat's a treat after all! On another plus side, we've had no complaints from guests staying in our villa ......yet!

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Re: Dogs who frighten people

Post by MountainGal » Thu 25 Jul 2013 19:08

Sue234 wrote:Thank you MountainGal,

What you say, and Tia, makes a lot of sense and I might give it a try when I'm next in Collioure later in the year, if my halting French will allow! Perhaps dog language is the same everywhere - a treat's a treat after all! On another plus side, we've had no complaints from guests staying in our villa ......yet!
That's good to hear. I think you're doing the right thing warning your guests and trying to work with the neighbours. Maybe even offer to walk the dogs while you're there too to form a bond and ask the neighbours what to say to the dogs in French to try and calm them. Most important is your tone of voice - if you have the right tone, it doesn't matter too much what words you say. I'm not too far from you and like to visit the seaside with my daughter so if you'd like me to pop down to help, give me a shout.
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Re: Dogs who frighten people

Post by MountainGal » Thu 25 Jul 2013 19:17

MountainGal wrote:
Sue234 wrote:Thank you MountainGal,

What you say, and Tia, makes a lot of sense and I might give it a try when I'm next in Collioure later in the year, if my halting French will allow! Perhaps dog language is the same everywhere - a treat's a treat after all! On another plus side, we've had no complaints from guests staying in our villa ......yet!
That's good to hear. I think you're doing the right thing warning your guests and trying to work with the neighbours. Maybe even offer to walk the dogs while you're there too to form a bond and ask the neighbours what to say to the dogs in French to try and calm them. Most important is your tone of voice - if you have the right tone, it doesn't matter too much what words you say. I'm not too far from you and like to visit the seaside with my daughter so if you'd like me to pop down to help, give me a shout.
Maybe your neighbours would be happy of a little help/advice too? Mt French is pretty good, so not a problem to speak to them too if it helps.
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Dogs who frighten people

Post by Sue234 » Thu 25 Jul 2013 19:43

Thank you for the offer MountainGal, I might just do that - you'd be welcome. I'm not there until October, as I said earlier. Will you be around then?

Sue

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Re: Dogs who frighten people

Post by MountainGal » Thu 25 Jul 2013 23:45

Sue234 wrote:Thank you for the offer MountainGal, I might just do that - you'd be welcome. I'm not there until October, as I said earlier. Will you be around then?

Sue
Yes, I'm hear all the time. I'll pm you my number and you can give me a call when you come over.
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Post by MountainGal » Sat 29 Mar 2014 08:42

Hi Sue,

Sorry I didn't make it down to you yet, I have a rather hectic life! How are things with your neighbours dogs now? If you start to have problems again, feel free to contact me and I will find time to get down to you.

Vicky
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Dogs who frighten people

Post by Sue234 » Sat 29 Mar 2014 10:03

Hi Mountain Gal,

Thanks for your offer. The two dogs are still on sentry duty but we've sort of got used to them. We've had no outright complaints from visitors to our house and a few make wry comments in our visitors book to the effect that the dogs got used to them by the end of their fortnight's stay!

I may be in touch if things flair up!!

Sue

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Post by martyn94 » Mon 31 Mar 2014 19:27

Many French people seem to keep dogs, and leave them out in their gardens, exactly so that they will bark and jump at passers-by. They also put up "chien méchant" signs up for dogs which are mostly not méchant at all. So long as they do not actually get out and attack your tenants, I don't think you would be regarded as having any reason to complain: just one of those cultural differences which are meant to make holidays interesting. When I go out on my bike, I get a sort of strung-out chorus of six in a row (out of the six houses that I pass).

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