a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Hold Me Back! I'm Gonna Kill Him!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hold Me Back! I'm Gonna Kill Him!

SUMMARY: Fences don't always make good neighbors.

Let me say first off that this isn't a horror story about some psychopathic neighbor. It's not even a horror story. But I remembered it just now, so am plugging it into this hole that my blog has become lately.

Twenty years ago I lived in a different house, big old half acre, a very long and narrow lot. The north side had an old wooden fence backing up against about 4 different houses. They all had dogs--one had a beagle (who howled all day while his family was gone). One had a big German Shepherd--like, tour bus sized. Big. The next one over had a huge Rottweiler. Maybe I've known only female Rotties up close, because this boy I swear loomed twice their size.

Here's how Remington was about little dogs: Loved them. Wanted to play with them. Kept getting his nose bitten because he'd stick his big face right up to them. He never retaliated or fought back.

Here's how Remington was about big dogs: Had a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Would stiff-leg up to them with hackles up and tail stiff. Got into a tussle a time or two, when I wasn't paying attention, with random dogs (no blood shed, just noise). (He and Jake also fought way too often, but the only time blood was shed was once when I tried to interfere.)

Anyway, Rem and those big neighboring dogs used to fence fight all the time. You've never seen so much righteous anger and hurled invectives and screaming as those huge bodies (Rem's 55 pounds was nothing in comparison) slammed against that old crumbling fence. This went on for a couple of years. My original obedience instructor thought that this was one of the reasons why Rem became more dog aggressive over time and suggested that I put a stop to it. Well, I didn't confine him and I wasn't there most of the day, so that didn't happen.

Anyhoo, one day, came home from work to discover that a huge section of the old fence between my house and the other two yards had finally given in to termites and rot and had collapsed--and Remington was nowhere to be seen. My heart rammed itself into my throat as I ran around into the back quarter acre--

--where Rem and the two ginormous dogs were just hanging out together, wandering around the yard in a little group, acting like the oldest BFFs ever. They all looked up at me as one, and when Rem casually said "Hi, Mom," (you know how kids always act more subdued with their parents when friends are around), the other two also give a little hello wiggle and they all went back to investigating random weed patches.

You think maybe *all* of us would be better friends and neighbors if we didn't wall ourselves up the way we do?


  1. My dogs like to fence fight. I have a second fence inside my fence,one of the green wire garden fence, so they can't get to each other. Works well on the side with the 6 foot fence , dogs no longer fight. But on the side with the picket fence and they can see each other, still barking and acting like maniacs.

    1. Interesting idea, using a secondary fence. How far inside the original fence is your wire fence?