If you had grandchildren ages 6 and 9 who played in your unfenced yard and your next door neighbor with an unfenced yard told you he was getting a pit bull, would you be concerned? We do have the grandchildren and the neighbor.
Thank you for contacting me about your concerns regarding your neighbor getting a new dog.
I would be concerned about any breed of dog next door, without a strong 6' tall fence. We know nothing about this dog or how experienced a dog owner your neighbor is. Is this a adult rescue dog or a new born puppy? This makes a difference. Additionally, how dog savvy are your grandchildren? Most dog bites happen to children because they are not schooled in dog safety.
The first thing I would recommend is to get some books and look at youtube videos regarding children and dog safety. They are out there and will help your grandchildren to understand and deal with dogs safely, for the rest of their lives.
I would then consider fencing the yard. I don't know if this is possible either financially or what the rules are for your community. That would be something to look into.
If you are friendly with the neighbor, see if you can work together on this. Perhaps express your concerns about the children running and playing and how his dog might interpret it. Pit Bulls have a very strong prey drive because it's part of the breed. A Pit Bull raised lovingly and well socialized can be a wonderful pet. They used to be known as nanny dogs.
Communication with the neighbor and possibly looking into creating your own fenced yard would be a step in the right direction. You don't want to make your neighbor feel uncomfortable about the breed he's chosen, just that any dog can run and play and knock a child down etc. A puppy has to learn bit inhibition and while doing so, can nip in innocent play.
It's extremely important to work with your grandchildren on safety issues without making them fearful. Information is power!
Additionally, if the dog is friendly, your grandchildren and the dog may become good friends.
A dog and a child should never be left unattended for any reason.
Find out if your neighbor intends to tie the dog up in the yard, because a dog that is tied up all day is more likely to develop aggression and many children wandering into a yard where this is happening, can be badly bitten. Dogs need a lot of exercise, especially high energy dogs like Pit Bulls. Is the neighbor going to job with the dog every day? A tired dog is a good dog, as we say in the industry!
I hope that this information has shed some light on the topic and offered some steps to take. So much depends on how much your neighbor knows about dogs, if he's training with positive reinforcement or a punishment based approach and how responsible he turns out to be.
Personally, I would build a sturdy, 6' high stockade fence with 4x4s at the bottom along the base and a locked gate.
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