My fiancé and I have a small 1yr old dog and a cat, both of which we raised and trained since they were 10wks old. The roommates we're about to move in with have a big 1.5yr old gsd and a cat. They adopted the dog about three months ago, a week after their last dog had to be put down due to a vet bill they couldn't afford to pay. They're the dog's third owner. They've been living in the new home for about two months now (their lease ended sooner than ours) and we are moving in this week.

I met the dog about a month after they got her and she was jumping all over me and also exhibited some pretty bad separation anxiety symptoms (mind you this is a 60lb dog that could easily knock me over). We had her meet our dog and honestly... it was the first time I've ever seen our dog nervous about another dog. Their dog would not leave ours alone or listen to his cues at all. He was turning away and very visibly trying to tell her to stop licking his face/biting his neck. Then when he would run away she would catch up to him and body slam him, eliciting a yelp from him. It got to the point where they finally separated her from our dog because she wasn't listening to the obvious signs he was giving her that he had had enough.

Last week we came by again to move some stuff and she was jumping at us, latching onto our arms, biting my legs and feet, and even put holes in my shirt... all while I'm trying to carry boxes of stuff. I tried to ignore her and treat her when she was calm/sitting which she did, but then she'd go back to biting us. I couldn't walk up the stairs without her biting my feet. And you can't even pet her without her biting you. Also, they no longer keep her crated or confined to their room ever. she gets to free roam the whole house. So they just let her harass us the whole time we were moving stuff. Today she managed to get ahold of a phone holder I had left at the new place and destroyed it. They're going to pay to replace it (it's just a cheap thing anyways) but I'm concerned that their 1.5 year old dog is chewing stuff up like it's a puppy.

So flashback to now. I politely asked them how we're going to manage the dogs together. I said I don't feel comfortable with my dog around her because she's just too over the top for him and I also don't want to come home to a dog biting me and ruining my shirts every day. Maybe we can give them both equal chances to be in the living area without my dog being forced to interact with her. They responded very overly-optimistically and didn't seem like they understood the severity of their dog's behavior. They essentially said the dogs will get used to each other and we can't baby them, that our dog will correct theirs (even though we saw how that went... she doesn't listen to his social cues at all). They don't seem willing to manage her in a way that would make me feel comfortable and seem to be wanting to make all the rules. They said she bites because she gets over excited and that they're working on it. But don't seem willing to manage her so that my fiancé and I don't get bit. I'm afraid that my dog and I are just going to be trapped in our room forever because I can't risk him getting hurt mentally or physically. We are active in dog sports and he is super social and honestly as close to a perfect dog as you can get. I'm worried about them not being able to manage this dog who's now coming out of her shell and showing some bad behaviors. I don't feel like it's fair that I have to deal with this dog and make sacrifices. And no, they can't afford a professional dog trainer so that's out of the question.

The problem is that the lease is already signed. My fiancé wants to "see how things go" and try to make it work. I desperately just want to find a new place to live and let them deal with finding new roommates, even if that makes me a problem. What can we do?? Am I just being overly anxious or is this a bad situation?

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    I’m voting to close this question because it's more suited to the Interpersonal Skills stack, as it's more specifically about the people than the dog--you can't train a dog that's not yours if the owners are going to undermine you.
    – Allison C
    Commented Mar 5 at 15:37
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    Welcome to pets.SE! I agree with @Allison. It is possible to migrate this question to the mentioned stack, if you agree to it (you can do so in a comment) Commented Mar 5 at 19:56
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    It sounds like communication happened but the roommmates don't understand the gravity of their dog's behavior or the stress signals of the smaller dog. Personally I would push towards an agreement that you are allowed to train their dog in situations where you feel his behavior is unacceptable. As a former owner of an abused "problem dog" I know that "acceptable behavior" is a very relative term, but once you all live together you want to do so peacefully. BTW, you could block the entrance to the stairs with some baby grates.
    – Elmy
    Commented Mar 6 at 6:10
  • This does not belong on IPS, it's already closed (and now deleted) there. DO NOT MIGRATE IT! Commented Mar 19 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


If I were you, I would not move in. Not for a single day. This dog has already bitten you more than once, and it has been aggressive to your dog. If you move in, you will have the problems you had every day. It is no use waiting to see how things go; you have already seen enough.

The problem is that you cannot train somebody else's dog. The dog's owners are responsible for their dog's behavior. If they do not take their responsibility, there is not much you can do.

I'd step back from that contract as soon as possible, even if that means that you have to pay the rent for a month or two. Everything is better than being threatened by an aggressive dog every day. And then look for another home where you do not have to face problems like these.

  • Welcome at pets.SE! Do you have own experience you base your recommendations on? Because this is not a common forum we have some rules to avoid simple opinion based answers. I.e. you could add ypur experience and how your recommendations helped you there, or a website/book or other source you got your knowledge from. If other users agree about the opinion-based-answer it will be deleted. Commented Mar 19 at 13:07

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