My dad and his wife live with three dogs, none of them trained whatsoever. An elderly german shepherd, a young pitbull, and a young brussels griffon. We visited over the winter and stayed with them for several days. Here's my concern. The shepherd seems to be OK and keeps mostly to herself. The griffon has a tendency to jump up and scratch but at least she's small. The pit bull they kept locked in my step sister's room for the duration of our visit, because my dad didn't trust him around my kids, then 5 and 3. He got out several times though, and when he did my stepmom kept trying to get my kids to "warm up" to him, holding him by the collar and inviting the kids to pet him. He is a nice enough dog but hyperactive and untrained. Then there was an incident where my dad was kind of wrestling around playfully with my 3yo, and apparently the pit bull was on his way out for a walk but not on a leash yet and came rushing into the room and lunged snarling at my daughter. I was not in the room but heard about it just afterwards. Thank goodness my stepmom grabbed the dog's collar in time before he could bite. Afterwards, she made excuses for the dog- he would never have bitten her, and he was just being protective of my dad, etc. She also refers to the dog as "her grandson," since it's her daughter's dog. Basically, I don't think she is realistic about the potential for this dog to hurt my kids, which to me makes for a dangerous situation.
SO. We're not going to stay there again. But my question is, even if we were to visit and stay at a nearby hotel, how do we keep the kids safe when we're hanging out at the house for a visit? The dog was locked up last time but kept getting out. Is there a better way to do this? Oh and they're not likely to want to tie him outside as he was recently attacked and nearly killed by a wandering neighborhood pit bull. Great. I'm bummed about this because I really want to be able to visit my dad, but I'm not sure what to do.