Article written by Aurora James Dog Ettiquette
If you’ve ever lived next door to a dog that barks for hours on end, you know how terrible it can be to share space with inconsiderate dog owners. But have you ever asked yourself if you might be that neighbor? Even if your pup isn’t much of a barker, you could inadvertently be driving your neighbors up the wall with your dog’s behavior. Here are five tips to help you and your dog be better neighbors.
1. Build a Fence
Good fences make good neighbors, especially when you have a dog. Even if your dog is the sweetest canine in existence, that doesn’t mean your neighbors want him in their yard. Besides, a roaming dog is more than a nuisance, letting your dog roam is also dangerous for your pet. Erect a fence that keeps your dog contained on your own property. If you’re considering an invisible fence, know that invisible fences may not be effective against dogs with a high prey drive, and they don’t keep other dogs, wildlife, and neighborhood children out. For help choosing the right fence for your dog, check out this article from Whole Dog Journal.
2. Stop the Barking
A fence may keep your dog from wandering, but it doesn’t do much to curb barking. The right strategy for training your dog to stop barking will depend on the reason behind the behavior. For example, a dog that barks due to separation anxiety will require a different approach than a dog who barks out of aggression. However, for the dog who barks for attention or because he’s bored, follow the Humane Society’s advice for teaching the “quiet” command to stop unwanted barking.
3. Keep Your Yard Clean
All it takes is one hot and humid day for the smell of dog poop to waft through your yard. And if you can smell it, rest assured your neighbors notice it, too. Even if you don’t mind the mess in your own yard, it’s unfair to let unpleasant odors prevent your neighbors from enjoying their backyards. Make a weekly habit of cleaning your dog’s excrement out of your yard, and always pick up after your dog when he goes to the bathroom on walks.
4. Teach Your Dog Manners
Unless your dog never leaves your house and yard, he needs to know how to behave in public. If your dog is in the habit of jumping on people or pulling at his leash, he could frighten or even injure one of your neighbors. Train your dog to follow basic obedience commands like “sit,” “come,” and “stay,” and practice loose-leash walking before going on extended trips out of the house. Even if he can follow your commands at home, he might have trouble in settings where there are a lot of distractions. Take it slow and be prepared to reinforce your training on the go.
5. Follow Leash Laws
Your neighborhood park’s rules are designed to maximize the enjoyment of everyone who lives there, and it’s important to follow them. While it may seem unfair that your dog can’t play off-leash in a public park, breaking the rules could land you a fine and more than a few unhappy neighbors. Besides the fact that not everyone likes dogs, other residents’ leashed dogs could become aggressive if approached by your unrestrained dog. Be mindful of your neighbors and leash your dog unless you’re in a designated off-leash area.
It’s common to view your dog’s behavior through rose-tinted glasses. You love him, after all, and a mischievous pup’s antics can be cute. But if you want to be a neighborly dog owner, you have to consider your neighbors’ point of view as well as your own. Follow these tips and don’t be afraid to check in with your neighbors to make sure your dog isn’t causing problems without your knowledge.
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