Many of us, at one time or another, have had to deal with bad neighbours and their less-than-desirable canine companions. Having an unpleasant dog on your street can destroy the harmony that makes an area a nice place to live. Here are a few simple guidelines to ensure that your canine buddies score points for being good dog neighbours.
Teach basic commands
One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your dog isn’t disliked is to teach him three basic, simple commands. The word ‘no’, expressed in a strong, no-nonsense voice, can apply to many situations where your dog may be exhibiting objectionable behaviour. The word ‘quiet’ can have similar results if your dog is causing a ruckus and disturbing the neighbours. And finally, ‘come’ should be an integral part of any dog’s training, especially if you let your dog exercise off-leash. Start your dog with these commands as soon as you get him and you should be able to handle any objectionable behaviour from him or her with relative ease.
Keep your pet contained at home
Don’t let him roam the neighbourhood soiling yards, tearing up gardens or interfering with children playing in their yards or on the street. When considering fencing for your property keep in mind a major factor: if you have neighbours with dogs and there is only a wire or chain link fence between your yards you may end up with noisy fence fighting or barking as the dogs run the fence line in play. A solid wooden fence is the best option to prevent this – what your dog can’t see won’t hurt him, and it may well save your relationships with your neighbours. Also when considering fencing ensure that it is an appropriate height to prevent your dog from jumping or climbing over. If you can’t or don’t want to fence your entire lot consider purchasing a portable chain link dog run and putting it in a quiet spot on your property so that you have a secure place to put your dog out to potty or enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Clean up after your pup
This rule applies both to when you are out on walks and on your own land. There is nothing that will alienate your neighbours more quickly than leaving a ‘gift’ on their property.
Ensure that your dog receives adequate exercise – this can go a very long way to keeping him calm. Tired dogs are quiet dogs, and are more interested in sleeping than barking up a storm. Keep your dog on leash when walking through the neighbourhood. There is nothing that will make a neighbour madder faster than having your dog come bounding into their yard, jumping on them, ripping up lawns and destroying gardens. If you are fortunate enough to have an off-leash exercise area near your home call your dog in and hold on to him if you see other walkers coming, with or without their dogs. Some people are deathly afraid of dogs and calling out that ‘he’s friendly’ will do nothing to allay their fears.
Be cognizant of the fact that your dogs may be quiet when you are at home, but may bark up a storm in your absence. This occurs more often than many dog owners realize. The best bet is to leave your canine buddies indoors when you go out – preferably in an area where they can’t see outdoors and bark at passersby or wildlife. Using a crate can be a boon in such circumstances – dogs who are properly introduced to crates will feel secure and comfortable and will most likely spend their time sleeping while you are away from your home. If you are going to be away from your house during night time hours this consideration is particularly important, for obvious reasons.
If, through some unfortunate circumstance you do receive a complaint from a neighbour, address their concern calmly and politely and ensure that you find a solution to whatever is bothering them If it means consulting a professional trainer to deal with the issue, bite the bullet and spend the money – that investment will pay off in spades for you, your dog and your neighbourhood. And in the long run, it’s a lot less expensive than having to move because your neighbours are making your life miserable because your dog is making their lives miserable.
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