Checklist for Neighborly Dog Owners

Most people like dogs. Often, dogs become nuisances because their owners allow them. Many neighbors have stopped talking to each other over dog issues. This checklist is to help you insure good relationships with your neighbors where dogs are concerned. Of course, it won't necessarily help you in other neighborly areas!

  • Watch the noise!!! The biggest nuisance, especially in homes that are close together, is noise. If your dog starts to bark, quiet him, or take him inside. Everyone has the horror story of someone in their area that seems to ignore their dog, who howls deep into the night.
  • Watch the smell! The next nuisance is doggy doo doo! It is unpleasant to pick up, but it is more unpleasant for you AND your neighbors to smell. Dog stool left in the yard, needless to say, is unsanitary, and can be a continuing source for your dog to pick up intestinal parasites (if he has them to start with).
  • Watch the roaming! Unlike one popular best seller recently explained that dogs need to be free, that just won't work in our society! Free roaming dogs can get in many types of trouble. Besides the mess in other yards, they can dig holes, chase and/or hurt other dogs, chase and hurt cats (roaming cats can be yet another issue!), kill wildlife, get themselves hurt by running in front of or after cars, chase kids or delivery people, knock down and hurt people, or any of a number of other things. Dogs can also form packs, like gangs of kids, which become much more troublesome than individual dogs.
  • When your dog is not on your property, ALL dog stool must be removed! So many people walk their dogs to intentionally avoid having to clean up their own yard! They allow their dogs to poop anywhere they will, then walk away. I have walked in nice upper class downtown areas of cities (Birmingham, Michigan, for example!) where nice upper class people let their dogs poop on the sidewalk and - oops! - don't have a bag to clean it up! I think the city has even installed bag dispensers, and still the poop remains on the sidewalk!

      Rule of thumb - CARRY A BAG! It is very easy to use, and you don't have to carry a pooper-scooper, paper towels, bags, etc!

      1- Invert the bag on your hand
      2- grab the poop in your hand
      3- re-invert the bag so the stool is inside
      4- tie the bag shut and
      5- deposit in nearby trash container or carry it home.

  • If you want to leave your dog in your yard while you are not home (something I prefer NOT to do), make sure your dog is not posing a problem for any of your neighbors in any way. Ask a neighbor to inform you if your dog is barking while you are away. Then FIX it!
  • If you leave your dog in your yard while you are not home, make sure your dog has each essential: shelter (either from hot OR cold OR rain, etc) and water (in a container he cannot knock over).
  • Dogs left in yards alone are open for teasing by neighborhood kids, other dogs, and cats. If they are nuisances, then they are also open for abuse by your neighbors, or someone else who doesn't appreciate your dog like you do.
  • Meter readers and others are able to come and go from your yard if it is not locked. This leaves the possibility of gates being left ajar. Even if you don't leave your dog out while you are gone, you may have a gate that is not in plain view that you don't realize was left open. Suddenly you realize your dog has left your yard - I've been there; NOW there are locks on each of my gates! If you do leave your dog in your yard and the gates are not locked, you open your dog to problems from meter readers or delivery people who may be afraid of dogs. Whether or not your dog is aggressive, they may perceive it, and he may be sprayed with mace or pepper spray (I've heard of that happening, too).
  • People who live in the country and have space also have to be considerate of their neighbors. Dogs left to roam often end up chasing neighbors' livestock or eating their chickens!
  • When your dog is with you on a walk, have your dog ON A LEASH (see related article)! Unleashed dogs cannot be controlled.
  • If you are fortunate enough to live in a place that has a park that allows dogs or a special dog park, protect your privilege by cleaning up after your dog! Many dog parks and regular park privileges are now being removed because of the mess that dogs leave and owners don't clean up!
  • If you do take your dog to a dog park, try to understand your dog's behavior toward other dogs. Know when to remove your dog from a potentially volatile situation, either because of your dog, or because of another dog. Also, understand that not all dog owners understand their dogs. Many people will view their dog approaching another dog wagging his tail and standing upright as " he just wants to say hi", when in fact, he is posturing to the other dog and they are trying to figure out who is "big man on campus"!
  • Understand that not all dogs are "dog park" material. Some shy dogs become much too overwhelmed. Some more confident dogs can turn into bullies. To some dogs, all the stimulation of all the activity can put them into sensory overload.
  • All in all, the best rule to use as a neighborly dog owner is to be sensible. Expect from yourself as a dog owner what you would expect from someone else. Or better!

 

Pam Young, LVT CDBC CPDT  
Dog Gone Good LLC
Dog Behavior Consultant
Personal Dog Trainer