Ask people their opinion on dogs and most will tell you that they like them. That opinion changes when the dog in question is a nuisance, which is generally the fault of the owner. We have complied a checklist that will help ensure that your neighbors love your dog. The other potential neighborly issues will have to be dealt with separately.
Keep the noise down! One thing that neighbors tend to hate more than anything is excess noise. If your dog starts barking, quiet him down quickly, or get him indoors. There is nothing worse than a dog left outside to bark and howl all though the night.
Be aware of odors! No-one likes picking up doggy poop, but if you don’t do it, the smell can become a real nuisance for you and the neighbors. It’s not just the smell that the issue here, though, as poop left lying around is just unsanitary. It can also lead to your dog picking up intestinal parasites, so properly dispose of that poop every time he goes.
Don’t let him be an adventurer. Dogs love to get out and explore on their own, but most neighborhoods don’t like to have an unattended dog roaming the street. Dogs can get into all sorts of trouble – digging holes, chasing cars, cats, and people, etc. – when left to their own devices, all of which can lead to them getting picked up and taken away by animal control the moment that someone calls to complain. Worse yet, if your dog comes across other unattended dogs, they may form a pack that can get into even more trouble than a lone dog ever could dream of.
You must always pick up your dog’s poop when he goes on another person’s property. There are many people who will walk their dog for the sole purpose of having the animal poop in a place where they can then just walk away and leave it. This is becoming a common problem, to the point where a number of cities have taken to installing dog bag dispensers in areas where dogs are commonly walked. Unfortunately, though, too many owners still choose to let their dogs do their thing without picking up.
If you are taking your dog out for a walk, always take a bag with you. No other tool or implement is needed, as the bag is easy to use:
- Invert the bas and place it over your hand
- Use your hand to pick up the poop
- Re-invert the bag, leaving the poop inside
- Tie up the top of the bag
- Dispose of the bag in a trash receptacle.
If you have to go away for any length of time, and plan on leaving the dog in your yard, make sure that he is not going to pose any problems for your neighbors. Ask one of your friends in the neighborhood to alert you if the dog starts barking, and then take care of it.
Your dog is less likely to be problematic in this situation if he is comfortable. Make sure to leave food, water, shelter, and perhaps even his favorite toy.
Even if you have a well-behave dog, leaving him alone in the yard means that you run the risk of having him teased by other animals or kids in the neighborhood. A neighbor who doesn’t care for dogs also has the opportunity to abuse the animal when it is left alone outside.
Delivery people and meter readers may have to enter you yard at various times throughout the day, which means there is a possibility that a gate may be left open when they leave. You cannot trust your dog to stay in the yard when the world available to him in the form of an open gate. The best defense against such a problem is to install locks on all of your gates. Keep in mind that everyone does not love dogs, with some people even fearful of them. There have been tales of delivery people abusing dogs or spraying them with mace because they felt as though the animal was threatening them, which in some occasions was not the case at all.
If you live in the countryside, more room to roam can mean more problems, such as your dog frightening livestock or eating chickens.
Any time you take your dog out for a walk, make sure he is on a leash so that you can control him at all times.
Many communities now have dedicated dog parks where your dog can run free. This is a privilege that needs to be protected by you cleaning up any mess your dog makes. A number of those parks are removing those privileges because owners simply refuse to pick up poop.
Before heading to a dog park, be aware of how your dog reacts and behaves around others. Learn to spot the signs of agitation or potentially volatile situations caused by your dog, or another in the park. Just because you know these signs doesn’t mean that other owners will, too. Some owners will view their dog approaching another with an upright tail as a sign that he wants to say hello, when in fact there is about to be a struggle to see who is the leader of the pack.
It’s not every dog that will do well and flourish in a dog park setting. Some dogs cower in such settings, while other gain in confidence and become bullies. It’s a form of sensory overload that can be too much for some.
If you want to be a neighborly dog owner, just use common sense. Imagine how you would want another dog owner to behave, and act accordingly.