We all love dogs, but it’s important for us to care about the needs of our human friends and neighbors too. That’s one reason why we need to be good dog parents and neighbors. If we aren’t, we put stress on others in our community.
We’ve seen neighborhood feuds over dogs turn violent, even deadly. A loose dog in Brevard County, Florida ended with a shooting. An Indiana woman faced assault charges for stabbing her neighbor over a barking dog.
Barking and loose dogs rarely lead to these extremes, but these incidents illustrate how one human’s best friend can become another’s exasperation. If you’re a dog parent and lover of all things canine, the burden is on you to keep peace in the neighborhood–or at least keep your dog from becoming a burden on others.
You can avoid ill feelings and confrontations with these tips for being a responsible pet parent and a good dog neighbor!
1. Keep Your Pet’s Tags And Vaccinations Up To Date
Say your dog is accused of biting, your neighbor is upset, and you have no proof of a recent rabies shot (your dog’s, not your neighbor’s). When animal control or police knock on your door, you won’t have a legal leg to stand on.
In addition to limiting liability, vaccinations lead to both healthy pets and healthy humans. As Dr. Zay Satchu, Chief Veterinary Officer of Bond Vet, says:
Vaccines are a crucial way to help your pet stay healthy, especially if you live in a crowded city. Because some infections can spread between humans and pets, vaccinations don’t just protect your pet, they can also protect you.
So keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date, and keep records of them in a place where you can find them quickly. Keep backups saved on a USB drive so you can grab them on the go.
While you’re at it, have your dog microchipped and add a tag that has their name and your address and phone number.
2. Know The Pet Ordinances In Your Community
Most towns have rules regarding dogs, ranging from leash laws to tags to how many animals you can have.
Familiarize yourself with them and obey your local ordinances to avoid problems with neighbors or authorities.
3. Be Proactive
Communicate with your neighbors about your animal. A friendly chat over the fence about your pet can deflect future problems.
Let them know about your dog’s disposition. Are they friendly? Aggressive? A barker or howler?
Don’t wait until you get a complaint; by then it’s too late. Approach your neighbors early and tell them to talk to you right away if they have any problems. That way, if a problem arises, your neighbor’s concerns won’t fester.
4. Mend Fences
Most cities require a fence for dogs who run free on a property. Check yours regularly for broken boards or links. Padlocks on gates will secure your animal and keep neighborhood kids from wandering in.
If your dog’s a jumper, add an angled extension to keep them from going over.
If you dog is a digger, a concrete walkway or pavers around the perimeter of the fence may keep them from tunneling.
Well-maintained shrubs around the fence might help, too. They provide a sound barrier and some social distancing between pooch and neighbors.
5. Keep The Decibels Down
Dogs bark, and some howl. This can be a major irritant for neighbors.
The reasons dogs bark excessively can range from sounding an alarm to staking territory. It might result from separation anxiety when you’re away, or your dog could just enjoy the sound of their own voice.
Never yell at your dog for barking. Yelling makes it worse. Tell them to be quiet in a calm voice and give them a reward when they obey. If the barking is a nighttime problem, bring them in the house.
You should consult a professional trainer if you’re having trouble curbing your dog’s barking on your own.
6. Get The Scoop On Poop
Keep your yard cleared of pet waste.
Odors and insects, especially fleas, can easily drift into your neighbors’ yards. A clean, well-maintained yard can keep this in check.
An accumulation of dog droppings can also ruin your lawn.
7. Take A Walk In The Park
Never let your pooch run free on a walk. It’s against the law in most cities and dangerous for your dog.
Keep them on a leash, even if they’re trained to obey commands. This assures they can’t dart into traffic or get into a confrontation with other dogs, and it gives you control when other people are close.
The leash should attach to a well-fitted harness, not a collar unless your dog is a breed that specifically benefits from wearing a collar. Your vet can advise you on the best product for your individual dog.
Learn how to walk your dog properly for your well-being and theirs.
8. Carry Poop Bags On Outings
Nobody wants dog droppings on their property. Few things about dogs infuriate neighbors more than pet parents leaving poop behind.
Let your dog roam the backyard for a few minutes before a walk to cut down on potty stops. Always make sure you have poop bags on hand when you leave the house with your dog. Be courteous and responsible. Pick up after your pup.
Many problems caused by dogs can be avoided with proper training and discipline. If you don’t have the time or skill to get your pet to obey commands, sessions with a competent trainer may be worth the cost to keep the peace in the neighborhood.
A former veterinarian’s assistant, Jasmine Patel has parlayed a love of animals into a career of advocating for and writing about her furry friends.
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