A misbehaving dog isn’t just troublesome for his owners. When a dog barks all day long or exhibits other unwanted behaviors, he can be a nuisance for the whole neighborhood. Rather than letting your neighbors suffer, keep the peace by making your dog a better neighbor.
The most important thing you can do for your dog’s behavior is keep him exercised. Many behavioral problems can be attributed to a lack of exercise, including annoying habits like barking all day long. However, for many dog owners, exercise is also the most challenging aspect of pet ownership. Between long days at the office, maintaining the house, and caring for kids, it’s easy to let walking the dog fall to the back burner. If your dog needs more stimulation than you can provide, a dog walker is an affordable way to meet your dog’s exercise needs and stay on your neighbors’ good side. When you are home, avoid leaving your dog in the backyard unattended if he likes to bark at passers by.
Sometimes, a dog’s barking habit isn’t because he’s bored, but rather because he’s anxious. Many dogs experience separation anxiety when their owners leave for the day. Unfortunately, most pet owners can’t afford to take a week or two off work while they train away separation anxiety. But just because you’re busy doesn’t mean your neighbors should have to listen to your dog’s heartbreaking wailing all day. If you’re struggling with dog separation anxiety, hire a knowledgeable pet sitter who can work with your dog during the daytime.
Canine behavior problems aren’t limited to barking. If your dog likes to greet people by jumping on them, he could injure a neighbor or visitor with his enthusiasm. Instead of allowing your dog to jump on people, train him to sit quietly when meeting new people or greeting familiar faces. For advice on stopping jumping, refer to these training tips from Vetstreet.
Rough play is another behavioral issue that many dog owners face. While going to the dog park is a great way to let your dog burn off energy while you mingle with neighbors, a dog that plays too rough could start a fight. It’s not always easy for owners to tell the difference between normal play and play that’s gone a step too far. If you’re not sure, familiarize yourself with dog body language using this guide from Modern Dog as a reference. Remove your dog any time his play starts to blur the lines of aggression. If it’s a habitual behavior, work with a trainer before returning to the dog park.
Don’t discount your own impact on your dog’s neighborliness. If you’re not diligent about cleaning up after your dog on walks and at the park, you could be the source of your neighbors’ consternation. Always carry baggies when you leave the house with your dog and restrict your dog’s toileting to your own lawn, road verges, or parks, not your neighbors’ lawns. Additionally, always follow local leash laws. Even if your dog is the friendliest canine on the planet, letting him run loose could cause problems for your neighbors and their pets.
Nothing gives a neighborhood a more welcoming, homey feel than the sight of pet owners walking their dogs. But if your dog isn’t as well-behaved as he should be, your neighbors might start crossing the street when you approach. In addition to following this advice, check in with your neighbors to see if they have any complaints about your dog’s behavior. Unless you’re home 24 hours a day, you never know what trouble your dog could be causing while you’re away.
Did You Know?
Dogs that bite children nearly always give multiple warning signs, but they are usually missed. The result is that the dog gets the blame for the bite and the child is injured – yet neither are really at fault. Even knowing the basics of dog body language could prevent many injuries.
Here is a complete “Parent’s Guide” to canine body language, written by Richard Cross, Editor of The Dog Clinic.com. It contains an overview of why dogs bite, how to recognize the warning signs (which are nearly always there), and how to teach children to politely greet a dog:
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