Thursday, August 30, 2012
Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where a nearby dog barks incessantly? Where relaxing chores like watering your garden or refilling your hummingbird feeder is interrupted by aggressive snarling, growling and barking? Where the neighbor’s dog rushes the fence when you walk by and you’re sure he would attack if there wasn’t a barrier? If you have, you know what a nuisance it is. But what would you do about it?
I posed the question to my friends and fellow animal lovers. The answers were thoughtful, helpful and sometimes silly but offer a variety of ways to deal with the problem. Here are some of the responses:
Diane at CANIDAE said: “I have problems with this all the time. My solution usually involves squirting water over the fence when the dog is barking. If I’m lucky I actually get the dog wet. Usually this stops the barking. Of course I try to make sure the owner isn’t home at the time I do this. LOL! After a while, the dog gets conditioned to stop barking when he hears me open the patio slider and only needs a “reminder” once in a while. Of course, this isn’t the best way to deal with the barking and it doesn’t work with small dogs because they are a smaller target.”
Many people report success with distractions including squirting water (like Diane), sounding an air horn or rattling a tin can full of pennies when the dog barks.
Another friend of mine, Charles, lives beside a barking dog. He says: “Our next door neighbor’s dogs bark a lot, but they are not aggressive. Because the neighbors are very nice people, we just tolerate it.”
Caren offers this response: “Depends on what kind of fence it is. If it is a chain link fence, I'd build my own privacy fence to run alongside it – so I wouldn't have to see the dog every day.”
My friend Juniper has memories of a childhood incident that influences how she would react today. “I'd talk to the neighbors about it in a personal and friendly manner. If it continued long after that and was significantly disrupting my life (waking up my family, threatening my daughter, etc.) I'd call animal control as a last resort.”
She goes on to explain, “When I was a kid, there was a free-roaming dog in my neighborhood that attacked two children and killed three other neighborhood dogs before someone finally demanded that the proper steps be taken. That wouldn’t be my first option, but I would call Animal Control if the dog was getting out of its fence, off its property, or appeared to pose an actual threat to anyone.”
Toni is in the process of working out a creative solution. “Talk to the neighbor! That’s what I did with my dog problems. My dogs and their dog had an ongoing fence battle and theirs jumped the fence between our yards and attacked my dogs on three different occasions. We talked, we made a plan, and we are now walking all the dogs together so they feel like one pack. If that doesn't solve the problem, we plan to take down part of my fence and add a gate, making it one yard instead of two.”
Rewarding desired behavior also seems to work. Jill says “We had a problem with the dogs that live next door. I solved the issue by calling the dogs over to the fence when they were not barking and giving them a few dog treats, like CANIDAE Snap-Biscuits. I’m careful to only give them the treat when they’re not barking. Now when they do bark, I open the door or window and say ‘No’ and they stop.”
A thoughtful response from Anna suggests this: “Ask the owner if you can walk the dog or spend time with him, because the dog may be barking out of boredom or loneliness. You could also ask the owner if you can provide the dog with toys to keep him busy and, hopefully, quiet.”
Every dog and every situation is different. The trick is figuring out what works with the dog and the neighbor. Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do?
Photo by Steve Baker
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell