How to Be a Doggone Good Neighbor: Etiquette for Dog Owners
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, an estimated 36.5 percent of American households have a dog—that’s over 43 million families with pups in the United States alone! If you are one of these millions, it is your responsibility to look after your dog and ensure his presence is not a disturbance for other homeowners around you. It’s part of being a good neighbor as much as it is part of being a good dog owner. It’s especially important if you just closed on your new home and you want to make a good first impression. All it takes is one bad incident to spoil an otherwise friendly relationship with a neighbor.
Read on for our etiquette advice for dog-loving homeowners.
Prevent Howling and Excessive Barking
Your dog’s presence is unlikely to disturb anyone unless he makes it known through his own misbehavior. There are many things that can contribute to intrusive behaviors like howling and barking excessively. One of the main reasons your pup probably does this in the house is anxiety. There are a few ways you can help curb the noise:
Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. A tired pooch is less likely to feel stressed and anxious and less likely to make noise. Taking your dog on at least two 15-minute walks a day helps provide him with the physical and mental stimulation he needs, but be sure to also provide some off-leash playtime where he can really burn off energy.
Don’t unintentionally reward his bad behavior. Picking up, petting, and responding to a dog’s barking only encourages the noise.
Provide affection for your dog when he is in a calm and quiet state. This kind of positive reinforcement encourages him to behave in a tranquil manner more often.
Keep Your Pup Safe in Your Yard
A loose dog wandering around the neighborhood isn’t something your neighbors want to see. Keep your pup contained with a sturdy, dog-proof fence around any area you let him roam off-leash. If your home doesn’t have one already, be prepared to spend between $216 and $4,399 to install a fence. If you bought a home with a fence already in place, be sure to check it thoroughly for holes or other areas of weakness your dog can exploit. If your dog likes to dig holes around the perimeter, you can use protective measures like chicken wire, railroad ties, capsicum powder, or concrete blocks to help keep him from digging his way out of your yard.
Always Scoop the Poop
The number one thing dog owners can do to annoy their neighbors is being neglectful when it comes to picking up after their pooches. Scooping the poop is the law in most areas, and if you don’t do it, you are liable for a citation and a hefty fine. However, there are other reasons you should always clean up after your dog. His poop can contain harmful bacteria, pesticides, and viruses that can spread to both other dogs and humans if not contained and thrown away. Furthermore, all that waste gets washed into your area’s water system during heavy rains if you just leave it on the ground. Always keep a supply of eco-friendly waste bags with you when walking around the neighborhood and keep an eye on him at off-leash sites so you know if you have a job to do after nature calls.
Make a great first impression in your new neighborhood by practicing proper etiquette as a dog owner. Help curb barking and howling by providing enough exercise, discipline, and affection at the right times. Keep him safe and off other people’s properties by installing a fence around your yard and dog-proofing it if he likes to dig. Finally, always scoop the poop. It is the law, helps protect the environment, and is simply what a good neighbor does.