So, you’re an active member of the neighborhood homeowners association. You bring your elderly neighbors meals, and you pick up your neighbors’ mail when they’re out of town. You’re a regular conscientious citizen, but what about your four-legged canine family member? Is he a good neighbor? Remember, just because you’re a dog lover doesn’t mean your neighbors are too, so it’s important to make sure you take the time to ensure your pet is just as thoughtful as you are.
Despite your best human efforts, nothing can sour a great neighborly relationship faster than an unruly dog. While you may be able to drown out the noise from incessant barking, your neighbors and their sleeping children likely can’t. Or while a little running in your yard is good for some laughs and entertainment, a dog in your neighbors’ yards may upset or even frighten them.
Let’s look at six simple things you can do to make sure your dog is a conscientious citizen.
1. Don’t Let Your Dog Run Freely in Your Neighborhood
A roaming dog can mean lots of trouble. He can get lost, get attacked by another dog or wild animal, or worst yet, be struck by a car. Your dog should be confined to your property, and there’s no better way to do this than by constructing a fence. According to the folks at HomeAdvisor, it costs around $1,643 to $3,857 to install a fence.
Remember too, while a fence may seem like you’re blocking out your neighbor, Ben Franklin said, “Love your neighbor, but don’t pull down your hedge.” Meaning, you can be very fond of your neighbor and still keep appropriate boundaries.
2. Manage Your Dog’s Barking
Uncontrolled dog barking can drive even the friendliest neighbors crazy, so it’s important to get a handle on it before it becomes a problem. According to the experts at the Humane Society, there are five ways to effectively control barking:
3. The Importance of Grooming
Dog grooming isn’t just important for your pet’s health, it sets an example for your neighbors. When you pridefully show off your well-groomed and behaved pet, you’re encouraging others to love canines.
4. Establish Healthy Communications
Openly communicate with your neighbors about your pet, especially if you’re sensing trouble. Don’t be afraid to ask them for anything you need, such as keeping a spirited child away from an elderly pet who may react improperly. Likewise, ask your neighbor if there are things you can do better.
5. Help Your Dog Earn a Canine Good Citizen Certificate
Your dog can become an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen. By passing a test “designed to demonstrate good manners and acceptable behavior in everyday situations,” your dog can earn an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certificate. The program, considered the gold standard of dog training, teaches a dog how to master 10 skills, from sitting on command to playing well with others.
6. Don’t Leave Special Deliveries
This one’s easy. No neighbor wants your dog’s messes on their yard, so pick it up.
Working on these tips should help your canine companion become a better neighbor. But even with your best efforts, neighbors still may have concerns about your pet. The best things you can do when confronted with issues is make sure to listen, keep it friendly with calm language, acknowledge and actively seek to understand their concerns, and work together to create solutions. Being a steward of good neighbor relations will go a long way to leading a happy, content existence in your neighborhood. So do your best, and make sure your pup does, too.
AUTHOR: Aurora James.