Keeping Peace in the Neighborhood

dog running

By: David Michael Sanders of

Most dog owners must confine their pets either to their home or their yard. That brings us to dog-owning etiquette, the topic of this post. Let these tips be your guide to neighborhood harmony when it comes to your canine companion.

Dealing with Doggie Messes

Fido’s freewheeling attitude toward personal hygiene has caused many a spat. Here’s how to stop her poop from provoking neighborly ire and practicing dog etiquette:

  • Carry some paper towels and plastic bags with you whenever you walk your dog. Clean up any messes she makes right away, and never let her pee on your neighbor’s plants, lawn, or other property.
  • Check your yard every day for dog scat and clean it up right away. Carry a heavy duty trash liner with you as you scoop up the scat and deposit it therein. You may want to check with your city building inspector or health department beforehand, just in case the agency has special rules for disposing of dog waste. A scoop of powderized garden lime or activated charcoal applied to the offending spot will help to control odors. Spray the area with your garden hose to aid decomposition.
  • To compost or not to compost; for many people, that is the question. Fully composted dog leavings are safe to use for fertilizing non-food plants, according to The Spruce. If you decide to go this route, then you’ll need to install a purpose-made dog waste composter or similar product in your yard, which will require digging a suitable hole.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

No matter how well-trained your dog may be, installing a fence will make her safer and your life easier. Here’s why:

  • Some people are phobic of dogs in general. The scientific term for this condition is cynophobia, according to ABC News. You have a responsibility as a dog owner to prevent your pet from inflicting emotional trauma on others. A fence is your best option for doing so, short of keeping your dog inside all the time.
  • Even the best-behaved dogs are curious by nature. You may believe your pet is too well-trained to leave your property. But are you willing to wager your best friend’s life on this belief?
  • Modern fences are attractive and affordable. For example, HomeAdvisor notes that the average cost of a chain-link fence is $1,038-$2,008, with an average completion time of 1-2 days. Ask your contractor about slats, colored fencing, climbing plants, and other options for adding beauty and privacy to your fence.

How to Deal with Nuisance Barking

  • All dogs bark; it’s in their nature. However, as a good neighbor, your job is to keep your dog’s self-expression to a bare minimum. Here are some tips from the American Humane Society:
  • Teach your dog the “quiet” command. In some cases, you may need to consult a pet trainer, but the rewards are worth the investment.
  • Remove the cause of the barking. For example, if the sight of the mailman bothers your dog, cover the window she looks out with blinds, or try to play peacemaker between the two parties.

Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Sometimes barking is a way of relieving boredom due to inactivity. Some pet owners have found that anti-barking collars work well for their pet. Others consider them ineffective or even abusive. We recommend discussing the matter with your vet before using one of these products.

Respect for the feelings and concerns of others goes hand in hand with being a responsible dog owner. Use these dog etiquette tips to resolve any issues that may occur. That way, you and your best friend can enjoy many happy years together as part of the neighborhood.