For dog owners, our canine companions are more like family members than pets. Our neighbors, however, may not appreciate our pets like we do. Luckily, by being a responsible and proactive dog owner, you can practice proper pet-owner etiquette in your home and neighborhood. Here are three tips for becoming a more conscientious and considerate neighbor as a dog owner.

Obedience Training

Failure to enroll your dog in obedience training is one of the most common mistakes pet owners make. Obedience training is important because as you engage in activities together, you’ll communicate with each other and build trust. In addition to building a healthy relationship with your pet, you’ll be easing his anxieties and encouraging desirable behaviors.

Speaking of positive behaviors, it is important to also teach your dog proper manners when you are out in public. Whether you’re visiting a neighbor’s house or taking a stroll around the block on a leash, it’s important to teach your dog some polite etiquette. You can start by teaching your dog proper manners at home. Start small by walking your dog through the house on a leash and practicing simple commands, like “down,” “sit,” and “stay.” Reward good behaviors with praise, treats, and attention.

As your dog starts to learn the positive behaviors you’re teaching him, you can gradually start to move to more complex commands. Try changing some things about the situation, such as the lighting in the room, or creating distractions with music or people you’ve invited to your home. This helps teach your dog to focus and to be obedient, regardless of the situation.

Continue to consistently train him to express desirable behaviors, gradually practicing in unfamiliar territory. This might include practicing at the dog park or while you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood. These efforts take time, patience, and compassion, but eventually, your dog will start expressing better behaviors when you’re away from home, too. Important skills to teach may include things like not jumping on people and not lunging at other dogs or children. This keeps your dog (and those around him) out of harm’s way while also reducing the chances that your dog’s unwanted behavior might be taken the wrong way by a stranger and even cause an injury.

Fences

Yards can be an excellent and convenient way for dogs to get plenty of exercise; however, for your pet’s safety, it’s crucial to have a fenced-in yard. This keeps your dog safely inside your yard (and out of the neighbors’ yards) while also keeping other unwanted dogs out.

Installing fences often require digging, so you’ll need to get special permission from your HOA, neighborhood association, and municipal building code officials. Sometimes, you’ll need a permit to ensure you’re not hitting any underground utility lines. Although you might be tempted to install a fence yourself, fences are usually best left to the professionals.

Treating Separation Anxiety

Many dogs have separation anxiety or isolation distress (a milder form of anxiety), but not all of them exhibit it in ways that are immediately obvious. If your dog howls the entire time while you are at work but never chews or scratches furniture, you might never realize your dog has anxiety at all. If you suspect separation anxiety but have no proof, you can ask your neighbors if they’ve noticed anything. Although it can be embarrassing if your neighbor admits that your dog has been barking or howling, they’ll probably appreciate that you’re addressing the problem. In addition to obedience training, hiring a professional dog walker or pet sitter to stop by and check on your dog during the day while you’re gone can help ease your dog’s separation anxiety.

Being a good neighbor is important to most people. As a dog owner, you want your neighbors to like you, and you also want to display proper etiquette. The tips listed above not only make you (and your dog) a better neighbor; they also increase your dog’s safety and happiness levels. Neighborly etiquette is a win-win for everyone involved.


About the Author: Janet Campbell is the creator of ElderSpark.com, which aims to help seniors find resources and motivation to stay fit in their