By Robert Cabral, dog trainer and member of the Wag! Advisory Board
You may be the nicest neighbor on the block, but if your dog isn’t playing along, it may not matter.
Sept. 28 is National Good Neighbor Day in the U.S. It’s a day for acknowledging and celebrating the importance of a good neighbor, and our dogs certainly have a role in maintaining harmony with our neighbors. Nearly 75 percent of dog owners think their pets can have a negative impact on neighborly relationships. That’s according to a new survey of pet parents by Wag!
To help keep the peace, I wanted to share some easy solutions to help you maintain a friendly neighborhood vibe.
About 70 percent of the 2,000 survey respondents said a barking dog is the worst offender on the list.
Dogs bark when they’re bored or startled, but you can mitigate this behavior by channeling your dog’s energy into something fun and productive like a toy stuffed with treats or taking a long walk to tire them out with exercise.
If your dog is triggered by passersby, limit the dog’s visibility so they can’t see outside movement.
Though 53 percent of respondents agreed that pooping on a neighbor’s lawn is the second worst offense for neighborhood dogs, this behavior is the easiest to fix.
The easy answer is to clean up after the dog, preferably with biodegradable poop bags. This shows your neighbors that you are a responsible pet parent who picks up after your pet. You may also want to take steps to keep your dog off your neighbor’s lawn to begin with!
Nearly 31 percent of those surveyed say it makes for an uncomfortable situation when a neighbor’s dog doesn’t like them.
To start a relationship off right, introduce dogs to new people only when the dog is calm. You might even want to hand a treat to your neighbor to give to your dog, so your dog sees them as a source of good things.
Most importantly, never introduce your dog to someone who's at eye level. The person must always be standing.
About 30 percent of survey respondents admitted that a dog who is roaming free can be irritating. Plenty of people fear dogs, so keeping them on leash means you’re mindful of others.
Though the dog may be well-trained, a cat or bird can easily trigger a dog’s prey drive, putting their safety at risk should they run into traffic. Dogs with leash aggression may be triggered by another dog off leash because they feel vulnerable, he added.
Even if your dog has been less than impressive, a little work and practice — by the two of you — can help turn things around.
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