As much as I love my doggie girls, I know they are not perfect. In her exuberance, Phaedra has taken to barking while staring at me when she wants me to do something for her. Zoe loves “friends” and balls so she will retrieve her ball as many times as a person will throw it. In the scheme of things, these habits aren’t bad, but over time they can be annoying to some of our friends who have never had dogs. For the most part, I respond immediately to these behaviors and try to make the behavior less annoying for our friends through a variety of ways.
I ran across the article, How to be a Good Neighbor, at PetPlace that had some very good suggestions and I want to share them with you. They may seem like common sense, but some people seem oblivious to behaviors which may annoy people and how to correct the behaviors without resorting to yelling at the pet. Here are some suggestions that might help your pet.
Confine your pet: For a pet’s safety, he should never run around free and without supervision while outside. So many things can happen if your pet is not confined to your yard such as being hit by a car, getting into something which is toxic, and encountering angry neighbors. Dr. Amy Wolff states, “Although you may think it is beneficial to let your pet out to wander, if he gets into your neighbor’s garbage, dig up their garden, or eliminate in their yard, it doesn’t do much to foster good neighborly relations. Your neighbor may try to have your pet picked up by a shelter (where the pet might be put asleep if there is no proper identification). A really angry neighbor may even try to harm your pet.” She suggests, “Teach your pet the boundaries of your yard, provide a fenced area, or let him out only under supervision. If your pet is neutered or spayed, he/she will be less likely to wander. When you walk your dog, be sure to pick up any feces he leaves behind.”
Teach your dog manners: If your dog doesn’t have good manners, he will often be excluded from social activities which many dogs love. Teach your dog how to greet people without jumping up on them, or without being overly exuberant in greetings. It is a great idea to take your dog for some basic behavior training.
Control excessive barking: This can be a difficult behavior to get a handle on. “Excessive barking is a common behavioral problem and a nuisance to your neighbors. You may not even be aware of the problem until someone tells you. Barking often signals that your pet is frightened, bored, or has separation anxiety.” The best course of action is to discover what is causing the excessive barking and then get help from your vet, from animal behaviorists, or from reading books about things to do to prevent this issue. ( I make this sound so doable, but my grand-dog, Franklin, has anxiety disorders along with Addison’s Disease. Excessive barking is one of his symptoms!!! He takes an anti-anxiety med along with other meds for his Addison’s and my daughter’s family struggles with some of these issues even though Franklin is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. Seeing first hand how difficult this issue is, my heart goes out to those of you who may be dealing with excessive barking.
Give a friendly caution: When people are visiting and if some of these annoying/difficult behaviors persist, give your friends a “heads-up” about your pet’s issues and give them some suggestions on how to approach your dog. This may mean asking your friends to speak softly to your dog and letting the dog sniff his hand but not being overly attentive to the dog. It may mean confining your dog to his “safe space” which is within range of where you will be. Dr. Amy Wolff suggests, “Many animals just need a few minutes to feel comfortable around people they don’t know in order to calm down enough to accept petting and praise. Work with your dog for a few minutes every day to correct behaviors that are troublesome and destructive. It is a dog’s natural tendency to please and be a part of the family “pack.” Use that desire to your advantage when teaching your dog how to behave.”
The only thing you shouldn’t do is to ignore these behaviors. You and your dog will be much happier if you look them straight in the face and deal with them.