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Neighbours got a dog. I need some advice.
  • Hey!

    So I have a six-month old desexed female Shiba named Yumi, and a poodle named Krampus. Yumi is generally well-behaved. She is fine when meeting new people, and when we have taken her to meet dogs out of home, she's a bit stand-off-ish but warms up quickly and plays.

    However, my neighbours have just gotten a whippet puppy. Very active breed, and they don't spend a lot of time with her, so she's left in the back yard and is constantly crying and trying to break and enter my yard. I share a verandah with the neighbouring house, and our fence is anchored along it and has about a 5cm gap under it. Not enough for my dogs to escape through, but enough for a super-skinny and lonely whippet to stick their front legs and nose through on a regular basis. And because it's a fence anchored to concrete, I can't really fill in the gap.

    When I'm home, I'm generally pretty easy about letting my dogs have access to the backyard. It's a great chance for them to burn off some energy between our twice-daily walks. Krampus is an extremely friendly dog, and keeps trying to play with the whippet under the fence. However, Yumi is very much not impressed by her presence, and any of her attempted incursions into our yard is met with much noise. She hasn't tried to bite her yet, but I don't want it to get to that point.

    I have noticed that Yumi doesn't growl at her unless I'm in the yard with them. It seems to be a combination of me being there and Krampus paying attention to the whippet that sets her off. I'm guessing the reason why Yumi's so upset is because she sees our yard as her territory and we're her people, so she's getting defensive whereas generally she is pretty good with new animals and people.

    I'm just wondering if you guys have any tips on what I can do to help Yumi accept that we have a neighbour?
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 361
    I used bribery to get my dog to interact with and like other dogs - this is the one that now loves every dog in the universe. And by bribery I of course mean positive reinforcement through a metric f-ton of treats. Whenever she'd see a dog I'd give her a treat, so long as she continued to show positive interest I'd continue to give treats. Only took a few interactions and she went from NOTHANKYOU to me feeling like she's cheating on me whenever she sees a dog she likes, which is of course every dog ever.

    Used the same method of bribery to teach them to not bark at the neighbors through the fence, or their kids, or their dog. This is successful most of the time though the one neighbors little tiny pooch does sometimes still get a yipyip when he takes it out at night. Not sure why it's only at night that they bark at it, maybe they can't quite see what it is lol.

    Beyond the positive reinforcement and mitigating your dogs behavior on your end you really just gotta stand up for yourselves with your neighbors and ask them to get a hold on their dog. What are they going to do when it figures out how to get through? What are they going to do if it gets worse? What if your dog does bite it, what then? Is that YOUR fault that your dog bit hers for trespassing or is it THEIRS for allowing their dog to trespass?

    Also, you could purchase some cinder blocks for your side if you reeaaaallly wanted to assume full responsibility for this, just put some nice plants on them or something.
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • Bit of an update:

    Fence line is over 20m long, and I'm renting, so I haven't been able to plug up all of it. Thought I had managed the worst bits, but now the neighbouring dog is digging holds under the bit of fence we share a garden with. Have been plugging them, but a bored puppy has more than enough time to dig more.

    Yumi's behaviour has been improving. I don't let her in the yard unattended anymore. It's actually quite nice sitting outside to study. We've been working on distraction techniques. If she pays attention to him, I distract her by asking her to sit. If she actually goes near him, I pick her up and put her in a playpen I've put in the yard for 10 min, then let her out again. My other dog is allowed to wander free, cause he's unbothered by the neighbour. She's learned pretty quick that if she goes near the intruder, she gets time out. There's been no more growling or snapping since.

    Hopefully the lesson sticks. Even when she does go near him, she just sniffs now rather than growl. Kind of glad she's learning that she has to share her territory.

    Still haven't gotten in touch with the neighbour, but she's never home at the same time I am. One of the reasons her poor pup is so lonely!

    Thanks for the advice so far! If anyone else has any more, I'd be glad to hear it.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 361
    Maybe leave your neighbor a note about how lonely her dog is when she's gone, ask if she knows someone who could take it to the park and include the # for a local dog walker or two?

  • I'd personally be a little wary of leaving a note because I sometimes read notes as more passive aggressive than they are. Do you know what times your neighbor is home? It might be a little inconvenient, but going over at 9pm after they just got home from work or something like that could work a little better than leaving a note.

    If you really had to leave a note though, I'd simply leave an invitation to come over and drink some coffee or something get to know each other a little bit. That way you can schedule something instead of harping about their dog. Not that they don't need to fix their situation, but to make the interaction between you and the neighbour pleasant and to keep that relationship friendly instead of tense.
  • So here's an update on the neighbour's dog situation.

    My neighbour decided - quite rightly - that she didn't have enough time for a dog, so she gave him away. It's a bit sad that it came to that, but hopefully he's gone to a home where they have time to pay attention to him.

    The only thing is, now my neighbour's small children are missing their dog, so now THEY are sticking their hands through the mesh I installed to keep the yards separate. Even though Yumi is pretty good with people, I am a bit concerned that she might find the small wiggling things under the fence a bit tempting. So now I'm just bringing her inside every time the kids come out. Not going to risk her crippling the neighbour's kids.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589

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