How to keep your dog from annoying neighbors

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When your dog begins to annoy your neighbors, you may have to start looking for a new home. These tips can help.

Everyone enjoys a neighbor's friendly dog until it ventures onto their property.

Your pet's barking, digging, growling, stealing toys, bathroom duties, and attractions to other dogs can become major hindrances to neighborhood acquaintances, so take a few proactive steps to teach your pet the rules of canine etiquette.

If despite your efforts your dog is getting a little too friendly with the people next door, here are a few tips to keep her in line and make your neighbors happy.

Outdoor dogs need protective fencing. Depending on your property's size, you may be able to have one installed for an affordable price. Vinyl or wood fences come in a variety of styles, so check out possible designs at your local home maintenance store.

Remember that the fence will need to be set deep enough so that your dog can't dig under it. Likewise, it must be tall enough so that your pet can't jump over, especially when excited by other animals or human noises. Don't tether your dog near a fence as a rope or cord could strangle an animal that tries to jump a barrier.

An electronic fence is a popular alternative. Although pricier than a tangible barrier, it works very well in keeping animals on their own property without unsightly fences that require maintenance and restrict views or access. You can have the fence installed around part or all of your yard, front and back, depending on how much you want to pay and which parts of the lawn you want your dog to access. The dog wears a collar that receives electric impulses whenever the animal approaches the electronic barrier, which is set below the surface of the soil and out of sight. With increasing frequency, your dog will move away from the underground barrier to escape the unpleasant tingles being generated.

New pets sometimes bark or howl when kept outdoors away from family members. Work out a training plan or use a monitoring device to keep your animal from waking the neighborhood. Some pet owners keep their dogs in the garage or house at night, occasionally in sleeping crates for this purpose.

Most indoor pets need to go outside for bathroom duties several times a day or night. Go with your dog and monitor its movements to be sure it doesn't wander over to the neighbor's curbside garbage can for the next day's pickup. Train your puppy while it is still young to go out, do its business, and return promptly to the door to be let in. After successful training, you won't have to provide constant supervision.

Train your animal to be friendly with kids, but don't let it go visiting alone. If you must take your animal to the neighbor's, put it on a leash and keep it from jumping up to greet them, even when they come to your house. If your dog lacks good manners around visitors, lock her in another room until guests leave. Never leave your dog alone with other children, as no one can predict with 100% certainty what an animal--or a kid--will do.

Raising a dog to get along with the outside world is a lot like raising children. with patience and persistence, you will soon see good results and get compliments from the neighbors.