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Why your neighbors hate your pet and how to fix it

Fido isn't everyone's best friend

Even the biggest animal lover can lose her patience when the neighbor's pet becomes a nuisance. So if you don't really get along with your neighbor, maybe your pet is partly to blame. It's possible you don't even realize just how annoying your animal is to your neighbors, so let me fill you in on four reasons why your neighbors hate your pet.

Problem: Your dog is barking all the time

It's a fact that dogs bark, but when it becomes nonstop, your cute dog becomes your neighbors' worst enemy, and all your neighbors can think about is shutting your pesky dog up.

How to fix: First, are you even aware your dog is barking? If it does it when you’re home and you just ignore it, it means it’s most likely barking when you’re not home, too, and it’s time to get it to stop. As annoying as incessant barking is for your neighbors, it's probably just as frustrating for your dog as well and can be a sign of anxiety and lack of attention.

Dog trainer, behaviorist and author Camilla Gray-Nelson weighs in and suggests that dog owners first figure out what’s triggering the barking and then do what they can to eliminate those triggers, which could be anything from animals in the yard it’s reacting to, boredom, acting protective due to perceived threats and more. She recommends that you don’t give your dog free reign of your yard. “Instead, build a private dog run for him, in an area away from the street or property lines. Quiet and secluded with minimal stimulation is best. If you need to, add additional vision blocking in key areas.”

If you’ll be out of the house for less than five hours, Gray-Nelson says to consider leaving your dog inside where it’ll be the most relaxed and quiet. And if you will be out of the house all day, doggie daycare or a dog walker is a fantastic option for your dog to get some extra attention.

Geralynn Cada, dog trainer, behaviorist and author from Nevada, recommends an effective training aid like the First Alert Bark Genie or a simple air-spray can like Quit It! to cut down on the unwanted behavior. If all of the above fail and the barking continues, she says it’s best to contact a professional.

Problem: Your pet is doing its business on neighborhood lawns

The lawn mower doesn't care for poop any more than your shoes do, so if you’re letting your dog roam around to do its business wherever it pleases, your neighbors probably hate your dog for the little gifts it’s leaving.

How to fix: Easy! Amy Bowman, VMD, Mid-Atlantic regional medical director for Banfield Pet Hospital, recommends that you walk your dog on a leash and pick up after it, or fence in your yard so its mess is contained to your property. “It can be a nuisance to neighbors when they find waste on their property, and this can also spread infectious diseases,” she explains. Careless dog owners need to be gently educated on the necessity of waste bags if they're not already using them. And if the culprit is your cat? Well, it's a little more difficult to keep cats away since they roam where they please, but you can start by providing an outdoor litter box on your property. And if your lawn is the victim of the neighbor’s cat, a humane starting place is putting an ultrasonic device like Contech CatStop from Petco in your yard.

Problem: Your pet is destroying neighbors' landscaping

Fresh landscaping and flowers can easily be destroyed by an overeager pet that's left to its own devices.

How to fix: Again, keep your dog confined to your yard to make sure neighbors' landscaping is left untouched. And when it is time to go for a walk, make sure you actually accompany your leashed dog. A roaming dog isn't safe for anyone — or any plants — involved.

Problem: Your pet is aggressive and neighbors are scared

Your dog has shown signs of being aggressive in the past and is scaring those in the neighborhood, but you let it wander around, making the entire neighborhood fearful.

How to fix it: We get that not all dogs are friendly, but when less-than-friendly or even downright aggressive dogs are allowed to walk around without a leash or muzzle, it's scary for those of us who come in contact with your animal. What's even worse are owners who refuse to admit their dogs have behavior issues and don't pursue training or behavior correction. "If your dog exhibits aggressive behavior, make sure that when they go outside they are contained on your property or are on a leash supervised," says Dr. Bowman. She also recommends consulting with your veterinarian for some tips on how to work through the issue.

Final tip: Responsible pet owners will do what they can to keep the neighborhood peace, so approach any hairy pet conversations in a non-confrontational way no matter what side of the fence you’re on (and even if you're boiling on the inside). Both parties will be more receptive to what the other is saying and more willing to find an amicable solution if everyone stays calm and rational.

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