By Jasmine Patel
An indoor cat might never meet the people next door. Most dogs, on the other hand, know more of their neighbors than their owners do! And while it’s great to have a community that enjoys interacting with your pet, even the most lovable pooch can do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Being a dog owner comes with responsibilities — plus a few tasks most of us wish they could do themselves.
Here are some simple ways to help keep your dog neighbor-friendly that won’t add hours to your “to do” list.
Collars and Tags
This one is a no-brainer, but some pet owners need reminding. Most municipalities require dogs to wear a collar with tags containing a name, proof of vaccinations, and their owner’s contact information. Even if it’s not required by law, those tags assure your neighbors that your dog is not a stray. Over their lifetimes, there’s a good chance your pup will get out of the house and into the neighborhood unattended. And if they get lost, there’s only a 1 in 5 chance they’ll be returned. So replace any tags that are no longer legible or up to date. The kind person up the street who sees your wandering dog will appreciate it. It also helps if you microchip your dog.
Flea Treatments that Works
Fleas are a huge pain, and once they take hold in your home, they can be difficult or costly to eliminate. Unfortunately, the same can be true in a neighborhood. Fleas don’t just hang out in your home. They can also infect places where dogs gather and play. Keeping these dog-friendly areas flea-free is a community effort. You can do your part by taking quick and effective action as soon as you notice the first bug. Baths are great, but flea soaps have varying degrees of effectiveness. If you find a persisting flea problem, visit your vet. They’ll give you access to solutions that aren’t available without a prescription.
Work on Your Dog’s Citizenship
What exactly does citizenship mean for a dog? The American Kennel Club outlines the behaviors and manners that make dogs good citizens. They even offer a good citizen program where owners sign a pledge, and dogs pass a series of tests to show off their social agility. For example, your pooch must be able to remain calm when another dog and owner approach. Of course, your pet doesn’t need an official certificate to be a good neighbor. Their list of Canine Good Citizen criteria makes a great starting point for dog owners as they begin training.
Apologize in Person for What You Can’t Control
OK, you’ve tried every trick in the book, but your dog barks or whines for 15 minutes every time you leave for work. Or maybe your aging pup has bladder difficulties and leaves puddles in less-than-ideal spaces. Like children, many dogs will have a habit that you can’t seem to break. And sometimes those habits will get on your neighbor’s nerves. Some pet-centered disputes have even landed neighbors in court.
The good news is, most people are pretty understanding when you let them know about a potential inconvenience early. And they’re even cooler when you apologetically explain the situation. No need for a fruit basket — just briefly and politely let them know about the issue. And assure them that if it becomes a nuisance, you can work out a neighborly solution. Many a dog owner wishes they’d spoken to the folks next door before the neighbors called in a noise complaint!
A former veterinarian’s assistant, Jasmine Patel has parlayed a love of animals into a career of advocating for and writing about her furry friends.