You’ve adopted a dog… and now it’s time to introduce him to your neighbors! Here’s how to make sure he’s on his best behavior.
There are many dog lovers in the world, but not everyone is as comfortable or happy around dogs as you might expect. While introducing your new dog to neighbors may seem like a stressful task, there are some simple tactics you can use to ensure that your pup is neighbor friendly.
Keep it casual
One simple way to help your dog get used to his new surroundings and become familiar with the neighbors is to go out for a walk. Say hello to your neighbors and introduce your dog from a distance to start. This is also a good opportunity to find and meet other dogs in the community, as well as help ease any tensions or concerns that your neighbors might have about a dog living in their neighborhood.
Train your dog
If you have a well-trained dog, life will be much easier. Ensure that you take the time and effort early on to train your dog. Using positive reinforcement, teach him not to bark or growl at passing neighbors. Excessive barking and aggression are habits built over time, so do your best to shut them down at the onset. Above all, make sure that your dog knows never to jump up on a neighbor.
Get plenty of exercise
Make sure that you go for at least one daily walk with your dog. Dogs who get plenty of exercise are much happier and much more tired! No matter the age of your dog, both of you will benefit from a walk. It will allow you to bond, as well as to help familiarize your dog with the scents and people of the neighborhood. Most veterinarians recommend aiming for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. This is even more important if you have an energetic pup. A healthy and well-exercised dog will be less likely to develop behavioral problems.
Ensure your dog is secure
A secure fence will let your dog play and run around safely on your property, while also keeping other pets and people out. Whenever you leave, make sure your dog is safely in your home to prevent him from wandering around your neighborhood. Additionally, you should always make sure that your dog is on a leash when you go out into the community. It will allow you to have good control, enabling you to display consideration towards your neighbors and members of the community who may not be as fond of dogs.
Treat children with caution
Children can frighten dogs, causing unwanted behavior. Younger children especially don’t always know the best way to interact with dogs, and between the tail-grabbing and ear-pulling, can put your dog in a stressful situation. Always check that a parent is with a child that’s approaching your dog, especially if they want to pet him. Remember, you know your dog best, so approach children with your dog at your discretion.
Reward good behavior
As part of training your dog, make sure that you reward him for good behavior. Whether that’s a tickle behind the ears, a treat or some kind words, these positive reinforcements can be very effective. Equally, make sure that any aggressive behavior is not tolerated. If your dog behaves aggressively, remove him from the situation immediately.
Get feedback from neighbors
Check in with your neighbors occasionally to find out how things are going from their perspective. It can particularly helpful to find out how he’s behaving when you aren’t around – can they hear him barking in the house? Asking for your neighbor’s feedback can help you diffuse any tension and resolve issues before they turn your friendly neighbors into foes.