Neighborly Dogs

Just this past weekend on a long run, I heard birds (not crows lol) chirping.

The days are getting longer.

While I’m still waiting on some warmer temperatures, I know they are right around the corner.

Living in a new community, I’m also looking to ensure I keep the peace with my neighbors.

There is one neighbor to the right of us who has a gorgeous garden and he’s getting himself ready for his growing season.

Jack and Bernie are not quite used to him, yet.

They love spending time outside, but with the noises and people and their dogs milling around, us together are working on them being more comfortable when our neighbors are enjoying their space too.

Here are some tips on creating a safe and fun space for your dogs in your backyard regardless how much space you have to work with this spring and summer.

  1. Create an elimination spot. How?

Bring your dog out to the same spot every time. Bring your dog out on a leash and walk them over to the area. When your dog eliminates, loads of praise and reward.

After they are done, then they can have some free time outside. If your dogs are anything like Jack and Bernie, they love sun bathing!

  1. Create an area where your dogs can have a place to dig. I know, you don’t want your dogs digging, but let’s face it. Digging is a natural behavior, so work with them and give them a chance to practice what they were born to do.

You can bury bones and such which will encourage your dog to hang out in the pit rather than finding wonderful things in your garden bed

Bernie loved his digging pit in OK. This is another project on my husband’s to do list 🙂

  1. A fence is great! A privacy fence is better.

As a renter, I don’t have the privilege of altering my own space. We did choose a home with a privacy fence. Privacy fences work not only to keep people from looking in and gaining access to our space, but it also prevents Jack and Bernie to have direct visual of everything going on the other side of the fence.

If you don’t have a privacy fence, you can can create one that doesn’t permanently alter the structures of the home you may be renting or temporarily staying in. One client used bamboo which even extended the height of the fence. This is great for her dog that was a bit of a jumper!

Bamboo for a fence visual barrier and height extender!
  1. Practice Recall with your dog.

Start when its a low distracting environment. Always making it fun when your dogs trot their way back to you.

Remember don’t be the party pooper and end their fun of being outside when they come back to you. You want to be the party too, so keep it fun and work on slow transitions back into the home. This can be as simple as a couple of rounds of hide n’ seek with you outside. Slowly transitioning the game inside with finishing up with them on some settling activities.

  1. Practice a Positive Interrupter like “whoopsie”. This is just like any cue. This is a great way for your dogs to learn how to self manage their discomfort or over arousal. When your dog learns that “whoopsie” means something great, you will be able to interrupt your dog’s behavior without you getting frustrated too.

Saying “whoopsie” and when your dog learned this is a great thing for him, your dog is more likely to come to you and stop what he’s doing instead.

Also, you saying “whoopsie” is more fun for you too. Way more fun than saying “no”.

When you say “no”, there is nothing you are saying for your dog to differently. Saying “no” only gets you frustrated.

You repeat yourself, your dog continues.

You say “no” several more times, you start getting upset.

In turn, your dog is more reluctant to return to you. Which then continues this cycle of your frustration and your dog avoiding you.

Saying “whoopsie” when followed with your dog being rewarded for responding, you’re teaching your dog to do something different!

Your yard is an extension of your home and creating boundaries for your dog gives them a clear idea of what is expected.

Enjoy the start of spring and make your outside space as relaxing as your family room for you and your pooches 🙂

Bernie enjoying the sun and his stuffie 😂

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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