A Dog’s Eye View: Is anybody out there?
May 17, 2012
Have you wondered why some dogs bark day and night in your neighbor's yard? Have you thought there could be a connection between the breed, age or temperament of the dog as well as his environment? Have you wondered about the physical and mental well-being of the dog? And have you considered that an untrained and unsocialized dog is more likely to be outside barking?
If you looked into the yard of a barking dog, you might find holes from digging, chewed trees and shrubs and perhaps some destroyed lawn furniture. Dogs are not meant to live a life of solitary confinement, loneliness and mind-numbing boredom. Without humans in their world, dogs would spend much of their day hunting for food, eating, sleeping, chewing, exploring and marking their territory and perhaps interacting with other dogs that come across their path.
Many "yard barkers" have never been taught anything about life with humans. They've basically been kept uncivilized.
Well-managed and trained dogs can be left inside the home for a period of time in the owner's absence.
Understanding the cause of barking is necessary in order to help, but if this is your neighbor's dog, there's another problem. How can you discuss the problem with them? They may not know that their dog is disruptive, just like they may not know that he's preventing you from using your yard for outside activities or keeping you awake at night.
Start keeping track of the hour the dog barks and how long the barking lasts. Write it down. If you have a tape recorder, record the episodes and date them. Write a pleasant note to your neighbor outlining the problem and offer to talk about it. Offer to be part of the solution. Maybe they'd not thought about dog walkers, doggie day care, training classes or behavior consultants experienced in helping owners. In the end, if there's been an attempt to resolve the problem amicably with no positive result, call Animal Control.
Animal Control officers are trained in intervention techniques and have experience in these situations. They'll probably be glad to see your written record of dates and times and copies of your attempts to resolve the situation.
If we've taken on the stewardship of a dog, it's our responsibility to fulfill all of his needs. Being a considerate neighbor is pretty nice, too. No dog needs to be calling out, "Is anybody out there?"
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training with more than 25 years of experience.