Help me talk to my neighbour about her dog.

We live in a duplex (side-by-side). Our neighbour’s deck is at the back of her place, and our bedrooms are at the back of our place. So any noise from her deck sounds like it’s in our bedrooms! She has a little yappy dog (well two of the little rats, but only one is really loud). She and her kids used to take the dogs out into the front yard to do their “business” but lately they have started just letting them out onto the back deck, so the dogs can access the back yard. Her loudest dog gets so excited to be outside that he yaps and barks, and he has one of those shrill, earpiercing barks that wakes us and our baby up every morning. This is pretty frustrating, plus they let him out twice, once around 6:45 and again around 7:15. It really screws up our baby’s morning naps, which then screws up her whole day (and mine).

She is a good neighbour and we have a nice, friendly relationship with her and her kids. I was thinking of asking her if they could do me a big favour and take their dogs out to the front yard again, just in the mornings, because of the noise factor. I know if they asked ME to do that, I would be fine with it. But I don’t want to rub her the wrong way and make our neighbourly relationship awkward.

So I have two questions for the wise people of the 'Dope - (a) am I being unrealistic, and (b) if not, how should I approach this with her?

You’re not being unrealistic.

I’m so wussy – I’d take over a bag of doggie treats and a plate of home-baked cookies and make a joke of it. “Can I bribe you to let the dogs out in front in the mornings? Their barking wakes the baby.”

Since you have a friendly relationship, I would approach her kindly and tell her what you told us. Just tell her it would be a great help to you to keep you baby on her nap schedule if the puppies could go out front in the morning.

If you feel you really want to soften the message, you can tell her that they sound so happy and playful that your baby stays awake. She may be able to read between the lines! Otherwise just say that you baby is sensitive to the noise and the morning barking makes it hard for her to fall asleep.

Good luck!

I think you are being reasonable

and in my opinion

She will resent it.

We had a similar issue last year when we had a summer BBQ. Our neighbor has a couple of yappy dogs and they sit in the bay window and bark at us everytime we are in the yard. Normally we just mutter under our breaths and wish a thousand deaths on the dog (well that is me–not sure what my wife does).

But my wife took it upon herself to address the issue with our neighbor the day before the BBQ. She was very pleasant and in essence just asked her if she could open a window on the other side of the house (just for this one day) so that the dogs couldn’t see the guests–thus stopping the barking.

She complied–but overall has been somewhat icy since then. Not sure why–my sense is that it is sort of like being called on the carpet and she didn’t care for it.

However the BBQ was great since we didn’t have any yapping dogs. So from my viewpoint it was a win. I don’t ‘have’ to like my neighbors–as long as I can tolerate them :slight_smile: And the plus side is she never opens this window now–but I am sure her neighbor on the otherside hates the noise now!


You certainly are not unreasonable to ask.
And I don’t have any suggestions as to better ways to ask.
Hope your neighbors are more considerate than mine.

Our immediate neighbor to the N has a big mutt they just let out in their backyard who barks for 20 minutes at a time at all times of the day into the late evening. The neighbor 2 houses to the south has a little yapper that does the same.
I don’t understand how it doesn’t drive THEM nuts!

We have a dog ourselves, but she is not a barker. We don’t leave her out when we are not home, and when we are home, if she barks, we tell her to shut up and/or bring her in. If it is a matter of having the dog get exercise, then put it on a leash and take it for a walk.

It is hard when you own a naturally barky breed. We have a sheltie and we work hard at being good neighbors, but, well, sheepdogs bark. They were bred to protect and alert people to “threats”. We don’t let her out before 8 am and not after 9pm ish- or just briefly if we have to. But when she is out she does at times bark.

However, I feel a lot less bad about it since she chased an awful neighborhood kid out of our (fenced) yard when my kids were with the sitter and he jumped the fence and was scaring them. She barked him out of the yard!

But back to the OP, if someone came to me with that request, and was nice about it (i.e. didn’t act like I was doing it on purpose or should have known better…) I would be happy to do my best to oblige.

Thank you. :slight_smile:

It makes much more sense than what two of my neighbors did to “solve” their dog problem. One of them threw a punch and ended up on her butt in the middle of the street.

Criticizing someone’s dog behavior is right up there with criticizing their kids. Nobody takes it well.

I have two thoughts on this.

I have one neighbor I am friendly with, she used to have her dog in the backyard late at night, barking.

I went over and just mentioned that it was keeping my daughter up. She apologized and has been nothing but nice.

I have another neighbor, she has two BIG dogs, both retrievers or crosses. She just moved here and has them out all night barking, she also walks them in the park (where the kids play soccer) and doesn’t clean up after them. I did not go over and talk to her, I complained to Animal Services. The reason being I didn’t have an established relationship with this woman and felt that the fact she doesn’t pick up after her dogs shows her to be inconsiderate.

If you are friendly with them already it should be fine. The only problem is if it’s not, and you have to complain to the city, she will know it was you.

I think that if you have a dog that barks a lot, and you live somewhat close to your neighbors, it is essentially inexcusable rudeness to let your dog remain in the yard while barking. Just my opinion. No less rude than playing music too loud, revving a motorcycle, or any number of other noisy irritants. Hell, I’ll even extend it to shreiking little kids. Yes, kids can be loud at times. But when they are very young they should be pretty constantly supervised, and from that time on they should be taught not to unnecessarily disturb their neighbors.

Like I said, letting the dog out long enough to do its business is one thing. Letting it bark for 10-20 minutes or more is another. If your dog needs the exercise, then get off your butt and walk it. But don’t impose the burden upon your neighbors, just because you like “barky” dogs and prefer not to walk it.

Yeah - I’m just an intolerant hypersensitive crank. Believe me - when my kids are out of high school (3 more years), I’ll remove myself from suburban population density. Figure by isolating myself I’ll be providing a public service!

Whew … thanks for the feedback …

Now, another question - when I’m uncomfortable talking about something, I tend to come across quite snotty and cranky - it’s just the way my shyness manifests itself in my voice and mannerisms.

Plus, I only really run into her about once a week or so, and I don’t know if I can go much longer without saying something.

What do you think about my leaving her a note? Too wussy?

I’d strongly recommend against a note.
I predict that if you send a note, she will interpret it as meaning you expected HER to be unreasonable.
How about having your spouse/SO talk to her?
Or could you call them on the phone in the morning when the dog is barking?

Wow- that does seem to be a hot button issue to you!

FWIW, I do not justfy long barking sessions at all! And sometimes five minutes of barking, if you’re annoyed by it, may seem longer. But, sometimes our dog is barking when we’re out with her running in the yard and playing with her, but we never let it go on like that! So, I sure hope the “get off you butt” remark wasn’t for me!
Well, my point before was that some dogs don’t respond to the “be quiet command” like others do, and sometimes really good neighbors have a barking dog and they are doing their best to manage it. When the school buses drive by, she barks and there is very little I can do until it passes!

Like with the kids example- my son was colicy and would cry and scream for hours (yay us), we did our best, but it probably wasn’t always great for the neighbors. There was very little we could do about it, but do our best.

But again to the OP, not all neighbors respond rudely when approached in a kind (not a “get off your butt”) attitude. I try to assume the best in people, until proven otherwise. Generally, I’m not dissapointed.

I agree- don’t send a note. But you can be really honest about how akward you feel and might sound.

Say: “This is really hard for me because we are good neighbors and I don’t want to sound petty or cranky. My baby sleeps during the morning and when Fluffy goes out, his barking wakes her. Is it possible for Fluffy to go out front during nap time? I would appreciate so much”
I trouble envisioning a nice neighbor that would be really put off by that request- you haven’t suggested she did anything wrong or inconsiderate.

ITD - I guess it is a hot-button for me. As I said, just about every evening the jerks next door let their dog bark in the yard for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes once around dinnertime and again after we have gone to bed.

In our old house there was a drywall yard about 1/2 block away that had 2 guard dogs that would bark off and on throughout the night. I can sleep through anything, but it really bothered my wife who is a light sleeper at the best of times, and especially so when she was pregnant. And when she is woken up, it takes her a long time to get back to sleep.

I happen to prefer having my windows open over the AC, but often find myself having to close my windows.

And all this time I have had well-behaved, pretty quiet dogs. One time 15 years or so ago my neighbors told me my dog barked when we left it out unattended. I don’t know how much or how long he actually barked, but we stopped leaving him out when we weren’t home.

Believe me - I have timed them. And if you think 5 minutes can sound like 20, what do you think 20-30 sounds like? Especially if you are trying to get to sleep, or watch a movie. And there is an entirely different tonal quality when a dog is running around, barking happily, playing with its owners - compared to the bark/bark/bark of a bored dog standing in one place, barking endlessly at real or perceived irritants.

I couldn’t tell what you let your dog do from your posts. So I’m sorry if I came across too harshly. But IMO, no matter what the breed of dog, if an owner lets it in the yard unattended and it barks for more than 5 minutes, the owner is being inexcusably rude to their neighbors.

A couple more thoughts about the note, Stainz. A big problem with reducing something to writing in a situation like this is the permanency. If you call your neighbor or speak with them, and they resent it, memories will fade. And all they will have will be their recollection of the exchange. But they will be able to keep a note forever, share it with their friends and your other neighbors, for years to come. And heaven forbid that you write anything inartfully. Even a spelling or grammar error can be held against you.

Another “problem” with writing is it can be seen as “escalating” things. Taking a simple matter to a higher/more formal level, while skipping over the neighborly phone call or chat over the fence. Not saying that is right, just saying it is a perception you risk. And then the dispute becomes about you and your note, instead of their barking dog.

A situation such as yours makes you realize how great it is to have quiet polite neighbors who maintain their property and keep to themselves!

I agree, no note. It’s quite possible she may not know that the dogs wake the baby. Relax…it’s not like you’re asking her to never let the dogs out in the yard ever ever ever again.

I have two dogs that bark, and I couldn’t agree more. The older one will stop with a stern command (or two, if she’s really excited), but the younger one is still learning. I cringe when it takes me more than 30 seconds to stop her - I can’t imagine leaving a constantly barking dog outside for even 5 minutes, let alone 20.

I also have a neighbor who lets his chopped Harley warm up in the driveway for five or ten minutes every time he goes for a ride, and another who cuts his grass at 6:30 every Sunday morning. I’d trade either (or both!) of them for Dinsdale in a heartbeat.

Thanks ITD and others - I will suck it up and talk to her in person the next time I see her, probably using your exact words! :slight_smile:

My mom was dying and the relatively new neighbors next door had a malamute that barked it’s fool head off all day. It was driving her over the edge, but my folks never said anything.

After she died, these people turned out to be such nice neighbors. They’d shovel my dad’s driveway and were just very pleasant. Their little kid had a habit of walking into my dad’s house, but other than that, they were great. It doesn’t make up for a yappy dog, but it makes it a little easier to overlook.

Also, I was never one for a strict schedule with Kid Kalhoun. If there was noise (and there always is when you live in close quarters with neighbors ‘n’ shit) you just have to deal.

Amen, and hallelujah to that!

This is a hot-button issue for me, too. I can see a time when dogs aren’t allowed as pets in cities at all, because of the way their owners let them behave. When you think about it, why should someone else’s pet be affecting all their neighbours around them? Never mind waking sleeping babies, what about everyone else in the neighbourhood who is trying to get their last couple of hours of sleep before getting up for the day?