My neighbor squirts my dogs with her garden hose.

Okay, so last year, my mean neighbor old-lady (widow with a cat, if that makes any difference) yelled at my Old-English Sheepdogs through the hedge to “SHUT UP, DOGS”. For the record, they were playing tug with an old deflated basketball and playfully growling and barking at each other. I should add that I don’t allow my dogs to run all day long in the fenced yard that we have, just barking and barking and causing a nuisance. We play ball in the backyard, there’s playfullness and joy, and they bark ocassionally, as dogs are wont to do.

A few weeks ago, I let my dogs into our backyard early one Sunday morning to run and “do their business”. I heard them begin to bark toward my mean neighbor-lady’s house, so I ran to the window to call to them so that they would quiet down. I saw her pull her garden hose, direct a jet toward the hedge (this hedge is on our side of a chain-link fence that separates our yards). I ran into the backyard in time to see hear climb into her car and pull out of her driveway, perhaps on her way to church. I found that both of my dogs now have wet heads and feet.

But, I kept my mouth shut.

This past Sunday, about mid-day, I heard my dogs again barking toward my mean neighbor-lady’s house. I ran out of the house again to find that both of my dogs are now wet and she’s hosing off her driveway.

I catch her attention and ask her to please stop squirting my dogs. She responds by yelling “WHEN THEY STOP BARKING AT ME!”
I’m flabergasted.
Again, I ask her please not to do that. She yells “I DIDN’T START IT. THEY BARKED AT ME FIRST!”
<blink blink blink…huh?>
“Look,” I say, “I’m not going to argue who started what, but if you shoot water at my dogs, they’re going to bark at you!”
I respond “Have they ever bitten or attacked you? Are you afraid of them?”
Well, she’s undoing any training that I do with them!

My sheepies aren’t perfect angels by any stretch of the imagination. But they certainly don’t need to be treated this way.

I’ve thought of calling the police, but I think that would just escalate the negativity of the thing. Turning this into “barking dogs cause neighborhood discord” thing. Besides, my wife absolutely does not want the police involved. She’s afraid that the mean neighbor-lady might try to poison the dogs. Besides, we now have a nineteen-month-old son who might be harmed by starting a little feud by pissing the neighbor off even more.

Well fellow dopers? Your thoughts? What do you think I should do?


I think you should train the dogs to lift a leg at her when she raises her garden hose at them.

I sympathize totally. Nothing is worse than a crazy and intractable neighbor. I have a noisy dog and just thank heaven I’ve never gotten more than 1 note, 1 time.

My friend wasn’t so lucky. He got a warning from animal control about his dog, he would get a second and then a $50 ticket, going on up to $250 (!) FOR EACH INSTANCE of NUSIANCE BARKING. Here’s the kicker: his dog wasn’t even outside but in a townhouse (& to be fair easily heard from the sidewalk)

I would advise first finding out what nuisance barking laws in your city, county or town. Ours are continuous barking over 15 minutes or continuous for 5 minutes more than three times in an hour. Also any barking more than 5 minutes from 10 PM until 6 AM. I bet you have similar laws (almost everybody does). Try and make sure you are on the right side of the laws so that crabby can’t get on you for that.

Beyond that … I don’t know … maybe try and play when she’s not there or take the dogs to the park to play (for peace sake & your wife and kid NOT because she’s right). I am not sure what the cops would do, unless you could show the wetting was somehow harmful to the dogs. I’d expect a patronizing “Calm down folks" & under the circumstances maddening, visit from animal control to let you know what the barking laws were if you did call the cops.

Good luck, it completely sucks & I hope she moves, because that’s the only REAL solution.

Actually, a sqirt in the face with a water is a terribly effective way to deal with dogs who are barking. We do this with our basset hound, when he won’t stop barking at visitors (we have a squirt bottle by the door for this reason. I assume a few barks are fine as he should bark at strangers, but once I tell him okay and he sees the person be welcomed into our home, he is supposed to knock it off. Spraying him in the face is an immediate negative reinforcement, without hitting or yelling.

I don’t think your neighbor is being cruel. She may have a shorter fuse than you for when it comes to barking, but I’d much rather someone squirt my dog than yell at him or call the police.

Cranky, a squirt of water from their owners will stop a dog barking; you’ve exerted your rightful dominance. A stranger squirting water at a dog will just agitate them.

I had a neighbor who was usually pretty reasonable, a nice enough guy. I was surprised to find that, over time, my dogs started hating him, lunging at him when I was out walking them. They never exhibited that kind of behavior towards anyone else. Then I found out that he had a “game” he liked to play with them; when he was out watering his plants, he’d squirt them with the hose, and get them, as he said, “riled up”. This all happened when they were in the pen I’d built for them to stay in when I was at work.

He became The Big Enemy; the dogs started barking whenever he was in the yard, trying to climb the fence to get at him, etcetera. Nothing ever happened, but he’d ratcheted up my dogs’ aggression levels a few notches.

It’s taking me a while, now that I’ve moved, to get them used to having other neighbors; they’re really defensive when they’re outside.

A stranger squirting a dog with a garden hose is going to be seen as a rival by the dog; it’s an attack that the dog doesn’t understand, and can make the dog behave in a very hostile manner. If you can possibly help it, try not to let your neighbor do it again. She’s setting herself up as an enemy. It’s generally a very bad idea when dealing with territorial animals who live next door.

I used to have a neighbour two doors down who had a yappy dog. This dog would start barking in the middle of the night and wake me up, apparently for no reason. The owners never came out to shut it up. Finally I learned how to shut the dog up. I’d go out into the back yard with my BB gun and launch a BB in its general direction. I’d never aim at it, of course. I couldn’t even see it over the two low fences. But it would shut right up. Another time a different neighbour’s dog, a toy poodle, was yapping in the night. I just pumped up the BB gun and pulled the trigger without having a BB in it. It shut the dog up.

Johnny L.A.-that’s sick.

But let’s see-they bark? Dogs BARK! It’s what they DO!

And if she keeps squirting them, they’re going to keep barking at her. D’uh.

The best thing to do is ignore it. So they bark at her? All dogs will do that. My dog barks at everyone she sees outside. She doesn’t go after them, she’s just barking.
(If they came on our yard, she’d jump all over them for attention-she’s a total lap dog.)

Seriously, the best thing is just say, “Be quiet!”


Tell the mean lady that if she hoses your sheep dogs again, that you’ll squirt her pussy!

This problem wouldn’t exist if your dogs’ barking wasn’t irritating your neighbor. Since it is not impossible for you to teach your dogs not to bark, why don’t you teach your dogs not to bark?

People with noisy habits/dogs/children tend to grossly underestimate the annoyance level of loud noises, even going so far as to accuse the aggrieved neighbor of “just pretending to be annoyed, since my dogs/stereo/teenagers aren’t that loud, anyway.”

Maybe you could squirt her with a water pistol saying, well, I thought you were barking!:stuck_out_tongue:

Absolutely! In a very upscale apartment complex I used to live in, the neighbors down the walkway would put their dog out on the patio at 5AM and the dog would stay there, barking continuously, until 6:30. It drove me insane! Finally, I leaned over my balcony and screamed, “If you don’t shut that dog up, I’ll shoot it!”

Funny thing. The dog never barked again.

My in-laws have a Pitbull/Lab mix who, while very playful and exciteable, never barks except when a car pulls onto their property, and she stops when one of the in-laws comes out. Obviously dogs can be trained not to bark and for the harmony of the neighborhood, I suggest you do so.

My neighbors have not one, but two yappy poodle type dogs. They don’t bark a hell of a lot, but indeed often enough to annoy. What’s particularly aggravating is most ‘barkers’ I’ve encountered usually shut the hell up when they figure out who you are, or go over and pet them and show a little attention. Not these guys.

They’ll shut up for a second, sniff around, wag tails for a bit, and then back to heavy bark mode. So they aren’t even decent dogs, which, lets face it, ain’t too tough of a job – They lay around all day, that’s their job.

One day I was watering some freshly sprouted lawn and those little bastards started barking. One shot of the water hose and they immediately shut up, and didn’t hear anything more out of them that day.

So yeah-- spray em’ down if necessary, won’t hurt the dogs a bit, and maybe they’ll have some sort of pavlovian response eventually.

I don’t understand. It’s not as if I was actually shooting at the dog. Besides, it shouldn’t be barking at two in the morning and waking people up. What’s sick?

Get a couple of Hayduke’s revenge books from the library. That’s definitely a good start.

I’m in 100% agreement with Bluethree (and Squish).

A related tale: I love my mother more than any living soul, but sometimes she is the biggest hypocrite on the planet. She bitches about every little failing that disturbs her her little old lady existance: the nonconformist neighbors, the overpriced grocery stores, the sloppy mailman, etc.

But God forbid anyone criticizes her loud-mouthed, misbehaving demon of a dog! Oh no! “How can they be so unforgiving,” she grieves. “Don’t they know, barking is what dogs do! Lucky is really such a good dog!”

All I know is, if my mother were living NEXT TO her dog, instead of WITH her dog, she’d be on the phone to the police every night trying to get the mutt impounded.

Bluethree and squish and stuyguy and Johnny LA are turning the tide here on GrizzRich, and I’m hoppin’ aboard. Learn them doggies to shut up. They are twice as loud to your neighbors as they are to you. And maybe even louder if your neighbors are cranky, as seems to be yours. A response from a dog owner who realized this and then did something about it would be interesting here.

Here’s an idea that may satisfy both camps.

Find some information that backs up what you say about how the spraying hurts the dog training, or makes them more aggressive, etc. Photocopy it and mail it to her with a note saying that you will begin training your dogs not to bark. And apologize. Even if you don’t think you’ve done something wrong. An apology can be a HUGE tension reliever.

Just soap up the pups before letting them out.

I’m with cleops on this one, and I have a somewhat yappy dog (american eskimo). When hes out on the leash he’s usually pretty quiet. But when he gets a good head-o-steam going I’ll bring him in. Because I’ve been on the other side,and know how aggrivating it coud be…my coppers

OH fuck all that civility shit, spray the old bag back!