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Neighbors Let Their Dog Run Loose: What Should You Do?

Some dog owners seem unaware of the potential dangers of letting a dog run loose into other people’s properties, not to mention the psychological effect that wild dogs encounters have on some people and especially little children.

If you have a loose dog in the neighborhood, there are friendly ways and less accomodating ones to deal with the problem, in fact, depending on the local regulations, your neighbor might be breaking the law and you have every right to report the incident.

What should you do if your neighbor lets their dog run loose?

It is your right to take action if you witness dogs running loose in your neighborhood. Even the most friendly dog might do unpredictable things and you probably don’t want them around your own dogs or your children.

Some dog owners don’t seem to understand that their dogs might not behave with strangers the same way they behave with them and often dismiss the neighbors’ worries or straight up ignore them.

The friendly way. 

dog running loose

There are several ways to deal with this uncomfortable situation and it usually starts with a civil conversation.

After all, you might not know your neighbor very well and even though it’s irresponsible to leave a dog unleashed, they might be genuinely unaware of what their dog does in their free time.

Talking with your neighbor is the quickest and easy way to resolve the issue. Most people are willing to listen and will understand the problem if you explain it to them.

Some might not believe that their dog is misbehaving, so it would be useful to have pictures or videos as proof of what their dog has been doing around your lawn or other people’s yards.

Anonymous letter.

If your neighbors’ dog is not on a leash, but you don’t want to talk directly to them or you don’t feel like they would listen, you can also send an anonymous letter and leave it by their front door or in their mailbox.

Letters might work really well because not knowing who sent the letter might push your neighbor to believe there are several people in the neighborhood who think their dog is trespassing and it might have a bigger impact on them.

Also, if you have a pet and you’re dealing with a bad neighbor but for some reason you still don’t want to go through the law, being anonymous will be very important because some people, unfortunately, retaliate against animals and you want your dog to be safe.

Follow the law.

Sometimes the way of communication fails and you have to go through stronger means to keep your neighbor’s dog out of your yard.

Most communities have very clear leash laws. The leash law usually establishes that a dog should be on a leash at all times when on public property, while when on private property they can be let free as long as they’re supervised by their owner the whole time.

You can check your local regulations and act accordingly by reporting your neighbor to the authorities or the Animal Control Service. In the worst-case scenario, your neighbor may be given a restraining order, but it usually doesn’t go that far unless your neighbor showcases really nasty behavior.

Please note that it might take a few days for your request to be elaborated by the authorities, so if you have an emergency you should call 911 for prompt intervention.

How do I keep the neighbor’s dog out of my yard

big yard

Keeping neighbors’ dogs out of the yard might be difficult, but one thing you absolutely don’t want to do is to use methods that might hurt the dog.

Sometimes you will find suggestions about shooting the neighbor’s dog with toy guns or harmless pellets that will sting just enough for them to learn their lesson but won’t be harmful to them. However, that’s still cruel.

The animal is not at fault here, the owner who hasn’t trained them or has no interest in what their dog is doing is at fault, so don’t take it out on the dog or if you need, use completely harmless methods.

Scare the dog away.

This is the easiest and cheapest way to deal with this issue. Some dogs are easily scared, so it will be enough to run after them, trying to make yourself look as big as possible as you chase them out of your yard.

You can also spray them with water and be very loud, as dogs hate loud sounds. Of course, never spray dogs with water that is too hot or too cold, you just want to scare them and not to actually hurt them.

Every dog has a very special personality, so it might take a few scares for them to realize they need to stay away from your lawn.

Remove attractions. 

wooden houses with lawns

Dogs will go where there’s something alluring to them and given that their sense of smell is the strongest, be careful with anything food-related.

If you let your dog eat in the yard, be sure to remove any leftovers and bowls after they’re done eating. If you have a dog unleashed problem, it would be better to make your dog eat at home until the issue is solved.

Dog toys or even your children’s toys can work as attractions as well, so remember to remove them from the yard when playtime is over.

Keeping lids over your trash cans is also a good idea. Even though neighborhood dogs won’t probably be starving and won’t look for food, the smell of your leftovers will attract them and they may make a mess of your trash cans.

Clean dog droppings. 

Dogs have their own way of marking their territory by peeing or leaving stools. They can easily find that spot again by following the smell, so if a neighbor’s dog defecates in your yard, be quick at cleaning everything and make sure you dilute the smell by pouring water over the area.

Other dogs might be attracted to your own dog’s poop as well, so clean up after them if they leave stools in the yard.

If a stranger dog leaves this kind of gift on your lawn, you might be tempted to retaliate and throw the gift back on your neighbor’s lawn, but please refrain from doing so. You may have charges pressed against you from the action, depending on your local regulations.

Build defenses around your lawn.

black metal fence

If everything else fails and you have some money to spend, you might want to ‘fortify’ your lawn. This becomes necessary especially when you deal with a neighbor’s aggressive dog (even though in this case the first thing to do should be to call Animal Control).

A fence around your yard is the safest way to keep unwanted visitors away from your lawn. If you want to avoid dogs and cats digging up holes around the fence trying to get inside, you can also bury some stones around the perimeter.

Planting thorny bushes is another good deterrent and it works better if you have a single access point to your yard where you can plant just one or two bushes, so you don’t have to plant them all around your house since the thorns are potentially harmful to you, your children and your pets as well.

Motion-activated sprinklers are also a great solution because dogs will connect stepping inside your yard to being sprinkled with water and will keep away from your house.

Dog repellents.

Dog repellents are super-effective, but if you have your own dogs they might affect them as well.

On the market, you’ll find many granules designed to keep dogs away. They need to be disseminated around your house perimeter and reapplied regularly after it rains. Liquid repellents can be sprayed directly on the grass or on the single plants you want to protect.

You can also make your own dog repellent at home, using ammonia, lemon peels, or vinegar, however, the latter could be harmful to your grass and plants if used in large quantities. A mixture of water and baking soda might work as well, especially in the spots where the dog has urinated.

Can dogs run loose in the neighborhood?

border collie runningLeaving a dog running loose is often against the law and it’s an overall irresponsible behavior.

If your neighbors’ leave their dogs unleashed, you can check your local regulations and take the right countermeasures against them by calling the authorities or the Animal Control Service.

If your neighbor is found guilty, they might be fined and end up in court, but it doesn’t have to go this far. Always try to reason with your neighbors before the situation gets out of hand.

If for any reason you find yourself unable to report your neighbors, there are several ways to keep dogs out of your lawn, from simply scaring them away to building up fences around your yard.

Make sure to take the right precautions to ensure the safety of your persona and of your loved ones.

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