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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I joined this forum a year ago when we first adopted our rescue dog (lab/hound mix), Kinzie. She came to us very anxious, nervous and reactive to other dogs and people. As I mentioned in previous posts, it was completely overwhelming at first and I wasn't sure I could do it. A year's worth of patience, consistency and love has paid off as she is much more calm and obedient now. We still have issues with reactivity, but much improved. She can ignore other neighborhood dogs now and is only reactive maybe 30% of the time (versus 100% before!)

That was, until last week when new neighbors moved in. Our old neighbor was a single guy who was super quiet. The new ones are a family with three young (noisy!) kids. Now her reactivity is almost like it was a year ago. She is on high alert in the backyard, barks loudly whenever they talk or move in their backyard. To make matters worse, one of the kids likes to yell back at Kinzie when she barks and will mock howl or yell back to her...which makes her bark MORE! I spoke to the family and let them know she is reactive and it will calm down in time, but to not yell back at her. The parents seemed so understanding and were really nice, but the kid still does it.

Im just frustrated. It feels like Im back at square one. I need some words of wisdom!
 

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I have to ask, do you feel it's your neighbors responsibility to succumb to your dogs issues? They should be quiet for the sake of your dog?

If I was in your neighbors shoes - and I'm different this way - I'd tell you to bring the dog in my yard and let us meet the dog. Or in your shoes, I'd ask the neighbors over.
 

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I disagree with @jagger on this one. It doesn't seem like its the family's noise that's the issue, more the child egging the dog on. There is definitely things I expect of my neighbors, not barking or yelling at my dog is definitely one of them. Hopefully they catch the child doing it and can curb that behavior, and I'd just continue calmly and consistently letting them know that her barking will settle down, but not until the child lets her be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Of course I don't expect my neighbors to be silent and change their behaviours for my dog. That is not what I'm saying. My point is 2 things:
1. Their child is purposely teasing my dog,
2. My dog is reactive and these new noises are now a new obstacle to overcome...I'm seeking advice about that.
 

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For some children, a loud dog is a fearful thing. Their barking back may be an attempt to desensitize themselves from the fear by doing something they may see as humorous.
To have a parent tell this child to be quiet will be just about as effective as you telling your dog to be quiet, if both the dog and the child have underlying issues.
If your dog is reactive and so is that child, I suggest the same approach:

patience, consistency and love
 

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I disagree with @jagger on this one. It doesn't seem like its the family's noise that's the issue, more the child egging the dog on.
I seem to be the one people like to disagree with.

Old neighbor was quiet, of course the dog is going to be relaxed. OP clearly states that there's 3 noisy kids next door now - kids being kids really. The dog is on high alert when the kids are outside. This isn't a problem to you?

No, the child should not egg the dog on - but that is something you can't control. What's going to happen if one day the child egging the dog on decides to come into your yard and egg the dog on? Doubt it would go over well.
 

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If we need to be responsible with our dogs then parents need to be responsible with their children. From what the OP told us the parents said nothing about their child being afraid of dogs and seemed amicable to curbing the child's behavior.

This is a reactive dog, that is working on that reactivity, we know that the noise will be an adjustment, but the dog deserves to not be barked at in its own yard.
 
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but the dog deserves to not be barked at in its own yard.
The neighbors don't deserve to be barked at either. I've lived next door with neighbors with loud dogs - it's not so fun on the other side of the fence.

I ask again, what do you think will happen if that child ends up in the OP's back yard one day when nobody is paying attention?

This is where I firmly believe in socialization. I find it interesting that people give the dog a pass.
 

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The neighbors don't deserve to be barked at either. I've lived next door with neighbors with loud dogs - it's not so fun on the other side of the fence.

I ask again, what do you think will happen if that child ends up in the OP's back yard one day when nobody is paying attention?

This is where I firmly believe in socialization. I find it interesting that people give the dog a pass.
No one is giving the dog a pass, she's down to 30% reactivity from what seems to be a very difficult starting point, I'd say the OP and their dog are doing a ton of work. The OP already stated that she's explained to the neighbors the barking will calm down over time and they were agreeable to that.

And I am again not answering that question, because I find it unhelpful to the OP's issue, rude and inflammatory to an owner who is clearly ALREADY working on their dogs reactivity. This isn't an issue of a neglectful owner and even though my dog personally isn't reactive, I'd throw a fit if a child wandered into my yard.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Okay lets get some things straight:

1. Our dog is not left outdoors alone, ever. My husband and I are outside with her whenever she is out because we have been actively working on training her and her reactivity. A child ending up in our yard alone with the dog, would never happen.

2. When our dog begins to bark, she is brought indoors right away. We do not let her bark her head off for an extended period of time because we are quite aware that noisy dogs are annoying for neighbors and I respect that.

3. I understand kids are noisy and I would never expect them to be silent in their own yard.

4. Working with a reactive dog is different then a "regular" dog.

5. Of course my dog barking the neighbors is a "problem"...that is why I came on here to seek advice.

6. I agree socialization is key here. Our dog came to us as a rescue at 1 years old and was clearly not socialized in her past life. This is a work in progress. I am also careful not to put through her into situations that would spike her reactivity (which is fear based). Meeting the neighbors may be step taken with careful consideration.

7. New neighbors seemed very understanding of dog barking and where I am coming from- they have not expressed any frustration towards me. I have heard them tell their son to stop barking/yelling at my dog countless times...the child still does not stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"I find it interesting that people give the dog a pass."

Giving my dog a pass? That is absolutely the opposite of what I am doing. I came on here seeking advice on how to deal with/train MY DOG to ignore this new distraction in her life. Reactivity isn't a simple behavioural problem to deal with. I didn't come on here seeking advice on how to quiet my neighbor.
 

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I think those that have done more training will likely give good info for your dog, I have a suggestion, though. How long is the fence between your yard and theirs, and would it be in the budget to get some of that inexpensive roll up bamboo type fence just to give a bit of help? I realize that both child and dog could still hear each other. Maybe a radio played and vision blocked with bamboo might help just until other more time consuming solutions are put into effect?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think those that have done more training will likely give good info for your dog, I have a suggestion, though. How long is the fence between your yard and theirs, and would it be in the budget to get some of that inexpensive roll up bamboo type fence just to give a bit of help? I realize that both child and dog could still hear each other. Maybe a radio played and vision blocked with bamboo might help just until other more time consuming solutions are put into effect?
I like the radio idea- I think I will suggest that to my husband to try. At least drown out some stimuli to help her adjust.

Between our fences there is a foot gap actually. Their fence is separate from ours so Kinzie can't actually see the kids/family...it's all about her hearing them and being fearful of the new voices. This is where I do see a previous person's suggestion about socializing valid, however she is also reactive to men as she was abused in her past so I'm not ready to introduce them yet. I want to get her back to being comfortable in her own yard first.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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So, I apologize if I'm coming off wrong.

I urge you first of all to read the Dog owners liability act, use it as a guideline to take preventive measures. Ontario has basically gone off the deep end when it comes to dogs - and pretty much full liability is now on the owner of a dog. It doesn't always take a bite. Seems like aggression is construed in most matters - doesn't seem like much is taken into account for a dog if it's fearful, reactive, unsure, whatever.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90d16#BK16

If it's just your husband and the dog in the back yard, does the dog act differently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
When my husband and I are in the backyard, she will still react to unfamiliar noises/voices but she will usually respond to my husbands discipline/direction right away and will come indoors. She definitely sees my husband as the Alpha in the pack. She will listen to me as well, but sometimes she gets a bit more defiant.

She doesn't lunge at the fence- just barks/howls and runs around the yard. She did this when we first got her when she first heard our neighbors dogs (beside and behind us) and with time has come to accept them and no longer barks at them. Like I said earlier, I would never expect people/kids to be silent in their own backyards...but when dealing with a reactive dog patience and understanding from neighbors goes a long way!



So, I apologize if I'm coming off wrong.

I urge you first of all to read the Dog owners liability act, use it as a guideline to take preventive measures. Ontario has basically gone off the deep end when it comes to dogs - and pretty much full liability is now on the owner of a dog. It doesn't always take a bite. Seems like aggression is construed in most matters - doesn't seem like much is taken into account for a dog if it's fearful, reactive, unsure, whatever.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90d16#BK16

If it's just your husband and the dog in the back yard, does the dog act differently?
 

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The radio idea made me think of something else.

There's a set of audio CDs (or you can them through amazon's online music service) called "Through a Dog's Ear".

It sounds like classical music, but the sounds were designed to be calming and super relaxing to a dog. It even worked on myself, too! XD

It put my dog to sleep and a trainer recommended it to me and her classes of reactive dogs.

It won't drown out the sounds of the kids next door, but it sure is calming. Might be worth a try. :)
 

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FWIW, we got new neighbours a few months ago. The mother said she feared dogs and that kind of rubbed off on her little boy.
Our front gate and theirs opens on to a common green. They were out there one day when I took Max out. I asked Max to lie down which he did so that he would not look intimidating to them. I invited them to stroke Max. They did. That took the fear factor away.

I did tell them not to assume that all dogs would behave that way and they should talk to the owners first.
 

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Okay lets get some things straight:

1. Our dog is not left outdoors alone, ever. My husband and I are outside with her whenever she is out because we have been actively working on training her and her reactivity. A child ending up in our yard alone with the dog, would never happen.

2. When our dog begins to bark, she is brought indoors right away. We do not let her bark her head off for an extended period of time because we are quite aware that noisy dogs are annoying for neighbors and I respect that.

3. I understand kids are noisy and I would never expect them to be silent in their own yard.

4. Working with a reactive dog is different then a "regular" dog.

5. Of course my dog barking the neighbors is a "problem"...that is why I came on here to seek advice.

6. I agree socialization is key here. Our dog came to us as a rescue at 1 years old and was clearly not socialized in her past life. This is a work in progress. I am also careful not to put through her into situations that would spike her reactivity (which is fear based). Meeting the neighbors may be step taken with careful consideration.

7. New neighbors seemed very understanding of dog barking and where I am coming from- they have not expressed any frustration towards me. I have heard them tell their son to stop barking/yelling at my dog countless times...the child still does not stop.
Sounds like you are doing a really good job training and managing your dog! Keep it up! Things will likely settle down in a bit.

Training wise you might want to go just straight forward Counter conditioning since you're always outside with your dog. If unfamiliar, more or less just tossing some food each time you hear the kid. Generally what happens is automatic attention when the dog makes the connection that something tasty follows the noise. Later You can build on that attention once the association is established. Perhaps by asking for and rewarding incompatible behaviors.

Another nice option (similar but involves a marker such as a clicker) is the Listen to That game. It's a play on the look at that game and for auditory triggers. Sara Owings has a pretty nice tutorial on youtube.

Or if able (sounds like maybe you are) and your dog isn't completely loosing it, you could just interrupt and redirect the barking, though it tends not to eliminate all barking. That's the route I tend to go most of the time myself because I like my dogs to alert bark. They bark and I check it out. If it's no big deal (neighbors out, mailman, deer, etc.) I normally just thank them, ask them then follow me and then go do something different.
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