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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My pup-to-be will be coming home in a few months--at the age of 10 weeks--and I'm concerned it will feel disturbed/worried by our neighbors' large barking dogs.

I live in a neighborhood where the yards are small and close together. My yard is fenced, but behind us is a family with two dogs that bark whenever they hear us outside-- if they are out. A neighbor to the side has a dog that does the same. These dogs aren't out much now, but perhaps they'll be outdoors a lot more in the summer. They seem to feel the neighborhood is theirs and that my family shouldn't even be talking or walking around in our own back yard. (I thought of getting a silent dog-whistle device to blow every time they bark while I'm out--but perhaps that strategy would even increase their barking.)

Our fences are high and these dogs can't see us and don't know us. We are relatively new in the neighborhood, btw, so I'm hoping these dogs will get used to us and ignore us after a while-- unless they continue to feel that we are wrongly in their territory. The dogs behind us appear to be aggressive breeds.

My pup won't be able to see them behind the fence, but I'm wondering if the big barks from those big dogs will scare her. I'm planning to use my small backyard for her training sessions and light play sessions, as well as for her pottying needs. Should I be concerned?

What can I do to help my puppy not worry about those barkers or join in the barking? I don't want her to be fearful or to become so distracted that I can't use my own yard for training sessions. Thanks for any advice!
 

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I had this same concern with my new pup, but he came home and it's like the barking dogs don't even exist. If we are outside, he likes to go to the fence and say hi to a border collie and Dalmatian on one side (thankfully they are friendly), and they don't usually bark much either. But with the barking dogs on other sides he ignores them. It could be partially because my breeder chose his temperament specifically for me (he will be training to potentially be an assistance dog) and she also raises her puppies with puppy culture. So he tends to be great around most new things and most noises. Another litter from lines that tend to be more noise sensitive may not have been so easy. I also try to keep him on a good sleep/wake schedule and give him enough enrichment, because it's the happy, rested, satisfied puppies that will do better with things like barking neighbors or stressful situations.

And yes, we train in the yard with dogs barking next door! (but he can't see them and they don't sound aggressive).

One thing I also did do was ignore the dogs next door when puppy and I were out in the yard. He eventually discovered them (at first he stuck close to me on one side of the yard but then branched out to the other) and I just supervised his meetings from a distance without getting in the way. He would greet them, get excited and maybe a bit overwhelmed, and race back to me all excited then lean on me as if to say, WOW DID YOU KNOW MY FRIENDS ARE NEXT DOOR! Then we would go inside. I noticed that if I went to the fence with him or spoke, one of the dogs would bark at me. But if it was just the puppy he would be fine.

Also, the dogs bark at me usually just because they want to see me without a fence in the middle. They are friendly, not aggressive.

I don't know if any of this helps! I hope it goes well with you and I'm sure others will chime in.

Oh I just went back and read your post and noticed you said the dogs behind you might be aggressive? Do you mean their barking sounds aggressive already or just that you think they are aggressive breeds? Most breeds aren't all one way or the other, it's about the individual puppy, the lines they are bred from, and the way they were raised from birth.

One thing I did do was make friends with the dogs next door before the puppy came home. I spoke to them in a kind, happy voice and let them smell me a couple of times. But they were acting friendly (except the BC would do a guard bark once in a while but I think overall he is friendly). Closer towards the pup coming home I tried to start ignoring the dogs next door... because I didn't want them to maybe get jealous of the pup or to bark from wanting to come over and play. I don't know if that was the right way to do it, but it seems to have worked out so far. They don't expect me to put my hand for them to smell anymore and they know I'm not there for them. But they like me.
 

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If they were aggressive, I'm not sure what I would do. I would ignore them completely maybe? If they don't get a reaction it doesn't really benefit them at all to bark except to hear the sound of their own voice. I would teach the puppy to ignore them by using high value treats/fun/praise, and also treating whenever they bark so that its not scary. I would try to begin treating before they bark. I would make the yard a happy, exciting place to be and hopefully have the barking be tuned out as background noise. Maybe you could record the barking and play it while the pup is inside eating or sleeping.
 

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Living in a similar type neighborhood with houses close together and lots of neighborhood dogs I understand your concern, for sure! I don’t think it’s an easy peasy answer. I think the approach would depend upon what you plan with your neighbors. If you don’t really plan to have a relationship with them I would totally just go about your business and ignore their dogs, like they don’t exist....not making any sort of deal out of it which will let your pup know it’s no big deal.

Training your pup to focus, focus, focus on you will go a long way. I would also really focus on training to not let your pup get into a barking habit, indoors and out. If your pup doesn’t join in the barking that would definitely be helpful. Dogs really do play off of each other when it comes to barking. There’s lots of stuff in books and online for training so I won’t go into here. Every dog is different and some just do bark more than others, but if you can start early you may be be lucky and have a dog who doesn’t bark like crazy or much at all. There are several things you can do to help a dog learn to to not be a barker. Bobby barks out the window sometimes but as soon as I look out the window, thank him and tell him all is good, he stops. This was a huge thing we worked on because we had a Great Dane who LOVED to bark...a lot!!!! LOL! And when he and the neighborhood dogs (one who is a baying hound dog) were out....just imagine it! LOL!!! I was bound and determined to not have a barking poodle! LOL!

We have major barking dogs next door to us. Just like you, we have a higher fence. Bobby never joins in the barking. I think it’s both his personality and the hard work we did from early on to teach him not to bark at everything. We do have an issue with one of the neighbor dogs but I think if we had done the ignoring thing from the beginning things would maybe be a bit different as far as his response to Bobby....maybe. We have known these neighbors for years and have had good relationships with their dogs. We have always had our dogs do fence greetings through the years with no issues....until now with their new dog. They got a pup this summer who makes it quite clear he does not like Bobby. This dog barks at everything! We have since started the ignoring like they don’t exist routine and it is helping. Bobby is not going over to try and greet much anymore. It’s sad for us but it’s just what it has to be. Bobby never barks at them and I’m so grateful for that.

Not sure what the perfect answer is but if you suspect the dogs next door are aggressive, I would ignore them completely and help your pup to ignore them as you train to that end.
If you are wanting to have a relationship with your neighbors and their dogs, a different, get to know their dogs approach, would be needed.
 

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Blueskies mentioned playing a recording of the barking dogs. I had an app that had all kinds of sounds, including dog sounds. The dogs sounds were recordings of all types of barks, growls, snarls, yips, etc. I would just play them and offered no response. No big deal approach. There were thunder sounds, cars sounds, etc. I used this app almost daily when Bobby was a pup. I think it really helped as he is pretty unfazed by most sounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If they were aggressive, I'm not sure what I would do. I would ignore them completely maybe? If they don't get a reaction it doesn't really benefit them at all to bark except to hear the sound of their own voice. I would teach the puppy to ignore them by using high value treats/fun/praise, and also treating whenever they bark so that its not scary. I would try to begin treating before they bark. I would make the yard a happy, exciting place to be and hopefully have the barking be tuned out as background noise. Maybe you could record the barking and play it while the pup is inside eating or sleeping.
Thanks so much, blueskies, for the great suggestion! The reason I think the dogs are aggressive breeds is that I can see them from my upstairs bedroom window. I'm not sure what breeds they are (they aren't the same breed), and I know a lot of dog breeds, so they are probably mixed. I haven't yet seen the next door neighbors dog, but I know they have kids, so hopefully their dog is friendlier. Now I plan to get out my phone and record their barking as soon as the weather gets a little better. I think I could send the recording to my breeder and ask of she could play it for my pup sometimes. Lol, my pup doesn't even exist yet-- the breeding is planned for Valentines Day weekend, as the mother dog has just come into season. About fences, we really can't see through our fence at all. So we'll probably never meet the dogs who live behind us, but I'm sure we'll eventually see our next door neighbor's dog. I hope it's friendly.

I suppose I shouldn't just pin the "aggressive" label on the dogs behind us, but I just feel they look rather mean. That being said, my mother's lovely collie was super gentle and seldom barked, but he eventually lost his voice forever (story) by barking his heart out at the garbage men each week. Where she lived, the garbage men would drive up her driveway in mini-carts and then actually go into her garage to collect the cans, and the collie had full view of this from a window. He went nuts every time, barking continuously at the top of his voice, until they were far down our street. Of course, he probably viewed the garbage men as theiving intruders, and we had no idea of dog training back them or how to stop him from reacting.

I'm just guessing the dogs behind us view us as intruders as well. I find it so upsetting that I can't enjoy my yard at all when they're out, because with any sound coming from my side, they start barking and keep at it until I go indoors 😢
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Blueskies mentioned playing a recording of the barking dogs. I had an app that had all kinds of sounds, including dog sounds. The dogs sounds were recordings of all types of barks, growls, snarls, yips, etc. I would just play them and offered no response. No big deal approach. There were thunder sounds, cars sounds, etc. I used this app almost daily when Bobby was a pup. I think it really helped as he is pretty unfazed by most sounds.
Thank you so much, Spottytoes, for the very helpful answer. I'm going to try to follow both of your suggestions. I'm glad you mentioned approaching the neighbors or not. I don't think I'll be in touch with the neighbors to the back, so I'll just do my best with ignoring their dogs and pretending that it doesn't bother me-- I hope my pup won't be able to suss out that I'm faking it, lol. And I love the suggestion about learning how to teach not to bark. I want to make that a priority! It would really make me sad to have a dog who responded to all that barking by barking up a storm in my own home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks so much, blueskies, for the great suggestion! The reason I think the dogs are aggressive breeds is that I can see them from my upstairs bedroom window. I'm not sure what breeds they are (they aren't the same breed), and I know a lot of dog breeds, so they are probably mixed. I haven't yet seen the next door neighbors dog, but I know they have kids, so hopefully their dog is friendlier. Now I plan to get out my phone and record their barking as soon as the weather gets a little better. I think I could send the recording to my breeder and ask of she could play it for my pup sometimes. Lol, my pup doesn't even exist yet-- the breeding is planned for Valentines Day weekend, as the mother dog has just come into season. About fences, we really can't see through our fence at all. So we'll probably never meet the dogs who live behind us, but I'm sure we'll eventually see our next door neighbor's dog. I hope it's friendly.

I suppose I shouldn't just pin the "aggressive" label on the dogs behind us, but I just feel they look rather mean. That being said, my mother's lovely collie was super gentle and seldom barked, but he eventually lost his voice forever (story) by barking his heart out at the garbage men each week. Where she lived, the garbage men would drive up her driveway in mini-carts and then actually go into her garage to collect the cans, and the collie had full view of this from a window. He went nuts every time, barking continuously at the top of his voice, until they were far down our street. Of course, he probably viewed the garbage men as theiving intruders, and we had no idea of dog training back them or how to stop him from reacting.

I'm just guessing the dogs behind us view us as intruders as well. I find it so upsetting that I can't enjoy my yard at all when they're out, because with any sound coming from my side, they start barking and keep at it until I go indoors 😢
*I meant, true story, about my mom's collie eventually losing his voice. He must have damaged his vocal chords after all that barking every week for years, and eventually could only bark out a very weak and raspy little sound--poor thing. I wish we had known how to train him away from that. At least now I know now that there are ways to hopefully prevent an excessive barking problem.
 

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Have you tried shhhhing them? Sometimes it works, and if it does, it’ll be instantaneous. (If it doesn’t, don’t waste your breath.)

You do have an opportunity here to teach your pup that barking dogs are no big deal, but it’s unfortunate that you’ll be dealing with this from day 1. Do you have a front yard that you can use for the first few days while your puppy decompresses? It’s helpful to keep stimulus to a minimum during that time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have you tried shhhhing them? Sometimes it works, and if it does, it’ll be instantaneous. (If it doesn’t, don’t waste your breath.)

You do have an opportunity here to teach your pup that barking dogs are no big deal, but it’s unfortunate that you’ll be dealing with this from day 1. Do you have a front yard that you can use for the first few days while your puppy decompresses? It’s helpful to keep stimulus to a minimum during that time.
Thanks, PeggyTheParti! I will try shushing them. I hope they'll be able to hear me.
 

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Buck is a quiet dog. When he barks it is something to check out. Our neighbors spent 4 years demolishing and rebuilding next door and there was a lot for any dog to bark about. I kept the focus on me and us. I also named things, because poodles can develop extensive vocabularies. “Working” covered next door and I was relaxed and easy in my delivery to reassure him. Our luck, nice neighbors finally moved in with the most annoying, vocal Australian Shepherd. I swore I was not going to have a barkathon between the two after all those years of construction distractions. There are two decorative iron bar breaks on our brick common fence, and every time we were all outside that Aussie was at an opening, barking, and growling. Buck would approach, bark a few times, and I could call him away pretty easily. His breeder worked with her puppies on “No bark”, I’ve kept that up, along with “Enough!” For the AS next door, I always said “Nothing to say” and redirected to finding his soccer ball or another command. Treats are also key:)

New neighbors on our other side have a GSD teenager, now. Very alert and barks at us whenever we’re all outside. Buck may bark once or twice, but mostly he ignores.
 

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I've taken hardware cloth, or poultry wire a accord it under the fence line on my property. This helps eliminate a dog from digging out from under a fence, or the sell these Dig Defence Small/Medium Animal Barrier, 10 Pack | Petco
Kinda pricey though but you could buy a few at a time. They also sell bark deterrents, Dog Silencer<sup>®</sup> MAX
Though I wonder how well they work but I might invest in it if I had loud barking neighbor dogs. LOL
Also by taking your dog out supervised regularly will help teach it to ignore the barks of other dogs. If let on its own it would likely begin to bark back.
 

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Always remember dogs learn very easily from one another if they're left to do so without supervision. It's a trick old timers have used for (I'm guessing) as long as humans have been working dogs. You put a youngster in with 1-3 adults who do the job you want the youngster to do. Be that protection work, free tracking, herding, herd guardians, even hunting dogs. Beagle puppies are notoriously taught a puppy goes with an older pair & very soon.. you have a little puppy starting to hunt. So what's that got to do with barking dogs... :) Yep, the fastest way to have a nuisance barker is leaving the pup out with neighbor dogs who bark & soon your pup will start barking at what they do. If you are there, then you can draw the pup's attention, "Easy, Mr. Layne, pay them no mind" or maybe they do alert on something of concern but it turns out to be a bag blowing down the road so you say, "It's okay" & you go fetch it or it's a teaching moment with your pup. Help your pup from day one to know what you want & need from him/her.

I don't like for my dogs to bark unless there is an issue that needs my attention or they're driving off something. So with a new pup, especially when I lived in a bad neighbor situation. Or when we first moved to Arizona & lived in a subdivision & did not want to be bad neighbors. I went out with the dogs. When I wanted quiet, I would speak in a soft tone to my dog. If they alerted on something, I would check it out & direct them, "It's okay, I see him" or I'd be silent if it was not an okay situation & let the dogs warn the person off. I was stunned when we moved the number of neighbors who instead of saying, "yeah, those dogs aren't town ready" were disappointed to lose their neighborhood watch (our dogs) & the house right next to us didn't even know we had dogs & they ate out on the back porch most nights.

Just let your pup know what you want & I'd advise keeping the pup away from adjoining fences if the dogs show any aggression. Remember always that wagging tails does NOT mean friendly dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the tips! I hope the dogs will never try to dig under my fence. That thought hadn't occurred to me.
Always remember dogs learn very easily from one another if they're left to do so without supervision. It's a trick old timers have used for (I'm guessing) as long as humans have been working dogs. You put a youngster in with 1-3 adults who do the job you want the youngster to do. Be that protection work, free tracking, herding, herd guardians, even hunting dogs. Beagle puppies are notoriously taught a puppy goes with an older pair & very soon.. you have a little puppy starting to hunt. So what's that got to do with barking dogs... :) Yep, the fastest way to have a nuisance barker is leaving the pup out with neighbor dogs who bark & soon your pup will start barking at what they do. If you are there, then you can draw the pup's attention, "Easy, Mr. Layne, pay them no mind" or maybe they do alert on something of concern but it turns out to be a bag blowing down the road so you say, "It's okay" & you go fetch it or it's a teaching moment with your pup. Help your pup from day one to know what you want & need from him/her.

I don't like for my dogs to bark unless there is an issue that needs my attention or they're driving off something. So with a new pup, especially when I lived in a bad neighbor situation. Or when we first moved to Arizona & lived in a subdivision & did not want to be bad neighbors. I went out with the dogs. When I wanted quiet, I would speak in a soft tone to my dog. If they alerted on something, I would check it out & direct them, "It's okay, I see him" or I'd be silent if it was not an okay situation & let the dogs warn the person off. I was stunned when we moved the number of neighbors who instead of saying, "yeah, those dogs aren't town ready" were disappointed to lose their neighborhood watch (our dogs) & the house right next to us didn't even know we had dogs & they ate out on the back porch most nights.

Just let your pup know what you want & I'd advise keeping the pup away from adjoining fences if the dogs show any aggression. Remember always that wagging tails does NOT mean friendly dog.
Thanks for the advice!
 
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