View Full Version : Probs with Darcy & dog next door!

5th June 2009, 09:20 AM
Hi all, looking for a bit of advice as I am quickly being driven demented!
We are having a problem with Darcy and the dog next door. Every time we let Darcy out in the back garden and next doors dog is out in their garden they go mad at each other. They bark and scrabble at the fence. Next door seem to let their dog out most of the time, and don't seem to take notice of the situation unless they are actually out the back as well. It has got to the stage that if next doors dog is out I can't let Darcy out especially on his own as the noise and ructions start straight away, it also means I can't leave the back door open during the hot days for my son to go in and out, and all this is making it quite stressful.
It seems to be instinct now for Darcy to go and stand up against the fence the moment he goes out even if the other dog isn't there.
Darcy (male) was neutered last year, and as far as I know Lucky (female) has also been neutered (I am not sure if that is the right word for a female!).
By the way, Lucky is about 3 times the size of Darcy who is such a scaredy cat that if he actually met Lucky I know he would run in the wrong direction! I think she is a Staffie cross.

Just re-read this, shouldd add they can't see each other in the gardens, as it is a 6ft fence between them!

Any ideas?

5th June 2009, 11:34 AM
To be honest -- not much you can do for any easy resolution because even of you train Darcy the other dog is likely to go crazy at least for the near term. The fact that they can't see each other may well contribute to the problem. Maybe it would help if the two dogs had the chance to regularly meet and interact so that they get to know each other well.

On your end, this is a training issue or management issue -- you need to have Darcy responsive enough to you that when you call him, he comes, when you put him in a downstay, he stays, when you say 'quiet', he shushes. None of this comes quickly -- these are all commands that demand self control and focus and weeks to months of regular, enjoyable, positive training sessions. Darcy needs to be able to do all these things in a quiet environment then gradually introduced to more distractions until he is reliably responding even in the high stimulus distraction of the neighbour dog barking at him. If he isn't responding to her she is (eventually!) likely to settle. She will not get any reward for barking.

Right now this is a self rewarding behaviour for both dogs and one that is very, very difficult to manage.

On the management approach side, you would have to call him in and maybe babygate him inside and only have him outside with supervision.

While this is very aggravating remember it does take two to tango -- Darcy is just as implicated in this even if he is outside less frequently. The fact is when they are both out, they go nuts. However it is frustrating when the other side don;t try to manage the situation - but keep in mind that maybe they feel the same -- that their dog is fine until you allow Darcy outside! Often it helps to see the perspective the other side might have. Both dogs are equally reactive from your description.

I'd think the best starting point is a good friendly chat with your neighbour on ways to manage and defuse the situation, beginning with some play sessions with the dogs and maybe some joint walks.

5th June 2009, 11:40 AM
I'd also add that... you say this:

It seems to be instinct now for Darcy to go and stand up against the fence the moment he goes out even if the other dog isn't there.

Which indicates that the whole situation is interesting and exciting for him, so much so that he anticipates the encounters! And is looking for the distraction too.

How much brain activity does he get? Physical activity? At least an hour of active walking and playing with you (eg fetch or find it or similar) daily? Does he have kongs or interactive toys like this to keep his mind busy each day? Do you do, say 15-30 minutes of practice obedience with him daily? All these things engage a dog, keep his mind busy, tire him out, and keep him from looking for stimulation from a barking neighbour dog. :thmbsup:

If you haven't done structured obedience I'd say now is definitely the time to start a class. Check out Dog Training Ireland as they are our 'resident trainers' on the board. If you've done one class I'd recommend trying the new clicker class there, agility, second level obedience... work his brain, plus you'll get advice on ways to keep him busy and manage this problem from the pros. :)