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Five things to do when your neighbor complains about your dog.

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09/18/2016 07:22 PM
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Five things to do when your neighbor complains about your dog.
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How to React When a Neighbor Complains About Your Dog - Don't Get Defensive!

[Updated July 6, 2016]

The natural thing to do when someone complains about your dog is to get defensive. “My dog? Causing a problem? How dare you?!”

Neighbor Complains About Your Dog

You can’t assume your dog has been a saint all day just because he’s asleep when you get home.

Don’t go there. Defensiveness exacerbates hostilities, escalates tension, and encourages your neighbor to make a mountain out of what you perceive to be a molehill. Remember, it’s all about perception, and your neighbor’s perception is his reality. Instead of being defensive, try these things:

1. Listen

Unless one of you plans to move, defusing the situation beats all-out war. Set defensiveness aside, and listen to what your neighbor says. Assume there’s some nugget of truth to his complaint. You need to find it, so you can figure out what to do with it. He says your dog barks all the time, underneath his bedroom window, and wakes him up. That may be an exaggeration, but chances are your dog is barking some of the time, especially if you leave her out in the yard, or if she has free backyard access through a doggie-door.

2. Empathize and Apologize

Without admitting guilt, empathize with your complainer. “It must be frustrating to have to listen to barking dogs when you’re trying to sleep.” Be sincere. Tell him you’re sorry he’s being disturbed by barking. Reassure him that you don’t want your dog to be a nuisance, and you want to help find a solution to his concerns. Ask him to bear with you while you work on the problem. Bake him chocolate chip cookies.

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