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Meeting the New Neighbor

Author: Katie Moody | Date: May 15, 2014

This weekend we got an exciting addition to our neighborhood – our next door neighbors adopted a rescue dog. The new arrival was happily welcomed by kids and adults up and down our dog-loving block. However, I wasn’t so sure that the every member of my household would be equally thrilled. I was worried that for my two dogs, the sudden appearance of a dog in what had always been a dog-free zone next door might be a bit of a shock.

Both of my dogs can be a little bit anxious about unknown dogs, and we have only a picket fence separating our yards, so there is very little visual barrier. I was worried that my dogs being surprised by the sudden appearance of a new dog could lead to a big, loud, and very unneighborly reaction.

The thought of a lifetime of fence fighting and needing to avoid the dogs being outdoors at the same time was very unappealing, so I wanted the dogs to get off on the right foot.

To introduce the dogs, I brought each of mine out individually on leash to prevent them from rushing the fence. There was a little bit of barking when they noticed the new dog, but I had brought some very high value rewards, and they soon calmed down and focused on me. Tucker quickly assessed that the new dog was nothing to fear and just wanted to go back to his favorite backyard activity, fetching the tennis ball. Hobo was less sure, so I worked a little bit more with him, rewarding him with chicken each time he came away from the fence. Another great option for introducing new neighbors is to take a walk together. By walking together the dogs meet on neutral ground and get comfortable before meeting in their yards.

Getting comfortable with the new neighbor is still a work in progress. I will continue to closely monitor and reward my dogs for being calm and ignoring our new neighbor and hopefully we will soon have peace and harmony in the canine kingdom.

How have your dogs responded to new dogs in the neighborhood? Was it smooth sailing or a rocky road? Share your stories with us.


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