Thursday, September 9, 2010

What would you do?

I live on a dead end street off of a very busy road. On either side of our street are two bigger neighborhoods. I rely on their neighborhood watch info to find out about the gagillion break-ins around us. Katie lives in one of those neighborhoods so I hear about their safety concerns from her. Recently I found out that someone on our street also hears about the safety concerns of the neighborhood on the opposite side. When I worked at Livsey down the street there were car break-ins constantly. All of this is to say that I don't really feel like we live in a safe part of town. I'm just sayin'.

A few weeks ago a house on our teeny tiny street was broken into. That same week there were random strangers walking down the street. One was a woman going door to door selling gutters. Unfortunately, when asked questions by the people next door about said gutters she couldn't come up with any answers. She did not come to my house. Do you want to know why? I believe she skipped us because of Molly. Molly barks at people. I saw this woman only because Molly barked at her as she walked down the street and she then walked right on by my house. About the same time there was a white van sitting in front of a neighbors house for quite a while. Call it conspiracy theory, call it overly cautious....I don't care what you call it. Recent break-ins (all the time) plus random people "selling" things (aka, sizing up the street) equals red flags all over the place if you ask me.

I am telling you all of this to then tell you about the people that live behind me. From the day Molly could bark they have barked back. They hate her. It's quite evident. They scream at her, leave nasty "anonymous" notes in our mailbox, and show up in their pajamas in a tizzy when we are out of town. Initially we bought a citronella spray collar that she would wear outside and it would spray her when she would bark. I tried to teach her while using it, but then I was getting confused. How do you teach a dog not to bark at the people that live around you but to definitely continue to bark at possible intruders? It's not possible. Dogs are smart, but come on.

When the collar stopped working I decided to take a different approach. Since I was going to be home all of the time I would make her come in if she started barking. There has NEVER been a time where I let her bark for more than five minutes at the very most (and that only happens if I seriously can't get to her right away). Usually it is instant. I hear her barking, she comes in. She is very good at coming when I call her. The only times this may not have been the case is when family members have stayed here with her while we are out of town. That would be when crazy lady would show up at my house and have a fit.

I will be the first to admit that I would not want a dog barking at me. However, I need to point out a few more things:

1) The people across the street from the crazies have a dog that is outside ALL DAY and barks ten times more than Molly. Do the crazies harass them?
2) There are about ten other dogs (at least) in our general vicinity that also bark all day.
3) Molly goes outside for no more than five minutes unless I am out there with her. All of these other dogs are outside for hours at a time barking.
4) The woman SCREAMS at Molly. I would bark at her too. In fact, I am getting very close to doing just that.

She also screams at me. "Shut your dog up!" is usually her favorite phrase (this would be after Molly has been barking for thirty seconds). I have tried to stay calm and not let myself get really, really mad but it puts me in a foul mood. Molly is a part of our family. I realize not all people are dog lovers, but I have had enough.

So my question is, what would you do? I know there are probably ways to train her not to bark. But I don't want her to stop barking. To me, that defeats a percentage of the purpose of having a dog. I can continue just ignoring the crazies and make just as much of an effort as I do now to bring her in. That's honestly more than most people would do.

There are actually two houses behind us that Molly can see. She barks at the people that live in both houses. The difference is, the other people have never complained. I bring her in so quickly it astonishes me that anyone would have time to complain.

At any rate, I doubt there is an answer. Some people are just bored and need something to get fired up about I guess. But, if you have any suggestions I would love to hear it! Even if you want to say I am a jerk and need to shut my dog up. I can take it.


  1. let your dog bark. like you said, it's one of the reasons you have a dog. ignore her.

  2. It sounds like you are being a courteous neighbor. Dogs are going to bark and that's what they do. There is no law against dog barking. We have a very annoying dog who barks/yelps living behind us. Yes, its irritating at times, but I would never say anything to my neighbor behind us (even if I didn't have dogs who do the same thing!). I say continue to bring Molly if you notice excessive barking, but don't stress over it. Your neighbors needs to relax or move to a seclude property.

  3. Our neighbors have two dogs (hounds) that are left out all day and all night. The second they hear someone, they bark and won't stop until we leave. We are essentially confined to our house; we can't enjoyably use our backyard ever. So, I have a good understanding of how annoying a barking dog can be. Having said that, we have a) never complained to the neighbors and b) this sounds like a totally different situation. It sounds like you are trying your best to come up with a compromise that seems reasonable for everyone involved. Unfortunately your neighbor sounds unreasonable. If they don't like noise, they shouldn't have moved into a neighborhood (just like we are planning for our next move). It sounds like this lady is crazy, so the only thing I would be worried about is her harming Molly or doing something to your house. Also make sure she isn't out barking past the city noise ordinance (ours is 11pm). If the neighbor cares that much, she can buy a $30 barking deterrent machine (found in every pet magazine). It emits a high pitched noise that causes the dog to stop.

  4. Dogs bark like people talk. We had a similar note, and ignored it. There is absolutely nothing she can do legally unless Molly barks for more than 30??? minutes without ceasing. Here's a suggestion : Train Molly to bark at her excessively. Praise her when she barks at the crazy.

  5. First, I would like to say this woman sounds like one classy broad, yelling at you to shut your dog up. Second, I suggest you print your post and all the comments you get on it and "anonymously" put it in their mailbox.

  6. I say host a neighborhood watch meeting and proclaim Molly the hero for saving your house and many others in the neighbor from the "Gutter Bandits"!

  7. I vote for training Molly to bark only at this crazy lady! What is her problem? Some people have too much time on their hands. And, honestly, she sounds like the kind of person who is always going to complain about something!
    She sounds like a miserable person.

  8. Okay.While I agree with all these comments, none of them solves anything. My suggestion is that you go to HER house, tell her that she is driving you as crazy as Molly is driving her, tell her you're trying to always bring Molly in when she starts barking, and ask her to give YOU that much consideration and respect and to give you five freaking minutes to react before she "barks" at you or screams at Molly. I might purposely try to get her to come over while I'm there next time so that she and I can "chat"!!!


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