How to Confront a Neighbor About Their Dog on Your Lawn

What's a homeowner to do?


Published:

Debra Campbell Design, original photo on Houzz

By Lizzie Post, Houzz

Dear Lizzie,

How do you stop neighbors from letting their dogs pee on young landscape plants near the edge of your yard?

What’s a homeowner to do?! Dog’s gotta pee, plants gotta grow, and you can’t sit on your stoop monitoring your yard all day long. If this is happening while dog owners are out walking their dogs, it’s perfectly OK to speak up about the issue. But rather than tell someone what not to do, it’s always best to try to frame something as a positive suggestion.


Related: Keep an Eye on Your Lawn From a Comfortable Porch Swing


"Robert, if you don’t mind trying to get Luna to pee on the other side of the sidewalk, that would be great.” Or, “Sarah, it would be great if you could encourage Coco to use this part of the yard instead of the rose bushes.” When given in a friendly, light tone, gentle suggestions like these should cause little argument. (Although after our last neighbor-related post, I’m guessing that a few of you encounter eye rolls and gripes no matter how nice you are about it.)

Deb Welch, original photo on Houzz

As we said before, you can’t be there to monitor this all the time, so if you need to put up a “helpful reminder” sign, that could be OK. It’s really up to you and how you feel about the image it portrays. Just as with speaking to someone face to face, you’ll want to be careful and kind with your language. “Please no peeing on the shrubs.” “Water, yes. Pee, no.” “We thank your dog for not peeing on our garden.”


Related: How to Help Your Dog Be a Nice Neighbor


Harder to manage is the neighbor’s dog whose activity at the edge of his property still gets on yours. It’s hard to ask people to change their behavior, and even harder to get a dog to change its behavior, especially if the dog is able to be in the yard unattended. In this scenario, it’s best to do what you can to control the problem from your end. Can you rearrange what’s planted in this particular spot? Can you do anything with fencing or to create a barrier so that a lifted leg doesn’t result in dead plants? Or, perhaps, meet your neighbor — with some dog treats in hand — and clue him in. “Fred, Louie is an awesome dog, but I’m not sure if you’re aware that he’s peeing on our rose bushes. Any chance you can try to find him a new favorite spot?” 

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