One of my neighbors lets his dog poop in my yard almost every day. He has a medium-sized mix, so these land mines are somewhat sizable. I’m not a dog hater (I have two of my own) but I wish he wouldn’t let his dog “go” on my grass. How do I raise this topic without alienating one of my neighbors?
B.C., Carlsbad, CA
Most dog owners these days know to pick up after their dogs, whether they’re at the park, on the sidewalk or anywhere else. But there are still some who think that leaving land mines outdoors is okay.
You could try a sign in your yard. I’ve seen one that’s made of wrought iron that is very attractive and small. If you can’t find one like that, perhaps a small sign like the real estate agents place beside the road would do the trick. Be sure the wording is tactful. You might even use humor to deflect any hurt feelings. Say something like, “We love ‘em too, but we don’t want ‘piles’ in our yard. Please pick up after your dog.” Or try, “Pick up after your dog, please. It’s only human.” Something that your other neighbors won’t mind seeing every day.
If you don’t want a yard sign (or if that doesn’t get the point across), you might want to have a friendly chat with your neighbor. One friend of mind with a similar situation was able to get a neighbor to stop letting her dogs pee on her grass (it was turning her yard yellow) by getting to know the offender. She’s be sure to be outside getting her mail or pulling weeds as the woman walked by. She would greet the woman, stop to pat the dog, and talk about the weather or the neighborhood or traffic … something they both shared. As they got to know each other, the neighbor stopped letting her dogs make their stop at that particular yard.
If your neighbor is more of a hard case than that (or if you don’t want to invest the time needed for that approach), perhaps a more direct chat would be in order. Greet your neighbor, compliment the dog, then say something like, “I’m trying to keep my lawn in better condition, and I’m training my own dogs not to go on the front lawn. If you could keep your dog from going on my lawn, it would be a big help.”
Your homeowner’s association may be willing to remind everyone of city ordinances concerning picking up after dogs, or even write a letter to the neighbor directly.
Of course, the coward’s way out is to leave an annonymous note at the neighbor’s house stating that dog owners are expected to clean up after their pets. I once got an anonymous note in my mailbox when my grass was pretty shaggy. The note mentioned that neglected lawns bring down everyone’s home values. I was horrified, but my lawn has been mown, walkways edged and bushes clipped ever since. (By the way, don’t put anything in someone’s mailbox; it’s illegal.)
Got a question about dog etiquette? Send it here.