Quiet, please!
April 24, 2008 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I would like advice on how to deal with a dog who barks every time I enter or leave my apartment. Should I talk to him? Ignore him?

He doesn't bark at any other time, and when I meet him outside he's friendly, if a bit energetic. The dog is allowed, as per the lease. I have no issues with my neighbours or with them having a dog. They do make an effort to try and get him to quiet down if they're home.
Due to our work schedules, however, they might not be home when I come in. Other times, I'm coming in or leaving late at night, and they're asleep. I actually feel bad for them, because their dog will wake up, run down the stairs, and start barking, quite possibly waking them up.
The dog only barks when I come in or leave the apartment, and am in the little foyer I share with my upstairs neighbour. There is a door between us. Is there anything I can do?
posted by sandraregina to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
try making a sound that the dog can hear so he'll know it's you. something loke clucking your tounge or a low whistle. do it around the dog a few times, and then do it every time before the sounds that currently send him in a frenzy, like before opening the door.
posted by lester at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2008

I have the same issue. Across the hall is a dog that barks constantly when I am in the hallway, but not when I'm in my apartment. I've often thought about talking to the owner, or slipping a flyer for an obedience training class under their door. But then, I realized that the dog really isn't bothering me. It's not keeping me up at night, and it's only barking when I'm in the hallway when it's behind a closed and locked door. Since there's no real issue that's being caused to me, I decided to just let it go and not make an issue out of it.

So my question to you is this - what's the big deal? If the only worry is that the owners of the dog might be inconvenienced by his barking, then that's their problem, not yours.

The only thing I'd say to them, if I had a good reccomendation for an obedience school, would be "hey, your dog is no bother to me, but if s/he's keeping you up at night with his/her barking, then give this place a call, they can help you train him/her."
posted by xotis at 7:10 AM on April 24, 2008

I'm your neighbor. For certain dogs an obedience school isn't going to help -- when our terrier hears a noise in the hall he goes nuts barking to warn the pack. I'm certain the Dog Whisperer could train it out of him, but its not a sufficient issue for us to bother. If it were bothering our neighbors across the hall we would do something about it, but we've asked them and it doesn't.

If it's not bothering you why worry? If you're worried about them it would be perfectly nice to slip a note under the door asking if there is anything you can do, but if they decided not to do anything about it they probably don't mind.
posted by The Bellman at 7:25 AM on April 24, 2008

Sounds like pretty instinctive dog behavior to me. If I were you, I wouldn't worry about it. If they don't want to be awakened by their dog, it's their responsibility to solve the problem, not yours.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:02 AM on April 24, 2008

Since it is not your dog, ignore it. They may or may not be training the dog to be quiet. Giving the dog attention is rewarding the behavior.

Why don't you just ask them what they want you to do? As a dog owner, it is always appreciated when people ask me how they should interact with my dog instead of just running up and petting her. I'm sure they wouldn't mind you asking how they'd like you to deal with it to best work with their training. Of course, if they are not training or are using old training methods like hitting the dog, it won't be of any help. But it's worth a shot.
posted by jesirose at 8:05 AM on April 24, 2008

Both neighbors' dogs bark (this is a yard, not a hallway, so not entirely comparable). On one side, I've learned their names, when they bark I say hello and they subside. On the other side are the evil, untrained jackass dogs who bark no matter what (for instance if they see me moving inside my house for god's sake). That neighbor will never do anything to train them; we have asked. Either, like the Bellman, they are untrainable in this aspect (I don't believe it, as they are shepards and I've known shepards that are perfectly charming), or the neighbors are themselves untrainable (my situation). At least they aren't dobermans who launch themselves at your fence (and your children), which was my problem with my original neighbors.

Try saying hello to the dog, using its name, through the door, in a loud friendly voice. Don't know how this will work with a dog that can't see you, but it's worth a try?
posted by nax at 8:50 AM on April 24, 2008

I would side with MC and jesirose: nice of you to be concerned, but their problem, and at most ask them if the circumstances present themselves. I think slipping a note under the door might be seen as indirect complaining/remonstrance, and talking to the dog through the door may be misperceived (if observed) as exacerbating the problem.

If you can, reprogram your reaction to think, when you hear the dog, "Oh, hello, Fido," and to imagine that it's the most fun the dog has had in a while. In any event, not your fault, in my view, even if you keep odd hours.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:33 AM on April 24, 2008

This might be stupid advice I'm giving but it is harmless nonetheless.

I would be inclined to obtain a dog whistle and blow it each time the dog starts to bark. If after a few days of this it doesn't shut up the dog, it would probably make him bark even more, and then maybe if your neighbors aren't training him--they might have a reason to start. I do not know anything about dogs. I do know you can get a dog whistle from strange pet stores and pawn shops.

I am just guessing here. Good luck.
posted by mamaraks at 11:23 AM on April 24, 2008

The "Dog Whisperer" makes a loud "PSSST" sound to attract the dog's attention and tell it you're the boss. I don't believe in everything he does, but for me, this trick silences any barking dog instantly.
posted by KRS at 2:00 PM on April 24, 2008

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