I have two very sweet, very loving, very adorable little dogs. One is a Jack Russel Terrier and the other is some Westie/Cairn Terrier Mix of something – he most closely resembles Falcor from The Never Ending Story, but beings that my dog isn’t large enough to ride on, and he hasn’t mastered the ability to fly yet, I am still at a loss. Both dogs are pretty well-trained, not aggressive and they love each other like brothers and play together and with other dogs really well. For the most part, they are not typical terriers as they are very social dogs, they’ve never bitten a soul and they tend to spend more time laying on the couch than they do terrorizing, but sometimes, their Terrier nature bleeds through and I CAN’T STOP IT.
My house sits off to the one side of my property, as opposed to being centered on the property, so one neighbors house is only a few feet away, while my neighbor on the other side is 30 feet or more. Whenever my “close” neighbor is in her yard, she is always just on the other side of the fence and my dogs would often take that as if she were trying to invade their property and would then bark at her as if to say YOU’RE LUCKY THIS FENCE IS HERE OR ELSE WE WOULD MESS YOUR SHIT UP. I would yell at them, apologize profusely to her and she would always be kind and say things like “I don’t mind” and “it doesn’t bother me.” In fairness to her, she was seldom around and her yard is only about 10 feet by 10 feet, so the time she spent doing yard work was equal to or less than the amount of time I typically spend exercising.
Flash forward to the last couple of weeks – my neighbor sold her house and the new owner has moved in, finally. He seems pretty quiet himself, and anti-social to the point where it makes me slightly uncomfortable, as if there was something wrong with me which didn’t warrant a “Hello” now and again. Regardless, with my already reeling mind, I now also have to deal with the incessant barking of my typically wonderful dogs as they bark at the neighbor, who OF COURSE, had to have a dog of his own. My dogs have never had a dog just on the other side of THEIR fence and it pretty much drives them beyond insanity into a pure, unbridled psychosis. I’ve spent the last few days essentially pleading with them to cease and desist, and it’s gotten to the point now that I check outside first to confirm that the coast is clear. Instead of falling back into my agorophobic ways, I’ve enlisted the help of The Dog Whisperer. I don’t care if the dude and his wife are breaking up, he’s got some damn good logic when it comes to dog training, and my dogs wouldn’t be as good as they are if it weren’t for him. I should be more religious about the training, and if I was, they would probably be better behaved, but I struggle. And I digress…So, yesterday, I went to his site in search of a barking deterrent tool or training process and was directed to what I’ve dubbed as “The 13 cent solution.” The entry suggested putting 13 pennies in a soda can and shaking it like a Polaroid picture whenever the dogs barked. I like free things, or almost free things, so I put 12 pennies, not 13 because I have a thing for even numbers and I can’t imagine that one penny would make or break this experiment, into a soda can, duct taped those buggers in there and whenever the dogs bark or do something I disagree with – I shake the hell out of that can and say NO at the same time. So far, I do notice encouraging results, but I haven’t decided if the dozen pennies/soda can is going to be a solution to the barking embarrassment or not. I’m hoping that it works for me so that I can become less neurotic about being served with the possible noise violation that my dogs technically qualify for.