barking at kids banging on the fence

Posted by vnooch
Jul 31, 2009
I have three dogs ages 2,3 and 8. They are very protective of their yard, house and car. I have neighbors to one side with small kids that constantly taunt the dogs by banging loudly on the fence whilst running the length of the fence. My dogs react by barking at the kids which in turn annoys the neighbor to the opposite side who calls the authorities on me.

I have asked the neighbor with the kids and the kids several times to please stop the kids terrorizing the dogs and have explained nicely why. The mother sort of just tells them to go inside but does not explain the problem or solution to them.

Is there a way to train the dogs not to be bothered by the kids actions; sort of desensitize the dogs? I do not hear barking unless the fence is being banged so it is definitely the cause of the barking. At this point, I have to keep them in the house whilst I am at work but I never had to before the kids began their terror mission.

Can you advise what I can do to stop them barking at the fence being banged on. I tell the dogs to stop and they do but when I am at work, of course, I am unable to tell them what to do.

Please advise as I am fearful the authorities will be fining me or worse very soon. California is not very tolerant of noisy dog[FONT="Century Gothic"][/FONT]s. I also don't want the kids to be bitten by the dogs should they put their hands through holes in the fence. My dogs are not biters but in such a situation, they may react.[/FONT]

Kind regards

vnooch, Macleod, Ryker and Sissy
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jul 31, 2009
Hi vnooch, Macleod, Ryker and Sissy,

I have three dogs and a foster dog and they all bark at people/dogs who goes by the other side of our fence. Our backyard is facing a bike path.

When you have multiple dogs, especially protective and active dogs, they tend to react altogether as soon as one of them starts barking. This is very annoying but it is hard to train them not to bark because they are bred that way.

What we have done is to put another fence inside the fence, so that our dogs can not come right next to the outside fence. This reduced their reaction pretty well.

In your situation, I am totally with you. Your neighbor should teach her kids not to provoke dogs by banging the fence. It sounds like the kids are enjoying your dogs reaction but they should learn how to handle/treats dogs and other animals in a proper way. That is parents' responsibility. If your dogs ever hurt the kids as a result of the mistreatment, it will be your dogs that will be put down unfortunately.

If I was you, I would discuss possible solutions/compromise with the neighbor in a constructive manner.

I hope she will understand your concern and cooperate.

Good luck
Posted by kjd
Jul 31, 2009
Hi, vnooch.

Since the neighbor kids like your dogs so much, could you invite them over some time and let them meet the dogs? Once they make friends, they are going to want those dogs to stay around. Then you could explain that if they continue to make the dogs bark, you may have to give the dogs up. Even little kids can understand this. (Since the parents will probably be with their children, this will also give them notice to reinforce what you are asking.)
Good luck,
Posted by KOPsarah
Aug 3, 2009
hi vnooch and thanks for your post,

I have had a similar problem in the past with neighbors children even setting advertising mail in the letter box on fire. I agree with kjd, if it is possible the best solution to this problem is to befriend the kids themselves and try to get them to build a relationship with the dogs and gain an understanding for why banging on the fence is such a problem. It is possible that the kids are bored and attention seeking and maybe a more constructive relationship with your dogs is a possible outlet for this boredom instead. If you feel you can trust the children after a time you could get them to come in and play fetch etc with your dogs (and close the gate carefully of course) rather than taunting them through the fence.

If this is not an option in your situation or you attempt it without much success let me know and we can work on a desensitizing routine for your dogs, however this will require a lot of time and effort so it is really a second choice for most busy people!

All the best,
Posted by vnooch
Sep 11, 2009
[FONT="Book Antiqua"]Hi Everyone

Thank you all for your replies. I am sorry I have taken so long to respond but computer broke down and it has taken me a long time to get it back running.

I have asked the kids and the parents to let the kids meet the dogs but the mother feels they are too young. They really are young but very smart as they have manipulated the parents quite well (and yes, I adore kids, maybe not these ones so much). [/FONT]

I have asked (as stated previously) them to be nice and not scare the dogs since the other neighbors do not like all the noise and may get the dogs taken away from me. I have tried every possible way to reach these people and nothing seems to work. The parents suck! The father recently apologized for the kids throwing their books and book bags over the fence and asked me to send them back over. I told him it would be helpful if they could stop taunting the dogs to get a bark and reaction and he says "they are young".

Not only do they throw things over the fence daily (and I collect them and put them atop the fence with a note asking them to stop (nicely), but they now try to bark and scream which freaks my middle dog out to no end. Thereafter, they al react and the noise level, and I cannot blame the dogs, is quite loud.

I want to call the authorities but I fear this would make things worse.

So, if there are any desensitization tricks I could try, I am willing to work at it to keep myself and my pups sane.
Posted by kjd
Sep 11, 2009
How old are these kids? Throwing books and bookbags over doesn't sound like 5 year olds! You are correct, the problem is the parents. One thing you might try is to collect the books and bags and let the parents come and pick them up. It shouldn't take too long before they will stop that little habit. When the father asks you to "send them over," just tell him you feel responsible for the stuff and don't want them lost or damaged (could fall off fence or be taken by other children). Doesn't help with the screaming, but might stop the books coming. If they escalate to rocks, you definitely should call the authorities, I don't see how matters between you and the family could get worse -- they obviously do not care.

What worries me most about the situation is that those children are teaching your dogs to be aggressive. And when they bite someone, it will be the dogs who suffer, not the little brats who made them that way.

Can you afford to set up a dog yard on the other side of your yard, away from this neighbor? Then plant bushes or something so the dogs won't see the kids. I know you want to desensitize your dogs, but go back and read what you have written. Suppose you do get them to ignore what the kids are doing now. They will invent new ways to get the dogs to bark. If the parents won't control their children, and the children won't listen to you, you have to do something. And your best bet is to remove the dogs from the children.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Sep 11, 2009
Hi vnooch,

I am sorry to hear that your neighbors are not cooperating at all.

I suggested to put another fence inside your outside fence in my last reply but have you thought about it? It is a pain in a neck but it does help in our case.

I aggree with kjd about not returning the stuff thrown in your yard by the children. The stuff ended up in your yard can be a good evidence when you call the authorities. Or, even if you don't call the authorities, you should use those items as a leverage to get your neighbors' cooperation.

Put a note in your neighbors' mailbox, saying like "We have your children's books that were thrown over the fence. Please come and get them because we really want to discuss with you on this ongoing issue."

If they ignore your note, just keep the stuff. It doesn't matter how old their kids are. Those parents are responsible in teaching them to behave well at home and at public, just like we teach our dogs proper behaviors. If we neglect training our dogs, we will soon get in trouble but why those parents won't? I don't understand.

Again, I am so sorry for you that you have to deal with those irresponsible adults.

Good luck
Posted by nicky-crane
Sep 29, 2009
1. I have good experience since using bark collars to stop my dogs barking at great length and volume all night. But where your dogs are being provoked, this might be rather hard on them.
2. When our local kids were kicking their football "accidentally" into my garden every day, I made a rule that I will give it back, but not till next day. That reduced the number of "accidental" entries of the ball into my garden.... I would be inclined to leave the books etc in your garden, and if the dogs chew them up, you're very sorry, but these things will happen if things are put within reach of your dogs. Or, as suggested by another correspondent, call the authorities and complain. I would NOT return the things over the fence at the parents' request. I live in Albania and we have many parents with that sort of attitude. I tear my hair out. The children who hassled my dogs did not want to make friends with them. This summer one visiting child provoked my dogs from the road. One day he was outside when I took the dogs out, off the lead, and one of them went up to him in a friendly way and he screamed in terror. I tell the children that if they don't hassle the dogs, they won't bite them, but if they hassle them I don't guarantee what might happen. Which encourages healthy respect. But that doesn't help you with your problem. Could you encourage the kids to make friends with the dogs over the fence, if their parents feel they are too young to meet the dogs in your yard? Probably not, if the kids are like some of ours. I do sympathise. At least here they don't put dogs down for biting - I got badly bitten by an Alsatian, whom the police would probably have shot if I had shown them the bite, but I didn't report it as I thought the owner would keep it in now it had bitten me. She continued to let it out. It was eventually clubbed to death by an angry neighbour, whose dog it had killed.
Posted by kjd
Sep 30, 2009

Have you found a workable solution to the problem?