Finding a Truly Dog Friendly Home in a Non-Dog Friendly World
I have seen a very disturbing trend in the past 20 years of subdivisions utilizing covenants regarding fencing that are clearly "un-dog-friendly". The fences must not be over 36" high and require field fencing wire mesh that never blocks the view. A problem occurs when the yard backs up to an open space walking path and the dog can see and bark at passersby. There is a second and equally critical situation with these low, see through fences: the fence doesn't keep predators out of the yard.
Here are some pointers for dog owners about finding a home that may prevent these problems and some ideas to minimize barking if you already live in a house with an "un-dog-friendly" yard.
If you're in the market for a home:
Don't buy a house adjacent to a walking path or a golf course. You will have a daily responsibility to keep your dog from barking at neighbors as they walk by.
Don't buy a house in a subdivision that outlaws privacy fences. Dogs also bark at the people next door that are clearly visible.
Don't buy a house that requires fencing that is easily climbed by predators. It takes less than a minute for a coyote to grab your small breed dog and kill them.
If you're looking for acreage, it's best to find property where the house sits in the middle of the lot, not along the street. This creates a buffer of distance. The closer the foot traffic, the more intense the dog's territorial response.
If you live in a house that isn't dog friendly and you are about to add a dog to your family, do your homework. Some breeds are far more territorial than others. (Guarding Breeds) Some breeds are very aroused by movement (Terriers and Herding Breeds and any of their derivatives).
If you already own a home that is adjacent to foot traffic with no barrier to visibility:
Never leave your dog outside for long periods of time unsupervised. It isn't difficult to learn to call the dog to you or to come inside if they start barking. It is nearly impossible to train a territorial dog not to bark at strangers.
Create a large dog run inside your yard, as far away from the fence as possible and landscape around it to block the dog's view. Don't leave the dog in the run all day, either. Boredom is also a motivator for barking.
The dog yard should not include access to the front of the house.
If the dog is barking from inside the home, take away access to windows. Many owners allow their dogs to practice barking at strangers by giving them a couch to perch on right in front of a window.