I do dog-reactive dog boarding, and often have dogs in my home and in my yard who need to be preventing from seeing other dogs.
Dog-reactive dogs will use all their senses, sight, smell, hearing – to detect the presence of another dog – and these sensory inputs are additive. Taking the time to consider how to remove each type of sensory input will help your dog feel safer and relax more while at home.
While there’s not much you can do to prevent the sound of neighborhood dogs barking in the distance, there are many things you can do to lower the stress for a dog-reactive dog in your home and yard. Here are a few tips on how to modify your home and yard to minimize chances of your dog seeing another dog. Fill Fence Gaps
If you have a wood fence, it may have gaps between boards. As wood fences age, they often shrink, which means that completely solid fence you initially installed now has thin gaps between the boards. When dogs pass by the fence, your dog may be able to view this motion from within your yard.
I suggest filling the wood gaps with Liquid Nails. It’s inexpensive, weatherproof, and has a woody color. Easy to apply with a caulk gun, it can bridge large gaps and prevent further wood separation.
Planting a vine, like ivy, can also help block visual gaps in fencing – do whatever is necessary to prevent your dog from seeing the motion of another dog passing by your property. You will be amazed at the resulting calm can be had for the price of a dozen tubes of Liquid Nails and an afternoon of work. Mind the gaps!
Prevent Reflections: Sliding Glass Doors and Mirrors
I’ve had dog-reactive dogs who barked and lunged at their own reflections in mirrors or sliding glass doors. You should add wax paper or another covering, or prevent the dog from having access to mirrors in your home. People may think it’s funny to watch their dogs bark at themselves, but it’s adding unnecessary stress and anxiety to your dog’s life, which reduces their already too short lifespans.
Don’t let your dog practice barking at other dogs who pass by uncovered windows. It’s very reinforcing for a dog-reactive dog because they bark at the dog, and the dogs ALWAYS move away from their house. The barking works every time!!
I use Roman shades, which lower from the top down, so that the bottom half of all my windows are covered, but I can still let light in. They provide attractive window covering, privacy when needed, and are a must-have for a dog-reactive home that has windows that allow your dog to view other dogs walking by.