Let’s face it: Our dogs don’t always choose to relieve themselves where we want them to.
Whether it’s in our bed, on our furniture, on the floor in the living room, or — perhaps worst of all — in our neighbor’s yard, the issue of a dog pooping where they shouldn’t is one that most dog owners have encountered at one time or another.
In this article, we’ll take a look at just one of these unfortunate situations: when your dog — either occasionally or continually — poops in a neighbor’s yard.
We’ll start by explaining why it is that your dog may be doing this, and then we’ll offer some useful advice for preventing this problem and other related issues in the future.
Let’s get started.
Why does my dog poop in my neighbor’s yard?
If your dog tends to like to poop in your neighbor’s yard, this could be for several reasons.
Before diving into these reasons, we should investigate whether your dog is pooping in your neighbor’s yard out of convenience or randomness or if they especially like to poop there. Basically, you want to ask yourself how often your dog is committing this doggy crime.
Is it happening all the time? Once a day? Once every few weeks? Every few months?
If your dog is pooping in your neighbor’s yard once every few months, it’s probably not a serious issue. In this case, it’s polite for you to go over and pick up the poop from your neighbor’s yard and dispose of it. Really, you should be doing this any time your dog poops in your neighbor’s yard.
Realistically, however, we should focus on the fact that you’ll probably only need to really change your dog’s behavior if it’s something that’s been going on regularly — for example, if your dog literally poops in your neighbor’s yard every day or every week.
If this is the case, the core of the issue is probably one of the following:
They’re marking their territory.
When it comes to dogs and senses, it’s all about smell.
When a dog wants to communicate, they use their sense of smell. They also send messages with scent — or in other words, with poop and pee. Pooping in certain areas helps your dog tell other dogs or other animals in general certain things about them.
Your dog might be saying, “Hey, this is my territory, so don’t be hanging around here!” Alternatively, they might be giving off information about their sexual status. Dog experts even believe that dogs poop and pee in certain places and at certain times to give their fellow animals status updates about the last time they were in a given location, what they ate for breakfast, and other little clues.
They want some privacy.
Let’s say you have a relatively small yard, and you tend to go outside with your dog every time you let them out to go to the bathroom. If this is the case, your dog may not be keen on the idea of you watching them poop.
They’re not exactly like humans in this regard as most of them can and will eliminate even if a human is watching or standing near. But many dogs still don’t fancy the idea, and as a result, they’ll try to get away to a more private location to poop.
They like the terrain there better.
Finally, some dogs simply appreciate certain terrain upon which to defecate. For example, if your yard area is mostly patio or concrete or if it just doesn’t have a lot of grass and contains a lot of dirt, your dog may like going over to your neighbor’s yard instead.
Your neighbor’s yard could be lusher and greener. Dogs want to have a comfortable place to poop in, and they’ll seek it out when necessary.
How to stop my dog from pooping in my neighbor’s yard?
There’s one very simple answer to this question, but unfortunately, you may not like it:
Instead of simply letting your dog outside to roam free and go to the bathroom wherever they please, start taking your dog for walks. Alternatively, create a fenced in area in your own yard where your dog cannot leave, and only allow your dog to go out in this fenced in area.
Changing your habits to meet your dog’s needs
Many homeowners are not enthusiastic about these ideas. It can certainly be a challenge to take a dog on three or more for walks every day. But do remember that this is often part and parcel of dog ownership — especially if you own a dog breed that needs a lot of daily exercise. If you can’t handle this, you may need to change your living situation, your work schedule, or something else so that you can accommodate your dog’s needs. It’s important to take care of your dog properly — for their own sake and yours
The alternative to taking your dog for walks every day is having a space for them to run freely, where they are also protected and secure and won’t bother the neighbors. Of course, you can only do this if you live in an area where you have enough yard space. The setup may require purchasing fencing or having fencing installed.
Training your dog to poop in your own yard
If taking your dog for daily walks or setting up a fenced in area simply aren’t doable for you, there is another alternative: If you need to keep your dog from pooping in your neighbor’s yard, you can always carry out some extra training.
In all likelihood, you’ve already house-trained your dog to go to the bathroom outside and not inside. Basically, you need to take some of these same principles and apply them to your dog’s habits of pooping outside your yard versus pooping inside your yard.
There are videos, courses, and articles about this topic online, but at its core, the training involves setting your dog up for success and rewarding positive behaviors.
You’ll be setting your dog up for success when you let them out frequently, create a comfortable and inviting space for them to roam and find a place to go to the bathroom (in your own yard!), and watch them carefully to ensure they’re doing what you want them to. If you see them moving toward your neighbor’s yard to poop, gently but firmly redirect them back into your own yard.
When you see them carrying out the behavior that you do want from them (i.e. pooping in your yard and not your neighbor’s yard), give them treats and praises. Do these things continually until you can rely on your dog’s new, better behavior.
Why does my dog poop in people’s homes?
If your dog is pooping inside — in your home or other people’s — there could be several reasons. These are as follows:
They’re not getting outside frequently enough.
Your dog should have the opportunity to go outside to go to the bathroom at least 3 to 5 times a day — the more, the better. If this is not something that you can currently provide, you will need to make some changes.
For example, consider coming home from work once or twice in the day just to let your dog out. Alternatively, ask a friend to come and let your dog out. Finally, consider creating a penned-in area outside where your dog can simply hang out all day — weather permitting. Just make sure that they also have a shelter where they can go in case it rains, and also make sure they have fresh water and food.
They’re uncomfortable and nervous.
If the issue is your dog pooping at someone else’s house, it could be that they’re just nervous or scared about being there.
Dogs get uncomfortable just like humans. They might be freaked out at the idea of being somewhere new and around unknown people, and this may cause them to eliminate in strange places — like in the middle of the floor.
They have an underlying medical condition.
In rare cases, your dog may have an underlying medical issue. When it’s related to pooping, it’s generally a bowel issue, so it could be irritable bowel syndrome, bowel cancer, or something similar. If you suspect one of these problems or if the problem is ongoing and you haven’t found another reason for it, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
What can I do about my neighbor’s dog pooping in my yard?
Before we end this article, let’s turn the issue we’ve been discussing on its head a bit and look into the problem of a neighbor’s dog pooping in your yard.
Naturally, if this is an issue for you, you’re not going to be so lighthearted and careful about the solution — and rightfully so. It’s perfectly okay to let your neighbor that know that you’re unhappy with their dog pooping in your yard.
With that being said, if your neighbor’s dog has only pooped on your property once over the course of a long period of time — or if, let’s say, they only do it once in a blue moon — you might want to hold back a bit on your reaction. Unless the deed was done right on your front porch or somewhere else where it truly bothers you, letting the issue go and moving on may be better for your neighborly relationship.
On the other hand, if this is a continual problem or if it’s particularly bothering you for another reason, you certainly have a right to confront your neighbor about the issue and ask them to do something to prevent it in the future.
In fact, you might even ask your neighbor to also pick up any feces that their dog has already left. We all know that picking up poop is one of the worst parts of dog ownership, and if you’re not even getting any of the benefits of owning a dog yourself, yet you have to pick up poop from your yard, that’s simply not fair.
How to sanely deal with a neighbor’s dog pooping in your yard
So, let’s say that the issue of your neighbor’s dog pooping in your yard is really bothering you, and you plan to confront your neighbor about it. Here are some tips:
1. Make sure you know it’s your neighbor’s dog’s poop.
Before we go any further, it’s important that you know where the poop in your yard is really coming from. In other words, make sure that you’ve actually seen your neighbor’s dog poop in the yard.
It sounds gross, but it’s important. If you just find poop in your yard, remember that it could be from anywhere. It could be from another person walking their dog or even from a loose neighborhood dog. You don’t want to accuse your neighbor and their dog of something unless you’re totally sure of it.
2. Address the issue with your neighbor in passing.
Now it’s time to confront your neighbor. If you can simply mention the issue in passing instead of making a big deal out of it by going up to their door and ringing the doorbell, this is best. For example, if you see them getting out of their car one day or out on their lawn watering flowers, just run over and mention the issue at hand.
3. Use “I” statements.
To keep things polite, aim to avoid the use of “you” statements (“You need to stop your dog from pooping on my lawn”) and instead use “I” statements (“I noticed that your dog is pooping on my lawn pretty frequently”).
4. Decide the change you want, and politely request it.
Before confronting your neighbor, make sure you know what you want. In other words, consider this: Would you be happy if you talked to your neighbor about this issue and they replied with something like, “Okay, I’ll try to watch them more. Thanks.”
Probably not, right?
You need to know beforehand what you want out of this interaction.
Is it okay if their dog poops in your yard but the neighbor cleans it up right away? Or do you never want their dog to poop in your yard ever?
It sounds fastidious, but make sure you convey your message clearly, or else you might not actually accomplish anything and will still be dealing with this problem in a month.
5. Remain calm.
You never know what reaction you might get from your neighbor when you confront them about their dog pooping in your yard. What’s important to remember is that you should always go into a situation like this with a positive attitude. Your neighbor might not have any idea what their dog is doing, so give them the benefit of the doubt on that front.
Then, no matter what happens, remain calm, never make threats, and be as polite as possible.