It has been difficult to keep Bodie quiet in the backyard lately. I was wondering why this wasn't a problem last summer, and then I realized that we haven't had the puppy for a year yet! We got him in the middle of July last summer and Bodie didn't discover barking until he was around 6 months old.
I don't think many people mind a little barking - that is expected with a dog. But when the barking becomes incessant, it certainly gets annoying. And I figure that if the barking annoys me, it annoys the neighbors. Now don't get me wrong. The puppy doesn't automatically bark as soon as he is put out in the backyard; Bodie can be outside for hours with nary a peep. But he can get all wound up and start nuisance barking. What really gets him going is people coming up to the fence and neighbors yelling or operating power tools. So, as soon as Bodie starts barking nonstop, we bring him in the house
Interestingly, Bodie doesn't bark too much at the hikers and cyclists on the trails behind the house. He can still get excited with people on the trail but he mainly runs back and forth along the back fence with very little barking. But there are all sorts of things that can get Bodie riled up. Kids in the neighborhood scream quite a bit as they play and that can get the puppy barking. Noisy kids don't bother me much and it is easy to get him to quiet down. But what gets me concerned is that sometimes kids will come up to the fence and yell at Bodie or poke sticks at him through the fence. Now that really gets him going! And I don't think it is very smart to tease a German Shepherd.
On one side, we have next door neighbors that seems to have a lot of activity going on in their yard lately. The worst of it comes from some guy that doesn't even live there! I think he is borrowing the neighbors' equipment to run a car detailing business. He operates a shop vac, power washer and the like several days a week and into the late evening. Last night he was there until after 11:00pm! Sometimes he brings his dog with him. It is an unrestrained pitbull that will run up to the fence and he and Bodie will both raise a ruckus. It is strange that this dog owner starts yelling at Bodie as soon as our puppy starts to bark. You would think that an adult would realize that some stranger yelling at a dog to shut up won't get that dog to quit barking.
Then the other neighbor is a single woman who was glad when Bodie barked! She is security conscious and thought if Bodie barked at anything in her yard, it was good. She has even stood on her back porch and encouraged the puppy to bark! But with the nice weather she has been spending more time outside and doesn't appreciate the barking as much. So, in order to calm Bodie down, she stands at the fence and reads to him! So far, reading to him doesn't work. At least that is better than yelling at him.
Well... I don't think Bodie will be spending much time outside this summer. We don't want him to be the neighborhood nuisance.