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Keeping neighbor's dogs off the property

Erik Lee

Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Zone 6 - Missouri
I have a bit of a quandry -- I am the new neighbor on the road here, and my other neighbors have dogs that they allow to run loose. Until now, I've been easy-going about it because they hadn't done any damage, but today one of their dogs killed one of my chickens. I'd prefer not to get into a feud with the neighbors right off the bat, but obviously I can't have their dogs killing my animals. The way I see it, I have a couple of options. I can build a fence and put in a gate for my driveway, or I can demand that my neighbor keep his dog off of my land if he wants to keep his dog. The fence is expensive and gates are irritating and notoriously ineffective against dogs, and the other option seems likely to create some bad blood unless it's handled with a great deal of finesse. I was wondering if anybody out there has solved this problem in a more clever way without making enemies of the neighbors or sentencing yourself to a lifetime of gate hassles. Any ideas?
Rich Pasto

Joined: Dec 13, 2011
Posts: 100
permacaper McCoy wrote: The way I see it, I have a couple of options. I can build a fence and put in a gate for my driveway, or I can demand that ...

if you dont want to get into a feud, then dont create one.

have you spoken to your neighbors at all yet? you should have. with all the neighbors Ive had over the years, most of the time just talking to them has resolved all of the issues.

A clever angle on this is to be nice. Really nice. Bring them a holiday fruitcake today. Talk to them about the chicken this weekend. It's hard to be an asshole to someone who is way to nice.
Erik Lee

Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Zone 6 - Missouri
I have spoken to them on occasion and we're on amicable terms -- basically I told them that I didn't really mind their dogs as long as they didn't harass my animals or me. I got a little pushback on that topic, but not too bad. I like your suggestion about the fruitcake; we were going to deliver cookies around the neighborhood tomorrow anyway, so I'll keep that plan and give myself a few days to cool off before I bring up the chicken issue. Coming home to chicken gore in the yard makes things seem more urgent than they probably really are....

John Polk

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6755
Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
Put the dead chicken's head in their box of cookies. JUST KIDDING!

It is touchy being the newbie on the block. It would be entirely different if they were the newbies.

Rather than fencing the entire property, how about a fenced chicken run around their coop? Keep the chickens in the run when you will be away, and only let them free range while you are home.

As stewards of animals, they are responsible for their dog(s), and you are responsible for your chickens.
Each of you has a responsibility. Hopefully this can be resolved neighborly.
Rich Pasto

Joined: Dec 13, 2011
Posts: 100
permacaper McCoy wrote:I have spoken to them on occasion and we're on amicable terms -- basically I told them that I didn't really mind their dogs as long as they didn't harass my animals or me. I got a little pushback on that topic, but not too bad. I like your suggestion about the fruitcake; we were going to deliver cookies around the neighborhood tomorrow anyway, so I'll keep that plan and give myself a few days to cool off before I bring up the chicken issue. Coming home to chicken gore in the yard makes things seem more urgent than they probably really are....

Caveat on that is to not be a sucker either. Be nice, but call the police if they go after your chickens again. If they get snotty, be nice Nice in no way means "doormat". good luck
kent smith

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
I agree with talking to the nieghbors first, but standing your ground. However, the next time the dog was in the pasture I would shoot it and descretely bury it somewhere. Dogs that harass livestock or wildlife should be eliminated. You do not need to take it back to the nieghbor or say anything just make it disappear. As a pet owner, livestock raiser, and wildlife a lover I feel that I have a responcibility to keep our pets and livestock on our property and to provide areas for wildlife on the property. To have pets or livestock and not keep them contained and care for is wrong. That is my take on the subject. I hope that it is not too blunt or harsh. A dog that chases cattle or kills chickens is the same as it's owner stealing from me.

Saybian Morgan

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
As the person on my block with a dog that run's loose 24 hour's a day and the ducks other dogs, coyotes, bears, racoons and cougar's are perpetualy trying to eat.
I can only say you can't try to make a human responsible for what an animal can do in a split second of emotion. You could have 100 flawless days and all of a sudden some pup get's excited and charges out of their yard.

You don't need barrier wall fencing, it sounds like your lucky and all you have is dog's who are normaly decent but are non the less dog's. Even my chihuahua eat's raw meat and bones, so if she wasn't such a priss she took could have a flashback and attack.
Every once in awhile a dog is going to break free of it's owner, and never mind my poultry they want to come and rip up my stupid lil yapping dogs.
I originally just had chicken wire fence on steaks and thought well that will do and everything was fine for months. One day thankfully i was standing right there and my silly napoleon complex dog just got a tad to mouthy and some local dobermans decided walking thru and dragging the fence was just enough to get the bastard. The neighbour had to wrestle her dog to the ground, the next week i put a single line of electric fence around about a half acre and let the ducks out as usual. Over the course of 2-3 days I'd hear a few yelps from behind the hedgerow, now when I come outside and I even invite dog's to come up so I can pet them nobody will go within 15 feet of the fence. Including our guard dog, he won't come into the yard he's been guarding for 10 years before of a single yellow line that scares the pant's out of him, and my yappy dog's never ever try to get out past the yellow line.

The fence is off most probably 40% of the time, it's usualy a blown over sunchoke that does it, and nobody will touch it, if I coil some wire around my hand all dog's run away. It's really the best way to show you care for your neighbour's by saving their dog's, them, and you from each other. And it only takes a zap that couldn't harm a baby.

Psychological barrier's are way more humane than having someone's beloved dog caught in barbed wire or it's face mangled from pushing through chicken mesh. Dog's arn't reflections of their owners ability to express control, their DOGS and they should eat your chickens in the hierarchy of life. It's nice that they can be trained to repress their nature but it only takes 3 year's to have a 1 in 1000 incident and who can really predict that.

My guard dog has been guarding the land for 10 years, I've only lived here for 3. He doesn't even know how to drink from a dish he's that free. I can't imagine someone showing up and saying I had to fence him into the yard because they want to free range chicken's without a barrier. I could respect them having me lock him up if by some mutated werewolf freak chance he's harm a child but that's it.

I only rambled on this big long narrative so you could save time, heartache, and social drama by simply running 1 wire around your place. It's a touch ugly having plastic steaks all around your yard, but it beat's the hell out of fencing. It's not so much that it keeps the chicken's in but after a zap or two simply keeps the dog's for surcumming to their nature. Which you can never blame anyone for.
A Philipsen

Joined: Jul 10, 2011
Posts: 57
Location: OR - Willamette Valley
Yep, a good, hot (you want the to dog think the hand of God just reached down and smote him), not too obvious electric fence can work miracles. I have wires up almost everywhere I don't want my dog to go. A 1yr old dane mix with a drive to hunt burrowing rodents can do an amazing amount of damage and she got a wandering gene from her daddy. If you put up two wires with the top one about knee high, they are nearly impossible for a dog to avoid and still low enough to just step over rather than dealing with gates everywhere. Do tell the neighbor that their dog killed your chicken though. If mine wandered off and did that, I would want to know it.
kent smith

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
This thread started with a discussion of problem pets or animals. If we chose to keep either pets or live stock then we should except the responcibility of caring and keeping them. To have animals and to let them run and be problems is to be absent in responcibilies as a keeper or gardian. To say that is just the nature of a dog is to wander and to kill or harass is to be irresponcible as the gardian of the animals that you have chosen to have. I choose to have pets and livestock and it is my responcibility to keep them under control. If we who have animals neglect to keep them as we should then we should be held accountable. You say that your dog runs free 24/7, are you sure that you are not the dog owner responcible for this thread? Why not take the responcibility to train and keep our animals? Our dog knows not to chase or kill our livestock and to stay in the areas where he has been trained to be. His name is bear, he was a rescue when he was a year and a half old. He has been treated with love, respect, and compassion; and he knows what is expected of him. He is a great friend and companion, but he is trained and I take 100% responsibility for him. If you were my nieghbor and your dog ran free I would see that either your dog changed or you did.
Saybian Morgan

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
Yeah my guard dog run's free, he predate's anyone living in this house, the previous owner died and the dog came with the house. He's a working dog and I've seen him risk his life time and time again charging off into the forest at 4am to keep the "bears, cayotes, cougars and racoon's" off the property.
I never ever had a clue such greatness existed in an animal, he defends the house as if there's livestock no matter what. When I finally had my first ducks it gave him a real purpose again. Sure I can say this old dog wouldn't hurt a fly but just like a good person can snapp, so can I dog. I don't agree or disagree with roaming dog's, I don't care for other people's dog's roaming because there not the Great Dog this pyranese is, but I'm not childish enough to expect perfection from other humans either.
I look at him and at least where I leave where urban sprawl is bulldozzing the forest I know dog's like him will no longer exist. I have no idea where his trained boundary is, but he knows where it is, I've never seen him further than 3 acres away. I've seen him go to other peoples house to play with dog's but if those dog's come within 5 feet of our acre there toast.
I think i'd rather see him put down than break his nature, I have the utmost respect for man or animal that dies in the line of duty and all I was doing was championing this dog for showing me a dog can go far beyond any human programing in the positive or the negative.
I had a dog phobia for the first 26 year's of my life so I mainly know the "why don't you control your animal" side of the argument, all i'm saying is even my hero dog "Could" turn around and rip one of the ducks to shreds just like I "could" go postal if I don't get my mail.

If you want to keep livestock and you don't want to put up a fence that's really bordering on suspect animal husbandry, I learned that the hardway when I opened my front door and a bear had one of my ducks.
Every putbull that ripped a toddler to pieces had a spotless record before they snapped. If your aware enough about your environment you can't presume 99 safe days means the hundredth will be the same.
I still can't stop eagles and hawks from eating my ducks, but how long can I make that excuse when I should dam well have put in more shrub's and bushes for natural protection in a naturaly balanced permaculture system.

No human let there dog loose to go and kill someone elses chicken, they most likely have never even seen there dog around another animal that exibit's the prey energy so how can they be blamed when they don't know the span of possibilities within a dog's nature. As someone who keeps prey animals you do, or at least you will soon.

If my hero dog dennis harmed someone I'd have to consider putting him down, not because he hurt someone "who may or may have not attracted a response" but because he'd abandoned his nature. When my neighbour's dog came into my yard to rip up one of my yappy dog's I blamed myself for being too lazy to have the electricity on. I know yappy dog's get ripped up in the real world, it has nothing to do if it's my best friend or not.

kent smith

Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
I apologize for being so harsh. At our past place we had some experiences with problem dogs. From that experience and others I have the opinion that so many pets are at best ignored, neglected if not not badly treated by thier owners. For a while in our past area there was a free roaming group of 4-5 dogs in the area. they roamed for miles, chased deer, live stock, people and got into trash and properties. These were not abandoned animal, they had homes and owners who supposedly cared for them. Between being hit on the roads and mountain lions they lasted about a year. Other dogs chased kids on bicyles, walkers, and cars out in front of thier homes. Others sat unloved, ignored in yards or chained to a tree, a lousy life for any animal. It was not the animals fault, but neglect from owners. I am just a huge advocate that if you are going to have animals, whether pets or livestock then you need to take the responcibility to care for them and let them live a decent life.
Saybian Morgan

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
I don't disagree but I do understand this world allow's the opportunity to choose the negative or positive in any situation. I'm not about to blot out each person's option to choose the negative, I can't really imagine being able to eliminate the probability that there are unstable animals who still have the gift of existence. If I can't stop roaming wild packs of teenagers, boozers, and delinquent's from taking up space I certainly can't ask much from a dog who's subject to his own genetic inheritance on top of having to be roped in with us human beings. My yappy dog's don't exist by survival of the fittest but by survival of the Cutest. And I respect there natural uselessness and the superior ability to be therapeutic to the human, all I was suggesting to the original poster is let's be realistic that the world we live in. It wasn't designed by us nor will it miss us when where gone, animals will be animals so let's not leave our livestock up to chance. I don't work so hard to protect my animals because I own them, I do it out of love and respect because I eat them.
Stacy Zoozwick

Joined: Dec 15, 2011
Posts: 74
The answer is simple you go to your neighbored show the dead chicken. Then tell them that that your dog cost you the value of the chicken and the loss of eggs. If I lose any more chickens you will have to call the authority and you don’t want to do that. So just be kind but bold and tell them the dog may not come on your property. Let’s be honest who care what they think of you, they are the ones in the wrong. We all need to be kind but have a backbone and stand up for what is write. If you let them get away the little stuff they will run you down.
Christina Darling

Joined: Jun 24, 2011
Posts: 71
Location: East-Central Illinois
What a sticky problem! I don't have farm animals (yet), but I do have two dogs that DO NOT ROAM. I keep the dogs at home and under control. On the other hand, I have neighbors who have had many dogs that are all dead now. They have either been hit by cars or killed by other roaming dogs!! I don't get it! Why have dogs if you are not going to take care of them? You wouldn't let your cows, or horses, or goats roam around the countryside and other people's property. It's just stupidity.

We need our neighbors and we need to have good relationships with our neighbors. I don't see any way around it but to talk to your neighbors and ask them for their HELP. Did you see the dog kill the chicken? (Maybe it was a fox.)

I do think the idea of a contained chicken run is the right thing. OR a moveable 'covered' chicken coop. That way the are protected from other predation as well. I hope it works out for you.

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." -Thomas Jefferson
Jesus Martinez

Joined: Mar 07, 2011
Posts: 143
When it comes down to it, it's a chicken that produces maybe 20$ worth of meat and that has no sentimental value. IMO, not that big of a loss. I've lost goats, chickens and even a mini horse to dogs and while it is definitely not something I would like to happen on a regular basis, the value of them compared to what most people value their dogs is negligible.
Julie Helms

Joined: Dec 06, 2011
Posts: 110
Location: SC Pennsylvania, Zone 6b
The first time we lost a chicken to the neighbor's dog across the street, we politely told them what happened and asked them not to let their dog run on to our property. The second time it happened my husband took an armful of dead chickens over to the neighbor and more graphically explained the problem. The chickens were fenced in a pasture, but the dog was very clever. Shortly after that the dog was run over by a UPS truck. All this was the owner's fault. The dog was sweet and just doing what comes naturally.

You need to talk to the owner. They have a responsibility for their animal and need to respect your property.

Richard Delvers

Joined: Jan 31, 2013
Posts: 4
I've raised cattle, goats, horses, sheep and chickens, and I've had trouble with dogs from time to time. You do need to have some fences, and the tighter the better. That is just good sense. It will keep you animals in (mostly) and keep dogs and other predators out (mostly).

If the distances are fairly short, I would get a CO2 powered BB gun (http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Umarex_Steel_Storm_CO2_Gun/2043), and hopefully you could discourage the dog with little or no permanent damage. If not BB, then airsoft (http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Tactical_Force_TF11_CO2_Airsoft_Submachine_Gun/1421).

If you can't reach an accommodation with your neighbor, you need to decide if it is worth the fight to protect your animals. Maybe it is just easier and better to raise a garden and some fruit trees. If you don't want to give up your animals, check the laws of your state to see what you can legally do if a dog is (1) on your property, (2) watching your stock, or (3) harassing your stock. Laws very from state to state. In Colorado, and Utah, the states I'm most familiar with, you can shoot a dog if it is watching or harassing your stock.

Maybe this is too abhorrent for you to contemplate. Then you need to reevaluate how badly you want to keep stock. If you are keeping them, they deserve your protection. I'm not wild about shooting dogs, but I've seen some bad damage that they can cause that kind of hardened my heart. I came home one night from a swing shift and found a little yearling ewe with all the meat chewed off of her hind leg, clear up to the hip. Just bones left, and she was still alive. We had raised her from a baby with a bottle, and it wasn't a great experience putting her down.

If you take this path, I would also advise that you keep pretty quiet about it. My motto is SSS - shoot, shovel, shut-up. We live in an upside down world as far as I can determine. People can't or won't take care of their pets, but often are totally oblivious to the damage and trouble they cause. To them, their pets are their children..... I don't even know how to address this.

Good luck.

Cris Bessette

Joined: May 20, 2011
Posts: 731
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
I have a young dog that was stealing things from a neighbors yard / porch - plants, brooms, bathing suits,shoes, trash, etc.
The neighbor told me that they liked my dog and didn't have a problem with him in general, but his puppy antics were wearing thin.

They told me they would start shooting him with a BB gun if he continued on that path- and I told them I was completely in agreement about the path of action.
I have a fence which works fine for my OTHER dog, but this pup can climb straight up any fence.

BB guns are a great non lethal deterrent in many cases, the dog learns that entering certain areas results in sharp stings, it tends to stay away.

Luckily with my dog, he lost interest in stealing things from other people's yards very soon after, and now he spends quite a bit of time hanging out
with those same neighbors (and their 10+ dogs) and they have no problem with him now that he has matured.

Renate Howard

Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
There is always the option of getting your own dog to watch the chickens. We got a heeler. Most heelers are home bodies and very protective of their owner's stuff (once you teach them not to kill the chickens themselves!). We used to get lots of neighbor dogs coming over. They never hurt anything but they made me nervous. Now the heeler spots them when they step on the property and he escorts them off again. He also chases squirrels away from the garden, a nice added bonus! Of course, they are very intelligent which means they need a lot of training and attention, especially the first few years. But they're worth it, IMHO because a good heeler will read your mind and do things before you have to ask.
kyle thomas

Joined: Feb 05, 2013
Posts: 12
I had issues with the folks down the roads dog and learned quickly that bad dogs are a product of bad owners.

I went to the local spca and found a pup Pyrenees. I fenced him in with the chickens on 1/4 acre when I wasn't home And never had another issue.
She eats a lot and we all know vet bills aren't cheap but I got the satisfaction that no dog or coyote will screw with my livestock again.

She's good company too!
subject: Keeping neighbor's dogs off the property