How Can I Humanely Keep Neighbor Dogs Out Of My Yard?

How to keep neighbors dogs off your lawn

Dogs are man’s best friend, but what do you do if your neighbor’s “best friend” keeps getting in your yard? Neighborhood dogs, or other wild dogs, can be quite a nuisance for homeowners who want a pet-free yard. Even if you have your own dogs, you probably don’t feel like cleaning up after someone else’s and want to keep neighborhood dogs out of your yard.

What’s the best way to keep a neighbor’s dog out of your yard? The best way to keep a neighbor’s dog off your property is for your neighbors to keep their dog off. If you can’t find an agreeable solution with your neighbors, then you can have several other steps you can take. First, eliminate attractions to the dog to your yard. Second, place barriers to keep the dog away. Third, use negative reinforcement to keep the dog off your lawn.

In reality, it may not be that simple. Your neighbor may be unable to understand how Fido is a nuisance. Depending on the breed of the dog, or the number of dogs coming into your yard, you may have to try several options. Let’s discuss these options from the least expensive to more expensive options.

Entice Your Neighbor To Keep Their Dog Out Of Your Yard

Many dog owners don’t realize that their dog is roaming the neighborhood. This actually creates a danger for their dog because they can come in contact with more dangerous circumstances, cars, poisons, or other violent animals. Many dogs escape the yard while their owners are at work or otherwise occupied and manage to return before they are missed.

Approach your neighbor in a friendly manner. Don’t rant, yell, or rail against their dog. Assume that they are unaware of the situation and make it clear that you want to resolve it amicably. Don’t threaten legal action or make other threats. If your neighbors respond in an aggressive manner or fail to correct the problem, then consider other options.

Understand Local Ordinances Regarding Roaming Dogs

Most cities, towns, and even counties have regulations and leash laws. This means that you may have some recourse through your local government agency. Call and ask about leash laws. Check with your local animal control shelter.  Many shelters will send someone over to visit your neighbors and nicely explain the laws. Some animal control agencies will come and pick up the dog when it’s on your property.

Others will loan animal cages to capture the straying animal. Then your neighbors will have to pay to get back their dog. This sends the message that you are serious about having a dog-free yard. Sometimes, keeping a dog out of your yard involves “training” your neighbors to do it for you. Be aware, this may deteriorate your relationship with your neighbors. Be careful if trapping the dog itself as many dogs will be hostile to unknown persons, especially when feeling trapped.

How to keep dogs out of my yard

Remove Attractions To Neighborhood Dogs

Dogs have a keen sense of smell. This means that they will often be attracted by BBQs, garbage, and other animal’s food. If you have your own pets, then consider feeding them inside or putting away their dinner plats after they have eaten. Keep lids on garbage cans. Don’t use other animal repellents such as bonemeal or blood meal. This attracts other dogs to your yard.

If you have a female dog, consider getting her spayed so she doesn’t attract male dogs to mate. You will also want to clean up all of your dog droppings immediately as they will attract other dogs to the area to investigate.

Clean Up Dog Exctrament

Dogs often use smell to find where they have gone before. If you remove dog droppings quickly and then dilute the smell, it will help to keep the dogs from returning. You can douse the area with water (after cleaning up the mess) or add a dog repellent to the area. Baking soda can be an effective way to eliminate the smell left of dog poop from your lawn.

Try Bottled Water To Keep Dogs Away

Most dogs won’t “go” where there is food or water. Some homeowners have found success by placing large pop bottles or milk jugs filled with water around the borders of their yard. Space them every 3 feet or so. This can help to discourage dogs from going to your yard because they see the water and stay away from it.

Remove Standing Water

This may mean getting rid of your birdbath or fish pond. Dogs love to lap water and standing water often attracts them. Watch your watering schedule to make sure that you aren’t over-watering your lawn. Even small pools of water are attractive to dogs.

Use Dog Repellants to Keep Dogs Away

Dogs are often nose to the ground smelling. As a result dog repellents use a dog’s sense of smell to keep them away.

Many companies manufacture granules to repel dogs. The effectiveness will depend on the dog’s personality and breed. If you don’t want to purchase a repellant, you can try a home remedy. However, depending on the type of repellent you use, be careful of unintended side effects.

Lets discuss types of dog repellants available.  

    • Ammonia: It will produce a smell that you can detect. It may also be
    • Commercial granules or sprays: They must be reapplied regularly and every time it rains.
    • Vinegar: Use it on your fences and sidewalks. It can kill your grass and other plants if applied in large quantities.
    • Citrus: lemon or orange peels can repel dogs with the smell. However, it can attract mice and rats. It is also visually unappealing so may need to be restricted to the backyard.
    • Mouse Traps. Califonia Pest Management recommends using mouse traps on medium to larger-sized dogs. The traps won’t hurt them but will scare them from the area. Be aware though, that rat traps can break bones and injure dogs. You will also want ot be aware of any small children in the area before you use this method.
    • Human Urine: Some people swear that male urine is effective in keeping dogs off your property. However, this should not be accomplished by urinating outside. Otherwise, you may find yourself at the other end of an indecent exposure charge. Plus, do you really want to handle human urine?

How to keep neighbor dogs out of my yard

Consider Automatic Repellants To Keep Dogs Away

You can consider setting up an ultrasonic sound barrier or a motion sprinkler system. Most people can’t hear ultrasonic sounds, but it annoys our canine friends and can help to keep them away. Be aware that not all types of dogs respond the same to these devices.

The same is true of a motion activated sprinkler. When a dog breaches the boundary, a jet of water h its the dog. The shock will help to keep many dogs out of your yard. Simply set it up along the perimeter of your yard. When a dog crosses, the sprinkler turns on spraying them. Just as with a ultrasonic sound alarm, sprinklers may not be effective for all types of dogs.

Offer Doggy Bags For Inconsiderate Neighbors Walking Dogs Past Your Lawn

If your problem consists of distant neighbors walking past your yard and allowing their dog to do their business there, then it may be more difficult to keep the dogs out. Consider posting a sign and doggy bags nearby. In writing, ask neighbors to please clean up after their dogs. This will encourage some neighbors to clean up and will embarrass others into keeping their dog off your lawn.  

Build A Fence To Keep The Animals Out

Fences are very effective in keeping out unwanted dogs. Cheap or temporary fences can keep out neighborhood dogs. Fencing is one of the most costly solutions, but also one of the most effective. If you are also trying to keep out neighborhood cats, then a few modifications to your fence will accomplish both goals. Fences should be partially buried to discourage dogs from digging holes to crawl under the fence. They should also be high enough that dogs can’t jump over them. Dogs don’t have as high of jumping abilities as other animals, but can still jump over low fences.

You will want to check the zoning laws for your neighborhood or the HOA rules to make sure that you follow the rules regarding fences.

Don’t Use These Tactics To Keep Dogs Away

Some homeowners recommend tactics that can be dangerous for dogs or other animals. Others recommend a revenge sort of stance to compel neighbors to keep dogs away. None of these tactics are a great solution.

Don’t use hot peppers to repel dogs.  Black pepper, Cayenne pepper, and other hot peppers can injure dogs. Dogs who walk across these deterrents can get burds on the pads of their feet and legs.

Don’t Use Coffee Grounds, mothballs, garlic powder or detergents to drive away dogs. They will also cause harm to the animals if ingested or with direct contact.  

Don’t throw the dog waste back at the neighbor’s yard, house, or cars. In many cities, this can result in charges against you. It also quickly deteriorates your relationship with your neighbors.

Related Questions

How do I keep the neighbor’s dog from pooping in my yard? Unfortunately, there is not an easy solution to keeping dogs from pooping in your yard unless you also choose to keep them out of your yard. It takes extensive training to allow a dog in your yard and keep him from also pooping there. Use the methods we’ve discussed above to keep neighbor dogs out of your yard altogether.  

What smells repel dogs? Dogs tend to stay away from citrus smells or other strong smells such as vinegar.

How do I keep my neighbors dog from digging under the fence?  You first need to discourage digging by burying chicken wire under your fence. This will also help to discourage cats from digging under your fence. Or you can place large rocks along your fence. Partially bury them. You can also attempt to train the dog. This requires more time and dedication to monitoring the inside of your fence. Every time the dog digs a hole under your fence, spray it with water and yell at it. This teaches the dog to stay away from your fence areas.


Consistency is vital to success. Dogs are smart and will notice a pattern of when they can get in. Further, because every dog has a different personality, it will probably take more than one method to keep local dogs out of your yard. Which solutions have you found to work?
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