Dear Maria,

I live in a pet-friendly condominium neighborhood. Our neighbor above us works from home. Our dog is a bit territorial and sometimes barks at people walking by the building (walking their dog, jogging, etc.). We both work outside the home. Our neighbor has told my husband that if the barking doesn’t stop, he’s going to go to the association.

We have only lived here less than a month, and our neighbor has complained twice. Our dog only barks a few times a day….and for a short period of time. We knew we would have to deal with neighbors about noises from our condo that may be a bit disturbing, but I am not thinking that it is a big deal. We worry we will be forced to get rid of our dog because he hasn’t had a neighbor with a dog before. That thought terrifies me. I don’t want our adopted dog to have to be re-homed.

The same neighbor has his own noise producing issues that have disturbed our peace as well. He has a motorcycle that he likes to ride and he has 3 times now revved it up in the evening, once was at 9 p.m. after my husband and dog went to bed. I find it quite annoying to have someone threaten me about noise when he himself creates noises at night that most likely disturb more than just us (the Harley is very loud, much louder than our dog for sure!)

Any suggestions on how to deal with the neighbor? Both regarding our dog’s occasional barking, and his motorcycle noise?

Signed,

Concerned about Our Dog

Dear Concerned about Our Dog,

“Good fences make good neighbors,” wrote Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall. Today, he might add, “and soundproof buildings.”

Among humans living in close proximity, we tend to find other peoples’ noise disturbing, while our own is perfectly acceptable. It seems silly to me that a person living in a pet-friendly building would be surprised and disturbed by a dog barking. On the other hand, since you’re gone during the day, perhaps your territorial canine barks more often than you think.

17d28a0f1d9560b5c762c80d17168ddaDogs are all about their pack. It could be that your dog is having trouble adjusting to being alone all day in his new environment. He’s extra jittery until the whole gang is back home. Google “dog separation anxiety” and you’ll find many resources to help calm your pet.

Your neighbor has told you he has a problem with the noise. Have you told him you’re not happy with the late evening Harley demonstrations? Reach out to him again and explain the situation. Perhaps there’s a way to work out a compromise: you look for ways to resolve the barking issue, and he saves the revving for daylight hours. Since this is a pet-friendly condominium, I wonder if the association could force you to get rid of your dog? Check your bylaws to see where you stand. Either way, you’d rather not live in a state of tension with your neighbor. Letting this situation escalate to the condo association guarantees tension, even hostility. Try to work it out between your two households first.