Getting to know the neighbors

by Ed Parker
(Gainesville, FL)

Ed, Gabe (white) & Little Bit

Ed, Gabe (white) & Little Bit

I brought home my Mom's 2 minis Gabriel(Gabe) male 6yrs & Little Bit female 5 yrs a few months ago. I have neighbors on the south side of my fenced-in back yard, who have 2 toddlers (ages 1 & 3). I (mistakenly) took the "pups" over to visit in their back yard a few days ago, hoping that getting to know them and/or familiarity with the kids' voices would keep the pups from barking when the kids come out to play. I said "mistakenly" because, as I found out later, the pups had never been exposed to young children before, and treated the toddlers as "threats". They were very aggressive, probably thinking they were protecting me.

Since that didn't work - or back-fired (LOL), is there a way to train/condition the minis to know that the kids/neighbors are "friends", and therefore they don't need to bark? They have free reign of the back yard through the doggie door. I'm not always around to supervise them. I have a couple of thoughts on the subject, but both may be bad:

1) If the neighbors call out the dogs' names when they bark, would that help?

2) If I go over to the neighbors yard and talk to them - leaving Gabe & Little Bit in my yard - would the dogs eventually think of the neighbors yard as friendly territory?

Thanks! Ed Parker

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