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We recently moved to a new house with a big yard in a nice quiet neighborhood. Our lot is not fenced but we have a chunck in the center that is fenced (pool area). Our neighbor across the street is an elderly gentleman who LOVES dogs. His wife will not allow one. He came over to introduce himself and was thrilled that we have two dogs. He comes over for any excuse and he always has dog treats with him. Consequently my two dogs have become quite enamoured by him. Particularly my one dog who is a chow hound. It has gotten so bad that she looks for him whenever she is outside. One time she saw him come out and started to run across the road to him. Luckily she is old and slow and I got her. Granted our road is quiet but still it concerns me.

 

I recently found out that sometimes he comes over when they are in the fenced area and visits/gives them treats.

 

I'm thinking of asking him to stop giving them treats all together. One I don't know exactly what is in the treats, and two I feel I'm losing some control over my dogs. Certainly I will ask him not to come over to them when we are not present.

 

But am I being too harsh? He means well. And certainly if something happened and they got loose there would be someone else they would be eager to go to most likely. Of course I don't want to be mean.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

TIA

Jennifer

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We recently moved to a new house with a big yard in a nice quiet neighborhood. Our lot is not fenced but we have a chunck in the center that is fenced (pool area). Our neighbor across the street is an elderly gentleman who LOVES dogs. His wife will not allow one. He came over to introduce himself and was thrilled that we have two dogs. He comes over for any excuse and he always has dog treats with him. Consequently my two dogs have become quite enamoured by him. Particularly my one dog who is a chow hound. It has gotten so bad that she looks for him whenever she is outside. One time she saw him come out and started to run across the road to him. Luckily she is old and slow and I got her. Granted our road is quiet but still it concerns me.

 

I recently found out that sometimes he comes over when they are in the fenced area and visits/gives them treats.

 

I'm thinking of asking him to stop giving them treats all together. One I don't know exactly what is in the treats, and two I feel I'm losing some control over my dogs. Certainly I will ask him not to come over to them when we are not present.

 

But am I being too harsh? He means well. And certainly if something happened and they got loose there would be someone else they would be eager to go to most likely. Of course I don't want to be mean.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

TIA

Jennifer

 

I think if you were to talk with him, explain the situation vis a vis running across the street and treat content, he'd understand. Offer "supervised visitation". I'm sure contact with dogs is important to him.

One of the kids at my daughter's school is madly in love with Cerb. He's a special education student and sometimes can't control himself completely, but he loves Cerb and Cerb loves him back. I just about tear up every day when the hug and lick session starts.

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Maybe give your neighbor two bags, each bag with seperate treats for each of your dogs and tell him they are on a restricted ( grain free, etc) diet and these are what is ok for each to eat. Then tell him an amount they can have. And tell him about your concerns of them going across the road without supervision. All of it is a reasonable request and would still allow him to got some joy from your dogs on your terms. Who knows, you may need to call on this neighbor in the future for help with your dogs? I completely understnad your concerns and they are valid, but maybe you could "share" your dogs on your terms a bit and still be comfortable with it? And tell him pats for the dogs are unlimited.

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I agree with what the others have said. Given the man's age and obvious love of dogs, I'd probably try to cut him as much slack as possible. Just talk to him and make sure he understands your rules regarding the dogs. Who knows? Someday he may be in a position to do you a favor regarding your dogs and you'll be grateful you cultivated his friendship! (As I've lost parents and other elderly family members, I've found that I've come to value the elderly much more than I ever did when I was younger. If you cultivate this gentelman's friendship you might find that you are paid back in spades.)

 

J.

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My rule about treats is no one treats my dog but me. People can bring treats for my dog, but I feed them. Some people get their backs up about it at first, but they get over it.

 

I have seen the situation you describe where a dog headed into the street to rush to a treat-dispensing friend. And as you say there can be dietary issues. I have also known people who had overweight dogs because of treat dispensing friends and neighbors. Also, other people give too many treats and don't ask for the dog to do anything for them, so the dog becomes a dreadful mooch, and shoves its nose into the pockets of neighbors who think it's cute to egg the dog on to rude behavior.

 

I tell people that they are welcome to interact with my dog if they like by throwing a ball or a Wubba in a fenced area, or to go along on walks. But I don't want my dog to regard my friends as treat-dispensers - especially since the non dog-owning ones are apt to buy the most disgusting Safeway-bought concoctions of corn syrup and food coloring.

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We live in a neighborhood with a lot of older people, some in failing health. One older gentleman whose poor health only occasionally allows him to sit on his front porch gets a lot of pleasure when he gets to pet my dogs and visit with me. He always wants to give the dogs treats- which I allow. Cody, my rather large BC, acts like he knows that man needs for him to be gentle and to sit close. This is not an everyday event - but with the happiness it brings my neighbor I wish it was.

 

Your fear about the dogs running across the road is really understandable. I would make a "treat" pad. A small rug ( for example) where the dogs must go and sit to receive their treats from the neighbor. Your gentleman would probably enjoy helping to teach this trick and it will help with safety. We have four dogs that all get fed in a particular spot, to avoid any stress. All I have to do is say "go to your spot" and the dogs understand that they each run to their individual location.

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I have to go to a funeral in Pennsylvania tomorrow - 8 hour drive, and 8 hours back on Saturday. Three of my neighbors who have come to know and love Buddy are going to come to my house to feed, walk, let him out, and visit so he's not alone for 36 hours. Much preferable to kenneling this fearful, reactive dog who took a long time to learn to trust.

 

Do my neighbors occasionally seem like treat dispensers to Buddy? Yup. But the way to his heart has consistently been through his stomach, and that's a price I'm willing to pay for good human interactions, and neighbors who are willing to shoulder this burden for me.

 

I do understand about the street, and would try to work that out. But over the 7 years I've lived in this neighborhood with a dog (after being anonymous and dog-free my whole adult life), I've learned that a concerned neighbor who's willing to watch the house or take in the mail is worth a few compromises on my usual standards. :)

 

Mary

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Thanks for the responses. I went over tonight with a box of fruit and thanked him for looking out for us. And I asked him to please not give any more food to my dogs other than raw green beans (a regular part of their diet that I know is not problematic). I explained we are having digestive issues, which is not a lie.

 

Having him walk the dogs is not possible. They would be too much for him, he seems somewhat frail. I will ask him to make them "work" for their "treats" in the future. In particular we can work on him making the "road runner" stay/sit in our yard in a particular spot. I think it will work.

 

I don't want to come across as anti-elderly. I do appreciate his interest and I'm glad he gets such joy from the dogs. I do anticipate in the future his familiarity with the dogs will come in handy.

 

Thanks all

Jennifer

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Years ago when we lived in town, a senior citizen complex was nearby. We had "Woofer" then, a mutt of uncertain parentage whose mother was a Lab and whose father must have been a bearded collie for he looked more than anything like one of that breed.

 

Woofer was very property minded and person minded so imagine my shock and horror when I looked down from my perch on a ladder from which I was painting on the second story siding of our Victorian house and saw this tiny old lady inside our fence at our dog's dog house talking and playing with Woofer. I wondered if I should keep my mouth shut -- perhaps he'd forgotten I was there and that "his" boy was napping in his pram on the porch just behind him.

 

I carefully came down the ladder took the dog's collar and advised her that it wasn't a good idea to approach the dog. She laughed and said they were old friends - that she'd been visiting and talking with him since she'd moved in about a month ago!

 

Well, if the dog that tore a stripe off a policeman's pants trusted "Auntie Helen", then I guess I could too! I needed a babysitter for about an hour three days a week between the time I went to work and DH came home. Auntie Helen fit the bill!

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I agree with what the others have said. Given the man's age and obvious love of dogs, I'd probably try to cut him as much slack as possible. Just talk to him and make sure he understands your rules regarding the dogs. Who knows? Someday he may be in a position to do you a favor regarding your dogs and you'll be grateful you cultivated his friendship! (As I've lost parents and other elderly family members, I've found that I've come to value the elderly much more than I ever did when I was younger. If you cultivate this gentelman's friendship you might find that you are paid back in spades.)

 

J.

 

 

I like how Julie expressed my thoughts!

 

Now that my parents are well up in their 80's, I see how little things like this brighten their day. They enjoy a big cat that lives next door to them who spends most of his day in their yard and much of their conversation revolves around what Smoky the Cat did that day.

 

I can guarantee that if your dogs learn to take treats only when they are in their "treat spot", it will make his day and be the topic of conversation at the elderly man's table every night. It's tough to get old and it can be very lonely and boring. I say be as gracious and kind as you can. Think of him as your dogs' grandpa!:lol: Let the dogs send him a Valentine's Day card!

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When Celt and Megan were both Therapy Dogs, we used to visit the rehab center. I remember one elderly gent who was particularly happy to see these working farm dogs when they visited. He had grown up on a farm where they had had working Border Collie or crosses - while he was too old and frail to do anything but stroke their heads, he got such joy out of petting them and recalling memories from long, long ago, that he quickly became my favorite person to visit with the dogs.

 

I hope it all works out so everyone can find joy in your being neighbors!

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I had a similar situation many years ago. I couldn't figure out why my dog was gaining weight. I agree with the poster who said give the gentleman some of your own treat and explain the situation. I kind of think it is nice that he likes your dogs and wants to spend time with them. Think of the alternative, neighbors who hate dogs and complain. Embrace the situation in a positive way and both you and your dogs and a nice friend.

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Now that my parents are well up in their 80's, I see how little things like this brighten their day. They enjoy a big cat that lives next door to them who spends most of his day in their yard and much of their conversation revolves around what Smoky the Cat did that day.

 

I can guarantee that if your dogs learn to take treats only when they are in their "treat spot", it will make his day and be the topic of conversation at the elderly man's table every night. It's tough to get old and it can be very lonely and boring.

This made me smile; it is a great description of how it was for my parents too, including the visiting cat. The OP's situation is really a good opportunity to build up the neighborly relationship.

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I have extremely dog friendly neighbors too. They give out treats and even bits off the bbq. I don't have the heart to tell them not to. I just watch my dogs close as I can to keep them from crossing the STREET to get there. On the occasion that Mick has darted over (he loves kids and friendly people) they are kind and understand my worries so they walk him home, all the way up my driveway. Dew got yelled at by me so she never crosses but sits in our yard and whines to go see them.

I don't encourage Mick to go see them but I do feel better that they watch out for them. They come over about once a month to pet the dogs and get up close and personal with the sheep.

 

I was out in the barn early fall, I heard the neighbor calling me. I go out (dogs with me) to see what's going on. She was watching a stray dog stalk my sheep. She was already getting in her car to drive over (long driveways) to intervene. Made my day! They whole family loves watching my sheep. They have also called me when one of my lambs kept escaping out the eclectic fence. They named him Houdini. I named him dinner!

Right next door to them are some part time kids (step kids) that play basketball, which is Mick's favorite thing besides working sheep. I don't let them out if the kids are out but Mick has escaped and ran over. The kids gave him a deflated ball all his own. But the whole thing worries me, Mick loses his head for a ball. So I worry about the street. I really watch for them to be out then lock the doors!

 

It's funny, I have a few other neighbors who aren't as dog friendly, the dogs know who is and who isn't, they never go to the neighbors who don't enjoy them.

Good neighbors are few and far between. I'd work on finding a way to make it work for both your dogs and your neighbor. You never know when you might need them.

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From the other side of the fence, so to speak, when we had to have Scooter euthanized almost a year ago due to a brain tumor, we were lost. To fill the void, my 66 year old husband started putting treats in his pockets when he went outside, just in case the little toy poodle/bichon next door was outside. The neighbors had no objection and DH began to look forward to his daily meet, greet and treat sessions.

 

Just being able to connect with another dog during that time really helped him get through the loss of our boy. Now that we have another dog, he still keeps a few little treats in his pocket for the neighbor's dog, and enjoys the interaction.

 

And yes, we are the ones the neighbors call on if they need someone to care for their little one, and we are always happy to help. :)

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Just got back from my 36-hour drive... and found copious notes from all 3 neighbors watching Buddy about his eating and pooping and walking. He was glad to see me, but truthfully I'm not even sure he knows I was away outside an unusally long work day. :)

 

Mary

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I was always taught that it was the height of bad manners to feed someone else's dog, unless that dog is actually starving (as in 'ribs and spine visible' rather than 'acting hungry'). Both because of the idea that you could be diverting its loyalty or encouraging unwanted behaviour, and because the owner has to be able to control the dog's diet in case of overweight, allergies, food intolerances etc. It really annoys me, because I know it's well-meant, but it's still rude and difficult to solve. Maybe it would be acceptable if the other person asked permission first and let you know exactly what and how much was being fed, but otherwise absolutely not.

 

A friend of mine had a problem with strangers trying to feed her pony poisonous weeds, because they didn't know the difference. I've heard of cats simply not coming home again, and staying with the other person who feeds them.

 

Anyone seen that cat food ad, where the woman 'has to buy extra' because she's feeding her neighbour's healthy cat every day?

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I was always taught that it was the height of bad manners to feed someone else's dog, unless that dog is actually starving (as in 'ribs and spine visible' rather than 'acting hungry'). Both because of the idea that you could be diverting its loyalty or encouraging unwanted behaviour, and because the owner has to be able to control the dog's diet in case of overweight, allergies, food intolerances etc. It really annoys me, because I know it's well-meant, but it's still rude and difficult to solve. Maybe it would be acceptable if the other person asked permission first and let you know exactly what and how much was being fed, but otherwise absolutely not

 

It might be bad manners, if my neighbors were taught or thought the same way you do, but obviously they don't and I don't think they are bad neighbors because they love my dogs.

I am a dog person, I probably wouldn't feed someone elses dog without permission but not all people know the unspoken rules of animal people.

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It might be bad manners, if my neighbors were taught or thought the same way you do, but obviously they don't and I don't think they are bad neighbors because they love my dogs.

I am a dog person, I probably wouldn't feed someone elses dog without permission but not all people know the unspoken rules of animal people.

 

No, I don't think it means they're bad neighbors. I know it's done out of kindness, and because the other person has a good heart and loves dogs. If the owner doesn't say anything and the other person's never been taught about it then they can't be expected to know, for example. It's only really rude if it's been discussed and they don't stop.

 

If I make a mistake like that in an area where I'm unfamiliar with the rules (unspoken or otherwise), I'd be mortified and feel I had behaved rudely accidentally: I do it often enough! With most of these areas in life, you're expected to make an effort to learn the rules, and you expect to be given some leniency while learning them. The same kind of thing should hold true here.

 

Interestingly it's mostly dog people who do it, in my experience.

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Last night we had guests over and to my embarrassment the chow hound dog pestered them for treats. She stopped after I threatened to put her up but gave the pittiful stare for another ten minutes. Then she gave up and went to lie down. I think in time with more people coming over and not feeding her she'll get it.

 

As long as my neighbor abides by my wish to only give them green beans and for "work" I think we'll be fine. Only time will tell if my wishes are followed.

 

Jennifer

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Actually my petsitter used to be like this when she started with me, 10 years ago. She is an older, retired neighbor and she just thought my dogs were adorable and she gave them a constant stream of treats. At the time I had all Shelties, and Shelties + treats = fat dogs in no time!

 

I made sure to provide the treats and tell her the dosage per dog; I put plenty of things like sweet potato chips in the treat jars rather than big biscuits; and I got her to make the dogs DO something to earn the treats, rather than just cluster around her 'being so cute.' She and her family have had dogs, they adopt shelter dogs (bless them), but they never really trained the dogs. She was amazed at what my dogs can and will do for food.

 

My petsitter also taught my dogs what 'all gone' means and that put an end to the pestering and pitiful 'feed me' looks. Your neighbor could do that! And sometimes he could just give them pets, no treats, so they don't automatically assume that his presence means they are getting fed.

 

Boy, considering some of the stories about neighbors from hell I've heard among my dog-owning friends, you've got a super situation there! I'm glad it's working out for all.

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