How do you get your neighbor to stop allowing their dog to poop on your lawn? Particularly if they leave the poop behind or are damaging your lawn or a favorite plant? Like any situation with a neighbor, it can get tricky. You want to maintain peace in the neighborhood, but also protect your property. How do you do it? Here are three ways that can actually work to stop the neighbor’s dog from pooping on your lawn.

Speak with the Neighbor

While it can be cathartic to think of revenge plots on your neighbor, or even just fantasize about yelling at them about their obviously self-centered poop-habits, it’s not wise to start that way. It is best to begin with a simple conversation where you explain how you feel and request your neighbor stop allowing their dog to poop on your property. Try to be as non-confrontational, but also as firm, as possible.

If you dread this kind of conversation, don’t worry. With a little prep work, you can walk into it with much better chances of success. Here’s what we suggest:

  • Understand yourself: Think about or write out the polite reasons you don’t want the dog poop on your property. They might be that you care about your lawn health, you don’t want to have to pick up after their dog, etc. That way you’ll be able to express them to your neighbor.
  • Reduce blame: Practice “I” statements. You can use these to phrase your concerns in a way that minimize the blame your neighbor feels. The less blame they feel, the more receptive they will be. Your “I” statement might sound like one of these:
    • “I worry about that special plant when your dog poops there.”
    • “I need to wash away the poop to protect my grass and that wastes a lot of my time.”
    • “I feel like you don’t respect my property when you let your dog poop here.”
  • Be calm: Wait until you’re calm. If you’re currently angry about the situation, you won’t come across well, and may end up making the situation worse.
  • Pick your moment: Try to pick a time when you think your neighbor will be most calm and receptive. This should improve your odds.

Review the Law

When your neighbor isn’t receptive, you may be able to up the ante. In many places in California, including in San Francisco, there are fines for allowing your dog to poop anywhere that is not your own property. Of course, these fines aren’t usually levied against people who promptly pick up their dog poop promptly. Instead, they are used to allow city officials to stop people like your neighbor.

You’ll need to know the law in order to find out what kind of evidence you need or where you should make your report. You may need to collect footage of the neighbor’s dog pooping on your property.

Fence the Property

When possible, as a last resort, you could fence off the area that the neighbor’s dog is using. Even a short, decorative fence may discourage the dog from choosing your lawn.