How to Be a Good New Neighbor, Part II

In Part I, we talked about how you and your family can become welcome members of your new Florida community.

To sum it up, if you want good neighbors, be one. Many of you likely heeded the tactics in Part I during previous moves.Good Neighbor

But, let’s talk about the one topic that can cause neighborly strife: pets.

Our pets are family members and most folks understand that. Not everyone loves pets, however. And there’s no quicker way to get on a new neighbor’s wrong side than having to apologize for your best animal buddy.

So read on for some practical, neighborly ways to keep the pet peace.

Dogs need fences and leashes

It doesn’t matter if you own a tiny Yorkie or a 100-pound English Mastiff. That Yorkie can escape and do business in someone else’s yard, or snap at neighboring ankles just like any dog.

Worse, if your new neighborhood has hiking trails, and runners, walkers and bicycle riders who zoom past your house everyday, that’s an open invitation for an unrestrained Fido to chase them. Then Fido can’t be outside without supervision. And you have time for that, right?

Here’s the other thing: many local and state laws (and HOA covenants) require dogs to be leashed outside. Don’t be that contrary owner whom everyone in the community grumbles about.

Just be prepared budget-and-timing-wise to hire a fencing contractor before, or immediately after you move into your new custom Florida home. Fido can play safely outdoors, and you and your new neighbors will be happier about it. (Sidebar: be sure to ask your HOA what kind of fencing regulations they have in place. You may not be allowed to have fences of certain heights or materials. If your dog is a fence-jumper, you might need to take this into consideration when choosing your new community.)

Barkers and yodlers won’t make friends

But if Fido spends lots of time outdoors…

Is he or she very vocal? If so, you’re probably used to the chatter and appreciate that Fido is watchful of odd noises and goings on.

Your neighbors might not be. Also, dogs aren’t the only culprits here. They probably don’t want your outdoor cat screaming under their windows at 3 a.m., either.

Once our pets have developed habits, it’s hard to change them. And you don’t want to stifle their personalities. But constant barking and screeching — especially outside — will wear thin to nearby households.

Consider obedience or behavioral training, or consult your veterinarian. Maybe Fido or Fluffy’s just bored. Either way, adding more exercise into your pet’s routine is always a helpful step.

Your dog can help you make new friends

Walking the dog is great exercise for you and your pet. (And, as we stated above, it’s a good way to curb boredom barking.) It’s also a great way for you to get to know your new neighborhood and neighbors.

When we’re in a vehicle, we often pass places and people without much notice. On foot, we tend to notice who lives where, who appears to enjoy gardening and where the sidewalks and trails go.

Some of those trails might lead to the community dog park. Other neighborhood dog walkers you meet can give you the skinny on it, and once there, you’ll undoubtedly strike up conversations and friendships while your canines run, jump and play within the park’s fenced enclosure.

You’ll find dog parks at these ICI Homes communities: Nocatee in Ponte Vedra, Asturia in Odessa, Bexley in Land O’Lakes and FishHawk Ranch in Lithia, and many more have dog parks a short drive away!

Ready for your custom Florida home? Start the conversation here.