How to Prevent the Neighbor’s Dog From Pooping in Your Yard

leashed dog standing on a sidewalk, looking forward with a tall wooden fence on the left side

To paraphrase an old saying: Poop stinks. It stinks even worse when it comes from someone else’s dog and it’s all over your yard. What can you do about it? Here are nine concrete methods to prevent the neighbor’s dog from pooping in your yard. 

And before you ask, no, one of the solutions isn’t to dump the poop on your neighbor’s doorstep. 

9 ways to keep your neighbor’s dog from pooping in your yard

1. Use dog-repelling scents

Dogs are famous for their sensitive noses, and you can use that keen sense of smell to your advantage. If your yard smells unpleasant to dogs, they’ll be less likely to venture into your territory. 

Here are some examples of strong scents that repel dogs:

  • Commercial dog-repellent sprays, which you can find online
  • Citrus trees, fruits, or juices
  • Rue plants
  • Citronella plants or oil 
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Ammonia
  • Rubbing alcohol 

Spread one or more of these substances along the boundary of your yard to warn passing dogs to stay away. For the liquids (such as vinegar and rubbing alcohol), it’s usually enough to soak a few cotton balls and place those along the boundary.

Note that many of these substances are toxic if the dog ingests them, so you have to be careful about where you place them. The goal is for these scents to keep dogs away, so they shouldn’t ever come close enough to eat the source of the smell, anyway. 

Scents to avoid: Some products designed to repel wildlife (such as raccoons, deer, skunks, or rabbits) contain the scent of coyote urine. Coyote urine might repel smaller animals, but it attracts dogs. If you use such a product and you have problems with dogs pooping in your yard all the time, discontinue use right away. 

2. Put up a barrier around your yard

Building a tall barrier such as a fence or hedge around your yard is the most effective way to keep neighbor’s dogs from getting in. Just make sure the fence or hedge doesn’t have gaps large enough for a dog to squeeze through. 

Many homeowners don’t like the idea of putting up a tall barrier around their front yard, and it isn’t always financially feasible. Instead, you can create a barrier along the ground made of rough landscaping rocks, mulch, or something similar that would be painful for dogs to walk on. Then, they’re more likely to pass over your yard and poop in someone else’s. 

3. Install motion-activated lawn sprinklers

Did you know there are lawn sprinklers you can set to come on automatically whenever someone (or some-dog) steps foot in your yard? 

Before the neighbor’s dog can poop on your grass, a sudden jet of water will startle him and hopefully scare him off. Since it’s just water, it won’t hurt the pup at all. Motion-activated sprinklers ward off wild animals such as coyotes, foxes, and deer, too. 

Does this method sound right for you? Here are a few popular motion-activated sprinklers for you to consider:

Most motion-activated sprinklers are easy to set up. All you have to do is stake them into the ground and connect them to the garden hose. 

4. Buy an ultrasonic repelling device

Are you familiar with the high-pitched whistles used to train dogs? An ultrasonic repelling device is similar to that. It emits a tone that humans can’t hear but that drives dogs (and wildlife) crazy. Keeping one of these devices in your yard pretty much guarantees dogs will stay away.

The noise from an ultrasonic repeller may temporarily disorient your neighbor’s dog, but it shouldn’t cause any lasting damage. The sound doesn’t travel through walls, so it won’t bother any pets inside your house. Just remember to turn the device off before letting your own dog outside.

Look for an ultrasonic repeller with these features:

  • Designed to work on dogs 
  • Intended for outdoor use
  • Stationary, not handheld 
  • Large enough range to cover your yard
  • Motion-activated 

5. Get a poop bag dispenser

One reason your neighbor might leave dog poop in your yard is that they forgot to bring a “doggy bag” with them on their walk or didn’t bring enough. 

You can be neighborly and install a small plastic bag dispenser like the kind you see in dog parks to encourage your neighbors to pick up after their pups. Install the dispenser near the road in a clearly visible spot. This is a friendly way to help your neighbor help you. 

6. Talk to your neighbor (calmly)

If you have a constant problem with the same neighbor letting their dog poop on your lawn, the easiest solution might be to ask them to stop. But before you do that, be sure you know who the culprit is. Don’t make any assumptions if you haven’t seen the dog do the “doo” with your own eyes. 

Here are some tips for effectively convincing your neighbor to pick up after their dog:

  • Find a good time to talk. Don’t ambush them right when they get home from work or when they’re clearly about to leave the house. 
  • Don’t blame or threaten. Simply let them know that the poop bothers you. 
  • Explain why you don’t want the dog poop on your lawn. Talk about the smell, the risk of spreading disease, or the potential for damaging your grass. Let them know how the poop in your yard has inconvenienced you. 
  • Offer solutions to the problem. Suggest that they carry doggy bags with them when they go for walks or recommend a nearby dog park where they could go instead of walking around the neighborhood.
  • Don’t use “revenge tactics” like dumping the poop on your neighbor’s porch or harming their dog. These actions create a hostile environment, and they don’t do anything to solve your problem. 

Most people will probably start picking up after their dog (at least in front of your house) once you call them out to their face. 

7. Put up signs

If you don’t know which neighbor is the problem or you’d rather not confront them directly, there is another way to achieve the same goal. You can put up signs near the road or sidewalk that say things like “please clean up after your dog” and “no trespassing.” 

Many homeowners have found that simply putting up signs is enough to encourage neighbors to stay away from their yard altogether. Of course, the effectiveness of this method will depend on your neighbor’s personality. 

8. Install security cameras

Visible security cameras and “under surveillance” signs are a huge deterrent for all kinds of wrongdoing, including leaving dog poop in your yard. The cameras can discourage the behavior and help you figure out who keeps leaving messes for you (if you don’t already know). 

Security cameras also allow you to collect evidence that your neighbor is neglecting their “doody” so they can’t deny it. Video evidence will be helpful if you end up having to file a complaint with animal control or your homeowners association (HOA). 

9. Get a neighborhood watch together

Setting up a neighborhood watch is a good idea if multiple people in your neighborhood are having the same problem you are. When you set up the watch, establish rules about cleaning up pet waste. 

Post flyers and send notices to make sure everyone in the neighborhood knows the rules. If some neighbors continue to break those rules, the watch can collect evidence to back up your claim if you end up complaining about the neighbor to animal control. 

Can you sue if your neighbor’s dog poops in your yard all the time? That depends on local ordinances. You can look up your local laws using the online Municode library

Here are some instructions on how to use the library to find relevant laws:

  • Step 1: Type the name of your city or county into the search bar at the top of the page that says, “Jump to any municipality” or click on your state on the map, then select your municipality from the list that appears. 
  • Step 2: Once you’re on your local page (it should say the name of the city, county, parish, etc., at the top of the page), you can search through all local laws in the database. 
  • Step 3: Type a relevant keyword, such as “dog” or “pet waste” into the search bar at the top of the page.
  • Step 4: Browse the pages that come up in your search results for a law about pet waste.

If you can’t find any relevant information online, contact your county or city clerk’s office. 

Depending on the laws where you live, your neighbor may have to pay a fine if they continue to let their dog poop in your yard. 

The dangers of dog waste in your yard

Leaving dog poop to sit in your yard carries some serious risks. Dog poop can:

  • Spread diseases such as salmonella, tapeworm, and giardia
  • Pollute water sources
  • Kill your grass

When your inconsiderate neighbor neglects to pick up their dog’s poop, they might affect the health of the whole neighborhood. You should always pick up dog poop and dispose of it properly, even when it’s in your own backyard. 

Dog pee in your yard may not be as dangerous as poop, but it still has negative effects on your lawn. Dog pee often causes brown spots of dead grass. 

Are you currently dealing with lawn damage from dog pee, dog poop, or other doggy behaviors? We can help you figure out how to handle it with these other guides:

The dangers of dog waste in your yard show why it’s so important to keep your neighbors’ dogs from going to the bathroom on your lawn.

FAQ about keeping dogs out of your yard

1. Can you use mothballs to repel dogs?

We don’t recommend using mothballs to keep dogs out of your yard. For starters, they’re hit or miss in their effectiveness as a dog-repellent. And sometimes, dogs end up eating the mothballs, which contain toxic pesticides that can cause serious illness or even death when ingested. 

2. What if the dog pooping in my yard is a stray?

If a stray dog keeps pooping in your yard, the dog-repelling scents and methods we talked about in this article should still keep her out of your yard. 

Do you want to help the stray dog get off the street? American Humane has advice on what to do with a stray animal on their website.  

3. What’s the best way to get rid of dog poop in my yard?

Good old-fashioned poop-scooping or picking it up with a bag and throwing it in the trash is the best way to get dog poop out of your lawn. 

There are some commercial products and home remedies that can dissolve dog poop, but they don’t always work. Even when they do, they take several days to work and might damage your lawn. 

Help Fido be a good neighbor

Living with neighbors who don’t clean up after their dogs can be frustrating, but it’s possible to coexist without resorting to extreme measures. Remember, Fido doesn’t know any better! 

Instead of going off the handle (or letting dog poop take over your front lawn), try these humane methods to prevent dogs from pooping in your yard.

Now that the dog poop is gone from your yard, does the lawn look like it could use some maintenance? Call one of Lawn Love’s local lawn care pros for mowing, fertilizing, weed control, and other services.

Main Photo Credit: Donald Clark | Pixabay

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and editor with a passion for sustainable, earth-friendly gardening and lawn care practices. When she isn't sharing her knowledge about lawn care and landscaping, you can find her curled up with a good book and a cat in her lap.