I expect there are more socially acceptable techniques for meeting our neighbors, but doubt few would be as effective - or as exhaustive - as what we've experienced with my daughter's dog, Chewie.
In years past, I've had nothing but German shepherds or shepherd mixes or mongrels that were intellectually equivalent to shepherds. Now, we have terriers.
Going from a teacup poodle to a Great Dane would've been a less jarring transition.
Translation from German shepherd to English: "Sir, what can I do that might please you, sir?"
Translation from terrier to English: "Huh?"
That's not to say that terriers aren't intelligent. They are. Impressively so. It's just that mine have apparently taken an oath never to use their intelligence for anything but entertainment or extrication purposes.
Such is the case with Chewie, who I would like to reiterate is my daughter's dog. She paid for him with her own money. He loves her the most. Adores her unabashedly. Eats fewer of her belongings than those of other family members.
But he apparently doesn't love her - or the rest of us - enough to not attempt an escape every chance that he can.
At our old house, when our dogs went outdoors, they were either on leashes or hooked to lead lines. It was a miserable arrangement, one that often had them tangled and tripping, unable to play. At our new house, we recently made the substantial financial sacrifice required to fence in part of the yard for the sole purpose of being able to simply open our kitchen door and let the dogs out. We enjoyed standing at the window, watching them roughhouse and play, tree the occasional squirrel, and slam into each other at high rates of speed.
But after a few weeks, we began watching at the window for another reason - to try to see where Chewie was escaping so we could plug up the hole.
Because our yard is uneven and slanting downhill, any small gaps caused by the terrain were almost immediately hidden by leaves. Even though we've walked the perimeter so many times we feel like prison guards, that determined little Chewdini still finds ways to escape.