Watch out for that tree.

Freddy paces from door to door. He hops on his hind legs to alert me. He needs to be let out. He runs round the side of the house and barks with his buddy, Bella. Sometimes, they bark at the pack of dogs living in the yard behind us. Sometimes they bark at people walking along the sidewalk. They particularly like to bark at the other dogs as they dare to walk their owners in front of our house. Bella likes to bark at the falling leaves. They are a fine team.

A ridiculous number of dogs reside in the back neighbor's yard. Truly, there must be close to 8 dogs sharing that small world behind a shabby fence. Noisiness is the aim of a poor man's alarm system. Quite efficacious, too, as I can't imagine why anyone would want to break into that house with all that racket. I don't even want to go into my own backyard.

My high maintenance boy is perpetually annoyed. It's an irritation, true, but dogs have a job to do. In their view, as I understand it, it is dire to protect the territory of the pack. I can't read dogs' minds but barking seems to give Freddy self esteem albeit with a touch of grandiosity. So I say, "good boy" and "it's okay" to encourage instinctual behavior.

It's important to be supportive. One day, they might even have a point.