Q: Our next-door neighbor’s dog uses our back yard as his bathroom. How can I get her to clean up after him?
A: Ask her! This is a reasonable request. Pick up the phone or stop her for a chat the next time you see her. “Jane, Buster has been leaving presents for us in our yard. Could you please pick up after him or keep him in your yard? It’s hard to avoid his messes, plus they’re killing our grass! Thanks!’’ The right tone can go a long way toward achieving the result you are hoping for. Thanking your neighbor for her help and asking nicely help her to remember that this is indeed a reasonable request coming from a reasonable person.