Barking dogs

All dogs bark, but some barking dogs become a real neighbourhood nuisance. 

Barking dogs are the most common animal behaviour problem Council is asked to deal with. 

Under Council's Animal Management Local Law 2023, a barking dog is considered a noise nuisance if it makes a noise which:

  • is repetitious or incessant and
  • unreasonably disrupts or inhibits activities at adjoining or nearby land.

Why dogs bark 

Reasons for excessive barking include:

  • Dogs are social animals and often bark when they are lonely
  • Separation from an owner can cause the dog stress
  • Barking may also be the result of boredom, frustration, or a dog's way of seeking attention from its owner
  • Dogs bark out of fear - this can be fear of people, objects or others animals
  • Dogs bark when there is a threat to their territory
  • Playing with your dog often stimulates barking
  • Some breeds have a reputation for barking
  • Some dominant dogs bark until they get what they want.

Dog owners' responsibilities

Dog owners are responsible for the making sure their dogs don't bark too much and cause a noise nuisance.

A barking dog is considered a noise nuisance if it makes a noise which unreasonably disrupts or inhibits activities at adjoining or nearby land by making a noise which is repetitious or incessant. It may take some time to change the dog's behaviour.

Not all dog barking is considered a noise nuisance. Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs and is one of the ways they communicate.

My dog is barking - what should I do?

Before you can successfully manage a barking problem, you will need to identify the cause:

  • talk to your neighbours to find out the times your dog is barking
  • drive or walk around the block and watch/listen for awhile
  • start a tape recorder or video camera when you leave for work.

When is barking a problem?

Barking is a problem if the dog barks:

  • when left alone for extended periods
  • immediately after you leave home
  • excessively when people pass by your property
  • when attention seeking.

You know you have a problem when:

  • your neighbours tell you
  • a complaint is lodged with Council
  • it annoys you.

What can I do?

Council recommends you consider the following options in the first instance.

Contact your vet to discuss the issue
Dogs can sometimes bark due to other underlying health issues (particularly if the issue is causing pain or discomfort). It is recommended that you consider taking your dog to your vet for a check-up to discuss the barking and identify any possible short and long-term solutions.

Increase exercise
Taking your dog for a good walk provides your dog with physical and mental stimulation. A walk in the morning and/or having a ‘dog walker’ in the middle of the day can help tire your dog out, reduce anxiety levels and help reduce barking behaviours.

You could also consider taking your dog to an off-leash dog park. Check out the list of dog off-leash areas in the Moreton Bay area.

A bored dog will often seek to attract attention by barking. Provide stimulation such as:

  • chew toys or toys with treats stuffed inside can help preoccupy a dog for some time
  • a meat bone to provide hours of chewing time for your dog
  • dropping you dog at doggy day-care or a friend's place for company during the day.

Regular dog training can provide your dog with mental, physical and social stimulation. You can also train your dog to only bark on command.

Consult a professional dog training service to assist you with a range of dog behavioural issues, including barking. Details can be found at your local pet store, vet or Association of Pet Dog Trainers website.

Fencing design
Dogs often bark at regular disturbances such as rubbish trucks and people passing by. Filling in gaps and cracks in your fencing will block the dogs view and may reduce the problem barking.

Keeping your dog inside
Your dog may be particularly attracted to barking at native wildlife (such as possums and birds) or a neighbourhood cat. Keeping your dog inside (especially if it is barking at night-time) can help alleviate excessive barking at times that are sensitive to residents in your neighbourhood.

My neighbour's dog is barking excessively - what can I do?

People are sometimes unaware their animal is causing a nuisance.

  1. Talk to the dog's owner as soon as the problem arises. State your case clearly and politely as they may not be aware of the issue. 
  2. If you are not comfortable approaching the dog owner or the owner is unapproachable, the notification letter (included in the Barking dog fact sheet(PDF, 799KB)) and Barking dogs - dog owner fact sheet(PDF, 853KB) should be placed in the dog owner's letter box. 
  3. Allow sufficient time for the dog owner to rectify the problem. Council asks you wait 14 days for the barking to be addressed.
  4. Council suggests that you complete an Animal noise nuisance diary(PDF, 264KB) as this will be required if a barking complaint is made to Council.

Reporting a barking dog

If the barking continues to be a problem after this time and can’t be solved by talking to the dog owner, you can report the problem to Council online or by phone during business hours. 

Provide as much information as possible, including:

  • correct address of where the dog is kept
  • description of the dog
  • detailed list of dates, times and possible causes for the dogs barking using the Animal noise nuisance diary
  • how the barking is affecting you

If you report a barking dog, Council will:

  • contact the dog’s owner and let them know a complaint has been received
  • provide the dog’s owner with information about why the dog may make excessive noise and suggest ways it could be resolved
  • give the dog owner two weeks to resolve the noise problem
  • require you to complete an Animal noise nuisance diary and send it to us if the noise nuisance continues.

If it is determined that the dog is causing an ongoing noise nuisance, Council may:

  • issue a notice to remedy
  • issue an infringement notice
  • commence legal or other action to resolve the matter which may include seizing the dog.

Your responsibilities when you report a barking dog

  • Keep us informed - give the dog owner some time to resolve the problem and let us know what happens.
  • Keep complete and detailed records - keep an animal noise diary when the dog barks and how long the barking continues.
  • Be prepared to go to court - if we take legal action against the dog owner, you may be asked to attend court and give evidence.

RSPCA provides articles on barking dogs and can be contacted to act on animal welfare issues.