Barking dogs

All dogs bark, but some barking dogs become a real neighbourhood nuisance - greatly reducing the quality of life for their neighbours.

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

Ongoing barking is often a symptom of another problem and taking time to understand what makes dogs bark especially your pet or other dogs in your neighbourhood is the first step towards solving this problem.

Why dogs bark

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

Controlling the barking

The most important first step is to work out why your dog is barking.

Once you know the symptom, you can find the cure. Barking can be controlled through several small behavioural changes. Some behavioural changes could be as small as walking your dog twice a day to relieve boredom.

Dogs are social animals and require a certain amount of interaction on a daily basis. If your dog barks when you are away from the premises it is probably due to loneliness.

  • Provide your pet with stimulants
    An easy way of combating this is to provide your pet with stimulants such as balls and chew toys to keep them occupied while you are away. It can also be handy to leave a radio on and to leave something that belongs to you such as an old shoe.
  • Inside dogs / Bones as a treat
    If you can let your dog inside the house, provide your dog with a single room where odours relating to you can relax the dog. Try giving your dog a bone when you leave the house. This will teach your dog that when you leave there is a positive outcome.
  • Fences / Obedience training
    A fence that is correctly designed to restrict your dog’s vision will help reduce barking. Obedience training and discipline are also very important when trying to stop a barking problem. A dog can be trained to be alone and to bark only on command.

Council’s ‘Managing barking in our community’ information pack contains information and ideas to assist you in solving this issue.

My neighbour’s dog barks - what can I do?

  1. Talk to the dog’s owner as soon as the problem arises, and state your case clearly and politely. They may not be aware of the issue. Give your neighbour the ‘Managing barking in our community information pack’, and if the barking persists after a week or two, speak with your neighbour again to provide feedback.
  2. If the dog’s owner is unapproachable, or you are not comfortable approaching the dog owner, the notification letter and the fact sheet ‘Reasons why your dog may be barking excessively’ included in the ‘Barking dog nuisance information pack’ should be placed in the dog owner’s letter box.
  3. Ensure you provide sufficient time for the dog owner to rectify the problem.
  4. If the barking continues to be a problem after this period of time, you must provide written evidence to council in order for further action to be taken. The ‘Barking dog nuisance complaint’, contained within the ‘Barking dog nuisance information pack’ must be completed and returned to council.

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