Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs however it can be a source of annoyance and frustration for neighbours and the community as a whole.
Some dogs will bark at people walking by or cars driving past but once they have continued on their journey, the barking should cease. This barking can also act as a deterrent for would-be thieves or trespassers. It is when this becomes excessive that problems arise for owners, neighbours and the dog.
Barking dogs is one of the most common animal behavioural problems Council is asked to deal with.
Ongoing barking is often a symptom of another problem and taking time to understand what makes your dog bark is the first step towards solving this problem, for both the dog involved and your neighbours.
Reasons dogs bark…
- Dogs are very social animals and often bark when they are lonely
- Separation from an owner can cause dogs to stress
- Barking may also be the result of boredom and frustration
- Dogs bark out of fear – this can be the result of boredom and frustration
- Dogs bark when there is a threat to their territory
- Playing with your dog sometimes stimulates barking
- Some breeds have a reputation for barking
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.
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 something that belongs to you such as an old shoe.
Give the dog a bone when you leave the house. This will teach your dog that when you leave there is a positive reaction.
A fence that is correctly designed to restrict your dog's vision will help reduce barking. This may include placing shade-cloth along the fence.
Obedience training and discipline are also very important when trying to stop a barking problem.
If your neighbours are approachable, working with them to find a solution is a good first option. They may not be aware that their dogs are creating a nuisance. Explaining the impact that the barking is having, without becoming angry or judgemental, can help guide discussions towards resolving the problem. Even though you may like dogs or feel that the solution is not your responsibility, offering support in the first instance can encourage appropriate action.
If you are uncomfortable addressing your neighbour directly, a template of a letter you can complete can be found in the related documents section.
We recommend also enclosing a copy of our brochure (see the related documents section) which contains information which may help identify why the dog is causing a disturbance, as well as techniques to reduce barking.
Give your neighbour time to address the issue. If the barking persists, then we encourage you to contact Council.
Council will advise the owner of a complaint and request that they act. You will be asked to complete a Barking Dog Diary, a copy of which can be found in the related documents section.
Council requires documented evidence of nuisance instances to be collected before the issue can be escalated. The information used in the diary may be used as evidence if the matter escalates.
The diary also allows Council Officers to better identify the cause of the nuisance, which in turn helps them to better assist owners when resolving the issue.
The survey must be formally lodged – it cannot be anonymous. This is a requirement as the document supports any escalation action.
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