Barking dogs are the most common complaint made to Council each year. All dogs bark, but some dogs can bark continuously, often becoming a neighbourhood nuisance and greatly reducing quality of life for surrounding neighbours.
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:
Controlling the barking
The first, most important 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, such 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 a radio on and to leave something that belongs to you, such as an old shoe.
Another option is to allow your dog access to one room inside your home where there are odours relating to you. This can relax your dog. Or, 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.
A fence that is correctly designed to restrict your dog's vision could also 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.
My neighbour's dog barks - what can I do?
Talk to your neighbour as soon as the problem arises. They may not be aware that their dog barks or that their dog's barking is bothering you. Give your neighbour this information and if the barking persists after a week or two, speak with your neighbour again to provide feedback.
If your neighbour is unapproachable, or does not agree that a problem exists, it would be advantageous to contact the Dispute Resolution Centre on 1800 681 109 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a mediation session to assist in resolving the issue.
If meditation is unable to resolve the issue, the Council may be contacted for further advice.
Handy Hints for Barking Dogs
Noise pollution and your dog
Barking is a dog's natural means of communication and often signifies alertness to danger. This makes it useful, even to owners of adjoining properties, if burglars or other intruders and/or fire are the reasons for its alarm. If a dog backs continuously for other reasons, the causes are varied:
How to care for your dog
Most of these causes of barking can, and should, be eliminated. Attention to one or several of the following remedies does not take much time and will eliminate many troubles;
In all these areas your dog will respond to your care. Proper and effective control will help it to adjust to the requirements of crowded living areas, thus reducing, if not eliminating nuisance problems.
Curing the continual barking habit
If, after reading the previous section on "How to care for your dog" you decide that your dog is well cared for, there remains a number if remedies that may be tried to subdue barking:
The RSPCA has done much to make the public aware of the need to prevent cruelty to animals. Don't forget however, that the continual barking can constitute cruelty to people. Help prevent cruelty to everyone by reducing the noise of barking dogs to a level that is only unavoidable, acceptable or desirable.