All local authorities have rules around barking dogs. They may fine dog owners, and in some circumstances, impound your dog for repeated breaches of the law.
If multiple neighbors complain, most authorities act swiftly, so ensure you train your dog and are aware of their behavior when you’re away.
If you have a dog that barks a lot, you need to sort it out before someone calls animal control. A barking dog can drive neighborsnuts, and is likely to get you in trouble with authorities. The most responsible action a dog owner can make is to stop their dog from barking and annoying neighbors.
It would be preferable for a neighbour to come over and talk to you, but sometimes a measured response to a barking dog isn’t a neighbor’s concern. They may be of the opinion that your dog barks too much and they want it sorted.
Ideally, if you know your dog barks a lot, you should bring it inside or do what it takes to quieten them down. Upsetting your neighbors or having your pooch removed is something definitely to avoid. A fine is also the last thing any responsible dog owner wants.
Listen to Your Neighbor’s Concerns
If you’re worried animal control may take your dog, you have probably noticed your dog is barking a lot or doing something you think may upset the neighbors.
If one of your neighborscomes to you or writes you a note about your dog barking, you really should be concerned. Most people are tolerant and if they feel the need to contact you, your dog may be more of a nuisance than you realize.
Your dog may bark when you leave the property and stop when you return. They may only bark when a particular neighbor is outside and scares them or their children. The last thing you want to do is let it escalate to a visit by animal control.
Try to Avoid a Visit From Animal Control
In some jurisdictions, animal control can enter a property and take a dog for a lot of different reasons. If you’ve not done anything regarding a neighbor talking to you about your barking dog, that may give animal control enough to enter your property.
So, to avoid any problems in the first place, do all you can to prevent any reason for them to come to your place about your dog.
If animal control contacts you via mail, make sure you respond to them. Lack of contact may be perceived as defiance, when it was just fear or concern on your part.
Don’t Allow Your Dog to be a Nuisance
Living in the suburbs, you have to expect some noise and that includes barking dogs. There is a point where a dog becomes a nuisance, and it’s important to know some definitions of nuisance barking.
This is just a guide because all jurisdictions, towns, and cities have their own laws and bylaws, including powers of entry to your property, power to remove your dog and authority to issue fines.
Nuisance barking can be:
- Barking or whining for longer than five minutes in any 1 hour period.
- Persistent over extended periods of time. Time of day, frequency and duration are all factors considered.
- Consistency and constant barking.
If you’re in doubt about your responsibilities as a dog owner, contact your local authorities to provide guidance.
Dogs Bark for All Types of Reasons
There are many reasons why your dog barks and most are fixable. If you find your dog is barking excessively, and don’t want to risk a visit from animal control, see if you can figure out why.
The reasons can include:
- Separation Anxiety
- Old Age/Senility
- Being on heat
- Barking or answering to dogs they hear barking in the distance
Most of those reasons are quickly and easily fixed. Boredom can be addressed in a lot of ways, from long walks before you go to work, to toys and activities that keep your dog occupied when you’re not there.
The others are all addressed through training or are manageable with the advice of a professional vet or trainer.
Some Dog Noise is Acceptable
Never be afraid to allow your dog to make some noise. Just as people are permitted to make an acceptable level of noise, so are dogs. If your dog is playing, you expect them to bark a bit out of excitement.
If your dog is asleep and the postman arrives, a few barks to alert you to this is acceptable, as long as the well trained dog then quietens down.
Some jurisdictions have systems in place to prevent malicious calls about dogs. Some people have unrealistic expectations about noise levels in built up areas, and will call noise control on everything from children playing to the infrequent barking of a neighbor’s dog.
Some local authorities have strict guidelines on what is andisn’t acceptable when it comes to barking dogs. Others require letters from a number ofneighbors to back up claims of an annoying dog problem.
Whatever the system where you live, get a hold of the regulations and learn them well. When you know the rules and law, you will be far less stressed. Often you can identify yourself whether or not your dog is breaking any laws or regulations.
Dog Laws Change so Keep Informed to Avoid Problems
If you familiarise yourself with local dog regulations, make sure you keep an eye on any changes and updates. This could be as simple as ringing up the local authorities a couple of times a year to ask about any changes to legislation.
If problems in certain areas become common, authorities often change the rules to simplify addressing the issues.
Definitions change over time. When you look at the rules, you may find that your dog can bark for twenty minutes at a time. That may change to five minutes as a result of a lot of complaints, alerting authorities to a problem locally.
Listen and Act if a Neighbor Complains About Your Dog
If a neighbor approaches you to discuss your dog’s behavior, listen and follow a few simple rules because it takes a lot for some people to express their concerns.
Also, hopefully it means they’ve come to you to sort it out, not the authorities.
1. Listen to what they say.
You may not even be aware your dog is barking while you’re not there. You may also be able to politely refute their claims, because you are aware of what your dog is doing.
If you live in a highly populated area, it might not even be your dog they have an issue with.
2. Let them know you understand.
They may have children unable to sleep because of barking, they may be a shift worker, or simply be less tolerant than other neighbors, but they are living by you, so it pays to be a good neighbor, especially if you have a dog.
3. Ask questions around their complaint.
Query the time the dog is barking that annoys them. They may be okay with day timebarking, but mornings and evenings are disrupting them.
4. Follow the rules.
If a neighbour complains about your dog and you know it breaches the local rules, you must address the issue.
If you don’t, you risk having animal control become involved, and they won’t stop until the issue is sorted to their expectations. It may cost you a lot in fines, or you risk having your dog impounded.
5. Remedy the situation the best you can.
Train your dog to stop the behavior that is annoying your neighbor. You may need to seek help from a professional trainer. If your neighbor sees you taking action and the change in your dog is noticeable, it should ease their concern and stop them going to authorities.
Have Patience with a Neighbors Barking Dog
If it’s your neighbor’s dog that is barking and disturbing you, be patient and try to resolve the situation yourself before involving the authorities. After all, a lot of people are approachable and will deal with the situation if they find it’s annoying someone.
There may be other things you can do as well.
- If your neighbor’s dog barks at you every time you’re in your own yard, try blocking their view so they can’t see you.
- Try befriending the dog through the fence, so they don’t see you as a threat.
- Befriend your neighbor if you’re able. Their dog should see you and their owner together and realize that you’re not a danger they need to bark at.
Rules around barking dogs vary between towns, cities, and authorities. Some animal control is a separate authority, and some are within police departments. Try to avoid having to deal with these agencies by having a well trained, well behaved dog.
Rules change all the time so keep on top of the rules where you live. This means you’ll avoid fines and the danger of having your dog impounded.
Writer: Craig Taylor