Dealing with barking dogs
Barking is normal and natural behaviour for dogs.
If it happens often and for prolonged periods of time it can be very annoying, especially to your neighbours.
Dogs often bark when their owners are out, so you may not realise just how much of a disturbance it can be. It isn’t nice to be complained about, but your dog is your responsibility and it’s part of responsible dog ownership to ensure your dogs barking is not causing a problem.
Research has shown that calmly discussing a problem and working together to reach a satisfactory outcome is more likely to work than ignoring the issues that prompted the complaint. When speaking to your neighbours, stay calm and try to see the complaint from their point of view. They may have small children, be retired or work from home and so can be subjected to barking several times daily, when you are out at work.
Why is my dog barking?
Dogs often bark to relieve the stress of being left alone. Some bark with excitement when visitors arrive at the
door or as a warning when strangers walk past the house or garden.
What can I do about the barking in the short term?
- Make sure your dog gets enough exercise. Take it for a walk before you leave the house - a tired dog barks less.
- If your dog barks at things outside the house, keep it away from doors and windows so it can’t see what is going on outside.
- Don’t leave your dog outside if all it will do all day is bark to come back in.
- Keep your dog calm. Don’t overexcite it before you leave the house.
- Get a friend or neighbour to let the dog out and / or take it for a walk if you are going to be out all day.
- Leave the radio on at a low volume and tune into a talk station, so your dog thinks it has company in the house.
What not to do?
- Don’t punish your dog. It may become anxious and more prone to barking or develop other issues.
- Don’t get a second dog unless you are sure it will make your dog less anxious - seek advice from your vet before you do so
What about in the long term?
- Seek further advice. Speak to your vet who may refer you and your dog to an animal behaviourist.
- Consider attending training or obedience classes with your dog. Speak to other dog owners to find a good class. You will probably enjoy the classes as much as your dog will!
- Animal charities provide useful information and advice on excessive barking, separation anxiety and unusual behaviour.
What happens if I ignore the complaint or the dog continues to bark when I’m not in?
The Council must respond to complaints about any kind of noise, not just barking dogs. They will provide the person complaining with a diary for them to note when they are being disturbed. They will also write to you as the dog owner to make you aware of the complaint and give you the opportunity to put things right, if necessary.
If the dog barking continues and the diary is returned showing the complaint may be justified, then the Council will contact you again.
Officers from the Council will monitor the area to try and witness the dog barking. Recording equipment may be placed in the complainants property.
If dog barking is witnessed that is likely to cause a noise nuisance, then a noise abatement notice will be served on you as the owner of the dog. This is a legal notice that will set out what you must do to prevent further problems being caused. If you fail to comply with the notice, you may be prosecuted, resulting in a fine of up to £5000 and possible further daily fines.
The Dogs Trust
020 7837 0006
0300 1234 999
The Blue Cross
Kettering Borough Council
Bowling Green Road
Tel: 01536 410333
Fax: 01536 410795