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Noise from barking dogs
Does your dog bark a lot?
It’s normal and natural for dogs to bark. But
when barking happens a lot, or goes on for a long time, it can be
upsetting for your neighbours. If you’re out a lot, or you’re used
to the noise, you might not realise how bad it is.
This web page is designed to help you work
with your neighbours to sort out any problems caused by your dog
barking, without having to involve the authorities. It will also
help you understand why your dog barks, and outlines some
practical steps you can take to stop or cut down the barking.
Research into noise issues shows that problems
are most likely to be solved when people discuss things calmly and
work out a solution between them. If you can’t do this, the
council may have to get involved and you could face formal action
against you. Remember, keep your neighbours informed about what
you're doing to stop the barking. To speak with someone in
more depth about dog barking, phone 01634 333333.
Talking it over
If the noise your dog is making is upsetting your neighbours,
the first step is to talk things over with them. Stay calm and try
to see it from their point of view; perhaps they’re working shifts,
or have got a baby or small children. Bear in mind that they might
be worried about whether the dog is OK and remember, you might not
know how serious the problem is if your dog is barking more when
you’re not at home.
Understanding the problem
Ask your neighbours to tell you exactly when your dog is barking
and for how long. If you’re out a lot, ask them to note down the
times when the barking happens. If you’re in, make a note yourself.
Think about using a web cam or video camera to find out what your
dog is doing when you’re not there, or try a set-up – pretend
you’re going out for the day, then wait outside the door to see
what your dog does. If it starts barking and howling, go back in
and tell it firmly to be quiet. Punishing your dog will only make
There are some simple steps you can take to cut down the amount
of noise your dog is making. This will help calm the situation
between you and your neighbours and give you time to work out why
your dog is barking.
- If your dog barks at
things outside your yard or garden, don’t let it go outside on its
own. Keep it away from windows, so it can’t see people or
- If your dog barks at the
same time every day, such as when people in the house are
going to work or school, try to keep it busy at that time. For
example, you could take it for a walk.
- Try to keep your dog calm. If it barks
when it’s excited, don’t play with it at anti-social times, such
as very late at night.
- If your dog’s barking
and you’re in a flat or a semi, try to keep it away from any walls
you share with your neighbours.
- Don’t leave your dog
outside if it’s barking to be let in.
- See if you can get a
friend or relative to look after your dog when you go out, or take
it with you.
- Make sure your dog gets
some exercise before you go out. A tired dog barks
Be consistent. Every time your dog is quiet
when it would normally have barked, praise it or give it a treat.
When it barks, tell it firmly to be quiet. You also need to
remember that your dog is part of the family. If it only barks when
you leave, bring it inside. Leave some toys or chews and put the
radio on quietly. If your dog is distressed, keep it inside
with you whenever you’re at home – dogs are pack animals and they
Tackling specific problems
Problem: Your dog is clingy, and howls or
whines when left alone.
Solution: A vet, animal behaviourist or dog warden
may be able to tell you how to help your dog get used to being on
Problem: Your dog is frightened. It might look
scared (ears back, tail low), have trouble settling, or keep trying
Solution: If your dog likes hiding, make a den for
it. If it’s scared of noise, mask it by putting the radio on
quietly. If it’s frightened of other people or animals shut the
curtains or doors. Think about talking to a vet, animal
behaviourist or dog warden.
Problem: Your dog guards his territory by
barking at people, animals or cars.
Solution: Keep your dog away from the front of the
house or flat. Screen your windows. If it starts barking outside,
call it in straight away. You could ask a vet, animal behaviourist
or dog warden about behaviour therapy.
Problem: Your dog is barking to get
Solution: Look at your dog and then look away to
show you’re not going to respond. Don’t give it any attention, or
anything else, while it’s barking. Try deliberately ignoring it for
20-30 minutes two or three times a day and get everyone in the
house to do the same. Doing this for 15 minutes before you go out
can help stop your dog barking when you leave. A vet, animal
behaviourist or dog warden may be able to give you advice.
Problem: You went out without taking your dog
for a walk, and it’s barking through frustration.
Solution: Wear different clothes for walking your
dog. Leave your dog’s lead where it can see it. So if you’re
leaving without taking the lead the dog will know that it’s not
going with you.
What not to do
- Don’t punish your dog. It might mistake it
for attention and it could also make it more anxious.
- Don’t use mechanical
devices, such as anti-bark collars, if it could make the
dog even more anxious.
- Don’t get a second dog
unless you’re sure it’s going to make your dog feel more secure,
To speak with someone in more depth about dog
barking, phone 01634 333333.
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