Neighbors and Their Barking Dog: How to Resolve the Situation

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Unfortunately, when it comes to neighbors and barking dog issues, there’s no strict “manual” on how to successfully handle this kind of scenario. However, there are good guidelines that solve some common hangups that threaten to drive dog barking situations off the rails. Lots of times, having the right strategy helps annoyed and sleep deprived neighbors to approach the issue successfully.

The Petitioning Stage

If you are really having a problem with the neighbor’s loud dog, there’s a good chance that there are more neighbors who feel the same way that you do. Unless you’re out in the wilderness somewhere, many households have to share the same “audio community” and what gets on your nerves is probably getting on theirs as well.

There is a double (or even triple) benefit to this stage of approaching a dog barking situation. First, going around to neighbors allows you a good chance to vent. Second, you may get more ideas from other locals about how to handle the situation. Third, talking to other neighbors builds a consensus—this is often critical in addressing a noise violation or other problem. It shows that a significant part of the community is together on an issue, in this case, the loud barking of a local dog. Get documentation of common complaints through a paper petition, and you’ll have a better position when it’s time to address the problem.

Confront the Dog Owners

This is a step where a lot of people get tripped up. It can be intimidating to approach your neighbor’s door in order to talk about the barking dog situation. However, this is not the only way to go about confronting dog owners who may have an evident disregard for your comfort and your ability to enjoy peace and quiet in your home. A written letter is usually a completely acceptable form of communication. A personal letter warns your neighbors that unless action is taken, local authorities could get involved. This may or may not fix the situation on its own, but it helps to set the stage for an eventual resolution.

Dog Barking: Looking at Local Government

The fact is that in most American communities, there are specific boards of public officials who are set up to help address noise issues in a neighborhood. This might be the zoning board, the town or city commission, or some other similar group. Go to your municipal building and look up the local law, called an ordinance, that deals with barking dog situations. Specific laws are on the books to protect peace and quiet in a community. Sometimes, the laws may have to go under review to make your neighborhood a quieter place. Here, your petition can come in handy if you attend and speak up at a local government public meeting.

Involve Police

If you have looked into local law, notified your neighbors, and seen that the problem is still occurring, it’s time to call the local police department. Part of what police do is mediate local noise concerns according to local laws. They do this in order to save neighbors from confrontations that can easily escalate into violence. Don’t think of it as abdicating responsibility, think of it as using your public services that you pay for as a taxpayer. Local police will enforce local ordinances and help everybody get a decent night’s sleep.

3 Responses to “Neighbors and Their Barking Dog: How to Resolve the Situation”

  1. October 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm, Kevinkerson said:

    Take stock of what you know about your neighbor. If he or she is the friendly sort, a direct approach may work best. Sometimes the neighbor is unaware of the problem, especially if the dog is left outside when the neighbor is at work. Gather up some information to help the neighbor out. There are a variety of collars, shock collars, and citronella collars (for the neighbor who thinks shock collars are cruel, or if you think they are), which will help teach the dog not to bark. As a gesture of friendliness, offer to provide such a collar, if you think the neighbor won’t buy one.

    Also get a list of dog trainers in the area that specialize in teaching dogs not to bark. Don’t forget to recommend crating dogs indoors, if they are left outside all day. This can minimize the degree to which you hear the neighbor’s barking dog, if you are sharing yard fences instead of apartment or townhouse walls.

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  2. October 26, 2010 at 1:33 am, Leonato said:

    This era dogs are used as passive-aggressive, anti-social weapons: what bullets are to guns, barking is to dogs. Barking kills–a slow, painful death from a million bee stings. Communities should focus on the root cause of the conflict between barking dog and innocent human: the barking is the root cause. It’s the BARKING that’s the source of the conflict. The source of the conflict is not the barking-sufferer’s REACTION to barking, whatever that reaction may be. Chronic barking is molestation. The party at fault is the household with the barker(s). It doesn’t matter what the sufferer-of-barking does to try to get the barking to stop–they feel desperate because they’re not getting support from the outlying community to get the barking stopped. I’m not talking about partial-barking stopped–I mean 100%. The barking-sufferer has a right to enjoy his or her patch of real estate unmolested by barking. The barker needs to get gone.

    In a conflict between one person and a dog, the human should win out every time. Human rights trump dog rights. Who is it who pays the mortgage or rent? Not dogs. Why do we as society grant dogs more rights than people? Barking is a serious offense: barking makes people–literally–insane. Chronic barking causes the barking-sufferer to not be able to meet his obligations in paying the mortgage or rent and put food on the table. People, obtaining dogs, who like to have their “own petty egos stroked,” are clueless as to what it takes to truly care for a dog. Being the guardian of a dog is a lifelong commitment–it is similar as caring for a human infant–dogs cost money and take time–done properly–lots of both. Leaving dog(s) in a yard unattended and unloved is a hazard to anyone not the owner who is within earshot of the barking. A barker is a menace. A barker is a health hazard. A barker is an “ignored” dog–it’s time we see chronic barking for what it is: ANIMAL NEGLECT. Animal neglect has serious consequences! Things have to be done, by the community, on behalf of the barking-sufferer, in its laws, fines, punishments, jail-time, impounding dog, or seizure of dog-owner’s vehicles.

    Communities should give power to law enforcement to seize yard barkers without the dog owner’s knowledge, impound the dog(s). Or 6 months in jail. Or a US$1,000 (GBP£700) fine.

    Dog-haters are made, not born. Residents become hostile after years of their communities having more sympathy for barkers than for barking-sufferers, communities who spit on human need for peace and quiet where they live. Having dogs growing up, I used to like dogs. No more. Barkers are REALLY, REALLY bad public-relations for canines in general. Barking gives the whole canine species a bad reputation. Responsible dog owners should pressure “arrant dog owners who condone chronic barking” to STOP THE BARKING.

    You know, how would you feel if you went to poop in your own toilet, the next-door neighbor’s dog heard you from outside, barked continuously 5 feet from where you’re doing your business? How would you feel if you put a dish in the microwave oven, the other next-door neighbor’s dog heard you from outside, barked continuously 5 feet from where you’re trying to eat a pleasant meal? How would you feel if the phone rings, answer it, the next-door neighbor’s dog heard you from outside, barked continuously 5 feet from where you’re trying to have a conversation where you yell into the phone “I can’t hear you. What’d you say?” How would you feel if the only place you could sleep was on the floor in a closet located on the other side of the house? (This really happened.) And finally, how would you feel if this went on, day and night, for five years? Answer honestly, because you would not have had a good night’s sleep in five years. How would YOU feel?

    Mediation implies there is something to mediate, as if with chronic barking there is middle-ground or compromise. Dogs have no business around human dwelling areas. Sorry, but I’m not going to compromise my physical need for a safe and sane soundscape around my home. The dog leaves.

    Dogs are “guests” and as such, must behave. If dogs don’t behave, banish them.


  3. February 08, 2011 at 12:13 pm, tony said:


    Yes, barking dogs can be a nightmare, but just as you wont throw your baby out because it is crying one should not throw the dog out because it is barking Many parents have no idea what is going on with their child – case in point the majority of kids are now on some sort of drug. The same sort of distorted, poor understanding of children and humans in general has created this fairly sick society we presently have. Going after animals in the same manner I assure everyone will not solve anything. The human equation is the issue.

    How about we act like decent human beings and approach the owner first and see if they are educated enuough to deal with a barking dog issue? People love their pets, and they dont want them incessantly barking any more than anyone else. Their kids love their pets. Nobody is going to get rid of their dog right away because its barking and wanting them to do so is a recipe for a disaster of a relationship with your neighbor.

    Most people I know have no clue how to deal with the dog. Venting with neighbors? You mean gossiping and stirring up a problem when there need not be? Is this now the way to deal with our problems? What’s next when somone annoys you?

    Most dogs are not properly exercised, have no stimulation during the day (no toys with food in them, hanging stuff to mess with, etc), windows are open to see everythign that walks by including the mailman, and are not properly socialized. These things contribute to the majority of dog barking.

    Humans not knowing how to handle their dogs, if anyone, should be the ones being worked with first. Humans that put a large dog in an apartment and then expect it to not get into typical dog behavior (yes, dogs bark, humans talk nonsense all day – both are quite the problem). If they were educated about the issues then maybe they could easily clear it up by adjusting their dog’s daily routine.

    When did people get so cold and disconnected that they cant talk directly to others about an issue? When did we start relying on home owners associations and mediators rather than addressing things man to man.

    Banish a dog? Dogs are guests? What kind of world are we creating. We are the ones that allowed all these dogs into the world – all the numerous uneducated dog owners that had no business having one, all the distorted people out there creating weakened or agressive, breeds, etc.. this is a human issue, not a dog issue. By the implied definition seems we are all guests in a neighborhood. i would suggest the real issue in most cases is humans acting inhumanely to their animals and each other, inhumanely usually by not truly knowing how to care for the animal. Blaming the dog for an uneducated owner is not seeing the forest for the trees. This whole idea of animals being second rate citizens is interesting….from where I sit the people who treat animals poorly will more than likely treat their fellow man poorly, will even treat their family poorly. That person does not see our connectedness.

    Lets find better solutions – this world is full of our “human(e)” solutions and we have as many people dying of starvation and war as in other period’s of history.


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