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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Oct 2021 | comments*Discuss
Dog Barking Problem Neighbours Constant

It’s important to realise that barking is a dog’s means of communication. You might be surprised to know that the vast majority of people will tolerate a dog’s barking up to a point. Not only do they understand that it’s completely natural for a dog to bark, but some people gain a sense of security in knowing that a particular dog might be trying to alert their owners (and consequently – the neighbours) to something that is out of the ordinary or potentially dangerous, such as an intruder may have entered the garden or back yard.

Incessant and Nuisance Barking

However, problems arise in a neighbourhood where a dog is either barking incessantly and/or the constant barking is causing a nuisance at inappropriate times of the day. This will usually be at night where the dog may be kept outside and you cannot get to sleep, or perhaps you have young children and they can’t get to sleep. The problem is what to do about it if you find yourself in this situation.

Basically you have 3 possible course of action:

  1. Direct contact with the neighbour to find a solution
  2. Report the matter to your local Environmental Health Department
  3. Court action

Below is some good advice on how to proceed with each of the above options:

1. Contact the Neighbour

If a dog is constantly barking in your street and is causing a nuisance, there are laws to address this issue. However, few people take pleasure in upsetting their neighbours wherever possible and most would wish to take a ‘diplomatic’ approach to the problem first without Resorting To Legal Action.

The ways in which you could try to get a resolution to the problem might vary. It could all depend on how you feel about directly confronting a neighbour by knocking on their door and speaking to them about it. Others might feel that the neighbour in question might not be reasonable and that they could be hostile towards them. If you choose to speak directly to your neighbour, the best way to go about it would be to go round and see them and say that you’re just checking that everything is OK.

Your approach might be along the lines of

“I just popped round because your dog’s been barking for the last 2 hours and I thought there might be something wrong?”

In taking that approach, you’re avoiding direct confrontation which could irk a neighbour and cause them to become hostile towards you, while still getting your point across. On the other hand, if you’ve been down that road before and the problem persists, you might decide you want to tell the neighbour that you’re having difficulty getting to sleep as a direct result of the dog barking.

If you're not confident to do this, try popping an informal note through their door. You can follow this up with a more formal letter saying that you will consider reporting them. We have put together an informal note and formal letter here which might help.

2. If that Doesn’t Work? Contact your Environmental Health Department

Dont' call the police or the RSPCA - If you need to take things further, don’t call the police or RSPCA, unless you have an otherwise valid reason to do so. Instead, get in touch with the Environment Health Department of your local authority.

They will investigate the matter and deal with it. Sometimes, even the owner of the dog might not be aware of the problem. For example, a dog might just persistently bark when the owner leaves the house and the dog cannot cope with being left on its own.

Initially, an environmental health officer will try to advise the dog owner of ways of overcoming the problem. The owner, for example, might be highly embarrassed about the problem themselves, yet have no idea how to resolve it, and the officer will be able to suggest methods for training the dog not to bark in an incessant manner.

3. Legal Action: Environmental Protection Act 1990

However, if this doesn’t work, then it can lead to a Statutory Notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 being served upon the owner. This is a legal procedure which gives the owner around 21 days in which to resolve the issue. The Environmental Health Officer will do this on your behalf. If the problem hasn’t been resolved after that point, the owner can incur financial penalties and, as a last resort, the Act does have a provision whereby it can take away the dog from the owner.

In most cases, problem barking is caused by either neglect or, more commonly, because of insufficient training, so if you keep a dog yourself, be sure that it is trained properly in order not to become a nuisance. There is plenty of advice on the internet to help you with that, or you could get your dog enrolled in proper training and obedience classes.

Dangerous as Well as Noisy?

If you think your or your neighbours' dogs may be a danger to those in the vicinity, take a look at the 'Dangerous Dogs' feature.

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We have a neighbour who is a nasty, selfish, vindictive woman who is in total denial. As soon as she leaves for work her little dog starts crying and whining non stop for about 2 hours, she of course totally denies it and says i am the one giving HER grief for complaining, it is incredible. I am thinking of getting a dog whistle or complaining to the council.
Silas - 13-Oct-21 @ 12:43 AM
Just moved into a new house last year before the COVID pandemic hit. Found out there were 4 barking dogs. Then two new renters moved in next door and now there are 6 barking dogs in a close housing development area. Two of the dogs bark during the night over 100 dB for up to 30 minutes at a time. During the day, all 6 of them can be barking and it sounds like an animal rescue center. I'm beginning to develop panic attacks every time a dog barks because it is so incessant and loud that I can hear it from inside their houses with my windows closed. I used to like dogs, and now I really, really, really, really dislike them and their negligent owners. Wish more action was taken against these irresponsible people that abuse their animals. I never see them playing with the dogs or taking them for walks and their yards are littered with trash and dog poop.
Fed Up With Barking - 26-Sep-21 @ 1:42 AM
Hi, We are all in the same boat, please can we think together and start a petition to change the legislation? Contact me on dogbarkinglawoutlookcom Please let's do something!
Marcey - 31-Aug-21 @ 12:49 PM
A young family moved next door a few months ago with a dog.When the children are at school and parents at work the dog is left outside alone, even at the weekends they go out for the day through to the evening the dog is left, and it barks incessantly.It’s distressing to hear it so upset but it is also so annoying.I have recently moved to my house (a new build) and spent a lot of money landscaping the back garden to make it nice to sit in - the main reason I moved was to have a sunny garden to spend time in, but now after about 5 minutes I have to come indoors and close all the doors and windows.I did mention this to my neighbour a few weeks after they moved in, in case they weren’t aware, and was told they couldn’t do anything about it as they couldn’t take the dog to work. People shouldn’t have dogs if they can’t be there to look after them properly.I understand (but don’t agree with it) when people are at work, but not at weekends when not at work.I adore animals and would love a dog but wouldn’t have one because I play golf and wouldn’t want to leave it alone for 4-5 hours. I have now (as from today) started taking recordings of the barking which I am thinking of getting my neighbours to listen to.I am at my wits end.
Boss - 15-Aug-21 @ 1:46 PM
There needs to be tougher legislation about dogs where people live close together like housing developments and blocks of flats. Doesn't matter what breed or size or personality a dog has, they WILL bark when careless owners leave them for hours on end! In Summer it comes in open windows and several dogs often set each other off. In Winter it echoes through walls / floors / pipes / maintenance areas / lifts. There's no escape from endless barking and it affects too many people. Several people in my block, and people living in nearby houses, complained about a very loud dog left barking in a communal garden. Two of us could FEEL the barking like a thumping car stereo. The Council were useless, the RSPCA weren't interested because the dog had food and water, and the landlord didn't evict. Eventually the other landlords requested NO MORE DOGS after those tenants moved out. Of course, the new tenants in that flat have another dog. This one is much quieter but it still barks in the night and there are doors banging when the dog is let out. Something has to be done especially with all the lockdown puppies growing into adult dogs. Over the next 10 - 15 years there are going to be THOUSANDS more people in the same situation
Needs Legislation - 12-Aug-21 @ 10:01 PM
Hi there just a quick message im reporting of a dog barking everything night and its literally every night around half 9 and half 10 ive got a video tonight of the dog concerly yapping it ant fair ive got a 1 year old tht wakes up crying and cant settle cuz the dog barks every single night and doesnt stop
Sophie - 1-Aug-21 @ 10:44 PM
I'd suggest you invest in a dog whistle, can buy these for about £2. I have a neighbour that seemed to deliberately let her dog bark in the backgarden every time I went outside. Started blowing the whistle , the dog would get scared and run back into the house. Might sound awful, but if she won't train her dog I will lol. She's stopped letting her dog do it now, and I can relax outside in peace.
T - 27-Jul-21 @ 10:44 AM
At 15 orchard Street there are 2 dogs that are continuously barking sometimes all day, early hours of the morning or late at night. Sometimes one dog is shut outside and left to howl and barking in a high pitch noise. I have been not to approach the residents at this address as they are not very nice people. Also they have put sharp screws on tops of gates and fences to hurt and injury animals or people.
Bambi - 23-Jul-21 @ 12:43 AM
I have a neighbour who lets their yapping dog out between 9 and 11pm then between 2 and 4am and sometimes can go on till 5am then also into the day. It is continuous and relentless. It’s affecting my work, sleep, and my relationship. I have tried to be polite but it gets you nowhere so If nobody does attempt to help me I’ll just have to help myself.
James - 20-Jul-21 @ 10:29 PM
I have a neighbour let's there dog bark all Time once even heard barking 11 pm to 12 am and think heard once at 4 am I think they leave in house or back garden all day ask neighbour nicely can keep dog barking they text me back being so rude
Bex - 14-Jul-21 @ 3:02 PM
So I have read all the above comments and realised I am not alone. I am fed up of my neighbours dogs. They live two doors down and their one dog is extremely loud and if left outside consistently whines and barks. I tried letters through the door. Talking to them nice. Shouting and I have now resorted to involving their landlord and council. This has been going on for three years. I’m a home owner and frankly if I have to do a noise order through the court will. We are now at recording stage, however due to covid everything has been delayed and the council have a long backlog. The noise does on occasion improve but if we have nice weather that goes out the window. If you are a dog owner reading these comments and you have a barking dog take responsibility. Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean the rest of us want to listen to it.
Sick of dogs - 23-Jun-21 @ 6:54 PM
How is it ok for neighbour about 3 -4 houses away to let their dog bark constantly incl now at 2am in morning! We have a puppy who we have/are toilet trained, so not used puppy pads and only if by accident will toilet inside. He is totally stress and whining and crying becase if this poor god and is scated to go out, but crying because is confused to go insde. I have bern gently warned by friends/fanily that we don’t inow tha family or how they will react if we knocked on their door (could be violent). It seems wrong that there is norhing I can do! ??This is not a oneffbut diesn’t happen every night. However the fog does bark at various times every day - as though the iwners shove him outside when too much for them
Frustrated - 22-Jun-21 @ 2:23 AM
@Confused I am on the other side of your problem. I live in a flat with no sound proofing and my upstairs neighbour has a 20kg dog. The dog is lovely. I moved in just as the neighbour got the dog as a puppy. It is a very high energy breed, and not one suited to a small upstairs flat with no garden. After four months of trying to convince my neighbour that the dog whined, barked and scrabbling the door for all of the 4hrs every day it was left shut in a small bedroom in their flat, they now take the dog to work. I suffered a lot of antisocial behaviour and nastiness despite trying to keep it friendly and look for positive solutions. I am new to the area and it has been a horrible experience trying to tell someone that their pet is causing a nuisance. The problem remains with the dog running around. It genuinely sounds like they are hammering on my ceiling. It is 24/7. 20kg of dog jumping off of furniture is loud. Chances are the neighbour hates the sound of someone banging on their walls /ceilings as much as you do. That is likely what your pets running around sounds like to them. While not deliberate or malicious, it is a nuisance and therefore could be in breach of leasehold/tenancy agreement. In my case I am having sound proofing added to my flat to help abate the noise from the dog. I want them to be able to keep the dog, even though I don't agree that size/breed of dog belongs in a flat.
GG - 20-Jun-21 @ 11:21 AM
My next door neighbours dogs bark when my neighbours leave the house. I can't use my living room and it's very frustrating when we want to watch a film and end up lying on our bed upstairs at the other end of the house. They seperate the 2 dogs because they fight so we have a loud bark and a quieter bark in tandem constantly the whole time they are out. I told the lady next door and although she understood the severity of the effect it has on us and that it wasn't fair on us or her dogs, she has done nothing. I don't want to fall out with them and I don't want to have a noise order placed on them in case we end up trying to sell our home. We have dogs and understand they communicate in this way but it's been 4 years now and I'm reaching the end of my tether. We've been more than fair
Prestwich - 15-Jun-21 @ 11:22 AM
So the joining neighbours have two small dogs and the bark CONSTANTLY. They growls and attack our fence and bark every time we step out to go in the garden. Also they are barking indoor daytime and nighttime and we can hear all that as if they were in our house (we are a semidetached). This has been going on for 3 long years. We politely asked in 5 occasions (five!!)to stop the barking and they got offended, stroppy and basically not talking to us. In fact they are letting the dogs barking intentionally. We now want to go via the council / nuisance issue and been told that we need to keep a diary! But the barking is happening every singe days, hour, minute, how can we keep a diary? We work full time from home. Also we have been told that if we ever sell our house, the house next door will be marked with the dog nuisance and we’ll struggle to sell. We found this whole situation unbearable and unresolvable.Can anyone advise? Thank you.
MaFA - 9-Jun-21 @ 9:34 PM
I was starting to wonder if perhaps I am too sensitive to dogs barking, but after reading these posts I realise I am one of very many who are fed up with inconsiderate neighbours. I approached my neighbours last night. They have just moved back in 4 weeks ago after a refurbish and they brought with them a Pug. The Pug likes to bark - alot- the neighbours leave it in the conservatory with the door open all day and it just barks most of the day. With the recent lovely weather we have had our doors and windows open, but I can'tbear the sound of the barking. It also stands up against the window and looks directly in our house and barks at our movements in the kitchen/diner. Anyway, I went round last night and very politely asked the adult daughter if they were aware that the dog barks constantly while they are out. She was all sheepish and said no and she was sorry. However, 30 minutes later, I get her mother and 3 other adult children from the house knocking on my door saying I'm a bully and I need to get over it basically. I remained extremely calm and wouldn't give them the benefit of rising to their anger.
Pea - 4-Jun-21 @ 3:13 PM
I've just had an angry run in with my next door neighbour about her dogs barking for, she claims, 'only an hour and a half', during the day yesterday. Incidentally, she was the angry one. She was giving me greif for first complaining and also because I'd temporarily put an animal deterrent up to try to keep them inside her house. Boy did she have a rant. She, to be fair, does keep them under control most of the time but on the odd occasion fails. Unfortunately, where we live there are more dogs than humans living, and that's no exaggeration. This means that the only way to have respite from barking dogs is to go out. She is telling me that I'm exagerating the problem and too sensitive. The reason I was looking at this page was to ascertain whether or not I am in fact 'too sensitive to dog noise' or if the dog noise is in fact unacceptable. My thoughts, from reading comments on here are that pet licensing really needs to be reintroduced. Making numbers and ownership controlled. This would be unpopular with pet owners but a huge sigh of relief for others. I've not found any clues to solve my issues on here yet but comments would be apreciated. Is 1 1/2 hours of loud dog barking only feet away excessive? Or am I too sensitive and intolerant?
Ade - 2-Jun-21 @ 10:04 AM
I've just had an angry run in with my next door neighbour about her dogs barking for, she claims, 'only an hour and a half', during the day yesterday. Incidentally, she was the angry one. She was giving me greif for first complaining and also because I'd temporarily put an animal deterrent up to try to keep them inside her house. Boy did she have a rant. She, to be fair, does keep them under control most of the time but on the odd occasion fails. Unfortunately, where we live there are more dogs than humans living, and that's no exaggeration. This means that the only way to have respite from barking dogs is to go out. She is telling me that I'm exagerating the problem and too sensitive. The reason I was looking at this page was to ascertain whether or not I am in fact 'too sensitive to dog noise' or if the dog noise is in fact unacceptable. My thoughts, from reading comments on here are that pet licensing really needs to be reintroduced. Making numbers and ownership controlled. This would be unpopular with pet owners but a huge sigh of relief for others. I've not found any clues to solve my issues on here yet but comments would be apreciated. Is 1 1/2 hours of loud dog barking only feet away excessive? Or am I too sensitive and intolerant?
Ade - 2-Jun-21 @ 10:02 AM
My neighbours have a barking dog. I don't understand why people get dogs when they clearly do not have the time to look after them, causing a severe nuisance to everyone unfortune enough to live next tonear them. My neighbours got the puppy in during the pandemic lockdown and it's been hell ever since. Initially it kept us awake at night barking and crying. Now it barks on and off all day every day. Especially when left alone. The neighbours put it out into their garden. Presumably so it doesn't bother them and then it barks at everything outside.Still audibly a nusiance. I work from home now too, so it is incredibly stressful. I record and send details to the local council but they do absolutely nothing. I am starting to understand how neighbours end up cracking and doing unreasonable things. There is only so much sleep deprivation and stress a human being can take. And if the organisations that are being paid to do something about anti-social behaviour do absolutely nothing, there is no one and nowhere to turn to, it isn't surprising that people take matters into their own hands in desparation. When I see yet another report in the news about a dog having gone missing, I do often wonder if it has been stolen to be sold or whether someone has arranged to have it moved away from them so they can get back to living a peaceful life.
NeedSomeSleep - 19-May-21 @ 1:30 PM
Seems like most people on here have an issue with dogs barking but I’d love to hear what anyone thinks of dogs running about. We live in a semi with walls that aren’t exactly the most soundproof. We have two dogs and have had complaints from our neighbour that they can hear them “running around”. Initially there were complaints about barking inside and out (they were grossly exaggerated). Since these complaints I’ve always made sure my dogs are walked before we go out, left with entertainment (radio and chew toys), I’ve even replaced the underlay in the lounge to try soften the impact of them playing. Still we are attracting complaints, as soon as they start to play and bounce around a bit within 30 seconds we get a knocking on the walls. I know my neighbour sits in silence by the wall waiting. They also have a reputation for complaining about whoever lives next door. I spoke to the council who said they won’t investigate dogs running around or the occasional bark as it’s no different to kids playing. But the fact still remains I have to deal with this knocking. If we had kids it would be much much worse. Communication broke down earlier in the year when we were confronted on our doorstep with threats to have us removed from the property we own and have the dogs taken off us. We even called the police due to the threats who to their credit reacted instantly by going round and speaking with them. Ive got to the point where I’m going to sell up but this is ridiculous how our dogs can even play as my neighbour has frankly unrealistic expectations from their neighbours. Btw the last couple had no dogs, no kids, weren’t noisy in the slightest and still they found reason to complaint about them to other neighbours!!
Confused - 8-May-21 @ 6:22 PM
Tell estate agents, housebuilders and landlords you will only buy/rent on 'Dog-free' estates that will remain so!Hit businesses where it hurts - economically - if they don't comply.Then action will be taken!Tell your local authority you want 'Dog-free' quiet areas for their rented properties.By law they have to base their policies on demand. After all, as dogs frequently make noise and those supposedly responsible for dealing with it (i.e. their owners and the useless councils) have proved unwilling/incapable of dealing with the problem, there is no point leaving the matter in their hands anymore. I think it is time for individuals to act.It is also time to generally re-appraise whether dogs should even be allowed in residential areas at all.
The Blob - 4-Apr-21 @ 4:23 PM
Dogs are now such a nuisance in residential areas that there needs to be tough legislation brought in to deal with the situation.The current process for dealing with irresponsible dog owners and their nuisance dogs is so weak and long-running that in most cases it is for practical purposes useless. Time to re-introduce the dog licence - and set it at a realistic level - so the inconsiderate morons who cause the problems will have to consider carefully whether they really want a dog in the first place.The onus needs to be put clearly and firmly on the dog owners to make sure they control their pets so that they do not become a nuisance.If the owners fail to do so, then they should have the dogs taken off them and be barred from keeping dogs in future. I suspect that one of the reasons that little is done about nuisance dogs is that the market for them and their associated goods is a lucrative one.So people and their concerns about the problems dogs and their owners cause are efectively brushed aside. Maybe people who want something done about the situation should go onto housebuilders and estate agents websites and make it clear to them that they won't consider buying a property unless there are robust plans in place to deal with dog noise nuisances in the area.Who wants to buy their dream property for hundreds of thousands of pounds only to have to keep their windows shut and not be able to enjoy their garden due to dog noise nuisance?If there is the real prospect of business being hurt as a result, you can be sure that (the so far useless) authorities all of a sudden find that they can deal with the problem effectively after all.
The Blob - 4-Apr-21 @ 3:39 PM
We have just recieved a complaint from the council because our 2 dogs bark when playing with their ball, with excitement, they are small toy poodles, how can we take their joy away because of moaning neighbours
Cat - 3-Mar-21 @ 11:58 AM
My next door at 25 Edward st rishton. Uses outside my house as a bin throwing rubbish out of there cars. And there dogs are barking all day. They go out at 8am and don't come back till 8pm at night. The dogs are in a cage. Reported it to rspca they said if there getting fed there nothing they can do. I've rang the police and they don't want to know
Carl - 27-Feb-21 @ 12:39 PM
A solution I'm considering is poisoning the nuisance dog. I won't go into detail but the internet is a source of various things! Even IF the source could be proved any penalty would be better than the nuisance we're having to suffer.
Davym - 27-Feb-21 @ 10:52 AM
I have 4 dogs nextdoor to me and they constantly bark tryed telling them but after a couple of days it goes back to normal this time policeinvolved and charged with assault but still the dogs bark surely its a human rights to beable to get sleep and can have your windows open
Beano - 28-Jan-21 @ 9:10 PM
I agree with all your comments.me & my family have lived in 5 houses & had to put up with nuisance barking dogs.and we are going threw it again.the owner does not want to know.the council are also as bad.they don't care.we put up with this noise for a Yr now.& we carnt take anymore.me & my daughter are very ill.i have just lost a friend to covid.i don't need this noise nuisance.we are very stressed.but we need to stop them putting dogs before humans.they not normal people.i will do anything to stop living this life of hell.i don't pay rent to listen to oriole dog barking.any one wants to contact me.going threw itin this pandemic.plz contact me.your welcome.
Junie - 26-Jan-21 @ 4:57 AM
6 years ago new neighbours moved in next door. They had 2 dogs which from day one have been kept outside 24/7. Over 3 years ago we complained to the council (as our neighbours are not the approachable kind) about the both dogs barking day & night, living in squalid filthy conditions & even eating their own excrement! The poor dogs have not left their compound in 6 years, they are never spoken to it is dreadful. We moved bedrooms to get away from the constant noise throughout the night as we both work but to no avail. To-date the council have done absolutely nothing about our complaint. One of the dogs recently died ( best thing for him) and now the remaining dog has not stopped barking and howling it is so upsetting & annoying.How anybody can treat an animal like these 2 dogs are / have been treated is beyond me....they need locking up !! NO authority wants to know it’s absolutely disgraceful!!
Mojo - 22-Jan-21 @ 4:17 PM
I have been on the verge of suicide for some time. Im under financial stress after divorce. And my next door neighbours dog is like an alarm clock going off at random times. I reported this to the environmental health. They rejected it after i filled in all of the occasions. It barked. I now don't even have peace I'm so stressed I don't even want the stress of a house sale
dmw - 21-Nov-20 @ 12:17 PM
Best solution I have ever found to deal with the incessant barking of the neighbours dog .... remove my penis from their anus and hey presto !
Deafenedbyidiots - 20-Nov-20 @ 4:32 PM
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