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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 19 Sep 2019 | 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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Our neighbour lets his dog out when we are in garden barking constantly have to come back in to hear each other also lets it out barking constantly between the hours of 2200 0300 every night .He also barks loud himself making the dog bark through the night and bangs on my wall he is 50years old should grow up council won't do nothing at all
macman - 19-Sep-19 @ 11:18 AM
My neighbor at the back of us constantly bark which is a pain.if you can't be bothered to train them don't get a Dog
Hann - 8-Aug-19 @ 5:18 PM
Man who lives in the house behind ours has a puppy leaves it in the garden when he goes out so it barks wanting to go in too idle to take it for a walk before going out Tonight he's sat watching telly door shut with the poor thing whining in the garden If you're not prepared to put the time and effort in don't get a dog !
Fed up - 29-Jul-19 @ 11:03 PM
I had a neighbour (his garden runs across the bottom of our garden) knock very hard on our door this afternoon, when I opened the door he very aggressively told me to shut my dogs up, according to him they bark all the time, they even bark late at night and frequently at 5.30am, he was very aggressive and pushed the front door open very hard, I am disabled and lose my balance very easily, so him pushing the door forcibly into me was quite worrying. As for the dogs barking, I always go out in the garden with them at night, to make sure they don't make a noise and they never, ever go out at 5.30am, we're all asleep at that time and as they sleep with me there is absolutely no way they are barking at that time. My puppy does bark sometimes during the day when he's playing with his big sisters but I always go out and stop him. The thing is when I went out in the garden with my dogs after their tea, to pick up after them, they didn't make a sound, but the wife of the neighbour who complained, was screaming at their dogs because they wouldn't stop barking, I'm afraid I couldn't help myself and told them to stop their dogs barking, she just carried on screaming at them and they continued to bark. Their dogs frequently make a fair bit of noise when they are playing, but I wouldn't dream of complaining as dogs need to play and let off steam, as long as it isn't excessive then I believe in live and let live.
Keeks - 27-Jul-19 @ 9:13 PM
Been living next door to neighbours from hell and their dogs for 2 years now (I should point out that all other previous neighbours had dogs and no issue).The dogs yap, don't bark but the owners do nothing.It wakes us up both in the morning and at night when we go to sleep.During the day the owner torments it and the other day was outside telling the other dog to attack it.Council, police, mediator, community trigger, local mp and ombudsmen all keep telling me nothing can be done!I'm a home owner, they rent the property, noone has involved the landlord.Any help would be appreciated as myself and partner both suffer with depression and anxiety.We cant have windows open because of the noise and neither can we sit in the garden.As I type the owner is screaming at the dogs
Endofmytether - 21-Jul-19 @ 8:13 PM
I have a neighbour who lets her Alsatian bark throughout the day.It is left out in the summer all day and starts around 7.30 am, its infrequent in that it will bark at people walking past or deliveries, and living next to a school drives it nuts.She seems to think that its a guard dog (believe me we live in a pretty safe area!).I spoke to her and she told me dogs bark hard luck.Council said it was frequent or long enough to be considered a nuisance.Imagine a car alarm going off for a couple of minutes 15 times a day and you would be pretty pissed that happening everyday.That would be a nuisance. Council did send their statutory letter advising her dog was upsetting neighbours blah blah.. she sits on the parish council so takes no notice...no idea what to do now other than speak to other neighbours and see if they find it a nuisance or if Im just going mad..
embecmom - 16-Jul-19 @ 10:16 AM
My neighbour approx 8 months ago took control of his ex's dog (Alsatian), (this is the 2nd one she has had - 1st one was worse) & over the course of the 1st 6 months this dog has aggressively throw itself at my fence, jump to the point where the dogs head was at the top of my fence (6' high).I did on several occasions ask him to keep his dog under control as the dog was 1) causing problems as it was intimidating (grandkids & visitors) & 2) damaging my fence - holes in it.Eventually at the end of March after once again promising to "sort it" but making no effort i made a complaint to my local council.Within a week he had threatened me with physical violence resulting in a visit from the local Police and even now the case is closed (Council were useless saying it is a civil matter - we are homeowners not tenants) he still keeps on with stupid childish & snide remarks whilst outside - obviously trying the provoke me or intimidate me - i am hoping this is a form of anti social behaviour that the Council can't ignore ( i actually record the comments etc on my phone now when i am outside so he cant deny it) and hopefully can get addressed in time.
Fedup Neighbour - 8-Jul-19 @ 3:53 PM
my neighbour large dog bark in early hours of the morning, I have spoken to him as I have known him since his teenager yres, he got angry & since I live alone am scare to contact the authority, I go the work & sincee that started about a month ago it has started effecting me,I dont get enough sleep,the dog since to be barking near our fence ,I dont have pets,so if anybody advise me what to do,I appreciate their advice. thanks
Jos - 1-Jul-19 @ 11:49 PM
My neighbour Gos out leaves her dog barking for hours I'm very stressed and put me in hospital with chest pain her dog is left in the flat underneath mesometimes she stands outside talking to her friends while the dog is barking very load at her window and she don't do anything about it she's can hear her dog from the min she leaves her flat I have reported it it's got worse
Kezzer - 1-Jul-19 @ 1:45 PM
To meh,what a horrible person you sound,I really hope your boyfriend ups and leaves you and takes his Doberman with him...it probably smells better than you anyway
Cracker - 23-Jun-19 @ 7:06 PM
I have snobby old git that lives across the road has his sons mongrel looked after he brings it outside or back bit of spare grass never lifts its dogs dirt and throws a ball and it constantly barks he never let's it poo or pee in his garden his drive way is full of cars he fixes but he does pay tax either for extra work hours could never approach him as hes ignorant when he sees my husband out with our dog which our is on a leadalso he takes in Other dogs and one is so aggressive you cant go near it it snarls and tries to get jumps up on you
Heath - 24-May-19 @ 11:49 AM
I have 3 dogs and have been reported for their barking. My dogs do not bark throughout the night. The only time they bark is if someone visits, postman, window cleaner etc. Plus we back onto a road where people pass on the pavement. It lasts literally for 2/3 mins.All my dogs are doing are alerting me to strangers. The woman has an older Collie dog which rarely barks so she obviously expects my dogs (one of which is just 9mths) should be silent.We actually spent £150 to put Bamboo screening up against the fence between us and she said it was too high!!! It was 5ft!!!So we chopped it back to 4.5ft and she still isn't happy. So we are going to get 6ft fence panels and put them right along our side.I've told the Council I have no problem in them putting in noise equipment because she is the problemnot me. We have only been there since Octoberand our houses are detached with about 40ft between each house.I'm so annoyed it's costing us so much more.
Linny - 21-May-19 @ 1:39 PM
We have a problem with our neighbour complaining about our dogs barking. she has reported us to the Police and council 3 times. each time we have been investigated and it has been determined we have nothing to answer to. She has complained that we hoover to much, we replaced carpet with tiles so it was noisy. closing doors to loudly. it has been a 3 year nightmare and she's starting again threatening us with legal action, court and again reporting us to the council. we are at our wits end with her. yes our dogs do bark but only when the post is delivered, someone knocks at the door or the window cleaner is here. We have installed CCTV and we monitor the dogs when we are out. we exercise them daily and they are never left for prolonged periods. we are always home by 5pm and never go out on an evening so there is no barking unless someone knocks at the door. we even put our house up for sale as the stress was becoming to much. she claims to have recordings...………. I doubt it and even if she did we don't leave the house till 9.00am hubby comes back during the day to see to them and I have even started working from home on certain days! we will b investigated again and I have no doubt nothing will come of it but surely there is something we can do about the harassment and stress she is causing us.....HELP!
radstock - 10-May-19 @ 8:32 PM
I live with a dog, it's my partners doberman dog and is a bone of contention as it howls each time we go out. It also whines when my partner leaves on and off all day, It has separation anxiety but he says it's only been a problem now she's old, 11yrs. It's a right pain as I love silence, and when the baby goes sleep if the dog starts whining I have to put the dog in the garage which i feel bad about. I actually dislike the dog a lot, I find her awfully smelly even after a wash, and she sits and licks herself it's gross. Anyhow no one has complained but i actually wish they would so I didn't have to be doggy day care and spend my life trying to keep her quiet or not going out so she doesnt annoy people, please someone complain as my partner doesn't think she's a pain at all!! Shes his precious doggy that does no wrong, but shes awful.
Meh - 14-Apr-19 @ 10:19 PM
Easy solution Put all dogs in a gas chamber
Davey H - 12-Apr-19 @ 2:10 PM
There's little point in speaking to a barking dog owner.You're dealing with one of the most selfish types of people on the planet, and the barking will most probably increase, as the owner will take it personally. No one tells his/her sweet little poodle pumpkins, that it can't bark like it's got rabies, as you and your kids are trying to sleep. Send polite, but firm anonymous letters. This is perfectly legal, as long as it's not threatening.Outline the legal action you'll be taking, if the barking continues.
Phil - 7-Apr-19 @ 9:47 AM
My neighbour has 3 spaniels, not exercised but bark a lot. Only last night I was woken up 4 times 3rd time this week. I have dogs mine do not bark and they are exercised every day. One has taken to escaping and crapping on my drive I’ve put a new 6foot fence up but still it’s doing it. It’s been returned to sender with a note but again this hasn’t made a scrap of difference. Dog owners get bad names from bad dog owners like this. We aren’t all irresponsible but everyone is entitled to a decent nights sleep in their own home. My council have been absolute rubbish so now I’m going down the legal route to show I mean it when I say I’ve had enough
Sleep deprived - 9-Mar-19 @ 5:44 AM
A few comments here from dog owners, who appear to be offended that there barking dog is disturbing other people. Have some basic consideration for other people.Others need to work and sleep.Children need to go to school in the morning.How would you like it if a neighbor blasted out music constantly, and your child failed his/her exams?You wouldn't like it. Stop acting high and mighty because your little poodle pumpkins has the divine right to bark, and act like civilized human beings.
Phil - 11-Feb-19 @ 7:10 PM
My NEIBOURS dogs barck constantly when they leave the house, I've spoke to them a few times and they just look at me like I'mdaft I'm ready to explode, inconsiderate pigs .
Manage - 11-Feb-19 @ 10:34 AM
My neighbour’s Westie wakes me up,almost every morning from 5.45 onwards, barking in their garden. The Council will not act. It was 6.20 this morning, and I am at my wits end. It is completely and utterly selfish. Take the dog for a walk!
Kas647 - 1-Feb-19 @ 7:53 AM
For 4 years thus yappin dogs german shepherd has cost me my health as well as during the day it’s at it at midnight and very early morning I’m at my wits end I wish to god they would move
Meg - 4-Jan-19 @ 6:50 AM
The connent from tired about council prosecuted them for conplaining shows what a joke the council are. If it was happening to them im sure the rules would be different.like most councils houseing assoations ect the rule only stand when it suits them . Scummy neiubour for allowing dog to bark like that .
Tony - 3-Dec-18 @ 7:46 AM
Dogs belong in the countryside in a kennel on a farm. Cities and towns are no place for dogs.
HGWXIX - 26-Oct-18 @ 2:10 PM
Sometimes neighbours use the fact you have a dog to complain because they have nothing better to do than annoy other people. There are cantankerous people out there. Normally next door......
Prof - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:54 PM
This article makes it seem like you can get in real trouble for having a barking dog, the truth is you can't and dog owners (like myself) know this. In the end it's a civil matter and no "punishments" can be enforced. The Statutory Notice is not worth the paper it is written on because unless the environmental officer is willing to camp out at your neighbours house for 21 days it can't be proven if the issue has been solved or not and it becomes your word against the neighbour. I had an issue with one of my dog who was very poorly treated by his previous owners which makes him very nervous and bark at basically anything. My neighbour went straight to Environmental Health without speaking to me and in the end I was INVITED to court and I declined to attend, got a Statutory Notice, did nothing and when the environmental officer turned up about 2 months later I told him my dogs barking was improved and he left (i did nothing ). Eventually the police became Involved and they basically told me there is nothing they can do. Although I did get my neighbour a serious taking to for pointing a CCTV camera at my living room window where my 7yo daughter plays.
the dude - 19-Oct-18 @ 7:44 PM
This article makes it seem like you can get in real trouble for having a barking dog, the truth is you can't and dog owners (like myself) know this. In the end it's a civil matter and no "punishments" can be enforced. The Statutory Notice is not worth the paper it is written on because unless the environmental officer is willing to camp out at your neighbours house for 21 days it can't be proven if the issue has been solved or not and it becomes your word against the neighbour. I had an issue with one of my dog who was very poorly treated by his previous owners which makes him very nervous and bark at basically anything. My neighbour went straight to Environmental Health without speaking to me and in the end I was INVITED to court and I declined to attend, got a Statutory Notice, did nothing and when the environmental officer turned up about 2 months later I told him my dogs barking was improved and he left (i did nothing ). Eventually the police became Involved and they basically told me there is nothing they can do. Although I did get my neighbour a serious taking to for pointing a CCTV camera at my living room window where my 7yo daughter plays.
the dude - 19-Oct-18 @ 6:30 PM
I am looking for some advice on an issue with the farm next door. it is 40 meters behind us and has outhouses containing many dogs or different breeds. they bark, sometimes constantly for hours at a time to intermittently at inappropriate times of the day. it turns out that they have recently become dog breeders and kennels. they are relatively small scale but due to the dogs location and the geography of the land, the area is like an echo chamber, the noise is directed at us! forgetting the geography contributing to the issue, the issue really is, as i see it, nuisance barking! We have spoken to the council, they say they can intervene or investigate and record the noise levels etc. We dont want to go that far unless its a last resort. We have had many reasonable and unreasonable chats with them to no avail. As far as i am aware they have a license to breed and keep dogs as kennels. We share a drive with them and have for many years had a very amiable relationship, alas of the last few years it has deteriorated. I am wondering if there was any guidance on what we could do.. we are staving off legal action only as a last resort. regards
on the edge of insan - 6-Aug-18 @ 8:53 PM
I’m at my wits end with the lady next door her dog barks and howls constantly I can’t sit in my garden as soon as I open my door it starts numerous neighbours have reported her but nothing happens I’m in bad health and this is making me worse
Flossy - 28-Jul-18 @ 4:54 PM
My next door neighbor has a Labrador all it does is bark when I look out of window to see what it’s barking at it’s just stood there no one in sight there are times when she lets it out about 2-3 o’clock in morning soon as I open my patio door it starts I can’t sit out in the garden family and friends have stopped coming because of the dog I and several neighbors have reported her but nothing happens I suffer with depression and anxiety among other things
Flossy - 28-Jul-18 @ 3:44 PM
I have a neighbour who's dog barks loudly on and off all day. The owners are on benefits and don't work. We have complained to the council numerous times in the past 2 or 3 years but get nowhere. We obviously spoke to the owners first and then contacted the council. The dog barks until gone 10pm and is allowed to roam in the garden during the night, barking at 3am and 5am and 6am, this because the owners are I'll and don't sleep.much. I haven't seen the dog out of the garden for over 2 years and am concerned what will happen if it got loose. The RSPCA can't do anything and the council are totally not interested, in fact we were told last time we spoke to them that we could be prosecuted for complaining under some harassmentpolicy. Myself and my partner are full time employees and out of the house from 7am to 6pm most days in the week. We can't have our doors and windows open and we can even here the dog with everything closed. My partner is so stressed that she doesn't want to come home half the time and we are being forced to leave our home of over 30 years. Is there anything we can do or anyone we can see to help us.?
Tired - 25-Jul-18 @ 8:20 PM
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