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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Jun 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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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
The neighbour next door never walks dog barks first thing in the morning and barks most of the night never says anything to the dog neighbour just bangs the door
Daz - 12-Jul-18 @ 4:13 PM
It appears dog owners attitudes towards complaints of their dogs barking shows lack of respect for their neighbors and training clearly is non-existent. They think it's fine for their dogs to bark day and night and it requires more than one person to complain before they would even consider it a problem......not true if it affects just one person it's a problem FULL STOP. Where they are aware of issues, you become the problem not their dog/s. I have had dogs all my life and never allow my dogs to bark outside it's called a nuisance. Dog owners take responsibility for your dogs behavior they are your problem not every elses.
Mickey - 11-Jul-18 @ 8:17 PM
Can i ask what a council would say is a unreasonable amount of time for my dog to be barking between the hours of 8am and 8pm, he never barks after 10pm or before 7am.
jledi - 11-Jul-18 @ 4:29 PM
I read these comments and think why.why why. Do people have dogs and go to work leaving the dog alone... Dogs are social animals and NEED company all day everyday. I have had several dogs and none of them barked incessantly all day. People think they love thier dogs but they do not. Being ignored and left on thier own all day is torture for dogs.
Doggielover - 10-Jul-18 @ 11:49 AM
Frustrated. - Your Question:
I have had an anonymous letter posted through my door from a neighbour. They have said my do barks all day every day. I find this very hard to believe as she never ever barks when I am home. She may bark whilst I am at work but my husband pops in and out throughout the day to let her in the garden feed her give her attention and extra walks. She is walked twice daily I don't shut her in the garden. Now we have only been in our property 3 weeks, it's a new environment with a lot of new noises as we previously lived in a quieter area. O leave a radio on when I am out. I don't know what else I can do to prevent her barking when I'm not home. I am very worried as the letter was very insulting and accusing me of being irresponsible pet owner which could not be further from the truth. Any advice?

Our Response:
Hopefully your dog will soon settle. The council will not usually act on anonymous letters so if this person does choose to identify themselves and complain to the council, at least you will know who it is then. For now, it's probably best not to do much about the letter. It's worthwhile talking to any immediate neighbours, let them know about the dog and how its settling in to the new environment and ask them to let you know you if it barks excessively while you're out.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-18 @ 12:43 PM
Hi I have a neighbour whom I've had to report to the police for harrassment that began 3 years ago and continues in a snidey and low key way when she and her family think there's no-one listening. Today she had got her new boyfriend to write to threaten me with legal action and an injunction if my 2 little rescue terriers keep barking. I think this woman made an anonymous call to Env Health this time last year as a revenge thing and I invited them to bring in their noise meters. They didn't proceed. I think I will have to get legal advice about that letter. My dogs' barking is mainly reactive to the big dogs on the other sidebarking and whining at the fence can start mine off. Those owners will not call their dogs in, nor will they accept responsibility for their dogs' racket. The owners are both very hostile. If I know their dogs are outside I try to keep mine indoors or get them in quickly. I bring them in straight away if they start barking. I do this as quickly as I can, being elderly and a stroke survivor/disabled I'm not a sprinter these days. But I'm never far away from the patio door or the side door, where I've had a secure run built for them. I never leave these dogs alone unless absolutely necessary and never, ever for any length of time. I had a conversation earlier with the dog neighbour to advise her about the potential problem, she immediately blamed my dogs even though we've been indoors all day and hers have barked all afternoon, to the extent that I had to repeat twice what I was attempting to tell her. So my good intentions didn't end well and I guess there's no retrieving that situation. I'm at my wits end here. And very anxious. Any suggestions or advice will be welcomed. Thank you.
Effie - 4-Jul-18 @ 7:27 PM
Can anyone offer any help or advice please? I have 2 dogs a small terrier & a boxer. They are both very well looked after and our dogs are loved dearly as part of our family. They are walked regularly and we are blessed with a huge a garden too so they also spend a lot of time outside. Our neighbours have a lot of visitors to their home & unfortunately our dogs bark when anyone walks up their drive to visit them. I bring the dogs in as soon as they start to bark and become a nuisance. Ive also made changes to the garden adding extra fencing to keep the dogs away from them. Unfortunately my neighbours are still quote cross and I'm genuinely at a loss as to what else I can do. The latest confrontationended with my neighbour telling me to shutup and get rid of the dog. I have never been rude or aggressive to my neighbours and genuinely want to make things better. Any suggestions?
Tryingtobefair - 2-Jul-18 @ 7:25 PM
Rugratz - Your Question:
I had a problem like most of yours with 3dogs next door the environment Health were brilliant I collected as much evidence (Recordings. Photos ) and they came out and witnessed it for themselves The dogs were barking at 79 decabells and he had a high pitches buzzer that every time they barked that would buzz The officer immediately served an abaitment order to stop them barking immediately and removed the buzzer with instructions he is not allowed to let any dog bark again This was 2years a go he still has dogs but we never hear them which just proves it was a deliberate set up So please speak to your council they have a lot of power to support you It’s the worst thing in the world dogs barking all day

Our Response:
Good to hear positive experiences of how the system's supposed to work. Thanks for sharing.
ProblemNeighbours - 2-Jul-18 @ 11:51 AM
I have had an anonymous letter posted through my door from a neighbour. They have said my do barks all day every day. I find this very hard to believe as she never ever barks when I am home. She may bark whilst I am at work but my husband pops in and out throughout the day to let her in the garden feed her give her attention and extra walks. She is walked twice daily I don't shut her in the garden. Now we have only been in our property 3 weeks, it's a new environment with a lot of new noises as we previously lived in a quieter area. O leave a radio on when I am out. I don't know what else I can do to prevent her barking when I'm not home. I am very worried as the letter was very insulting and accusing me of being irresponsible pet owner which could not be further from the truth. Any advice?
Frustrated. - 2-Jul-18 @ 9:32 AM
I had a problem like most of yours with 3dogs next door the environment Health were brilliant I collected as much evidence (Recordings. Photos ) and they came out and witnessed it for themselves The dogs were barking at 79 decabells and he had a high pitches buzzer that every time they barked that would buzz The officer immediately served an abaitment order to stop them barking immediately and removed the buzzer with instructions he is not allowed to let any dog bark again This was 2years a go he still has dogs but we never hear them which just proves it was a deliberate set up So please speak to your council they have a lot of power to support you It’s the worst thing in the world dogs barking all day
Rugratz - 1-Jul-18 @ 9:55 AM
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