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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 5 Apr 2020 | 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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So if any of you have complained to the council, you'll have noticed that they rarely do anything.The other harsh reality is that you also have to report an official complaint when you sell your home, and potentially loose thousands.No ones going to buy a house with a barking dog next door anyway, unless they are also a psychologically imbalanced barking dog owner.So the barking dog has more rights than a human being in our society.And that's got to change. Never complain face to face with a barking dog owner.Your dealing with a sociopath and it will only ever get worse.They do not care that your baby can't sleep.Your dealing with very unpleasant people. We simply don't have the enforcement in this country, to prevent it from sounding like a kennel.And if you're working from home right now, this is very challenging. First thing, get on to local politicians and DEMAND change.If we all do this, and keep doing this, change will come.So write to your local politicians today, and keep writing. The other thing you can do is give some psychological pressure back to the barking dog owner, legally and ANONYMOUSLY in the form of very firm letters.This can actually break many of them.Make sure its anonymous and can't be traced back to you. We're talking about noise levels that exceed the WHO guideline on what constitutes chronic noise pollution, affecting one's health.Like I said, if each and every one of the thousands of barking dog victims pressurized politicians on this matter, change will come.
Phil - 5-Apr-20 @ 12:56 PM
Els the first step is to make notes of the dates and times then its your local council who you raise this with, i just googled my area and dog noise complaint however just so you are awarecannot remain anonymous for a dog noise complaint (unless yoyr council is different) next step is they will take action and then if no progress is made it goes to court.hope this helps....ive been reading up in my midnight hours of hell
Tired - 3-Apr-20 @ 10:30 PM
I live in a semi detached house where the dog barks from 8.30 at night until after 1am whenever the neighbour works nightshift. The neighbour isnt bothered as she isnt at home. 1st stpe is to make notes of dates and times, i could scream, i made a log of everything when this started in December and deleted it as the dog had stopped for a month..turns out it appears it was just because of her shift changes. I have a child that it wakes and im on day 3 with approx 3hours sleep. I cant believe how long it takes to have these issues sorted and how little there is in place.
Tired - 3-Apr-20 @ 10:26 PM
The dog next door barks all day non stop as soon as it’s owner leaves it on the morning, about 7:30. As at this time I am working at home, I can’t focus with the dog barking all the time. What should I do?
Els - 26-Mar-20 @ 10:41 AM
Can someone please advise who I contact to stop the harassment we are receiving? We live on a development with a number of dogs but one of our neighbours has decided every little bark is our dog. This neighbour lives a number of doors away and between us is another dog, same size and breed and younger. This neighbour never talks to us and just uses the managing agent to send unsupported letters. Who can I engage to resolve this issue? I’m in contact with our direct neighbour who have no problems with our dog and advise he doesn’t disturb them. How can people complaining have protection but people being unjustly harassed have no defence?
Blamed for everythin - 21-Mar-20 @ 9:44 AM
Hi kate Same here and summer round here is a nightmare. Dogs can be left for about 20 mins!!!apparently it is legal for people to leave their dogs for that amount of time ridiculous!!!!!
Sickofit - 7-Mar-20 @ 7:36 PM
Katy there is a dog that keeps barking somewhere near my house in beaulieu and it is really sad as it keeps yelping and I can’t do anything as I’m only 13
Donnay - 7-Mar-20 @ 7:32 AM
Where I live there are numerous neighbouring houses that have dogs. Most times of the day there are dogs barking. The other day there were dogs barking for over 2 hours straight. They were different dogs from different neighbours. They bark at all times of the day, it’s currently 22:51 and there has been one barking for half an hour. Unfortunately I don’t know who’s dog it is and as I said is it’s more than ones neighbours dogs. I have dogs myself and I let them out in the garden a few times a day in between walks but I always let them in when they bark, I just wish my neighbours were more considerate. I don’t know where to turn to to get help.
Kate - 4-Mar-20 @ 10:49 PM
scoobydoo your attitude is the problem. dogs barking at any time is a nuissance for everyone who doesnt own them. people who do, are somewhat tuned out of the noise, as they are used to it, so they dont realise how much it can bother a neighbour!! ... and to be woken up by a dog after 11pm (!) even if its once, its too much! its your responsibility to make sure your dogs dont cause ANY inconvenience to your neighbours, so stop being ignorant.
Kazza - 23-Feb-20 @ 10:17 AM
Baz, as Phil has said, people like you are the problem. It is absolute torture living next door to a barking dog, that's why there are laws about this. It really does drive you to distraction.
Mark G - 4-Feb-20 @ 12:47 PM
To baz. YOU are the problem.Have a bit of respect for other people, and stop having an animal disturbing the peace. If you keep disturbing others, they will complain about you.That's what happens.
Phil - 3-Feb-20 @ 2:05 PM
Can anybody tell me what the limit is for dog barking during the day??? My mum goes out for only two hours during the day bearing in mind that's not every single day.He's never left all day or night. The stupid woman who lives beneath her keeps putting letters through the door complaining about the dog barking...He doesn't bark at night or first thing either....She's a right pain in the butt as if she doesn't have anything better to do. Surely the council won't do anything ?? What for two hours REALLY !!!! Advice please and re-assurance would be most appreciated ... :)
baz - 2-Jan-20 @ 4:46 PM
A dog keeps barking every night around West employ Aryan sendling ecus they wait all time it's gone on to f*****' long a thing I wanna the neighbours as of left it outside left it without food or water I'm not sure how heirs but this is a complaint a lot in treport in about the dog whose standard street outside barking barking the terraces down
Loo - 26-Dec-19 @ 11:39 PM
My neighbours have 3 little dogs, I don’t know if this is selfish of me but I work through the night and sleep in daytime, bearing in mind I do school runs too, my neighbours are Out most days and all the dogs do are bark all day until they get home, do not only do I get just a few sleep a day I get woken by their barking and on Saturdays when they leave about 8am I have only been home 2 hrs and the dogs start, it could last up until 8pm on Saturdays, I’ve complained but nothing seems to be done, other neighbours moan but they moan to me about them, I just don’t know what to do it gets really depressing
Em - 30-Nov-19 @ 1:26 PM
I have been in touch before about the dogs barking at 81 wellington avenue. This has not changed the dogs are still left to bark for long periods of time. It has been going on for a long time. Nothing is changing! I have ignored them for long enough! I need help to stop. You originally sent a letter to them which worked for a few days. Since I last wrote to Gary Steele & left messages for Angela. Gary emailed me back but I have heard nothing more about it? It is a bad problem that effects not just my diabeties anxiety and depression. It also effects my children And stops me from bringing people to my home because of the consistent barking of two dogs!!! I need your help or guidance. At the moment I am being left to deal with it myself. This is not good, HELP!
Danny - 12-Nov-19 @ 2:08 PM
My neighbours are fine, we don’t have any issues with them, except their dog! We are homeowners and they rent. Their dog is never walked, and I have never even seen it leave the house. It’s let out in the back garden alone in early hours of the morning, all throughout the day and late at night and each time it will bark bark bark! The dog is let out for the toilet at 12pm, 1am 2am etc, the worst time I have been woken up is 3:30am- why is the dog even outside at this time? I have a medical condition that is triggered by lack of sleep or disturbed sleep so this is very frustrating completely unnecessary and is making me ill! I have written a strongly worded letter to them and my husband has also been round to talk to them at 12:30am one night when the dog was barking to ask why this keeps happening, all they say is the dog needed the toilet. My husband has suggested to them about getting the dog in a routine and being let out for the toilet at a earlier time, or being in the garden with the dog to stop it barking! However it persists - any advise on how to take this further would be appreciated.
Little Jim - 2-Nov-19 @ 1:18 AM
My neighbours are fine, we don’t have any issues with them, except their dog! We are homeowners and they rent. Their dog is never walked, and I have never even seen it leave the house. It’s let out in the back garden alone in early hours of the morning, all throughout the day and late at night and each time it will bark bark bark! The dog is let out for the toilet at 12pm, 1am 2am etc, the worst time I have been woken up is 3:30am- why is the dog even outside at this time? I have a medical condition that is triggered by lack of sleep or disturbed sleep so this is very frustrating completely unnecessary and is making me ill! I have written a strongly worded letter to them and my husband has also been round to talk to them at 12:30am one night when the dog was barking to ask why this keeps happening, all they say is the dog needed the toilet. My husband has suggested to them about getting the dog in a routine and being let out for the toilet at a earlier time, or being in the garden with the dog to stop it barking! However it persists - any advise on how to take this further would be appreciated.
Little Jim - 2-Nov-19 @ 1:16 AM
My next door neighbour as two dogs and a few years ago I had a word with her about them barking, but it's getting worse the dogs can start from anything like 6 am in a morning on and off its so frustrating when your not working and have been woke up at that time and it's not like she is bothered because she let's them go on and on and on till they eventually stop. 1 dog is bad enough but to hear 2 and one sometime will Howell, the last time I mentioned it to my neighbour her response was, Oh" but I do hear your dog sometimes, my dog gets picked up in a morning by my mum while I'm at work and if not I'm at home or someone is and my dog barks when someone comes to the door which is not all day. It is a real issue now because I feel like I don't want to live here anymore just because every night i go to bed I knowing Im going to be woken up by the echo of dogs barking around my bedroom, I don't want to report her then be on bad terms plus if I do sell it comes up that I have had noice problems with my present neighbourswhich could make it harder to sell. I welcome anyideas of what to do.
Legs - 23-Oct-19 @ 9:25 AM
Our deligthful neighbour have reported us to the council for our barking dog.Some months ago just as there put there new build on the market. At the time he asked if we could not let her out after 11.15 pm as her barkng was waking him up when ask how many times she woken him which put him on the spot 4 times in 6 months!! he saidcould we not put a collar on her to stop her barkng. Yes she will bark at nights, if she barks at all its one bark at the door to let her in that is if we not at the door waiting to let her in . She does bark duringthe day as all dogs do but is not barking all day long she is old and deaf spends most of it asleep and cannot ever hear the door bell so does not bark in side .We think this is more to do with the fact they cannot sell the over priced new buildand if buyer come round a barking dog might put buyer of ,Also strange the day this started was the day after a estate agent was seen near the house
scoobydoo - 11-Oct-19 @ 8:54 PM
I would like some advice my neighbour is a dog handler and she has 4 dogs one of the dogs howell when she is not there and the other three are left why she works and one of them barks all day and at night and there left out side even when she is there thay bark and some times she will tell them to shut up I’ve tried asking her a few times is there something you can do and her replies as I Carnt cope with them and does nothing about it what should I do
Big mumma - 6-Oct-19 @ 1:56 PM
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
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