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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Feb 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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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
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
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