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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 12 Jul 2018 | 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
Tryingtobefair - Your Question:
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 confrontation ended with my neighbour telling me to shut up 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?

Our Response:
We have lots of information to help dog owners too on this website. One article in particular might help, see Curbing barking for dog owners.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-18 @ 3:13 PM
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
Hello I have a German Shepard of my own and I look after my daughters beagle when she goes to work and I'm on a day off. My neighbour is an old man that when my dogs are out in the garden he constantly goads them so they bark and then he has a stick at the side of his bin and then starts to bang the bin so load they go mad at him then he says I'm going to have them **cking animals I have recorded him a few times tormenting the dogs he says he is going to report me I love my dogs and I think they shouldn't have to be locked inside in this beautiful weather so unfair don't know what I'm supposed to do can anyone help! I would like to report him before he does it to me
Sasharocky1 - 29-Jun-18 @ 1:42 PM
Katy - Your Question:
I have the opposite problem my neighbour has complained and so I've put up recordings and the dogs are not barking. This could be because we have had to replace fencing, found his decking was a foot over into our garden, then complained because his kid was using our new fence as football goals. My concern is one of our dogs is a staff and you always hear of how staffs are mistaken for pit bulls. I'm so worried about it that I'm not sleeping now.

Our Response:
Who has the neighbour complained to? Talk to environmental health, say you are aware that a neighbour has complained but you feel it's unfounded and explain the times of day and duration of your dog's barking.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Jun-18 @ 12:01 PM
I have the opposite problem my neighbour has complained and so I've put up recordings and the dogs are not barking.This could be because we have had to replace fencing, found his decking was a foot over into our garden, then complained because his kid was using our new fence as football goals.My concern is one of our dogs is a staff and you always hear of how staffs are mistaken for pit bulls. I'm so worried about it that I'm not sleeping now.
Katy - 21-Jun-18 @ 7:43 AM
My neighbours dogs are driving me absolutely cray to the point I actually used to like them now can't stand them 1, loud barking can be heard with doors and windows in my house closed when her dogs are in the garden. 2, when I've been on the phone others have heard the dog and thought it was mine, that's how loud he is! 3, I've had to cancel extra work night shifts due to be woken up anywhere from 5.37 to 6.15 this seems to have now become an everyday thing. I feel exhausted from it. 4, the late night barking doesn't bother me so much but it's the mornings sounds like they are next to my head. They got a second dog a while back so once she is as big as the pest of the big one it is only going to gt worse. I only hear her occasionally recently shouting his na me when he barks. This doesn't stop him he carry on. What can I do as I've had enough now of waiting thinking it would get better. I have a 5 month old puppy and would take action if she behaved that way. It's just so shocking. I've recorded him on my phone and it's very loud. Even now writing this I've just heard him in their house he's already been out woke me up now continues in the house. Thanks
Mummy8828 - 24-May-18 @ 6:52 AM
caspermaesteg - Your Question:
Help please we have an on going problem with neighbours dogs which constantly bark even if no one there the problem is the owners work and hav a dog flap fitted on door so they come and go when they want it now friday night its 1115pm and still these dogs bark I have young children trying to sleep ita not just us affected quite a few neigbours here it also its that bad even with all windows closed and tv on you can still here it.we have tried speaking to owner who is aggressive and he just swears at you and says mind your buisness etc or even threats are made we have also spoke to council who took a look at problem in the DAY MIND the problem is more night time even though we have reported these matters nothing is done. o myself owns dogs and mine do not bark mine bark if there a problem but these just bark cauz of boardam etc I reallg dont know what to do and any help addvice appreciated

Our Response:
Please follow the steps advised in the above article, We don't really know what we can add to that information unfortunately apart from private legal action.. Our letter template might help?
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Apr-18 @ 3:35 PM
help please we have an on going problem with neighbours dogs which constantly bark even if no one there the problem is the owners work and hav a dog flap fitted on door so they come and go when they want it now friday night its 1115pm and still these dogs bark i have young children trying to sleep ita not just us affected quite a few neigbours here it also its that bad even with all windows closed and tv on you can still here it.we have tried speaking to owner who is aggressive and he just swears at you and says mind your buisness etc or even threats are made we have also spoke to council who took a look at problem in the DAY MIND the problem is more night time even though we have reported these matters nothing is done. o myself owns dogs and mine do not bark mine bark if there a problem but these just bark cauz of boardam etc i reallg dont know what to do and any help addvice appreciated
caspermaesteg - 30-Mar-18 @ 11:19 PM
I am getting incessant barking from 2 dogs at my next door neighbour's house.The poor dogs hardly ever get taken out for a walk. One is stuck in the conservatory area majority of the time and the other one is shut in the kitchen when the people go out.When the neighbours go out the dogs whimper, whine and bark loudly and is driving us up the wall. This has been ongoing for over a year now, and I am getting fed up with it all.I've made numerous complaints to my local Environmental Officer who has said that the neighbours have been approached about the nuisance and they've said that they would resolve the problem. But that's all lies because the dogs are still barking.I went in my garden the other day and recorded very loud barking comingfrom the dog in the conservatory on my mobile phone and it went off the scale.He also was going berserk and trying to bite at the back door handle with his jaws. The man next door is being aggressive towards myself and my mother.We've endured loud, thumping bangs on the door continually for over a week now.He's also used a drill against our wall during the day & night in the past couple of days just to let us know how angry he is that another complaint has been made against them..I've had him use his hand like a gun pointing at me too.I had to contact the police last night as we are at our wits end now and it's making my anxiety worse.So unhappy with it all.
AtWitsEnd - 4-Feb-18 @ 3:05 PM
Ive just had an anonymous letter posted through my letter box complaining about my dogs barking all day from 6.30 in the morning now the thing is ive got cameras on my house and can see it is the woman from a different street about 200yards from our house and shes at work in the day as well so how can she hear my dogs barking all day,my mrs works 3 days a week and neither of us work weekends im normally home for around 3 which is always before the woman who complained, one of the dogs may bark for a couple of minutes when we put them out in the morning and as soon as I/we get home the dogs come in and out as they please and hardly ever bark this woman has only lived in the area for about 6 months (weve lived in the same house for 35 years and have always had dogs with no complaints before this) as well. none of our neighbours next door, next door but one, across the roadhave ever complained about our dogs therefore i reckon this woman has no grounds for complaint considering your easy to advise the complainants to get onto environmental health what action do you suggest we take as this is tantamount to her accusing us of mistreating our dogs which is clearly incorrect as they are walked daily always have food and water have their own shed living space for the time they are outside are free to wonder in a 15 foot by 30 foot paved cleaned and disinfected daily area (which is probably why the one dog barks if a bird lands on the fence or a cat teases him) can anyone honestly say the dogs would be happier closed in a house while we were at work I dont think so
busybody - 30-Jan-18 @ 3:12 PM
I have just complained to environmental health about my neighbour. She keeps two dogs in the back garden and they are driving me mad. But the law is an ass. As an experienced dog owner myself - it just isn’t their fault -it’s the irresponsible woman who thinks a German Shepherd and a Heinz 57 terrier will be happy living their lives in a small back garden. It’s cruel. They are totally and utterly bored - they bark at cars pulling up, cars turning round, people walking past (with or without dogs), the postman, the window cleaner, her mother who sometimes comes to feed them, visitors to their house, visitors to mine and anyone other neighbours round and about. She goes out and turns up in the early hours in a taxi, they bark. At no point have I ever heard her tell them to be quiet or anything. It has got worse - they have lived next door 4 years. Let’s just say there has been a demise in interest. Welfare is not just about food and water or shelter. These dogs have no mental or social stimulation-in this case that is why they bark.
Mitch - 7-Jan-18 @ 10:35 PM
We have a neighbour whose dog barks throughout the night. We have been to environment health twice. The first time we recorded for about 6 weeks and were told that we had supplied them with enough evidence for them to act upon.It did then go quiet for a little while but Only to start up again. The second time we approached environmental health they were extremely unhelpful and were made to feel as if we were the unreasonable ones as the then one dog was a guard dog. We were told that we would have to do the recordings again, which entails getting up to press the record button on every occasion the dog barks. I work full time and am exhausted. They also told us that we would be cross examined in court if it got that far and it would make our house very difficult to sell in the future. We have since spent £600 on acoustic glass in the bedroom windows but the barking still wakes us up. Don't know where to go from here,the system seems to be set up to help the ones committing the crime instead of the victims. HELP.
Tired - 24-Dec-17 @ 8:56 AM
When is the law going to be enforced over owners who neglect their dogs. Leaving them outside til 10.45 in all weathers barking every night. Not only is is cruel, the dog is physically and mentally neglected. The law needs to change because this neighbors dog is suffering and neighbor getting no sleep
Crazymolly - 16-Dec-17 @ 10:32 PM
Jen - Your Question:
We have just moved into a new house and while we have been renovating have heard nothing but dogs bark. When we looked out the bedroom window, next door have kennels built in there garden. With about 10 dogs plus dogs in the house. They get fed once a day but never get walked or interacted with. They bark al day and al night. I have a puppy and 2 children. My kids are scared to go in the garden and are being woke up al hours. And the puppy has been nearly attacked by one of the dogs and is starting to bark when they do. Its ruining our new home.

Our Response:
Firstly your neighbour's dogs should be kept in their own property by secure fencing ( the Dangerous Dogs act requires this). The environmental health department should be able to investigate the noise of the dogs barking. If you think the dogs are being neglected it might be worth reporting to RSPCA.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Nov-17 @ 2:51 PM
We have just moved into a new house and while we have been renovating have heard nothing but dogs bark. When we looked out the bedroom window, next door have kennels built in there garden. With about 10 dogs plus dogs in the house. They get fed once a day but never get walked or interacted with. They bark al day and al night. I have a puppy and 2 children. My kids are scared to go in the garden and are being woke up al hours. And the puppy has been nearly attacked by one of the dogsand is starting to bark when they do. Its ruining our new home.
Jen - 8-Nov-17 @ 6:25 PM
I need help I've tried everything their is a man that lives a couple of houses down from me and he leaves his dog outside day and night although in the day I can put up with the barking when night time comes it's a different story I have 2 young children that constantly have broken sleep and still have to get up early in the morning for school it makes my dog whimper in the night but he is an old man and whimpers for about 5 seconds and goes back to sleep i am at my wits end i cant cope anymore I'm constantly tired because I too get broken sleep I just feel like their is nothing I can do to stop the constant barking any advice would be much appreciated
louise - 15-Oct-17 @ 9:07 PM
Nervous Wreck - Your Question:
Constant dog barking,whimpering since November 2016 through the day and early hours of the morning, sometimes for periods between 2hrs through till 7 hours at a time. Kept Dairy sheets and contact the Enviromental Health on numerous times and have handed over many dairy sheetseven had visited from staff members. They never come back to update your on the progress of yourcomplaints. Arrived home after a holiday at just before 8 pm today and its now 11.00 and it is still barking, If the Enviromental Health do not follow this through. Can anyone advise me on my next move to hopefully get some satisfaction on this matter

Our Response:
Have you been back to Environmental Health to ask what action will be taken or whether it's not considered a noise nuisance etc? They will be able to explain to you what the options are.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Sep-17 @ 11:26 AM
Constant dog barking,whimpering since November 2016 through the day and early hours of the morning, sometimes for periods between 2hrs through till 7 hours at a time. Kept Dairy sheets and contactthe Enviromental Health on numerous times and have handed over many dairy sheets even had visited from staff members. They never come back to update your on the progress of your complaints. Arrived home after a holiday at just before 8 pm today and its now 11.00 and it is still barking, If the Enviromental Health do not follow this through. Can anyone advise me on my next move to hopefully get some satisfaction on this matter
Nervous Wreck - 28-Aug-17 @ 10:51 PM
partyboy- Your Question:
Hello I living in street with noisy dog everyday. She age 80 witter letter too her. And Tel her off 2 times.Not listen upset people. Need help

Our Response:
Environmental health might be able to help. See numbers 2 and 3 in the article above.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Aug-17 @ 11:08 AM
Hello I living in street with noisy dog everyday. She age 80 witter letter too her. And Tel her off 2 times .Not listen upset people. Need help
partyboy - 19-Aug-17 @ 4:42 PM
Tim - Your Question:
We have a ongoing problem with next door. 1st Noise wise : We work long shifts and late nights so early morning are not always possible yet next door have two dogs who are let out some times as early as 7am into a area of about 6ft x 6ft to do there business then left to bark and scratch until let back in. (not ever timed it but I would guess at times upto a hour). Hardly ever walked seen them taken out twice in the three years we have lived here. They bark and howl for some time. We have at times entered are back garden and had to shout at them to stop.2nd smell : there business area is right outside next doors patio doors and with one 6ft fence panel divide right outside are doors too. We struggle to enjoy are garden due to the smell and just this morning witnessed the dog piss running through the fence panel on are side as the dog relieved its self. We both have be dog owners in the pass and respected the life of the dogs we owned. Exercise and companionship. We won't have a dog at present due to the long hours we work. We have approached next door about the smell attempts on the day in question were made to deal with the smell including the chemical we gave them to put in the water to wash down with (detergent the same as vets use). But that's about all we have seen. We have had one invasion of flys one a hot day and we can't leave are patio doors open due to the smell entering the house. More so on hot day's. My partner is winding herself up and I am starting to look to move house as I don't think are problem is quite outside the guide lines. :(

Our Response:
Have you tried your environmental health officer as the article suggests?
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Aug-17 @ 11:47 AM
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