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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Feb 2017 | 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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My neighbour has a fully grown male border collie locked in a small 4ft long 3ft high 2ft wide dog run from 7am till sometimes as late as 9pm even when shes home the dogs very rarely walked just let out in the garden. My issue is all the dog does is bark! Especially if me and my kids even attempt to play in our garden ( the runs actually attached to our shared fence ) if actually had to put wire across the fence as the dog can fit its head through the fence and growls at my kids it has even nipped my daughter hence why I put up the wire. The dog barks and howls late at night and very early in the morning ive complained to my neighbour but in her words ' my dog doesnt bark at all ' which is a complete load of sh*t! I told housing and turns out she never had permission for the dog or the run but nothing has been done about this what can I do?
loz - 17-Feb-17 @ 5:02 PM
Dear Blue, this not very clean bob stuff. What you must never do is put pepper down where bobby dogs go. Try reporting it to lazy crappo ENV Officers who will do the very best can. YaYa. Dadda. Whoohhoo.
Class-Act - 17-Jan-17 @ 9:30 PM
I am trying to find the police section for dog problems, I seem to have at least 6 using my front garden as a toilet, I have yet to catch an owner who would need a huge plaster. I have looked at the machine to fix to the house wall that makes high pitch sounds to frighten them away but information is limited on these goods when you find a picture it does not cover how high up the will. Also a camera to fix on the wall there are so many and prices are often ridiculous , best one? and fittings please.Also how do they connect and record to computer and or sim? again far too many to view from silly prices to the ridiculous. Gray
blue - 8-Jan-17 @ 7:43 PM
i have 4 dogs they are kenneled in my Garden I live in a corner semi. I have lived here 15 years over time the neighbourhood haschanged and is now predominantly Jewish.Two of my neighbours further along are English and also have dogs.Recently some new neieghbors moved in to the sdjacent propertyfrom the Jewish community and now the complaints have been made to the council hat my dogs are cotinually barking which they are not the two terriers bark if anybody stands behind my Doundry fence especially at night and as soon as they move the terriers are silent the othertwo dogs are silent types. I always go to see what thetwo dogs are barking for and quieten them. The house is a corner semi and the thorough fare outside gets used daily I often find bottles takeaway cartons and varios other rubbish has been thrown over the bpondary wall and nails thrown in the road where I park my vehicle and had had tyres punctured on a number of occassions. This trouble and unfounded complaints have only started since new neighbours moved into the adjacant property also I have had a number of lettersposted through my door without stamps wanting to purchase my house. i being the only Muslim in the immediate area have my own views on the whole matter but the most annoying are the baseless complaints abot excessive barking by my dogs who only bark for a reason and that is occaisionally protecting my property. Strange the community appear not to have dogs yet complain against folk with Dogs. My wife often cleans dog excrement off the footpath outside my propertyleft by dog walkersfrom outside the area. The area has fridges and other rubbish dumped usually by thenew community and its often left for weeks untill the local council moves it. People need to behave in respectable responsible manner and not try to be over clever using dogs and fictitious complaintswith an ulterior motive. I AM RETIRED AND My house and dogs are never left alone except for an hour or twofor shopping and as for thembeing noisey they are quieter than most domestic dogs.
AGHA - 6-Jan-17 @ 1:09 PM
I had suffered from an alcoholic antisocial neighbour for two years. He had a noisy dog and he ran his flat as a 'public house'. Although, I had contacted my landlord, his housing officer, the council and the police, everyone wanted me to leave instead of dealing with this man effectively. I had no other choice than to move out in order to be able to finish my final year at university. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong flat again (landlords always lie). My downstairs neighbours has had a puppy that I did not see and hear before I moved in. After one month the dog started barking notoriously. My neighbours did not even try to control the dog. It had barked at least 15 hours a day. I woke up 4-7 times at nights. I bacame exhausted and anxiuos. I told my landlord about my problem, but she had no intention to help me. I couldn't move out because I had a contract. Because I couldn't focus on my study and my dissertation, I had to withdrew from my studies. After that, I gave away all of my money and tried to commit suicide. I wasn't able to end my life, but now I am unable to move out because I am unemployed and I have no money to find another accommodation. There are dogs everywhere, so it would be completely pointless to move out, anyway. This dog has some kind of mental illness. It barks a lot (it is necessary or not), it is restless, it wants to attack cars, it is always sitting by the opened window and barks at every dog and some people. My neighbours started to control it only after nine months. But this dog needs constant control. It determines when I can fall asleep and how long I can sleep. I had contacted the council (environmental health) before I withdrew from my studies, but their procedure was/is inappropriate and it is very time consuming. It seems they rather try to prevent me to prove what I say instead of helping me as a victim. They do not come out to listen to the dog barking when I ask them. They are available only between 9am and 5pm but not before and not after. They do not accept what I record with my sound recording instrument. However, they do not provide a recording instrument either. The noise out of hours team has never come. They were always busy and there were more important things than my problem......and so on. The dog still barks, although, not as often as before. But together with my previous neighbour they ruined my life. If I killed this dog, I would be arrested. But this dog after ruining my life can live happily ever after. My questions are: How dare anyone to state on the council's website that I have to take into consideration that these buildings' quality is poor and I have no other choice than to tolerate dogbarking? I should also accept that dogs have feeling and they have the right to express their feelings whenever they want in these poor quality buildings. Dogs are one of the noisiest animals on Earth! Why do you allow people to keep them in these shamelessly poor quality buildings than?
Emma - 17-Dec-16 @ 11:10 PM
Carly - Your Question:
I have a neighbour who does labouring work. He is a single 27 year old male and has no concept of time. He was noisy and so was his dog when he first moved in so I have on many occasions told him that as soon as he leaves the house, his dog does not stop barking. There isn't a time where the dog stops in these periods, it is a constant bark and my neighbour is aware of this issue but yet he continues to leave the dog for hours on end and sometimes from 5am so my family are awake and I have a 3 year old son who needs his sleep. This is the kind of neighbour that decides to start hammering at 11pm at night and myself or my partner have had to knock on the door and ask him to stop. I am completely fed up of being a polite and courteous neighbour to this moron as it is obviously not working. Any suggestions?

Our Response:
First try sending him a letter to warn him that you will make an official complaint. our dog barking template may help. If that does not solve the problem, you should contact your council's environmental health officer.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Dec-16 @ 10:19 AM
Need some advice please. Ours neighbours dog is let out anytime between 6:30am and 8am and barks. They're up at that time with their young child. Now the barking only goes on for about 5 minutes or so but it obviously wakes us up (it's a lab and quite big with a ferocious bark). This only happens when the wife lets the dog out and doesn't happen when her husband does. The dog is never allowed to bark when their toddler is in bed sleeping. My wife and I are 47, our daughter is 18 and at university so when we're not working we don't have to rise early. Are we being unfair/unrealistic to expect to be able to sleep undisturbed? My wife has spoken to her (used to be family friends) about this but she believes that if the barking is after 6am and before 10pm there is no problem however there was some improvement initially unfortunately the problem is back again. I should add that the neighbours in question are Polish and there are some language barriers.
CS - 15-Dec-16 @ 10:24 PM
I have a neighbour who does labouring work. He is a single 27 year old male and has no concept of time. He was noisy and so was his dog when he first moved in so I have on many occasions told him that as soon as he leaves the house, his dog does not stop barking. There isn't a time where the dog stops in these periods, it is a constant bark and my neighbour is aware of this issue but yet he continues to leave the dog for hours on end and sometimes from 5am so my family are awake and I have a 3 year old son who needs his sleep. This is the kind of neighbour that decides to start hammering at 11pm at night and myself or my partner have had to knock on the door and ask him to stop. I am completely fed up of being a polite and courteous neighbour to this moron as it is obviously not working. Any suggestions?
Carly - 15-Dec-16 @ 6:17 AM
My neighbours dog will start yapping at around 5am which wakes me up every single morning, it is 01:30am currently typing this and the dog is STILL yapping! It is like this everyday, I don't think it ever goes inside the poor thing. Aby advice on what to do? Could I just write a note? The neighbour is not a very pleasant person from what I have heard. Thanks!
SC - 8-Dec-16 @ 1:25 AM
I am in the middle of an issue with my neighbour, her dog barks all day til she comes home about 6pm, we started off friendly enough as I offered to have her little dog in the afternoon so he wouldn't be lonely; however it turned out my husband was allergic so we had to stop that; after my neighbour left the dog for 8 hours barking and then went out in the evening til 12.45pm, I rang her and begged her to come home and stop him barking - apart from anything else surely the poor little dog doesn't deserve to be left alone for nearly 13 hours?! Anyway she became extremely abusive and told me to "suck it up" as I'm spoiling her life, and that everyone round here says I'm crazy, she also says "the gloves are off now" and that she feels "bullied and intimidated" by me. I have kept all the text messages to show I have been nothing but reasonable, but surely I shouldn't have to put up with this constant noise nuisance. It's actual torment.My real issue is this though -I have been in touch with EHO and I have kept a diary for them, and they have told me they are going to fit a noise monitor, but in the meantime she went out again the other night til 11.45 so dog was alone 12 hours again, barking nonstop, and now she has gone out again and he has been barking all day and is doing so at this very moment. What do I do? Do I ring her again and ask her to come home? Do I ring the dog warden? I am still keeping a diary but I can't tolerate this noise much longer, I am going mad with not being able to get away from it.
JH - 2-Dec-16 @ 8:48 PM
HP Sauce - Your Question:
My neighbour has 2 dogs, they live in a small area of fenced off garden whatever the weather. They never go for walks and they start barking at 8am right through the day and into the evening. Nobody seems to give a stuff but I can't take much more and I actually want to hurt them now.

Our Response:
Talk to your environmental health officer. Acknowlegde that the noise is in the daytime, but its persistence is causing you a nuisance. They should be able to investigate further and if necessary serve a notice on your neighbour.
ProblemNeighbours - 2-Dec-16 @ 12:31 PM
My neighbour has 2 dogs, they live in a small area of fenced off garden whatever the weather. They never go for walks and they start barking at 8am right through the day and into the evening. Nobody seems to give a stuff but I can't take much more and I actually want to hurt them now.
HP Sauce - 1-Dec-16 @ 4:11 PM
Cookie - Your Question:
Hi I've had a dog three years now n at 7 every morning she's loosed out my neighbour as just started to complain about her continuous barking I'm up at 7 every morning yes she does bark she barks when she eats the cat go in n out cat flap what made it worse I was in meeting at my home address n she sent her lodger round to complain about the dog barking I'm worried now as I love my dog n she is very protected towards my family home she lets me no when anyone's around n I don't want to have to get rid of her over 1 neighbour complaint thanks

Our Response:
If the dog is only barking occasionally e.g for a few seconds when shefirst goes out in the morning, it's unlikely that an action will be taken. If necessary the council will make an order requesting that the barking stops. In that case, you may have to seek some assistance will training her not to bark at certain triggers.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Nov-16 @ 11:51 AM
Hi I've had a dog three years now n at 7 every morning she's loosed out my neighbour as just started to complain about her continuous barking I'm up at 7 every morning yes she does bark she barks when she eats the cat go in n out cat flap what made it worse I was in meeting at my home address n she sent her lodger round to complain about the dog barking I'm worried now as I love my dog n she is very protected towards my family home she lets me no when anyone's around n I don't want to have to get rid of her over 1 neighbour complaint thanks
Cookie - 29-Nov-16 @ 9:11 AM
Pops - Your Question:
My neighbours dog barks every time my neighbour leaves the house or there are noises outside for at least an hour each time. I have never seen him walk the dog in the time I have lived next door. He also has cats, one of which is incredibly skinny so I have been feeding it on and off for the last few months (also de-flea'd it as it was not in the best state). His concrete backyard is always full of dog poo. In summer it absolutely stunk. The barking is becoming an issue as it is now 3 or 4 times every single day. I'm also worried about the dog as he must not have much of a happy life. I honestly don't know how to approach him as we have never spoken. I honestly don't know if he just doesn't know or doesn't care (I'm assuming the later of the two).

Our Response:
You could try dropping a note ( see our templates here) , just in case he doesn't realise. You could also mention the smell of the dog faeces in the summer. That way when you report it to the environmental health services (which should be your next step) it won't come as a surprise.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Nov-16 @ 9:53 AM
Jenny - Your Question:
Neighbour has 3 dogs who are let out into garden up to six times daily for periods of 15 mins-hour and a half. Dogs bark incessantly and I mean incessantly, at anything or nothing at all. Direct consultation, pointing out the dogs are disturbing our peace has had no effect, environmental health department as much use as chocolate fireguard. Next step is court. Not dogs fault they have lazy uncaring owners.

Our Response:
Good luck, what did environmental health do, just out of interest?
ProblemNeighbours - 21-Nov-16 @ 10:55 AM
My neighbours dog barks every time my neighbour leaves the house or there are noises outside for at least an hour each time. I have never seen him walk the dog in the time I have lived next door. He also has cats, one of which is incredibly skinny so I have been feeding it on and off for the last few months (also de-flea'd it as it was not in the best state). His concrete backyard is always full of dog poo. In summer it absolutely stunk. The barking is becoming an issue as it is now 3 or 4 times every single day. I'm also worried about the dog as he must not have much of a happy life. I honestly don't know how to approach him as we have never spoken. I honestly don't know if he just doesn't know or doesn't care (I'm assuming the later of the two).
Pops - 21-Nov-16 @ 12:42 AM
Neighbour has 3 dogs who are let out into garden up to six times daily for periods of 15 mins-hour and a half. Dogs bark incessantly and I mean incessantly, at anything or nothing at all. Direct consultation, pointing out the dogs are disturbing our peace has had no effect, environmental health department as much use as chocolate fireguard. Next step is court. Not dogs fault they have lazy uncaring owners.
Jenny - 18-Nov-16 @ 12:35 PM
Suethegooner - Your Question:
I have a dog and work from 6-2 every day. The dog is walked in the morning and evening. My neighbour asked me not to let him in the garden because the dog barks at his cats. Then can I keep my windows closed as if the dog barks they can hear him. I asked if he had any suggestions he said get him neutered which I have done. Then because the dog barks at people walking past the house, I've had to leave my heavy curtains closed all day. Now he is moaning that above my front door I have a small skylight and thinks the dog sits at the top of the stairs barking at people. Came home from work to find a Stanley knife on my window cill and flower trough moved about 12". I knocked to ask if anybody had been in the front garden. He admitted it was him with a ladder and black bin bags trying to shrewd the bags with the Stanley knife trying to block out the skylight. I've done everything he has asked. Now he is threatening to call the animal warden to have the dog taken away and I don't know what to do

Our Response:
Ask him how often the dog is barking and how long for. If the dog is barking all day, he can report it to environmental health as a noise/nuisance issue. While the EHO might investigate, they will not simply take the dog away. Nor would theRSPCA unless there was evidence of neglect. If you work from 6 until 2 (and allowing for travel time) this means the dog is left alone for over 8 hours which is quite a long time.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Nov-16 @ 2:14 PM
Suethegooner, If your dog has stopped barking, whats his problem. May fancy you and has a strange way of showing it...some people like a fight so they can kiss and make up after. You never know.
Class Act - 12-Nov-16 @ 4:17 PM
Had the same problems as everyone above.So finally had enough. Went round to the neighbours house,and offered the dog outside at about midnight.Lamped him spark out.Not the owner,the dog of course.The owner is an absolute fridge freezer of a geezer.
Dogtwatter - 11-Nov-16 @ 10:52 PM
Had these same problems with my neighbours mutt.Went over there one night, offered him out and I won.The dog of course,I wouldn't start trouble with the owner the guy is a fridge freezer of a bloke.
Dogtwatter - 11-Nov-16 @ 10:45 PM
I have a dog and work from 6-2 every day. The dog is walked in the morning and evening. My neighbour asked me not to let him in the garden because the dog barks at his cats. Then can I keep my windows closed as if the dog barks they can hear him. I asked if he had any suggestions he said get him neutered which I have done. Then because the dog barks at people walking past the house, I've had to leave my heavy curtains closed all day. Now he is moaning that above my front door I have a small skylight and thinks the dog sits at the top of the stairs barking at people. Came home from work to find a Stanley knife on my window cill and flower trough moved about 12". I knocked to ask if anybody had been in the front garden. He admitted it was him with a ladder and black bin bags trying to shrewd the bags with the Stanley knife trying to block out the skylight. I've done everything he has asked. Now he is threatening to call the animal warden to have the dog taken away and I don't know what to do
Suethegooner - 11-Nov-16 @ 3:25 PM
Nani - Your Question:
I'm at my wits end with the constant barking of my neighbours dog.this goes on every day for at least 6 hours.I've pushed notes through there door but nothing seems to work.they leave the dog alone from 8 in the morning till 5 in the evening please advise

Our Response:
Try a formal letter next (we've got a template for you here ) before reporting them to your environmental health officer after that.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Oct-16 @ 10:59 AM
Mii200. My friend had a similar situation but he is a DIY enthusiast so noise not a problem to her. Her neighbour's dogs were always fighting because of her noise outside and dogs bit each other up bad. Lots of vets bills later the problem was solved. Now she worried about Environmental Health Officers visit about her noisy, yet creative,home work outside.
Class Act - 25-Oct-16 @ 8:02 PM
I'm at my wits end with the constant barking of my neighbours dog..this goes on every day for at least 6 hours.I've pushed notes through there door but nothing seems to work.they leave the dog alone from 8 in the morning till 5 in the evening please advise
Nani - 25-Oct-16 @ 2:27 PM
we have a springer 15 weeks. my poot pup has been so ill at home for two days and with vets and trying to help him my neighbour complained about his barking. we do dont get on anyway but were do i stand. we train him but hes only a baby.
Natasha - 21-Oct-16 @ 7:27 AM
I work nights and my next door neighbours have a boxer. Beautiful dog but every time they let him out barks constantly until they let him in , anywhere from 10 mins to hours. Not only is the dogs barking an issue but her shouting from inside the house at the dog outside ( and now the young kids have picked up on it too ) is meaning I'm getting if I'm lucky 4 hours sleep . The hubbys a good guy but works away mon - fri and keeps the pooch in good order when he's home at weekends. The wife however just lets him out and forgets about him, doesn't walk the poor thing which is why I'm sure he barks constantly. any idea's?.
David - 19-Oct-16 @ 3:57 PM
I've recently taken in a 6 year old Beagle.She's the calmest most placid dog I've ever met.She's walked many times a day (I live by the beach so she spends at least a couple of hours a day (between the morning and evening) down there.I'm being responsible and she goes to my mum's during the day when I'm at work.The problem is, she's suffering from separation anxiety (she's grieving for her previous family).The only way for me to try and alleviate this is to leave her on her own.At present it's for just 10 mins a day (I make sure it's no later than 7pm every day) where I leave (usually just to stand outside) and then not a make a fuss when I come back in.Unfortunately, my new neighbour (I've live here for 10 years) has written the management company to say that she's barking all day and all night (to be fair, she's also complaining about excessive banging coming from my flat - which turns out to be me walking around, so I think she may be particularly susceptible to noise!)I'm really annoyed as I do everything I can to make sure the disruption is minimal.I suppose what I'm asking is - is it unacceptable to leave my dog to bark for 10 minutes a day until she's gotten to grips with her new home?Thoughts would be most welcome
kerrylh - 15-Oct-16 @ 9:22 PM
I've recently taken in a 6 year old Beagle.She's the calmest most placid dog I've ever met.She's walked many times a day (I live by the beach so she spends at least a couple of hours a day (between the morning and evening) down there.I'm being responsible and she goes to my mum's during the day when I'm at work.The problem is, she's suffering from separation anxiety (she's grieving for her previous family).The only way for me to try and alleviate this is to leave her on her own.At present it's for just 10 mins a day (I make sure it's no later than 7pm every day) where I leave (usually just to stand outside) and then not a make a fuss when I come back in.Unfortunately, my new neighbour (I've live here for 10 years) has written the management company to say that she's barking all day and all night (to be fair, she's also complaining about excessive banging coming from my flat - which turns out to be me walking around, so I think she may be particularly susceptible to noise!)I'm really annoyed as I do everything I can to make sure the disruption is minimal.I suppose what I'm asking is - is it unacceptable to leave my dog to bark for 10 minutes a day until she's gotten to grips with her new home?Thoughts would be most welcome
kerrylh - 15-Oct-16 @ 9:21 PM
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