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Dealing with Barking Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 9 Aug 2022 | 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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[Add a Comment]
If you own a dog it's your responsibility to keep it quiet and keep it trained. I don't care how much you love it, you are affecting your neighbours and it's extremely INCONSIDERATE. You are very lucky a brick isn't thrown through your window. Because that might be what it takes to get you to listen.
alex - 9-Aug-22 @ 4:11 PM
All these people defending their dogs are obviously biased If a dog barks more than two minutes a day in the yard then it's a nuisance and should be dealt with by the authorities I'm sick of people thinking they have the right to cause noise pollution and misery to their adjacent neighbours. I can understand if they live on a farm with no neighbours adjacent How would they like it if someone empties their trash can in their garden? That's also pollution same as noise
Jet - 9-Aug-22 @ 11:35 AM
Hi, would like some advice if possible. I have a 1 year old (end of this month) American bull dog she is the most friendly loving dog ever she is also people and dog friendly. However she will bark at any one that knocks on the door until they come in maybe barks once has a sniff realises they are no threat and just wants attention. I have a semi detached house and the neighbour I am attached too always speaks to the dog through the fence infact my dog cries something when they are in the garden to have a sniff or there dog and a bit of attention. The neighbour I am not attached to but share a fence with has cats and when they lay right next to the fence my dog barks, the neighbour will then come over and give sly looks but stand there with the cat and will wait until I come out. I try and move the dog to avoid any distress but she is a big dog and so heavy surely the helpful and right thing to do it to just pick the cat up and move it to another area in the garden?? Also I now feel like I have to check to see if the neighbour is in the garden before I let my dog out. This morning I heard the dog back only a few times and seen that the neighbour was standing in her garden away from the fence but then the barking got worse as I moved down stairs and could then see the neighbour was kneeling down and staring at the dog through the fence!! To me this is antagonising my dog, I went out and she started to pick things up from near the fence and I struggled to get the dog in but soon as I did she walked away. Made a comment to my mam who is very poorly I don’t want confrontation but feel like a lot of this could be avoided in an easier way. Just move the cat and walk away when the dog barks even until I get her in the house not that I should because this is her garden !! I suffer with really bad anxiety and this is making me ill
CaitS - 3-Aug-22 @ 10:27 AM
We have lived in our home (semi-detached) for just short of 10 years. About 20 months ago a family moved in next door, and a few months later they bought a puppy. The last 12 months have been a nightmare for us. The dog must have severe separation anxiety as it barks constantly and incessantly when it is left on its own, and they leave it for hours at a time - sometimes it can be 6, 7 or 8 hours. This happens most days. The dog has freedom to run all round the house and the barking just doesn't stop from as soon as they go out, to until they come back. You can hear it pretty much in every room of our home and in the living room it is still audible over the television. It's made our lives very miserable and we do not enjoy being in our own home. We approached the neighbour in a very friendly manner and the situation did improve for a short time, but then it went back to normal and when we raised it again they became abusive and we had to call the police. Their position is basically that dogs bark and it lives in their home - end of. We understand dogs bark, of course, but this is barking for hours at a time for no other reason than it is being left on its own. Currently going down the council route so fingers crossed as we are really suffering mentally at the minute.
Becca - 7-Jun-22 @ 2:45 PM
Most cities have nuisance noise ordinances and you can address it with the local council.
aMarielLo86 - 26-May-22 @ 1:35 PM
I agree the constant barking is annoying and I've been on both sides, but I can't believe someone is actually suggesting poisoning someone's pet...demented...
aMarielLo86 - 26-May-22 @ 1:34 PM
I'm on the other side of the fence so to speak.We own a 1 year old dog who barks very seldom and intermittently during the day (in no way excessively or continuously).He is crated in doors at night rarely barks, unless he hears a legitimate noise outside.He's a high drive, high energy breed, but generally well behaved, bearing in mind he's still really a puppy.He likes to bark at pigeons, noises (other dogs barking in the distance, aircraft, kids playing next door etc etc) - just like a guarding breed should.He can go several hours in the garden without making a sound.The problem is my neighbour over the back is harassing us, telling us to control our dog, leaning out his window on the rare occasions he does bark shouting stuff like "Really?!Really?! Trying to do a conference call here!" etc etc.On one occasion I was playing ball in the garden at well past 10 AM on a Sunday morning and he opened the window and shouted "trying to sleep!".And he doesn't even work nights (lazy sod!).So my question/comment is at what point does this kind of harassment need to be checked?Why should I be feeling pressured like I can't let my dog out in his back garden due to some intolerant blow hard?
J Jack - 20-May-22 @ 2:16 PM
I'm on the other side of the fence so to speak.We own a 1 year old dog who barks very seldom and intermittently during the day (in no way excessively or continuously).He is crated in doors at night rarely barks, unless he hears a legitimate noise outside.He's a high drive, high energy breed, but generally well behaved, bearing in mind he's still really a puppy.He likes to bark at pigeons, noises (other dogs barking in the distance, aircraft, kids playing next door etc etc) - just like a guarding breed should.He can go several hours in the garden without making a sound.The problem is my neighbour over the back is harassing us, telling us to control our dog, leaning out his window on the rare occasions he does bark shouting stuff like "Really?!Really?! Trying to do a conference call here!" etc etc.On one occasion I was playing ball in the garden at well past 10 AM on a Sunday morning and he opened the window and shouted "trying to sleep!".And he doesn't even work nights (lazy sod!).So my question/comment is at what point does this kind of harassment need to be checked?Why should I be feeling pressured like I can't let my dog out in his back garden due to some intolerant blow hard?
J Jack - 20-May-22 @ 2:12 PM
I have lived next door to a apparent agility trainer with 6 dogs when I moved here she had 8 but lost 2 . They are locked in all the time have the run of the house start barking at around 8 am and are quite constant I have been to the door she says her partner isn’t there now she’s trying to re home basically I think she’s humouring me but it’s now affecting my nerves. I have family staying quite a lot but we never get any peace I am now considering thanking matters further as I refuse to move because of her 1 dog is bad enough but when u have 6 it’s plays with your head
Caz - 13-May-22 @ 4:54 PM
Daisy NO ONE should have to move house just because someone wants to let dogs yap and bark 24/7!!!! yes dogs bark but when you turn them into a nuisance for your neighbours it becomes a problem!!! please look up the effect a constant barking dog has on someones mental health! There are two types of dog owners ones that take care of them and are responsible.The other type are people that LEAVE their dog outside in their garden to bark for hours on end. What is the point of having a dog if you are going to ignore it and just shove it outside?
gemma - 24-Apr-22 @ 10:16 AM
I have a neighbour with a big barking dog barks whenever I am home above my tv when I am having dinner, my grandchildren go to bed etc! She said it’s not her dog he goes to bed at 18.30! I have recordings she is a nasty unapproachable woman who throws nasty comments to get you to agree with her which I won’t my health and my sanity have suffered we need to be protected from irresponsible dog owners! All I want to do is leave my home of o et 26 years
Dixie64 - 22-Apr-22 @ 9:32 PM
We have a neighbour across the road from us that barks incessantly. Sometimes right through the night. We have tried to speak with the neighbours but their intercom has been disconnected. They obviously have has other complaints. So our next best thing to do is to place a letter in mailbox. Hopefully we get this sorted out as I am so tired all the time through lack of sleep.
Sue - 22-Apr-22 @ 8:02 PM
Some of the comments on here re poisoning dogs are disgusting (and illegal). When I complain about cats pooing in my garden, I'm told that cats are natural roamers and there's nothing that can be done. Well, dogs run around and can be noisy, it's their nature - sorry! If it's that bad then move house.
Daisy - 14-Apr-22 @ 3:47 PM
HI ALL I KNOW HOW THIS FEELS WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM this dog barks for ages how ever we dont talk to the people next door as he tryed to run my partner over with his car a few years ago poice done nothing surprize since then he gets the dog to bark to get us down he owns his house we rent ours his been a sod ever since we had police on him we are the same no help no support council useless police useless no one knows how it feels to be bullied like this he wants us to move thats whta we think
DEREK - 10-Apr-22 @ 6:58 PM
I contacted my health officer but was told they don’t deal with barking only bites? So I’m not sure why the article mentions contacting a health dept officer? Any advice on barking dogs all night every night.
Cb - 29-Mar-22 @ 10:04 PM
I think people need to stop being sentimental, and deal with the dog themselves. Seeing as councils are absolutely useless and incompetent. Throw laxative laced treats into the offending garden. If that doesn't work. Rat poison would have to be next. Why should your life be so severely affected by idiot inconsiderate neighbours' dogs? They shouldn't!
Davo - 26-Mar-22 @ 2:52 PM
I have a problem with three dogs barking constantly from 11am till sometimes 11 pm.the neighbours have erected three kennels in there garden and when they start it’s unbearable.has anybody had any joy in resolving this issue because all the people I have spoken to are not interested. THEY WOULD DO IF THEY LIVING HERE
Tricky - 14-Mar-22 @ 3:01 PM
I have a neighbor whos German sheppard barks constantly all day. I work nights and I rarely get good sleep do to this barking. I myself have a little dog who does go out at night through his dog door and barks but we get him in as soon as possible and then block him from going out. My neighbor is a jerk and does not care if it effects me or not that his dog barks. In fact hes barking right now. I don't know what to do if i confront the neighbor he will act stupid and want to fight.. Im frustrated and don't know what to do
Jimbo - 11-Mar-22 @ 10:48 PM
We have a neighbour who is a nasty, selfish, vindictive woman who is in total denial. As soon as she leaves for work her little dog starts crying and whining non stop for about 2 hours, she of course totally denies it and says i am the one giving HER grief for complaining, it is incredible. I am thinking of getting a dog whistle or complaining to the council.
Silas - 13-Oct-21 @ 12:43 AM
Hi, We are all in the same boat, please can we think together and start a petition to change the legislation? Contact me on dogbarkinglawoutlookcom Please let's do something!
Marcey - 31-Aug-21 @ 12:49 PM
A young family moved next door a few months ago with a dog.When the children are at school and parents at work the dog is left outside alone, even at the weekends they go out for the day through to the evening the dog is left, and it barks incessantly.It’s distressing to hear it so upset but it is also so annoying.I have recently moved to my house (a new build) and spent a lot of money landscaping the back garden to make it nice to sit in - the main reason I moved was to have a sunny garden to spend time in, but now after about 5 minutes I have to come indoors and close all the doors and windows.I did mention this to my neighbour a few weeks after they moved in, in case they weren’t aware, and was told they couldn’t do anything about it as they couldn’t take the dog to work. People shouldn’t have dogs if they can’t be there to look after them properly.I understand (but don’t agree with it) when people are at work, but not at weekends when not at work.I adore animals and would love a dog but wouldn’t have one because I play golf and wouldn’t want to leave it alone for 4-5 hours. I have now (as from today) started taking recordings of the barking which I am thinking of getting my neighbours to listen to.I am at my wits end.
Boss - 15-Aug-21 @ 1:46 PM
There needs to be tougher legislation about dogs where people live close together like housing developments and blocks of flats. Doesn't matter what breed or size or personality a dog has, they WILL bark when careless owners leave them for hours on end! In Summer it comes in open windows and several dogs often set each other off. In Winter it echoes through walls / floors / pipes / maintenance areas / lifts. There's no escape from endless barking and it affects too many people. Several people in my block, and people living in nearby houses, complained about a very loud dog left barking in a communal garden. Two of us could FEEL the barking like a thumping car stereo. The Council were useless, the RSPCA weren't interested because the dog had food and water, and the landlord didn't evict. Eventually the other landlords requested NO MORE DOGS after those tenants moved out. Of course, the new tenants in that flat have another dog. This one is much quieter but it still barks in the night and there are doors banging when the dog is let out. Something has to be done especially with all the lockdown puppies growing into adult dogs. Over the next 10 - 15 years there are going to be THOUSANDS more people in the same situation
Needs Legislation - 12-Aug-21 @ 10:01 PM
Hi there just a quick message im reporting of a dog barking everything night and its literally every night around half 9 and half 10 ive got a video tonight of the dog concerly yapping it ant fair ive got a 1 year old tht wakes up crying and cant settle cuz the dog barks every single night and doesnt stop
Sophie - 1-Aug-21 @ 10:44 PM
At 15 orchard Street there are 2 dogs that are continuously barking sometimes all day, early hours of the morning or late at night. Sometimes one dog is shut outside and left to howl and barking in a high pitch noise. I have been not to approach the residents at this address as they are not very nice people. Also they have put sharp screws on tops of gates and fences to hurt and injury animals or people.
Bambi - 23-Jul-21 @ 12:43 AM
I have a neighbour who lets their yapping dog out between 9 and 11pm then between 2 and 4am and sometimes can go on till 5am then also into the day. It is continuous and relentless. It’s affecting my work, sleep, and my relationship. I have tried to be polite but it gets you nowhere so If nobody does attempt to help me I’ll just have to help myself.
James - 20-Jul-21 @ 10:29 PM
I have a neighbour let's there dog bark all Time once even heard barking 11 pm to 12 am and think heard once at 4 am I think they leave in house or back garden all day ask neighbour nicely can keep dog barking they text me back being so rude
Bex - 14-Jul-21 @ 3:02 PM
So I have read all the above comments and realised I am not alone. I am fed up of my neighbours dogs. They live two doors down and their one dog is extremely loud and if left outside consistently whines and barks. I tried letters through the door. Talking to them nice. Shouting and I have now resorted to involving their landlord and council. This has been going on for three years. I’m a home owner and frankly if I have to do a noise order through the court will. We are now at recording stage, however due to covid everything has been delayed and the council have a long backlog. The noise does on occasion improve but if we have nice weather that goes out the window. If you are a dog owner reading these comments and you have a barking dog take responsibility. Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean the rest of us want to listen to it.
Sick of dogs - 23-Jun-21 @ 6:54 PM
How is it ok for neighbour about 3 -4 houses away to let their dog bark constantly incl now at 2am in morning! We have a puppy who we have/are toilet trained, so not used puppy pads and only if by accident will toilet inside. He is totally stress and whining and crying becase if this poor god and is scated to go out, but crying because is confused to go insde. I have bern gently warned by friends/fanily that we don’t inow tha family or how they will react if we knocked on their door (could be violent). It seems wrong that there is norhing I can do! ??This is not a oneffbut diesn’t happen every night. However the fog does bark at various times every day - as though the iwners shove him outside when too much for them
Frustrated - 22-Jun-21 @ 2:23 AM
@Confused I am on the other side of your problem. I live in a flat with no sound proofing and my upstairs neighbour has a 20kg dog. The dog is lovely. I moved in just as the neighbour got the dog as a puppy. It is a very high energy breed, and not one suited to a small upstairs flat with no garden. After four months of trying to convince my neighbour that the dog whined, barked and scrabbling the door for all of the 4hrs every day it was left shut in a small bedroom in their flat, they now take the dog to work. I suffered a lot of antisocial behaviour and nastiness despite trying to keep it friendly and look for positive solutions. I am new to the area and it has been a horrible experience trying to tell someone that their pet is causing a nuisance. The problem remains with the dog running around. It genuinely sounds like they are hammering on my ceiling. It is 24/7. 20kg of dog jumping off of furniture is loud. Chances are the neighbour hates the sound of someone banging on their walls /ceilings as much as you do. That is likely what your pets running around sounds like to them. While not deliberate or malicious, it is a nuisance and therefore could be in breach of leasehold/tenancy agreement. In my case I am having sound proofing added to my flat to help abate the noise from the dog. I want them to be able to keep the dog, even though I don't agree that size/breed of dog belongs in a flat.
GG - 20-Jun-21 @ 11:21 AM
My next door neighbours dogs bark when my neighbours leave the house. I can't use my living room and it's very frustrating when we want to watch a film and end up lying on our bed upstairs at the other end of the house. They seperate the 2 dogs because they fight so we have a loud bark and a quieter bark in tandem constantly the whole time they are out. I told the lady next door and although she understood the severity of the effect it has on us and that it wasn't fair on us or her dogs, she has done nothing. I don't want to fall out with them and I don't want to have a noise order placed on them in case we end up trying to sell our home. We have dogs and understand they communicate in this way but it's been 4 years now and I'm reaching the end of my tether. We've been more than fair
Prestwich - 15-Jun-21 @ 11:22 AM
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