Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is at her wits end because she is awakened each night by her neighbor’s barking dog? After shouting out the window to no avail, she resorts to “removing” the dog in order to get a good night’s sleep.
We have all had the unpleasant experience of listening to nuisance barking. Whether in the middle of the night or during the day, the question — What can we do about it?— still remains.
Since barking is the primary way that dogs communicate with humans, it is unreasonable to think that a dog will never bark; however, determining the reason behind the barking can help to eliminate nuisance barking.
REASONS DOGS BARK
- Attention: dogs usually want something and generally they want to get your attention
- Dominance: dogs bark to express dominance over his area
- Warning: dogs bark to warn of a threat
- Protest: dogs bark to protest being abandoned in a house or in a yard.
- Joy: dogs bark when they are excited
- Sickness: dogs bark to let you know that something is wrong
- Hello: dogs bark to say hello
- Boredom: dogs bark to relieve the monotony
WHAT TO DO
Dogtime.com suggests several options.
Let them Know: First, talk to your neighbor about it directly, but do so calmly and reasonably, says Mary Randolph, author of Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner and a former attorney.
Randolph says that most dog owners are unaware of the dog barking because it typically happens when they’re not home. “If someone goes to work, they don’t know that the dog spent two hours howling or barking, but the neighbors know,” she says, adding that barking is typically a symptom of boredom.
Randolph suggests starting out assuming they’d want to know about the problem and see if that works. “Say something along the lines of: ‘I thought you’d want to know that [the dog] seems really unhappy and is barking and howling when you’re gone,’” she says.
Some people will be horrified and apologize, and as a result will take steps to do something about it. But if the initial conversation doesn’t seem to have made an impact, you may have to go back to tell them it’s not working.
If the barking is still occurring despite a second attempt, then you might consider enlisting other neighbors to complain to them as well. It might help the dog owner better realize the problem, she explains.
Check Local Laws: Go online to find the laws about barking dogs to help bolster your argument. Dog barking is a nuisance law in most places but what is in those laws varies from place to place. For instance, some communities might have laws that say if a dog barks more than 10 minutes, it’s considered a nuisance and against the law.
Once you know the laws, figure out who might be able to help you with those laws. For example, some cities have specific programs to deal with barking complaints and issue a standard letter to offenders. “That might be all that’s needed,” Randolph says.
Contact Animal Control or the Police Department: If talking with the neighbor doesn’t produce results, you may want to contact animal control to get involved. If animal control doesn’t help the way you’d like, then contact the police department. Randolph says having an intimidating police officer come to the door saying the barking dog is disturbing the neighbors may be the most efficient way to get the owner to take action.
As with any neighbor problem, addressing the issue politely and directly is almost always the best approach. However, if talking to the dog’s owner doesn’t bring relief, consider contacting local law enforcement or animal control.
If you are the owner that has been contacted about your dog’s barking, consult one of our Braxton’s staff who may be able to suggest products or techniques to assist with the issue.