What to do if you are disturbed by a barking dog or other similar disturbances
Dogs bark naturally but the constant barking or whining of a dog can be very disturbing or annoying for neighbours. Often this problem occurs when you are out of the house and you may not realise that someone is being affected.
In law, a barking dog can be a statutory noise nuisance. For more information on noise nuisance please see our noise nuisance page.
Why dogs bark
Dogs are not by nature solitary animals, they need the security of a family group. Pet dogs regard their owners as a substitute family and can soon become distressed when left alone for long lengths of time.
Some of the main reasons why a dog may bark are:
- boredom or frustration
- attention seeking
- defending territory
- medical problems
- lack of training.
Training is important so that your dog does not bark at anything that moves. A well-trained dog should be able to distinguish between visitors allowed into the house and people who are intruders. Good training is essential at an early age. This combined with affection and companionship should mean that your dog will not develop these bad habits.
Tips to help stop your dog barking when you go out:
- Feed and exercise him before you go out and leave him fresh water to drink.
- Make sure his bed or basket is comfortable and not in a draught or direct sunlight.
- Make sure that the room is not hot or too cold and that there is adequate ventilation.
- If you are not returning until after dark, either leave a light on or use a night light that comes on automatically when it gets dark.
- Leave a radio or television on a low volume for the dog, preferably on a channel which has mainly talking on it, as hearing a human voice will help the dog settle.
- Some dogs bark because they want to join in with what is going on outside. If this is the problem, try leaving your dog where he cannot see outside or by pulling down blinds or closing curtains.
- Allow your dog to have a safe place to go to. Some dogs bark because of anxiety and ensuring they have a ‘safe place’ will help them to feel they have some security (this could be as simple as a comfortable bed/blanket with toys or could be a dog crate which you could try covering with a blanket to make a hide for them).
- Some dogs react well to being left with activity toys (such as kongs/activity balls). These can help preoccupy the dog during the initial anxiety period after you have left the house.
- If your dog is being left for periods longer than 4 hours it would be highly recommended to get a dog walker/sitter, relative or friend to pop by and allow your dog to stretch its legs in the garden. This helps as the dog can have some human contact and interaction.
- Leave at differing times during the day. That way he may not be so concerned each time you leave. Don't make a fuss of your dog when you leave him.
- Try putting the dog on his own in another room for a few minutes and then gradually build up the time you leave your dog until he is quiet for a period. When you return praise him.
If you leave your dog outside all day:
- Try not to put his kennel near a neighbours’ fence where the dog may be tempted to bark.
- Ensure the garden is completely secure to prevent your dog from straying locally and causing problems to neighbours.
- Don't blame the dog and think that you will solve the problem by replacing him with another. All dogs bark and unless you change your lifestyle at the same time the problem will still be there.
- Considering a second dog for company may help but think about this very carefully. Do you have the space and can you afford it? A second dog could result in more not fewer problems.
For more information see the leaflet Advice to dog owners on limiting dog barking. Advice to dog owners on limiting dog barking 2mb
Last updated: 6 June 2014