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How to Deal With Dog Nuisance Barking in Your Neighborhood: 4 Effective Tips

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on May 25, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog barking

How to Deal With Dog Nuisance Barking in Your Neighborhood: 4 Effective Tips

Dealing with noisy dogs in your neighborhood can be frustrating. On one hand, nuisance barking can have a huge effect on your life. It may wake you or your kids up or even prevent you from enjoying outdoor spaces.

On the other hand, since you don’t own the dogs, there may seem like very little you can do. After all, you can’t train dogs you don’t own, and neighbors may not be quick to put a stop to the barking.

Luckily, though, there are some things you can do to combat nuisance barking in your neighborhood. Here are some of your options:

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The 4 Tips on How to Deal With Dog Nuisance Barking in Your Neighborhood

1. Talk to Your Neighbor

Your first step should be to talk to your neighbor. Don’t assume the worst. It is very possible that your neighbor doesn’t even know the barking is bothering anyone. If they’re gone during many of the barking periods, they may not even know that it is happening. It’s important to approach your neighbor politely and explain the situation.

This should be done when your neighbor is free—not when they are already handling a barking dog. It’s important that they don’t feel attacked during this first interaction, as you want to keep channels of communication open.

Explain the situation thoroughly. Give examples of when the dog barks, including the timing and potential triggers. This information can help the owner figure out why the dog is barking, especially if they are not home at the time.

Focus on finding common ground rather than finding blame. There is a good chance the neighbor is having a hard time with the barking dog, as well. Most people don’t like listening to their own dog bark, either.

dog in the park with people
Image Credit: Evgeniy Kalinovskiy, Shutterstock

2. Document the Barking

After speaking to the owner, we recommend starting a log of the barking of some kind. If the barking continues and is affecting your quality of life, you might need to get the authorities involved later. While you should give the owner some time to remedy the situation after bringing it up, it can take some time to build a barking log. Therefore, we recommend starting early.

This documentation should include the time, duration, and date for all barking. There is no reason to be overly detailed. Often, authorities will just look at the frequency and duration of the barking. The time of day is also important, as some laws may only kick in at night.

3. Do Your Part

If you’re lying quietly in bed when the dog starts barking, it likely has nothing to do with you. However, there are sometimes steps you can take to combat the barking. For instance, you can help your neighbor identify the cause, especially if they aren’t home when the dog starts barking. Sharing information about the barking episodes in a helpful way can be useful.

If you directly impact the trigger, you may be able to change your behavior to prevent barking. For instance, if the dog barks after seeing you and your dog out for a walk, consider changing your walking routine. You could change where you walk completely or shift the timing to whenever the owner is home. While it may not seem fair to change your behavior because of someone else’s dog, it is often the easiest solution.

In some cases, you may even be able to offer to take the dog on a walk if the barking is caused by a lack of exercise. Some dogs simply get bored during the day, especially if their owner works long hours. The more you can do, the higher the chance of preventing the nuisance barking without escalating the situation.

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Image Credit: lara-sh, Shutterstock

4. Contact the Authorities

No one wants to contact the authorities for nuisance barking. However, if the barking continues after you’ve tried your best to approach your neighbor, your last option may be to contact your local law enforcement. Most areas have laws that apply to barking dogs. These noise ordinances often ban noise after a certain time or may handle nuisance barking directly.

If you’ve been keeping a log as we recommended in step 2, the appropriate authorities may need that before interfering. It’s unlikely that the authorities will investigate when the dog is barking, so it’s important to have a record to show them. Furthermore, it may not just be about nuisance barking. If a dog is barking continuously, it’s likely that one of their needs isn’t being met. It’s important to reach out to authorities about potential neglect.

Of course, being patient is important. Give the owner some time after you first approach them to correct the barking. Training a dog not to bark often takes a while. However, you should notice a difference after a few weeks. If you don’t, it’s time to contact the authorities.

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Are There Laws Against Barking Dogs?

Yes, there are some laws against barking dogs. In many cases, these laws fall under noise ordinances. These ordinances cover times when community members are supposed to be “quiet” and typically cover nighttime hours only.

However, there may be laws in your area covering nuisance barking, specifically. If this is the case, your neighbor may be breaking the law during the day, too. Exactly who enforces these laws varies, though. In some areas, it is law enforcement. Other times, it may be animal control. Often, animal control will get involved eventually, but you may need to make the first report to law enforcement.

When in doubt, your local law enforcement officers will be able to make suggestions on who to report to.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog howling or barking outdoor
Image Credit: Happy monkey, Shutterstock

What Counts as Excessive Barking?

If your local laws do cover excessive barking, exactly what counts as excessive barking often varies. You’ll often need to check your local laws for the definition and provide documentation that your neighbor’s dog falls into this category.

Often, excessive barking involves the time the barking occurs, how often the barking occurs, and how long it lasts. Barking early in the morning and late at night is often judged more harshly than barking during the middle of the day. Sustained barking over two or so minutes is typically required, too. The dog can’t just bark once, even if it is at night. Instead, the dog has to bark continuously for some time.

All of this needs to occur often, too. One period of sustained barking isn’t enough to warrant contacting the authorities. However, if it occurs multiple times a week, it likely counts as excessive barking.

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Nuisance barking often affects everyone. It’s important to remember that your neighbor is also dealing with excessive barking, and they are likely much more stressed about it than you. After all, it’s their dog!

However, not all dog owners are responsible for their dogs’ barking. Sometimes, even after approaching the owner respectfully, the barking may not diminish. In these cases, your only option is to contact your local authorities. In most cases, there are laws regarding nuisance barking, though who enforces those laws may vary.

Either way, it’s important to keep a log of the barking for law enforcement. Specific parameters often need to be met for it to count as “nuisance barking.” Your log may be required to prove that the barking fits into those parameters.

Featured Image Credit: Tanya Kalian, Shutterstock

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