Excessive Barking: Take Steps Now (Before Dog Barking Laws Do...)
Some form of dog barking laws are in effect in most
cities and towns. Chances are, if you're reading this
page you're looking for information on the laws for your area.
The first place to start is with the city authorities, specifically
the Animal Control or Animal Bylaw departments, if they are available.
Most bylaws are basically a variation of the idea that residents
should be able to peacefully enjoy their homes and properties.
Dogs that bark excessively obviously don't make this possible.
It can be intensely irritating to hear the neighbor's dog
barking and barking, sometimes for hours on end, or during
the night, or at multiple days throughout the day. If you're
fed up with the barking, attempt to resolve it first with the
pet owner before going to the authorities:
- Try to curb your frustration, and understand that
the dog isn't doing it to be annoying. Some dogs are
left to their own devices for too long, and out of
boredom, they bark. They may also be seeing or hearing
things (like people, other dogs, wildlife, etc) that
are getting them too revved-up or excited.
- Remember that some owners may be genuinely unaware
that their dog is causing a disturbance. They may be
happy to work to resolve it once it's brought to their
attention. I remember a friend whose neighbor had a doggy
door they left open all the time, even when they went out.
The dogs would use the door to go outside and bark-bark-bark
while their owners were out. The owners had no idea until
they were told!
- Talk to the pet owner and explain that their dog is
barking excessively. Try to be diplomatic and non-confrontational,
If it's YOUR dog that's excessively barking, teach him to stop or manage his behavior:
- Don't get frustrated with your dog. Although barking
is considered a common
dog behavior problem,
there are many reasons why he may be barking.
There are no simple "one-size-fits-all" solution
for every dog.
Engage the services of a dog trainer or behaviorist
who can help teach you positive methods to stop or
reduce barking. Use a cue word such as "Enough!"
when you want your dog to stop barking.
For example, a trainer taught one of our friends to stop her dog from
barking at the neighbor's dog through the fence - it used to
be a constant cycle of barking that escalated into a
(ear-splitting) frenzy. Every time she let her dog into the
yard, she'd leash her ... the dog was allowed to bark 3 or 4
times before she was coaxed back with the help of the leash,
a cheerful cue word, some happy praise and a treat. In short
order, the dog learned that she was allowed a bark or two and
then she would go on with her business and ignore the other
dog. A qualified trainer can help teach similar methods to
suit a dog's unique personality.
- Treat any medical conditions that may be making your pet
uncomfortable, ie. itching due to allergies, arthritis, etc.
- Eliminate stimuli which causes your dog's barking.
For example, the gaps in the fence may allow your dog
to see a steady stream of passersby, who he barks at
ferociously every time someone passes. Block the gap
in the fence so that your dog cannot see out.
- Is your dog bored? Try giving him more exercise.
If you're short on time, consider hiring a dog walker
or bring your dog to a doggy daycare where he can
play with some canine pals. A tired dog is a happy
Another thing you can try is giving your dog something to do.
A "Kong" is a tiered, rubber cylinder with a hole in
the middle. Stuff treats into the middle, and your dog will be busy
trying to solve the "puzzle" and get to the food inside.
Dog barking laws are in place to try to keep the peace
within a neighborhood - but please remember that if a dog
is barking, there's a reason for it. As a neighbor, try to
talk to the dog owner first to find a resolution. As a dog
owner, work consistently and positively with your dog to
try to minimize any excessive barking.