Excessive Barking: Take Steps Now (Before Dog Barking Laws Do...)

Some form of 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, but firm.

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 , 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 dog!

    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.