Barking Dogs

Noise nuisance from barking dogs 

Dogs bark naturally, but the constant barking or whining of a dog can be very disturbing or annoying for your neighbours. This problem often occurs when you are out of the house so you may not realise that there is a problem. In law, a barking dog can be a 'statutory noise nuisance'. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 you (as the owner) could be taken to court if you do nothing to stop the nuisance. This could lead to a fine of up to £5,000. It is quite likely that the dog barks when there is no-one in the house 


What can be done about my neighbour's noisy dog? 

It is quite likely that the dog barks when there is no-one in the house, so the owner may not even be aware there is a problem.  Try discussing the situation with your neighbour to see if you can sort out the problem.  If that doesn't work, you can contact officers from the Environmental Improvement Team in confidence who will investigate to see if a nuisance is being caused. You may be asked to complete diary sheets as in some cases an abatement notice could be served against the offender. At the same time that we provide a diary for you to complete, we also send a letter to the address where it is alleged the dog is kept.  This explains the possible legal implications and gives the owner of the dog a chance to solve the problem without the council becoming involved. 


What can I do to prevent my barking dog becoming a problem? 

The noise of a continuously barking dog is enough to try the patience of even the friendliest neighbour. Dogs bark, howl and whimper for a variety of reasons - they may be lonely, bored, attention seeking, defending their territory, or ill. The problem can often be simply solved, whether you are the owner or a concerned neighbour. 

  • Training is the key! Train your dog not to bark at everything that moves, and get them used to you not being there by going out for different periods of time at different times of the day.  Leaving a radio on at low volume may keep your dog company.  Make sure they are comfortable when you go out - that they've been exercised, have enough food and water and that there are toys for them to play with and so on. 

  • If your dog lives outside, think about where you put the kennel.  If it is near a neighbours fence or to a pathway, the dog may bark because it wants to be included in the activity. Similarly close the curtains if the dog remains inside to stop it from seeing what it is missing out on outside!

  • Take your dog to the vet for a check-up - they may be barking to let you know they are ill.

  • Officers from the Environmental Improvement Team will be able to suggest other ways to improve your dogs behaviour.


Handy Hints

  • Don't let your dog bark or whine for long periods.

  • Keep your dog indoors if it barks constantly when unattended or disturbed. If your dog still barks when indoors, make arrangements to leave it with a neighbour or friend or get someone to call in - leave its favourite toy or put the radio on at a very low volume.

  • Move the kennel or erect a fence so that your dog is disturbed less often by passers-by. Attend a dog training class to retrain your dog and change his/her behaviour.

  • You could try a food ball or a kong.  These help to combat boredom as the dog is occupied and distracted by trying to get at the food you put inside them.

  • Ask a friend or relative to check on the dog.

  • Leave a TV or radio on to mask other noises and provide a soothing distraction. 


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