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Barking dogs

Dogs bark, it’s what they do, however dogs are not allowed to bark persistently and loudly.

Barking dogs can cause a considerable nuisance. The longer a dog continues to bark, the longer it can take to change the dog’s behaviour.

Barking complaints are investigated by an animal service officer, who will decide if the barking is ‘loud and persistent.

Loud = clearly heard outside of the boundary of the dog’s property.
Persistent = continuous barking for more than 10 minutes, or, stop-start barking for over 20 minutes.

Consideration is also given to time of day/night and how regularly the barking is occurring.

Our animal services team can provide assistance and advice to help minimise a dog’s barking - just give us a call.

Report a barking dog

Why does your dog bark?

Dogs bark for many reasons, and as an owner identifying why your dog barks may help you stop this behaviour. If you are concerned about your dog's health or behaviour, please consult your vet.

Barking due to boredom

When dogs are bored, they can misbehave by barking. You can increase their stimulation and try to stop this by:

  • using a sandpit and hiding doggie treats in it
  • getting a small child's bucket and mixing gravy and doggie treats in it, fill with water and freeze, and give it to your dog as a treat
  • letting them play with safe and appropriate dog toys
  • exercising your dog prior to leaving them alone
  • leaving the TV or radio on when no one is home

Barking due to learned behaviour

This can be a little trickier to fix as each dog has a trigger that will be different. You can try:

  • if it's a puppy try to ignore it as the puppy is only after your attention
  • distract the dog when it is barking and reward quiet behaviour
  • consider the use of an anti-barking collar for a short time

Barking as a result of the territorial defence

You may want your dog to guard your property, but this shouldn’t be done in an overly aggressive and noisy way. To stop this you can:

  • keep the dog inside
  • train the dog not to bark
  • if the dog is barking at people walking past, move the dog so it can't see that area or create a barrier so the dog can't see what and who is there
  • consider the use of an anti-barking collar for a short time

Barking due to loneliness

Sometimes your dog is just lonely and wants company.  You can’t be with your dog 24/7 so try the following:

  • exercise the dog before you leave
  • use the services of a dog walker
  • send your dog to doggy daycare a few times per week
  • neutering your dog may help

Barking due to separation anxiety

This sometimes happens when your dog is used to having you around a lot and things change and you’re not always there. You could try:

  • changing your exit pattern, for example, exit through the garage so the dog isn’t stressed by knowing you are leaving
  • using the services of a dog walker
  • sending your dog to doggy daycare a few times per week
  • making your coming and going as calm as possible – wait until you have been home for a few minutes before you pay your dog attention
  • visiting your vet, as your dog may require medication

More information on barking dogs (200kb pdf)

Process for managing barking complaints

It is important a person reports a barking dog, earlier rather than later as it is easier to change the behaviour of a dog before it gets entrenched or the dog activates other dogs in the neighbourhood.

We ask that the caller identifies the property where the dogs are living before staff will take any action.

If the dog and property can be identified, after the first barking complaint we will send the dog owner a letter containing information about how to minimise the nuisance. Generally, we find most owners are surprised to hear that a complaint has been made against their dog, and they are happy to rectify the problem.

If we receive a second complaint from the same person, we may send them a diary to record barking details for seven days. This can be used to help verify the complaint and identify potential steps the dog owner can take to mitigate the issue.

If we receive a second complaint from a different person, we will contact the dog owner and arrange for an animal service officer to visit the property to try to identify the reasons why the dog is barking.

To help clarify how extensive a problem is, we may conduct a barking survey in a neighbourhood. Survey letters will be delivered to houses in the vicinity of the dog. The actual dogs residence won’t be identified but recipients will be asked if they have a problem with a dog barking and where that dog lives.

If the complaints continue, and the barking is deemed to be ‘loud and persistent’ the dog owner may be issued with a notice to correct.

Continued complaints may result in additional notices to correct or a formal directive may be issued, requiring the dog to be permanently removed from the property.

It’s important to give the dog owner time to change the dog’s behaviour once they have been made aware of the situation. We recommend up to ten days.

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