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It may be stating the obvious, but barking comes naturally to dogs.

But constant barking or whining of a dog can be disturbing or annoying for neighbours.

It often occurs when the dog's owner is out - so an owner may genuinely be unaware of the nuisance.

In light of this, we recommend in the first instance that you bring it to the owner's attention. Try to negotiate an amicable settlement.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your neighbour or the nuisance from the dog barking still exists, then contact us.

Why do dogs bark?

Dogs aren't solitary by nature - they need the security of a family group. Pet dogs regard owners as a substitute family and can become distressed when left alone. Causes can include:

  • Loneliness
  • Boredom or frustration
  • Attention seeking
  • Defending territory
  • Medical problems
  • Hunger or thirst.

What action can be taken against the owner?

In law, a barking dog can be a noise nuisance. The owner can be taken to court if nothing is done to stop the nuisance.

Training

Training can make sure that a dog doesn't bark at everything that moves. Once trained, a dog should be able to tell the difference between people who are allowed in the house and people who are intruders. Proper training, coupled with affection, can help prevent a dog from developing bad habits.

Start young if possible, but bear in mind that you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Simple things to try

Some dogs don't want their owners to go out. Generally, you should try to get it used to you going out at different times of the day - then it may not be so concerned when you do go out.

  • Don't make a fuss of it when you leave
  • Try putting it on its own in another room, for a short time at first
  • Do not return until it is quiet for a time - when you return, praise him
  • Some are comforted by human voice - try leaving a radio on at low volume
  • Try not to leave it for long periods of time
  • If you have to, is there someone who can look in on him from time-to-time?
  • Clothing or a blanket carrying its owner's scent can act as a comfort.

Going out for a long period of time?

  • Feed and exercise your dog before you go out
  • Leave your dog with access to some fresh water
  • Make sure its bed or basket is comfortable
  • Leave your dog with his favourite toys
  • Check that its not too hot or cold - and there is adequate ventilation
  • If you're not going to be back till dark, leave a light on.

Other points

  • If your dog has a kennel, think carefully about where to put it
  • Try not to put the kennel too near to a neighbour's fence
  • Replacing a 'nuisance' dog may not solve the problem
  • A change in your lifestyle may be needed
  • Getting a second dog may double the problem, not solve it!

If all else fails

  • If you suspect there may be a health issue, take your dog to the vet
  • There are animal behaviourists available - they understand the logic and needs of a dog
  • Dog training classes are often advertised in local papers nad on the internet
  • Some products are available that market themselves as being effective devices at stopping dogs barking. We can't endorse them,  but they may be useful in your particular circumstances.

Further information

The Dogs Trust, 17 Wakeley Street, London EC1V 7RQ
020 7837 0006
info@dogstrust.org.uk

The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) can provide a list of current publications (there are many on animal training and behaviour). They are at:

APBC, PO Box 46, Worcester, WR8 9YS
Tel: 01386 751151
Fax: 01386 750743
Web: www.apbc.org.uk

The Kennel Club has an objective 'to promote, in every way, the general improvement of dogs' and can be contacted at:

The Kennel Club, 1 Clarges Street, London, W1Y 8AB
Tel: 0870 6066750
Fax: 020 7518 1058
Email: info@the-kennel-club.org.uk
Web: www.the-kennel-club.org.uk

Other useful contacts:

www.crufts.org.uk
www.discover-dogs.org.uk

Your local library may be able to lend you books specifically relating to dog welfare and behaviour.

Many good book shops stock a range of books.

AND FINALLY....

  • Be a responsible dog owner
  • At all times
  • Make sure it is well cared for and well trained
  • Train it not to foul in public places
  • If he does, 'scoop the poop'
  • Its law that a dog has a collar and identification tag when in public places
  • Microchip your dog ASAP - it can help reunite you with a lost friend.
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