Whilst dogs are allowed to bark, they are not
allowed to bark so that it causes a nuisance. It is a matter of
fact and degree in each case and factors that may be taken into
account include the volume, duration of the barking and the time of
day it happens.
Constant Barking Can Be Avoided
Barking comes naturally to dogs, but the
constant barking or whining of a dog can be disturbing or annoying
for the neighbours. Often the problem occurs when the dog’s owner
is out of the house and so the owner doesn’t know until someone
In law, a barking dog can be a noise nuisance.
The owner can be taken to court if he does nothing to stop the
nuisance. This leaflet suggests some simple things you, as a dog
owner can try.
Why dogs bark?
Dogs are not by nature solitary animals. They
need the security of a family group. Pet dogs regard their owners
as a substitute family and can soon become distressed when left
There are many reasons why your dog may
- Boredom or frustration
- Attention seeking
- Defending his territory
- Medical problems
The importance of training
Training is important so that your dog does
not bark at just anything that moves. A well-trained dog should be
able to tell between people allowed into the house and people who
are intruders. Good training combined with affection and companion
should mean that your dog will not develop bad habits. Start young
and start as you mean to go on.
Some simple things to try
Some dogs just don’t want you to go out. Get
your dog used to the idea that you are away for different periods
of time at different times of the day. That way he might not be so
concerned each time you leave. And don’t make a fuss of your dog
when you leave him.
Try putting your dog on his own in another
room at first for a few minutes, then gradually build up the time
you leave your dog alone. Do not return to your dog until he is
quiet for a period. When you return, praise him.
Some dogs will bark because they want to join
in what’s going on outside. If this is the problem, try leaving
your dog so that he cannot see outside.
Some dogs will settle only if they can hear a
human voice. Leaving the radio on at low volume might help. But
make sure the radio is not too loud. You don’t want to have
complaints about that!
Try not to leave your dog for long periods. If
you have to, see if there is someone who can look in during that
time. Maybe that person could take your dog for a walk or let him
out into the garden, if you have one.
- If you have to leave your dog for long
- Feed and exercise him before you go out
and leave him some fresh water
- Make sure his bed or basket is comfortable
and leave him his favourite toys
- Check that the room is not hot or too cold
and that there is adequate ventilation
- And if you aren’t coming back until after
dark, leave a light on
Some other points
If you do keep your dog outside, think
carefully about where you put his kennel and where he can run. Try
not to put it near your neighbour’s fence or where your dog will be
tempted to bark.
Don’t blame the dog and think that you will
solve everything by replacing him with another. It probably will
not, unless you change your lifestyle at the same time.
Getting a second dog for company might help.
But think about this carefully. Do you have the space and can you
afford a second dog? Another dog could result in more not less
You should also go to your vet. Sometimes a
dog will bark because he is ill – anxiety is often the cause of
barking. You can ask your vet to refer your dog to an animal
behaviourist who is an expert and can suggest ways to improve your
Reporting a Complaint
If a complaint is made to a Council, they have
a duty to investigate it.
The Council may serve a Noise Abatement Notice
and if the barking continues then they may prosecute under the
Environmental Protection Act 1990. The likely penalty is a
To report a problem you can either:
Call in at a walk-in centre and give the details to one of the
Telephone the Contact Centre on 0845 600 6400
Fax the Contact Centre on 01670 511 413