Barking dogs, information for neighbours

Wall with No Parking sign converted to No Barking

Is a barking  dog causing you a problem?

Every dog tends to bark although some people think it is normal for dogs to bark consistently; it isn't. Barking dogs are a nuisance and are not conducive to good neighbourly relations. Constant barking can usually mean the dog is bored, frustrated, ill or lonely.

Neighbourhood communication

Neighbours can often work together to help each other to solve barking problems by communicating with each other their concerns.  Neighbours can assist in identifying the reasons for excessive or nuisance barking by keeping a record of what is happening in the area when the dog is barking.
Muswellbrook Shire Council receives numerous complaints regarding nuisance noise from excessive dog barking.  This type of complaint is sometimes easily solved by approaching the dog's owner in a neighbourly manner and discussing your concerns with them.
 The following points need to be considered:

  • The dog's owner may not realise that the barking is causing an annoyance to other people.
  • The dog may only bark excessively when the owner is not home. It is possible for dogs to suffer from separation anxiety and may need treatment.
  • The owner may not hear the barking from various areas within the house.
  • The owner may be a very sound sleeper and not be woken when the dog barks.

Sometimes the answers and solutions may be readily found between neighbours, so please contact the dog's owner prior to lodging a complaint with the Council.

Reasons why dogs bark

Dogs bark for many reasons, and even though they appear to be barking for no reason they are in fact trying to communicate something to their owner or any one who is willing to pay attention.
The following list provides some of more common reasons why dogs bark.

  • Lack of exercise
  • Inadequate yard space
  • Boredom/frustration
  • Not enough human companionship/lonely
  • Inadequate shelter from weather conditions
  • Hungry or thirsty
  • Medical conditions or separation anxiety
  • Provocation
  • Disturbances
  • Change to family structure
  • Change of territory

Of course many dogs also bark to alert their owners of trouble such as an intruder or disturbance in the yard or perhaps fire.  Often a 'dog's idea of an intruder' may differ to that of the home owner, it could include straying cats, possums, other dogs, or even bats or birds flying across the property as 'intruders'. 

Whilst most people find it acceptable for a dog to bark to warn its owner of an intruder, it is the owner's responsibility to train their dog not to bark at 'normal occurrences' such as possums, cats, birds etc.  Barking at 'normal neighbourhood activity or noises' such as a lawn mower from adjoining properties should be considered to be unacceptable behaviour.

If a dog continually causes nuisance barking in your neighbourhood a complaint can be lodged with council.

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