Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs and while it is acceptable for a dog to bark to warn you of an intruder, it is the owners responsibility to train their dog not to bark at normal movement or noises such as passers-by, vehicles and animals near the property.
The first step in solving the problem is to identify why your dog is barking.
Why dogs bark
The main reasons for excessive barking include:
- Lack of exercise or mental stimulation
- Insufficient human companionship or attention
- Inadequate yard space or shelter
- Physical reasons such as hunger or thirst
- Medical conditions such as fleas, allergies or illness
- Disturbances such as thunder, fireworks or other loud noises
- Changes to family structure or territory
How to stop your dog barking
Depending on why your dog is barking, you may need to:
- Take the dog on more frequent walks and include it on family outings. Even if you have a large yard, dogs still need to socialise and experience the sounds and smells of walks outside
- Make the backyard environment more interesting. Provide your dog with toys or a large bone to chew
- Give the dog access to your house through a dog door
- Take your dog to obedience classes or undertake dog training
- Block the dog's view of movement outside the property with solid fencing, shade-cloth or hedging if the dog is barking at passers-by
- Make sure your dog is in good health by getting a check-up at the vet
Noisy dogs and the law
Under Council's Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011, the owner of an animal must take all reasonable steps to prevent the animal from causing a nuisance or disturbance to neighbouring properties.
If you are experiencing problems due to a barking dog near you please contact Council to receive a copy of the Barking Dog Information Kit or download our Fact Sheet.
My Neighbours dog barks what can I do?
Talk to your neighbour - Your neighbour may not be aware that their dog is barking or that their dog's barking is bothering you. If the barking persists after a week or two, speak with your neighbour again to provide feedback. If you are unable to contact your neighbour the following template letter may assist:
If your neighbour is unapproachable, or does not agree that a problem exists, you should contact Councils Community Safety team for further advice on 1300 007 662.
Lodging a complaint
Council will need the following information to allow us to carry out a fair and impartial investigation:
- The correct address of where the dog is kept
- A description of the dog
- Detailed list of dates, times and possible causes for the dogs barking
- How is the dogs barking affecting you?
This detailed information also helps the animal's owner to understand and resolve any problems that may be contributing to the excessive barking.
To download an Animal Noise Nuisance Assessment form, click here.
What can Council do to assist me?
In the first instance Council will contact the dog's owner and let them know that a complaint has been received. We will also provide the owner with the information on why dogs bark excessively and suggest ways in which this can be resolved.
Give your neighbour time – Understand that the dog owner needs time to fix the problem. There are no quick fixes to a barking problem. If however the excessive barking problem does not subside, Council needs to be advised so we can investigate the matter further.
Council has a legal obligation to investigate all barking complaints, however some barking may not constitute a noise nuisance under the local law even if it annoys you. Council must be satisfied the dog/s are in fact creating a noise nuisance before taking further action.
For Council to take action sufficient evidence must be obtained to confirm the existence of the noise nuisance. It is also necessary that reasonable time and notice be provided to the owner to remedy the issue.
If Council is satisfied that a nuisance exists, a notice may be served upon the keeper of the offending dog/s requiring them to reduce the nuisance. Should the keeper fail to comply with the notice, Council may issue a fine or commence other legal action to resolve the matter. In the event that legal action is taken, all parties including the complainant and other witnesses may be asked to attend court to provide evidence.