If a dog creates a noise, by barking or otherwise, which persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises, it is considered excessive/nuisance barking.
Dogs bark to express excitement, boredom, stress, anxiety or to let you know they’re defending their territory. Excessive barking is often a sign that something is wrong.
It is important to keep in mind that the dog owner may not be aware that the barking is causing an annoyance to other people as:
- The dog may only bark excessively when the owner is not home.
- The owner may not hear the barking from some areas in their house.
- The owner may be a very sound sleeper and has not woken when the dog barks.
What can I do if my neighbour’s dog is barking?
- We recommend speaking with your neighbour to resolve the issue in the first instance. In many cases they may not be aware of the issue.
- Determine the exact location of the barking.
- Document the barking as our Animal Management Officer may you to complete a request a barking dog form and a dog noise diary as accurately as possible.
- Here is a useful guide for your information.
How to report a barking dog
Council recommends speaking with the dog owner before approaching Council. The dog’s owner may not realise that the barking is annoying other people. If you are uncomfortable with speaking to the dog’s owner, Council has created a letter template you can print and put in their letterbox here.
Step 1 - Required Information
To lodge a formal request with Yarra City Council to investigate you will need the following:
- The address of the dog.
- A completed and signed barking dog form.
- A completed 7-day barking dog diary.
As part of our investigation, we may survey the surrounding residents to confirm if anyone else is affected by the barking.
Step 2 - Lodging the complaint
Once your barking dog form and 7 day barking dog diary/noise log has been completed, you will need to attach it when lodging the complaint.
If we do not receive the required information or your participation, we may not be able to pursue the investigation or take appropriate action.
What can I do if my dog is barking?
The first step in solving the problem is to determine why your dog is barking.
Common reasons why your dog may bark
- Boredom – due to lack of physical or mental stimulation, exercise or company.
- Separation anxiety – being anxious when separated from family members.
- Seeking attention.
- Protecting territory – in response to people or other animals within or approaching its territories, it could be any passerby in the area surrounding its home.
- Fear – due to (thunder, fireworks, or other loud noises).
- Medical conditions – in response to pain or a painful condition due to illness or injury
- Physical needs – (hungry or thirsty)
How to solve the problem
The first step it is to determine the type of bark your dog is expressing. The following questions can help you to decide on why your dog is barking.
- When and where does the barking occur?
- Who or what is the target of the barking?
- What things (objects, sounds, animals or people) trigger the barking?
Depending on why your dog is barking, you may need to:
- Take your dog to veterinarian if it is sick or injured. Be reminded that always rule out medical reasons before any attempts to modify dog’s behaviour.
- Take the dog on more frequent walks (once or twice daily) and include it on family outings, so it can explore the outside world more.
- Provide the dog with toys puzzles and play tricks with it to enhance mental stimulation and reduce boredom.
- If your dog has separation anxiety, counterconditioning might reduce or resolve the problem. Counterconditioning is a treatment process that changes an animal’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. Talk to your vet, animal behaviouralist or trainer to get more information.
- Remove or avoid the cause of fear, e.g. reduce volume of television. If the source of fear is unavoidable, counterconditioning might help desensitising the cause of fear.
- If the dog is barking at passers-by or other animals, block its view of movement outside the property with solid fencing, shade cloth or hedging. Alternatively, if the source of provocation is a human (e.g. children teasing the dog), try to discuss the problem with them.
Training your dog
It is important to remember that training takes time and persistence, and that you should never hit your dog.
Seek professional advice from a dog trainer or behaviourist.
You can find more information on the Animal Welfare Victoria website