Print

Barking Dogs Barking Dogs

All dogs bark but some barking dogs become a nuisance. Excessive barking is one of the most disruptive neighbourhood issues and requires immediate attention.

 

The barking of their own dog seldom bothers dog owners. Even in circumstances where the dog’s barking is a source of intense annoyance to everyone else, the owners of the dog will not be bothered by it at all. Because they are not bothered they will do nothing useful to prevent it from barking.

People with nuisance dogs usually find the complaints of neighbours about their dogs’ behaviour unreasonable and offensive and may consider barking complaints as vindictive.  Local government is responsible for noise from animals on residential property.

Why do dogs bark? 

Try to determine why your dog is barking. Dogs may bark because they are:

  • Hungry, thirsty, cold, hot, in need of exercise, or perhaps sick or injured.
  • Bored.
  • Seeking attention.
  • Threatened or protecting their territory.
 
Check to see if your dog:
  • Has access to clean fresh water and adequate shelter.
  • Has daily exercise and is not sick or injured.
  • Is provided with marrow/brisket bones to chew several times a week.
 
Boredom
 
Excessive barking is more common with some breeds than others. Some breeds – such as cattle dogs, kelpies, border collies and German shepherds – were originally bred to work on farms and may have problems adjusting to a suburban backyard. You should carefully select a breed that is suitable for your lifestyle. Long walks on a lead may not be enough to keep some dogs occupied. They may become barkers through boredom and frustration.

To help ensure your dog does not become bored, make sure it has plenty to do when left alone.
For example:
  • If your dog likes water, place water in a child’s wading pool, or garden pond, so the dog can play in it.
  • Use old drink bottles or milk containers that are half filled with water or stones so your dog can roll them like a toy. These containers also make a good chew toy if left empty.
  • Give your dog a bone when you leave the house, this will teach your dog to look forward to receiving something nice and create a positive, rather than negative, reaction when you leave the house.
  • Provide a variety of toys (balls, chew toys, something to climb on, food reward toys).
  • Leave a radio playing or a television on where the dog can hear it.
 
Attention seeking behaviour
 
Dogs are social animals and may use inappropriate behaviour or cause a nuisance, such as continually barking, to seek attention. Ensure you spend time each day communicating and playing with your dog. If possible, allow your dog to rest beside you as you work at home.

Protecting its property
 
Most dogs will bark if a person or an animal is near their territory. To help prevent your dog barking at things it can see beyond the fence, you may like to:
  • Cover the fence or gate to a suitable height with material which obstructs its vision.
  • Prevent the dog having access to the area on your premises where the dog tends to bark (i.e. by blocking access down the side of a house or to the front yard).
 
What if my dog is a nuisance barker?
 
There is no quick fix or easy solution to problem barking. Don't yell at or hit the dog for barking, as this may cause other behaviour problems.
Instead:
  • Consult your local veterinarian or a dog obedience club for advice on the best approach for your situation.
  • Some dogs have behavioural problems such as separation anxiety, which requires specific treatment and behavioural modification.

All dog owners are asked to monitor the behaviour of their dogs and take steps to rectify any nuisances that they may notice or that is bought to their attention.  If Council determines a dog is a nuisance a notice can be issued to the owner of the dog.  Failure to comply with this notice may result in an Infringement Notice being issued. 

For more information on Council's laws relating to barking dogs please refer to our Nuisance Regulations section of the website and the Information on Barking Dogs web page.  Alternatively please contact Environmental Health Services on hschealth@hinchinbrook.qld.gov.au or phone 4776 4607.