These pages are provided to offer practical advice on what you can do to quieten your dog and prevent further complaints.
There is also a leaflet which you can download.
Why dogs bark
- Guarding its territory
- You inadvertantly reinforce the barking
- Strange noises
- It gets easily excited or is highly strung
- It just loves to bark
- Lack of exercise
Here are some helpful tips
Barking comes naturally to dogs, but constant barking, howling or whining of a dog can be disturbing or annoying for you and your neighbours. Often the problem occurs when the dog's owner is out of the house and so the owner doesn't know until someone complains.
If you are troubled by someone else's dog barking, the first thing you should do is discuss the problem with the owner concerned.
The importance of training
Training is important so that your dog does not bark for no reason. 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 companionship should mean that your dog will not develop bad habits. Start young and start as you mean to go on.
You might want to take the advice of a professional dog trainer. View a list of dog trainers in Nottinghamshire.
What if your dog has been complained about?
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.
The Council is required to investigate complaints of noise nuisance which includes excessive barking (or howling, whining, etc) of dogs or the regular barking of dogs at unsociable hours.
If you can, co-operate with neighbours and follow the advice on these web pages to control the problem so as to avoid formal action by the Council.
But nothing I do works
Old dogs can be taught new tricks. Ask the Council's Dog Control Officer for advice.
Visit your library and ask for publications on Dog Training and Behaviour.
The RSPCA, for example, produces a book titled 'Complete Dog Training Manual' ISBN 0 7513 0075 6, and ISBN 0 7513 00837 4 (pocket version). Your local library may be able to get this book for you to borrow.
You may also be able to get advice from your vet. Sometimes a dog will bark because it is ill. Anxiety is another common cause of barking. Your vet may refer your dog to an animal behaviourist who is an expert and can suggest ways to improve your dog's behaviour.
Remember if you have a dog and it is causing a nuisance, YOU have a legal obligation to control the problem!
What can the Council do to resolve the problem?
Where an officer determines that the noise is excessive or unreasonable, the Council has to take action.
The Council can serve a Notice that legally requires the owner of the dog to take action to stop the barking.
If a person fails to comply with a Notice, the courts may impose a fine of up to £5,000.
Noise nuisance from dogs and the role of Local Authorities such as Ashfield District Council are covered under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Some simple things to try
Some dogs just don't like being alone. 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 the house. Don't make a fuss of your dog when you leave him.
Try putting your dog on his own in another room 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 a 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 to leave your dog for long periods:
- 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.
- 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.
- If your dog is inside check that the room is not too hot or too cold and that there is adequate ventilation. If you aren't coming back until after dark, leave a light on.
Remember to give your dog plenty of exercise - "a tired dog is a quiet dog".
Many dogs drive their owners and neighbours to despair, so much so that the owners feel they have no choice but to hand their beloved pets in to a local pound, animal shelter or RSPCA.
Quiet perseverance does pay off. If your dog does not respond to your attempts to quieten it, then contact your local vet who will put you in contact with an animal behaviourist.
There are many publications on animal training and behaviour. The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) can provide a list of current publications. APBC are at 257 Royal College Street, London NS1.
Contact the Dog Control Officer for further information.