My Neighbour’s Dog is Barking All Day – What Should I do?
I was woken early this morning to the sound of next door’s tiny dog, literally screaming the place down. In fact we often joke that, ‘next door’s are boiling Chihuahuas again’ – the sound is so blood curdling.
Luckily for us, this isn’t a regular occurrence and therefore not too disruptive. However, noisy neighbourhood dogs barking can be a real nuisance and can cause disputes between residents. Holidays4Dogs considers the issue of barking dogs and what the best course of action might be when addressing it with neighbours.
Persistent exposure to sudden, sharp noises such as the incessant barking of a dog, can induce very severe physical and psychological distress.
Any sudden, loud, noise, transmits sound waves to the brain. The brain interprets this as a possible threat and relays them to the nervous system. This process can cause some people to to feel stressed, leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Occasional noises don’t generally do any harm, but when the noise becomes relentless, the nervous system is fired up over and over again. This has an effect on the endocrine system which releases hormones into the body.
One of these hormones is adrenalin, responsible for preparing the body to fight, or flee, in the event of a threat. The effect on the body at this stage, means that a person will begin to feel anxious and tense. In many cases, people also start to feel the emotion of anger.
From the point of view of a howling dog, he too may be feeling very anxious. Dogs are social creatures and being left alone, even for short periods, can cause them to experience separation anxiety. They may be destructive, or soil the house. However, prolonged barking or howling is common amongst dogs suffering from separation anxiety.
Approaching the neighbour diplomatically.
Many people may feel concerned about approaching a neighbour with a noisy pooch. However, consider that the neighbour may not be aware their dog is barking. They may well be thankful you let them know about their dog’s behaviour when they are out of earshot.
You could perhaps visit the neighbour and say you are checking everything is ok, because the dog has been barking for ex-amount of hours.
By approaching the subject diplomatically, it is less likely the neighbour will become defensive.
If you are not confident about speaking to the neighbour in person, you could put an informal note through their letterbox.
In either case, it would be good to come across as concerned and keep calm and pleasant. It is also a good idea to approach your neighbour at a time when you are not feeling angry.
Storming next door as soon as they return home, for example, may not be the best time. You are bound to be feeling irritated and annoyed if you have been listening to the dog barking for hours. Therefore, it might be better to wait until the next day, or some other more appropriate time.
If you speak to your neighbour and he, or she, is less than receptive, you can then contact your local environmental health officer. If the neighbour rents the property and you know who the landlord, or agent is, you could also try contacting them.
Local authorities have various powers to deal with noise nuisance where they consider this to be a, ‘statutory nuisance’. In this case, they can issue an abatement notice. This means the noise must cease within 21 days. Should it continue after this time, the courts can impose fines and dogs can actually be removed from the premises.
If the circumstances include an aggressive and hostile neighbour, local authorities can work with the police and issue an anti-social behaviour order.
Not a police matter.
Nuisance barking, however, is not a police matter. Please do not call the police, or the RSPCA, as noise nuisance by barking dogs is not within their jurisdiction. The exception would be, an additional valid reason, such as evidence of cruelty.
Barking dogs can cause an incredible amount of stress to neighbours who live in the vicinity, but barking is a natural behaviour most people will tolerate; but only up to a point.
While there is no specific definition on what constitutes nuisance barking, it would generally have to be for prolonged periods. If the noise interferes with someone’s enjoyment of their home, this is likely to be classed as a nuisance.
This may involve a dog barking for long periods during the night, or very early in the morning. It may also include excessive barking – for example, where the dog is left outside for extended periods during the day.
However, a dog that barks occasionally is often of comfort to owners. Nearby residents also often gain a sense of security knowing the dog will bark in response the approach of strangers.
(Holidays4Dogs procedure to minimise noise, or disruption, to neighbours and surrounding houses is available on request)