Dogs and barking

Dog barking is the most complained about noise nuisance after loud music.

Barking is normal behaviour for dogs, but we appreciate that excessive barking, whining or howling can seriously affect people’s rights to enjoy reasonable peace and quiet. Dog barking can be unpredictable and is often uncontrolled.

Barking often occurs when the dog’s owner is out and therefore an owner may be genuinely unaware that their pet is causing a nuisance. Dogs aren’t solitary creatures – pets regard owners as their family. Dogs need to feel secure and may become distressed when left alone. Some of the reasons why dogs bark might include:

  • excitement
  • frustration
  • boredom
  • loneliness
  • guarding

Dog owners may give a number of reasons why dogs bark, and we often hear that the reason a dog barks is that it is a guard dog and is meant to bark – it is warning people off. The issue with this is that a dog is unable to differentiate between people who pose a threat and those who don’t.

When is dog barking a nuisance

The nature of dogs means that they will bark from time to time, for example to alert your attention to someone at the door or when playing. Dog barking would be considered a nuisance if for example they bark for prolonged periods, frequent excessive barking and barking at unreasonable hours, i.e. early morning or late at night. Dog owners must ensure that the barking is not occurring unreasonably.

What can be done to control the dog barking?

The dog may need to undergo some form of training, or if the dog is barking due to being lonely then leaving a radio on may allow the dog to feel as if someone is at home. If the dog is left at home, perhaps someone could pop in during the day and let it run around the garden.

The Blue Cross has more information and advice about ways to control dog barking.

Animal welfare

If you are concerned that the dog is barking because it's suffering, or you are worried about its welfare, please contact the either the Animal Welfare Service or the RSPCA.