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Advice about Barking Dogs

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Questions & Advice about Barking Dogs Related Pages

2013 - 2014 Recommendations


Neighbor's Barking Dog - Next steps

Aug 2013

Hello, BPN:

I have a neighbor whose dog barks excessively when he is left outside for long periods of time. I tried to handle it amicably by first knocking on her door to talk to her. When she did not answer, I wrote a nice note. The next day while in my garden, she opened her window to let me know she received the note and how surprised she was to hear that her dog had been barking. She seemed genuinely concerned at the time and gave the impression that she was interested in helping. The next time I again knocked, no answer, and left note. She comes over to tell me the fence that was installed prior to my moving in was installed incorrectly and that her dog gets ''stuck'' on her side of our fence on screws that poke through, causing injury to the dog which was why he was barking - ''He's in pain and calling out for help.'' I immediately contact my landlord who comes over with a handyman to look at the fence. The yard was DISGUSTING - dog feces everywhere, overpowering smell of urine. My landlord then arranged a time to have someone rectify this issue. On three separate occasions, my neighbor failed to be available to have the screws sawed; however, neither my landlord or I was convinced this was the real cause of the barking, but wanted to make sure that the fence was fixed before taking next steps.

My neighbor gave me her number so that I could call or text her instead of writing notes to let her know about the barking. Each time, she is ''at work'' so we have to deal with the barking until she gets there to let the dog in. She now has the audacity to tell me she is annoyed with ME for ''constantly'' contacting her about the barking, that ''dogs just bark'', or blaming me for it ''Was your daughter crying? Your window is 10 feet from his space, we can hear everything so he can too'', ''the neighbor who lived there for 20 years never had a problem'', and similar. I finally contacted Oakland Animal Services via voice mail message AND online submission and have not heard anything.

My aunt is a realtor and learned that a Trust owns the neighbor's house. I am wondering what my next steps should be. I don't think the police will come if I call. If Animal Services come, I don't think they will get here at a time when he is barking for 10 minutes or more. I am new to the neighborhood and don't think anyone would be willing to be a collaborator. I have copies of the letters I have left, each time I've called and texted, her responses, and a drawn out voice mail message she left giving elaborate excuses for the barking.

Do I contact the owner? Write a demand letter? Take her to court? Am I able to file a police report? Should I buy an anti-dog-barking device? Any advice would be helpful! Sick of the Barking


Under California law, a property owner owns the building you live in, and you are a householder.

Under California law, each of you (property owner and householder) has rights and each of you (property owner and householder) has responsibilities. Working together, you-together can do far more to deal with the variety of issues caused by actions of owners of this abused and neglected animal.

NOLO - http://www.nolo.com/ - is a local resource for a lot of information that may help. NOLO has books about how to deal with barking dogs. NOLO has several clearly-written guides for property owners.

Choices made by these people (Ugh! NOT ''neighbours,'' they are not acting as neighbours must!) greatly reduce your legal-protected rights to ''quiet enjoyment'' of your home, substantially damaging health, safety, and welfare of your family.

Because your ''quiet enjoyment'' is greatly reduced by the conduct choices made by these people, the owner of the building you live in is at risk of a financial loss.

A simple outline of some actions that may help:

(1) You AND YOUR PROPERTY OWNER, TOGETHER, should document any and all known health issues. You-together will have to document conducts of the dog and the dog's owners because no civil agency has time to act in relation to undocumented complaints. As you are documenting conduct of others, know that everyone has a ''reasonable expectation of privacy'' of noise and images that are ''held private;'' it is against the law to sneak-up to someone's window to take a photo or put a microphone at their window to record what is going on inside a private space. BUT noise loud enough that you can hear that noise in your garden or inside your home is not ''private'' because you can hear it in your spaces. Similarly, anything you can see without ''peeping,'' without intruding into ''privacy'' of others, can be photographed.
(2) Clearly, there are issues that absolutely should be brought to the attention of Alameda County Public Health Department - not ''just'' the noise of constant aggressive barking that has a substantial negative effect on your family's quiet enjoyment of your home, but, also, dog feces and general filth breading bugs and/or rodents likely to carry disease that may threaten the health of your family and other near-by families, intrusive smells that have a substantial negative effect on your family's quiet enjoyment of your home, ...

You together should contact Alameda County Public Health Department using USPS certified mail including documentation:
- Alameda County Public Health
- 1000 Broadway Ste 160
- Oakland CA 94607
- http://www.acphd.org/
- (510) 267-8000
- HELP: 888. 604. HELP
(3) Send copies of your letters and documentation to local police by USPS registered mail.
(4) Specifically ask your property owner to investigate potential of suing the trust that owns the bordering property in small claims court.

Careful Property Owner


I suggest that you look up the animal nuisance ordinance. You can google it. I believe it's considered an offense if the dog barks intermittently for 30 minutes or constantly for 10. You could just email her a copy of the ordinance, since you've already tried personal contact. dog lover, and neighbor of a constantly barking dog

2010 - 2012 Recommendations


My two dogs bark at every little noise

Feb 2010

I have two dogs. I work from home about half time-and much of that time I am on business phone calls. Lately it seems like the two of them bark at every little noise in or outside of the house. If they see someone walking by the house they go nuts. If they see a dog it is even worse. They feed off of each other and it is loud and very annoying. I live on a average-busy street and keep blinds partially open for light so I don't want to have to close the blinds..... I have had dogs my whole life and this has never been an issue. Interesting note-it started with the addition of a second dog. I believe second dog barks more by nature and 1st dog just joins in because he is a spaz. Shall I try squirting with a water bottle? I already have tried SCREAMING NO! and CLAPPING loudly but they just look at my like ''what?'' Advice please.... love my dogs but not their yapping


I can think of several things that could be helpful...and believe me, you may need to try them all, in succession or in different combinations. (I have owned and fostered my share of barking dogs!)

Spray bottle with water might just do the trick. Sometimes even now all I need to do is go get the spray bottle and set it out on the table and my dog slinks away. This is after quite some time with spraying. A tip: set it on ''stream'' for better impact AND to minimize cleanup for you! ;)

A citronella collar for the ''primary barker'' could help. Best to try this when you are at home at first; I have heard of dogs who have learned that if they bark (and get citronella'd) for 30 minutes, they can empty the canister. Depends on how smart your dog is. They do work.

Your dogs are definitely barking because of all that is going on outside, so some thoughts on that:

Purchase a crate (we keep both our dogs comfortably in an XL crate) and put them in it when you are on your calls. Dogs can really be in a crate for up to 8 hrs per day, as long as they can stand, turn, and lie back down. Put the crate somewhere they cannot see what is going on in the street. Get some info on crate training so that it is a happy place, and not a place of punishment. Get the type of blinds that close from the bottom-up. Yes, they are much more expensive, but maybe just for the front windows? That way, you will have the light, but the dogs can't see. Move the dogs into your bedroom during your heaviest work hours. Again, I would recommend a crate; our dogs love to jump up on the bed and look out the window!

Get a little radio to put on classical music while you are working; it will help mask the sounds of the street. If you are a homeowner, you could insulate your walls (if they aren't already). We got the blow-in type of insulation, and it made a WORLD of difference!! (See, I told you we'd done all sorts of things! :)

In the end, remember that dogs do bark. Could you make your phone calls from somewhere else in the house--you with the door closed and classical music on for you? I have done this too--mostly to mask the sounds of my loud child, but still...it works! good luck!


My dog's aggressive barking is way worse than it used to be. In fact, I loved that she rarely barked and i miss that trait very much. I heard a snippet on NPR that I've been using and it works pretty well, but like all dog-training tactics, it takes lots of repetition and consistency on the owner's part.

First off all, do not yell at them when they are barking. This is crucial. Evidently, the dogs are yelling, ''ALERT ALERT...LOOK PACK LEADER I'M DOING MY JOB!!'' And if you start yelling, they think, ''Oooooh, the alpha is pissed too and is joining in, so I'm doing a GREAT job! I need to do this ALL the time!'' So, by yelling, you're essentially joining in and telling them that the barking is great, keep it up.

Instead, very calmly and coolly, walk over to where they are barking, look at whatever it is, pat them gently and say, ''Good guarding'' (or whatever you prefer). Say it over and over, while beckoning them to you and make them follow back to what you were doing. If they keep running back, keep doing this, and keep them with you, saying calmly, ''No, stay...good guarding...'' Eventually, when they start barking, you can say ''Good guarding, come here'' and they'll just come.

This sounds goofy, but I have done it with my dog and it works really well. I have to work a little to keep her with me, but she does chill out quickly.


I have 3 dogs and also work from home so understand this challenge (also have neighbors who hate all noise)! We have tried a number of remedies the most effective of which has been electric bark collars - these sound horrible and cruel but they are great for training and at this point the dogs know that when the collar goes on they have to be quiet. You can adjust to different settings depending on the size of the dog and their tolerance - we use the lowest setting as it serves as a reminder and they get a mild shock when they bark. We also have training collars that work with a remote control so you manually give either a shock or a high-pitched noise that works really well as a reminder also, but that can be harder to use when on the phone and focused elsewhere.

In the past we have used citronella collars that release a puff of citronella when the dogs bark - way less effective for our dogs who figured out that they could expend the citronella in 8-10 barks and would just bark it all out as soon as the collar went on (and very expensive refills). Good luck! Maggie


As you note, the dogs' barking is probably a result of adding the second ''barky'' dog. It is odd that they are increasing this, though, especially since you are in the house with them.

First of all, Yelling/Clapping at dog's barking is often like joining in the party -- they're looking at you as if you're adding to the mix. It's also possible that they get your meaning, but figured ''hey, we're already done with that part, so what're you complaining about?''.

Whatever the reason, I'd suggest two things: first off, make sure they get out for a good run every day, not just an on-leash walk around the block, but a good jaunt at the dog park (pt isable or the bulb maybe?). Allowing them to run off some of that energy would probably help. Second, you might consider crating them while you're working at home, and letting them out for short periods for outdoor breaks and water, etc. It sounds like they are ''on duty'' when you're home, and that's why they are barking. They're probably doing what they figure is their job. Crating them puts them in a quiet, alone space where they can chill out and not feed on each others energy.

You should also ask your neighbors if the dogs are barking when you are not home. If so, crating them during those times could help.

If you are really looking for a real solution, you should work with a behaviorist/trainer. Kathy kear (www.causeandeffectdogtraining.com) is amazing and I highly recommend her. Anon


Everytime they bark (and I mean EVERYTIME) you must repeat the same disciplinary action i.e. spraying them with the water bottle, putting them in two separate rooms. I would try putting them each in two separate rooms, and leaving them there till they stop barking for a few minutes. When you let them out, if they bark again, even if it is just a moment after you let them out, you must put them both back in the separate rooms. Your response has to be immediate and repetitive in order for them to get it. Dogs learn by habit and patterning. Yelling at them, telling them to stop - they don't know what this means. They just see you getting upset - barking perhaps, kind of like them. =) It may take a few weeks of doing this diligently (and it might get annoying), but it should get better. Good luck! Dana
I had trouble with the same sort of issue. Jill Breitner is a dog behaviorist, not just obedience trainer, so was able to help me figure out what my dogs needed --a message that I wasn't getting. This took only 2 visits to resolve and I have been VERY happy with the results. Find Jill at Shewhisperer.com Good luck! Relieved to be noise-free
Jill Breitner, the SheWhisperer. She is the real deal. After several training classes and still no results, Jill helped us instantly. And our dog had several issues, barking, jumping at people when they came to our door, pulling us down the street when we walked her... we tried everything, and then a friend recommended Jill. jill@shewhisperer.com, or call 707.601.3332 Check out her website: www.shewhisperer.com. The video may seem too good to be true, but it's not. All the info on that site is on the money. We even changed our dog's diet and it has stopped her from chewing and scratching. Call her, she's terrific. She has no hidden agenda. She just knows what she's doing. And that's why it works so fast. relieved believer

2007 - 2009 Recommendations


Neighbor dog's incessant barking

Sept 2009

The middle aged son of my elderly neighbor recently got a puppy. Son lives next door, too. The dog seems sweet but barks all the time. I'm at work all day but when I'm around, it's near constant barking. They had the dog in the backyard at all times but now bring her inside for the night. I think the dog is bored, lonely, hungry, etc - just trying to communicate. I don't think it's realistic to expect dog training or major lifestyle changes from the neighbors. Don't know what the motivation was for getting a dog & feel like the dog isn't getting what she needs. I & several neighbors have raised the issue a couple of times. And I just learned they were served a notice by the police. Anyone dealt with something like this? Looking for positive strategies to improve the situation for the dog & all nearby humans. dog friendly but incessant barking's gotta go!


When I had a barking dog next door, in Oakland, I first talked to the neighbors. When the dog was actually barking I'd go over and ask them to quiet him down. They ignored me for months. Before this I'd never had to complain to the neighbors about anything but we weren't friendly, either.

Finally, after talking to them about 3 times, I told them I'd have to call the police if the dog continued barking all the time. I explained that it wasn't my preference, but that I needed to have some peace and quiet.

I called the police on a weekend when the dog was barking and I could be around when they arrived. I had documented the dates and times of the barking and my conversations with the neighbor. The police went next door and told the neighbors that the dog was a nuisance and that this first visit was a warning but that any subsequent time they were called would cost the neighbor $$ (something like $50 for the ticket). Then after 3 tickets the pet would be removed. The dog was gone within a week. S


Pricey but effective --- bark-activated citronella spray collars. These collars saved me. My 2 little mini schnauzers are 'talkers' and will also bark constantly at the squirrels in the oak tree in the back yard. Yes, neighbors not happy. This collar worked the first day! It's simple: no yelling required. Just put in battery, fill with citronella and there you go. Dog barks and gets a little spray/squirt of smelly citronella. Not lethal, not inhumane. They don't like it and stop barking. Now, I just put the collar on when I leave, or whenever it's needed - it doesn't even have to be turned ''on''. Maybe you and your neighbors can buy one for your ''doesn't know what to do'' dog owner neighbor. Available at pet stores. I bet they would also appreciate not hearing their dog bark all the time too. dog owner
I am sorry you have to deal with this. It sucks.

I don't know where you live and that might make a difference. I live in Contra Costa County, but I think you can get some advice here.

Is there anything you can do in person on a neighbor to neighbor basis, it might save you a lot of aggravation. Have you talked to them in person? Face to face or on the phone. Do so. Do so more than once and explain the situation and what you want. Be reasonable. Tell them that you don't mind if the dog barks when people come to the house or when the fire trucks go by but barking incessantly for more than 15 minutes three times a day can't be tolerated. Tell them also that you don't want them to live in fear if the dog barks, but it has to be curtailed. Offer to buy them a barking collar and offer easy repayment - $5 per month or something. Be serious too - don't threaten, but let them know that if the situation does not improve you are going to escalate the situation either through animal control or through the police or through an attorney.

Document everything. Time, date place of interactions. You also need to start a barking log - when, how long. You need to tell them when there is barking - phone or in person.

If this does not work, move to documenting your conversations and your requests and what you want in a certified letter, restricted delivery, return receipt requested.

It can also help to organize your neighbors. if you can get a petition going and everyone signs it that can help. In my case, I had many people that hated the barking but did not want to be involved.

In the meantime, you need to call the police or animal control and figure out how your system works. I don't know what you are going to get. So many budget cutbacks, furloughs. The way it worked here is when the barking was excessive - can't remember how long - an hour?? you call animal control. They will ask you pointed questions about the barking and that is why you need the log. Eventually, they send someone out to talk to the dog owner. This happens 3-4 times and then you are eligible for mediation where someone from the county steps in and tries to mediate. The only problem is that mediation can't be forced and it is not binding. So, if you have an uncooperative neighbor, it will go nowhere. Also, I called my neighbor each time BEFORE I called animal control. I let them know the barking had gone on for an hour and I was calling.

I think if you can't resolve it through mediation, you need an attorney. It might get really complicated and expensive. You might need noise studies. You might, as in my case end up with someone who was indigent (and mentally unstable).

Anyway, now we kind of have a relationship. I bought a bark collar for this dog and I just call there when it gets to be too much. When there are long stretches of quiet, I go buy her something and get some treats for the dogs.

Quite frankly, and I know I'll get a lot of grief from the animal lovers out there, it's a lot easier if you throw a sleeping pill-laden meatball over the fence. Good Luck


As the owners of two Jack Russells, we did get complaints many years ago. This was in a different place where instead of a confrontation, you could call the city and they would send a letter and a brochure to the dog owner detailing strategies for getting their dog to stop barking. That was in many ways more helpful than a face-to-face confrontation. The most useful thing they told us was that to prevent barking at night and when you go out, it helps to confine your dog in a small room or other space (with food and water) so that they go into their ''den'' behavior and are much less likely to bark. A lot of other strategies are outlined at Pet Education.Com at this site: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2085&aid=153

Your neighbors can probably make good use of this information and/or a bark collar. It's possible that it takes a village to raise a good dog, as well as a good child. Fiona


Barking Dogs & Real Estate Transactions

March 2007

I am wondering if anyone knows if barking dogs are a disclosure item in real estate transactions. I live in a nice ''suburban'' neighborhood with little traffic noise, but there are many barking dogs throughout the area. We have two across the street that bark all day long. Our neighbors are apologetic, but have done virtually nothing to keep the dogs from barking. If we move (we need a larger home for our growing family) is the incessant barking something we must disclose? Any realtors out there who know the law on this one? Thanks! at my wits end


We too lived in a house that had two very noisy barking dogs across the street. These dogs were pit bulls and often got out. A huge pain.

When we bought our home it was disclosed as ''Dogs barking can be heard in the neighborhood.'' When we read it, we thought, well sure, no neighborhood is completely silent. We did not think about how noisy they could be.

When we sold our home, I think we disclosed it the same way.


Yes, you have to disclose about the barking dogs. It is asked on a required Department of Real Estate form, The Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS), which applies when any real property of 1 to 4 dwelling units is transferred by sale, exchange, installment land sale contract, ground lease coupled with improvements, lease with an option to purchase, or any other option to purchase. On page 2 of the TDS, question 11 asks if you, the seller, are aware of Neighborhood noise problems or other nuisances. If you mark Yes then you need to explain your answer.

Remember if you notice it, then so will the buyer. You are better off getting a buyer who is aware of any potential issues before close of escrow, or else you could find yourself in a messy legal dispute. Noise is a big issue, especially for families with young children so please disclose it when you sell. Carolyn


Different people have different ''tolerances'' for noise !

Folks who ''love'' dogs may think that the twenty-five nasty barking dogs in any specific neighborhood are ''just fine,'' thank you.

Make a list of specific questions that you want to ask: ''How many dogs are in this neighborhood ?'' ''How much noise is there from barking dogs ?'' etc.

It is paramountly important that any/all buyer/s spend two or three DAYS, EVENINGS, and, perhaps, NIGHTS in a neighborhood during the contractual inspection period that is included in each and every California Department of RealEstate Contract for Purchase - - - even long-time married couples may have different ideas of what is ''OK,'' so the whole family should participate in these inspections !

Remember, though, any day new residents may move into a neighborhood with a loud, bored, neglected dog (or, --- help you, dogS) who will make your life mizzzzzerable !

So, find out what the LAW says in each town/city/county/state about what is a ''noxious noise'' and just what you would have to do to STOP noxious noise ! Often it will take the concerted action of several neighbors to STOP the noxious noise of loud [sub-] humans (e.g.: ''students'' who smoke their ''cigarettes'' outside their crowded ''smoke-free'' apartments with their too-too-many-beers and their loud talk of their fantasy sex-lives, for example.) and/or neglected dogs who make their frustrations known to a whole neighborhood of sleep-deprived families who's children have had their sleep interrupted. A quiet home is well worth the work !


Absolutely must be a disclosure, though it could be from your point of view such as dogs across the street bark off and on. Not stating something that may affect the price of your house puts you at risk for being sued later if they feel that you lied A good real estate agent should be able to help you frame these kinds of disclosures. We had a barking dog next door which I disclosed last year when I sold my house. It turned out not to be a problem and things went smoothly. Perhaps you could interview your future agent on these types of issues? survival of house sale

2004 - 2006 Recommendations


Bark stop devices for neighbor's dog

Nov 2006

We have had a problem with our neighbor's barking dog for over a year now. I have spoken with them twice and each time the situation improves for a while but slowly the barking resumes. Lately it has been at night and only for a brief period each time. However, it is enough to wake me up and I find it so hard to switch off and go back to sleep. Basically I don't want to pester my neighbors because they are nice people (just a bit deaf when it comes to their dog). So, I was thinking of using one of those bark stop devices that emits an ultrasonic sound only audible to the dog. Has anyone had success using these devices? I don't want to do anything harmful to the dog - I think shock collars are scary. But I need to do something - I am anxious every night going to sleep. Anon.


I'm not sure exactly what you had in mind about a ''bark stop device,'' but the devices to counteract dog barking that are on the market would have to be used by your neighbors. There's nothing that you yourself could use ''from a distance.'' Perhaps you're confusing the bark stop devices with perimeter management devices, which emit a signal when the dog crosses the border that you've defined.

Most of the antibarking devices involve putting a collar around the dog, and in some way ''shocking'' him. A device that works well for many dogs sprays him lightly in the muzzle with citronella (or similar mist) whenever it detects the characteristic movement of the dog's larynx while barking. It's not harmful; the ''surprise'' is what works, and fairly soon the dog will cut it out. It's about $200. Perhaps if you offered to pay for this device your neighbors would be willing to try it.

I don't see how you can avoid another frank discussion with your neighbors about the problem. If they are not at home when the dog barks, they might not realize the scope of the problem. Excessive barking is usually due to boredom and severe lack of exercise, and less often to fear and separation anxiety. Both of these conditions can be treated by caring, committed owners or by canine behavior specialists. You say that the barking has improved and only occurs now in short bursts at night. This might imply that the dog is barking at something. In principle, this is normal in a dog. You might not be able to do much about it except muzzle him. But this is a much more draconian step than using a collar to control aimless barking, and many owners won't agree to it. If the barking is only at night, your neighbors could arrange to sleep the dog in a crate with sound muffling; even if the dog barks, you won't hear it. There are many products available that can do this. Some dogs resist crating if they haven't done it before, but many grow to like it. The risk is that crating them will in itself make them bark until they're used to it! This is always a very difficult issue between dog owners and neighbors. The first step is full communication and mutual cooperation. I wish you luck Barking up the right tree


I don't know anything about the bark stoppers you mention but we have and do used ''shock collars'' to train our 2 dogs. Actually they are called ''impulse collars''. We have a barker rescue dog. Through using this collar with proper training he is SOOOOO much better and improving all the time. We've used it for training 2 of our 3 dogs to come, sit, stay, off, down, etc..

The thing is though the dog owner has to use it and has to be consistant and needs to learn the proper way to use the collar. You start from basics and go from there. Every time our little guy would bark we'd give him a slight beep...it doesn't hurt (we've done it on ourselves) but is annoying and we'd say ''quiet''...you do this over and over and eventually the dog gets the message. These collars are VERY effective ways to controll barking. If your neighbor is interested she/he can contact dogsquad.biz Good luck happy owner of better trained dogs


Barkstopping devices have to go on the dog, and since it's not your dog you can't insist that the owners use it. If this is really only a problem for you at night when you try to fall back asleep, here's what I do: I use noise-cancelling headphones. They don't have to be plugged into a music source, just having the headphones turned on makes me feel like I'm in an isolation chamber. It's made falling back asleep after waking at night so much easier, regardless of why I woke up. I happen to use Bose Quiet Comfort II (big headphones) but you may find others work fine for you. Good luck! Sue
As a lot of responders have pointed out, bark collars have to be on the dog (I didn't know about the sonic one mentioned, sounds interesting).

But if collars are an option, I'll add my successful experience with my dogs and no-bark collars.

I went through a good bit of money trying ones I found at local pet supply stores and none solved the problem. The citronella one surprised and stopped them for a week or so, and then they got used to it and barked anyway. The shock ones I found locally were unreliable and poorly constructed.

What I finally found is the Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter XS which I bought online from The Collar Clinic http://www.collarclinic.com/ It's well designed- is small and lightweight, has settings for different shock levels, turns itself off to save battery life when there's no movement, and it's very sturdy.

It costs $99. but after going through four times that much (I had three dogs at that time!) trying out collars that didn't work and weren't well made, I was happy to pay it. After the dogs had been quiet for a few months, my next door neighbor knocked on my door and handed me a check for $100. as a thank you contribution!

I used to think that shock collars sounded cruel, but now I think the opposite. My dogs can now be outside and play when I'm not home (these collars are reliable and will not overshock or shock inappropriately) which is so much better for them. And I can have my dogs outside with me without my neighbor's having to listen to me constantly reprimanding them.

One note- the collars have to be put on very tight to work, but that is perfectly safe when done properly Cece


Best way to silence neighbor's barking dogs?

March 2006

We have a neighbors with barking dogs. We are pursuing all the legal methods.

But I understand that there are shock collars that do work?? For those of you that use such methods to silence dogs, what methods are out there? How well do they work and what do the cost?

Thank you for your advice. Anon


Sophia Yin, DVM, has written great columns about animal behavior in the Chronicle. Here are her thoughts on dealing with neighbors' barking dogs: http://www.nerdbook.com/sophia/article1.html?num=23. I like her approach because you get a real sense of why the animal is doing what it's doing and how its human is impacting their behavior. In other words, shock collars--yikes!
I purchased a gadget called a Pet Safe for less than $20.00 through a Pet catalog that sets off a high-pitched noise (most people can't hear a thing) when the dog barks the third bark. It's battery operated and I set it on our back fence for a while to stop him from barking at the dog next door and sometimes I move it inside so he won't bark at the front window. He is too smart and learned right away that he can still bark twice without setting it off and can make other assorted noises but he will not do prolonged barking at all anymore. It also has a manual switch so I can set it off at the same time as a verbal command to reinforce the training. I have used the shock collars in the past and I don't like doing that to my dog - it seems cruel to me. Barbara
Controlled studies show that citronella collars are much more effective than shock collars (80% effective vs something like 40 % for shock collars). When the dog barks it sprays citronella in front of the nose. Since dogs are so smell oriented that is more annoying to them than the shock (and far more humane). May also need to work with a trainer to instill other methods of controlling the circumstances (ie are the dogs left outside all day, breed specific issues, lack of exercise leading to high energy/anxiety that is being dissipated by barking). A local vet
Our dog was great, but barked at any noise near or around his home- he took guarding his territory very seriously. Also, we liked to travel with him and his barking was very upsetting to hotel guests whenever he would hear a door, voice, etc. We used a battery operated collar, don't even know the name, but we bought it at the pet store in the Rockridge Safeway shopping area. It was pricey, $70, but totally worth it. We only used it when absolutely necessary. When he barked, it would give a warning ring, and then if he continued barking, delivered a little shock, kind of like a static electricity zing! We tried it out on ourselves first. Not horrible, but not great either.

Dogs are so smart! After a few times of getting zinged, he knew not to bark the minute that we put the collar on him. If he forgot, and the warning ring went off, he was very quiet. I don't think that these collars are good for all situations, however. Sometimes, if dogs are left outdoors all day, and not walked or don't have enough socialization time with their owners, they bark out of boredom and frustration. The collars are not going to fix that, in fact, will probably make an even more unhappy dog. Also, they don't work so well on dogs with long or thick fur, and they don't work in water/rain. I don't know your situation, but the first question is why are the dogs barking in the first place? Dogs generally don't bark and bark and bark unless they need something, are bored, or are warning others. Good luck, for the dogs' sake and yours. dog lover


I speak as someone on the other side of the fence. Even if this post doesn't help you directly, maybe it will help others on either side of the fence. First key is good communication w/ your neighbor if possible. What type of barking is occuring & when. What is and isn't acceptable. If they are open, help them figure out when it is happening. It took me a long time when someone was complaining about my dogs since our relationship was strained and I couldn't openly discuss my issue and get constructive criticism. As far as what works. Dog walkers, even if you can't afford a walk each day a couple days a week help. Kong's w/ frozen stuff on the inside. Electric bark collars also are very effective and cost about $100. Check out Dr. Fosters & Smith or Petsmart for examples.

I do a little of all the above and use the bark collar when I'll be gone for hours. In my case it was a rough realization since when I'm home my dogs just sit and sleep. I ended up getting a recorder and found that my favorite dog was barking for 2 hours straight, probably due to bordem. So, I put the tools above to use. Good luck & if you can discuss the issue w/ your neighbors maybe you can come to a reasonable solution. Jennifer


Neighbors' new dog only barks when they are home

Sept 2004

Our neighbors got a dog several months ago. It barks at all hours; late at night & early morning. The dog does not bark during the day, when they are not home, I think it barks when they are home because they leave the poor thing outside and it wants attention. Unfortunately these people are not approachable, and I don't want to make a complaint for fear of reprisal (I am their only neighbor). Is there some way to discourage the dog from barking? Sounds like a stupid question, but I'm getting desperate! Need some peace and quiet


If you don't feel comfortable talking to your neighbors in person or on the phone, write them a short letter explaining the problem and how it has affected you. You'd be surprised how effective that can be. I can say this from experience because a neighbor wrote us a very nice letter about our dog barking. This letter got us going on working to control his barking with training, keeping him indoors more often, and using an anti-bark collar. With any luck, your neighbor will take similar reasonable corrective actions and you'll be able to nip this problem in the bud before resorting to other dispute resolution methods. Good luck. Anon.
I live in Berkeley, and am surrounded (literally) by homes with barking dogs. I have no patience for this, as I too am a dog owner, but make sure that she's inside when I'm gone and she is scolded for barking unnecessarily when outside. For the most problematic neighbor, I have written notes, letters, suggested ways in which she/I could shut up the dog and after that, I started calling the police. I called many times, and eventually was told that I could sue my neighbors for disturbing my quality of life, for something around $5,000. Fortunately, she's kept her dogs more quiet, as I really, really didn't want to go to that step. Anyway, that's the ultimate method of getting the neighbors to comply. Though it's definitely not the most neighborly thing to do it definitely beats living in misery. heather
we have one of those and I don't even know which neighbor it is. our solution is white noise. my husband needs white noise to sleep and though it took a little getting used to for me and it blocks out good sleeping noises like rain, it does make that dog a non-issue. anon

My 4-year-old lab barks when the windows are open

June 2004

My 4-year old Lab, whom I adopted last fall, apparently doesn't sleep well when the weather's warm and the windows are open at night. Thus, neither do I. She roams the house and barks at those sounds only she can hear and wakes up the household. And when I don't get enough sleep, I'm a very cranky mom...

Has anyone had any experience with the collars that spray a dog with citronella mist when the dog barks? Especially a big dog? I'd like to use some gentle negative conditioning to get this behavior under control. Crating her has been suggested, but she's never been in a crate and whines piteously whenever I have to put her in a closed room even briefly, so I don't think that's the answer. Neither is air conditioning!


I'd say that it's important to address your dog's anxiety level before checking out bark collars. Changing homes is as stressful for a dog as it is for us, and maybe your dog is showing the effects of that. Crating works great for some dogs, but only if you introduce them to it properly, best done with the guidance of a good vet or trainer- it will take work and patience on your part to make it work. And make sure that you are giving your dog enough exercise as insufficient exercise can contribute greatly to anxiety (just like with us). I have a dog who had a stressful puppyhood and is genetically nervous, and what has helped him the most (in addition to much love, stability, and basic training) is D.A.P., or Dog Appeasing Pheremone. It was developed in England for dogs, and it is the pheremone that the mother dog gives off when she is nursing to calm the puppies. It comes in a plug-in dispenser like air freshener and you put it near where they sleep. Now, I know that this may sound like snake oil, but it has calmed my dog immensely, and this is not just my observation. I buy it at PetVet stores (Oakland and El Cerrito). There is also an anti-anxiety medication for dogs called Clomicalm that is often very helpful. anon
I know that different breeds of dogs react differently around barking, but what really worked with our Akitas was something I'd read about . . . for a few nights I just sacrificed sleep and every time they barked at anything I'd jump out of bed and race downstairs, stare tensely (and blearily) out the window while asking ''what is it???'' in a concerned voice, then relax and tell them that it wasn't anything to be worried about while reassuring them and telling them not to bark about that. I think the idea is that they're trying to protect you, so you have to let them know what things they don't need to warn you about. One time it was actually a tow truck towing a car (not ours) from in front of our house - I did praise them then! But overa few days I got to see all the neighborhood cats, plus a racoon, a possum, and even a deer . . . then they stopped barking at night. good luck! amy

2003 & Earlier


Dog barking in the middle of the night

Dec 1999

Please help me with a barking dog in the neighborhood that wakes us up in the middle of the night and barks at us when we are in our backyard. I have already called the Walnut Creek police to ask the owner's to bring the dog inside because it was barking at 4:00 a.m. and woke us up again. The owner does not seem to care that his dog bothers other people. I just called animal control because the dog barked last night from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. All animal control said they could do is send out a letter. If the owner does not respond then another letter will be sent out. And if that still doesn't work then a third letter will be sent out and we could discuss the problem with an arbitrator. We could probably deal with the dog barking at us while we are in our backyard however, not in the middle of the night. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


I can't help you on dealing with your neighbors, but I did just see a program talking about a humane way to stop barking. Its a collar that goes off when the dog barks, but instead of a shock, it spays a citrus spray in the air. Apparently, dogs really don't like the scent, and it works as behavior modification. Maybe your neighbor can be talked into making the dog wear the collar, especially since its so harmless? Just a thought....
We had the same problem a few years ago with a very uncooperative neighbor. We first called them a few times when the dog would wake us up and they were very hostile. (we later learned that they may have been fighting the poor dogs who were pit bulls.) Hopefully your neighbor is not like this. The tactic we used was to say that the dog was creating a nuisance. There is probably a city ordinances that talks about nuisances in Walnut Creek. Generally, there are times of the day when you can make noise, after which your noise becomes a nuisance. A nuisance can also be anything unreasonable that interferes with your use and enjoyment of your property. Our tactic was to contact the landlord of the dog owners whenever we were woken up (and he lived on the East Coast, so we'd call him in the wee hours of the am.) We also called the dog owners but they became so hostile that we were scared that they'd retaliate against our dogs, so we stopped calling them. Throughout this time they refused to do anything, and even added new dogs to their small back area. we also called the police, and they cited the owners a few times for violating the noise/nuisance ordinances. It would take a while for the police to arrive, but they would, eventually, and were sympathetic. Then we told the landlord that we would file a claim in small claims court unless it stopped, (again, for creating a nuisance) and we began this process, when the dog owner finally just moved away. We had to be very confrontational because both the dog owner and property owner refused to compromise in any way. Hopefully this would all be last resort things for you, but they are options if your neighbor won't come to mediation, or just work it out. good luck.

Legal remedy to barking neighborhood dogs?

Oct 1998

Can anyone tell me the legal approach to getting a neighbor to quiet their dogs. I have a neighbor who allows her two dogs to bark, sometimes through the night, in a residential neighborhood. Everyone in the neighborhood has complained and she has refused to get collars to prevent to barking. She feels the dogs keep her home secure by barking. My children are awakened nightly. I lose sleep constantly. What legal course of action to I take?


I'd like to know the response about the barking dogs, as well. I live in Oakland, my neighbors have three dogs that bark all the time. I've sent them letters asking politely for them to keep the dogs inside the house, until at least 7:30a.m and no later than 9:30p.m.. On and off they have done what I've requested, but wouldn't speak with me afterwards. I don't want to have a bad relationship with my neighbors because of their dogs but it's too hard to have three dogs barking non-stopping all the time. I am hoping that my neighbors have some common sense, however this struggle has been going on for 5 years now. What should I do?
For the person complaining about the dogs: first of all, I sympathize deeply with you. It is actually physically disturbing to listen to that EVER, but to have it going on relentlessly at one's home is just this side of torture.

Not knowing where you live, I can't cite the ordinances, but in Contra Costa, the law is that more than one person whose dwelling is not contiguous to/with the dwelling where the barking is happening must complain to Animal Control. You might want to get with their counterpart in your county and ask their laws. If you have several neighbors in your corner, that's a bonus.

Best of luck to you. WHAT a bummer. Mari


You don't say what city you live in. I live in El Cerrito and the police department does a very good job of cracking down on noisy dogs. Once someone complains, the officer given the assignment will come around the neighborhood to find the offending canine. They will time the dog's barking. If it continues in the presence of the officer for 10 minutes the officer will knock on the door of the house from which the barking is emanating. He/she will give the owner a warning and ask the the owner to keep the dog quiet. Usually, it doesn't take more than a couple of visits from the local police to change the owner's behavior and the dog is no longer heard from. Have you tried your local police department? Margo
hopefully im not your neighbor. I have two barking dogs. The first time I was informed they barked while im at work (certainly not when im home or in the middle of the night) was when an annonymous neighbor put a very nasty note on my door. I did by a shock collor, and now when there is barking its because someone took it off or put the dog out without it. That however didnt stop the nasty notes and eventual call to animal control. When animla control came i paid th 1$ to get a copy of the compliant so I could talk to which ever heighbor had the problem. the complaint stated my dogs bark very early am every am. As i have been home with my new babay and during my preganacy i realized that wasnt us but another dog a few doors up the hill, nonetheless my dogs do bark alot the collor was warranted and it wasnt worth quibbling about. all this is to say please be sure you approach your neighbor. it may be she is unaware, it may be that on this particular incident it isnt even her dog. My dogs are now blamed for all the barking i the hood, and no i havent approached the neighbor who complined, but i did approach everone after the first note and everyonew sAidf oh no it wasnt me we dont mind etc. so much for community huh? were all missing the boat in my neighborhood Kimberly
To the anonymous person who was disturbed by a neighbor's barking dogs: Nolo Press, the legal self-help book publisher, has a book called "Dog Law". You can probably get it at Cody's or at Nolo's outlet on Parker and 9th in Berkeley. Becky

Nolo press has a good book which talks about what to do with many types of neighbor conflicts. The name escapes me right now. It includes subjects such as encroaching trees, problem fences and "nuisances" like barking dogs. The book might give you some insight in how to deal with your neighbor. I helped two neighbors resolve their differences over cutting down a tree merely by showing each of them the book. However, If you live in Berkeley, you may also take advantage of it's "noise ordinance" which specifically includes barking dogs. Good luck! Jeanne Jeanne


I really feel for you, trying to deal with non-stop barking and an unresponsive and clearly inconsiderate neighbor (at least as described), but the responses you've received so far might well be helpful. I suggest, before you lodge a formal complaint with the police, that you record the barking on a "typical night." Having physical evidence of what you (and, I hope, your also-complaining neighbors) have to put up with should help strengthen your case. Wendy
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