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Advice about Barking Dogs
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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, 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
- (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 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
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!
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 !
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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!
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.
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?
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
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
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