Has your neighbour complained about your dog excessively barking? Both you and your neighbours deserve to live in a peaceful, comfortable environment.
Here’s a breakdown of the potential reasons why a dog decides to bark and what you can do to curb excessive barking as the owner.
So, Why do Dogs Bark?Barking is a dog's way of communicating. Much like a human baby, it’s unrealistic to expect a dog to be quiet 24/7 and never bark. But some dogs can’t help but bark excessively, in order to train this out of them, your first step should be figuring out what exactly triggers them to bark.
Once you understand why they are over-communicating, you can then move onto training them. It's worth noting that barking is just one type of vocal communication a dog can use, and depending on the context, can mean very different things.
Being TerritorialWhen a person or a different animal moves into an area that the dog considers its territory, excessive barking is often triggered. As the “threat” gets closer and closer, the dog will be on high alert and bark in a more aggressive way. cute dog sitting in backyard, thinking about excessively barking for the neighbours
FearSome dogs bark at anything, be it a noise, object or person that startles them. This can happen in any environment, and not just in the territory they define as home. This can also be brought on with age, as hearing or vision is gradually impaired, they may become more easily startled.
LonelinessDogs, like people, are social creatures. They love to socialise and be with other people and dogs. When left alone for long periods of time in a house or backyard, they may become bored or sad, and start barking to communicate that they are unhappy.
PlaySome dogs bark when they greet people or animals or to tell them that they want to play. This is usually accompanied with a wagging tail and sometimes (depending on the dog) jumping.
Attention SeekingLike people, some dogs just want attention. They bark when they want to communicate that they want to play, go outside or when they feel they deserve a snack.
Separation AnxietyDogs who suffer from separation anxiety often bark excessively when left alone. This is usually combined with other symptoms such as pacing, destructiveness, depression and inappropriate elimination. They may bark just to hear their own voice, and often they make repetitive movements like running along a fence line or around in a circle. cute small dog in backyard
What’s Defined as “Excessive Barking”?There are multiple laws and acts that each state uses to dictate their policy. The Dog and Cat Management Act of 1995, the Dog Act of 1976 and the Companions Act 1988 are all used as a guideline for local city councils. Their exact definitions of what a nuisance dog is and the process of resolving a nuisance dog issue does vary slightly.
Western AustraliaAs stated by the City of Wanneroo in Western Australia, a dog is considered a nuisance by law when a dog persistently barks in a manner to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person.
In Western Australia, once a complaint is made to the council, the neighbour will have to complete evidence to prove the dog’s barking. This includes your address, the dates and times the barking has occurred and the duration of the dogs barking.
Once this evidence is completed, an infringement or even legal action against the owner is issued.
In the City of Kwinana in Western Australia, an infringement notice will cost you $200, and the fine given once prosecuted in court is $5000.
South AustraliaFor example, in South Australia if a complaint is lodged with the council, the council will confirm it is valid. From there, it's encouraged for the owner and the neighbour to resolve their complaint informally, if that isn’t possible then council will conduct a full investigation.
If they find the dog to be a nuisance, a Control Order is issued and the owner must comply in reducing their dog’s noise. Should the owner fail, they can be taken to court and be prosecuted.
In the City of Marion in South Australia, a fine of $315 will be issued for a dog who is “Creating a Nuisance by Barking Sec 45a”, however they do not specify how much further infringement notices will cost.
New South WalesIn New South Wales, if the dog owner does not comply with the first infringement notice, they will be issued a fine of $880. For the second and each subsequent offence a fine of $1650 will be issued.
The Cost of Non Compliance
It's recommended by every council to talk to your neighbour first. If your dog is excessively barking, hopefully your neighbour approached you or someone anonymously left a barking dog card in your letterbox.
In each state, worded one way or another, the law says that if a domestic animal barks excessively, an abatement notice or an official dog barking complaint can be given to the dog’s owner if the problem can’t be resolved correctly.
Though this exact process and the names of formal complaints vary per state, you will be notified by the council if they lodge a barking complaint or infringement against you.
Should you fail to comply with the instructions on this complaint, you can be prosecuted for a serious offence and have to pay a huge fine.
7 General Training Advice to Try First
1. Don’t ShoutDon’t yell at your dog to tell them to be quiet, they will think you’re barking along with them. Instead use a calm, normal voice when communicating with them.
2. Stay PositiveMake sure you keep your training sessions positive and upbeat. Your dog is much more likely to learn the behaviours and skills you're teaching if you stay patient and have a positive energy throughout.
3. Stay ConsistentYou and your family need to ensure you consistently reward your dog for the same behaviours. It’s confusing and not fair on your dog if you let it behave in one way sometimes and not all the time.
4. Keep ActiveBy exercising your dog regularly they will hopefully have less energy to use on barking or misbehaving.
5. Increase StimulationInvest in some interactive toys or DIY hacks to keep your precious pup entertained and distracted.
6. Rethink Your FenceIf you can further restrict your dog’s view of what’s happening on the street or in your neighbours backyard, the amount of things that could trigger their barking will be lessened.
7. Talk to your Vet
If nothing else works, talk to your veterinarian. They could potentially refer you to an animal behaviourist who can help you determine the exact underlying cause of the barking.
What Can I Do to Get My Dog to Stop Excessive Barking?If the more general training tips don’t work, you can try one of the most effective ways to reduce excessive barking, an anti bark collar. There are multiple types of anti bark collars available on the market, and their product features vary to suit you, your dogs needs and your lifestyle.
Citronella Dog CollarsThese collars are very effective at controlling excessive and nuisance barking. They emit either a scented or unscented citronella mist when they detect continuous barking from your dog.
The mist is harmless and is safe on dog skin and fur. It gets sprayed on the lower jaw area, so there is no risk of the mist getting in your dog's eyes or ears.
This collar is great for those wanting to train their pet whilst avoiding the use of shock or vibrations. We recommend the Barktec citronella spray collar, it’s one of the highest quality collars available on the market and suits both the novice and experienced dog trainer.
Static Shock CollarsThis type of collar is the most effective at controlling your dogs barking. They deter your dog from barking by emitting a low level and safe static shock when it senses excessive barking.
By delivering these shocks repeatedly, they eliminate a barking problem quickly. The shock delivered is not painful and is completely humane, you can test it on yourself if you want to be sure. It acts as a simple reminder for your dog to stop barking.
You often don’t need to use one of these collars for long, as your dog quickly learns the consequences and ceases barking. We have a variety of static shock collars to choose from, all of which let you choose the intensity level, so you can ensure the collar suits your dog’s needs.
Using a shock collar should not be considered invasive or viewed as a punishment, they are a training tool that provides guidance to your beloved pet. This type of collar best suits stubborn dogs who refuse to stop barking.
Vibration Training CollarsA vibration collar deters your dog from barking, biting and rough play by emitting a safe vibration pulse to your dog when it senses unacceptable behaviour.
You control this vibration with the use of a remote, allowing you to choose what is and isn’t considered unacceptable behaviour.
With repetitive delivery, your dog will quickly learn the behaviours you don’t approve of. The vibration given via the collar is not painful and doesn’t cause any irritation.
Remote Training CollarsYou can get each type of collar, static shock, citronella spray or vibration, in remote controlled form. These collars are made up of the collar/receiver and the remote, which is controlled by you.
You activate the collar and the training with the use of the buttons on the remote. Each collar has different outlay options and lets you choose the intensity of the training you are sending to the dog, giving you full control and customisation to suit your dog.
This style of dog training suits all dogs and owners, as it is simple and easy to implement.
If you need to train excessive barking out of your dog, explore your options with eDog. We have a variety of training tools that suit your lifestyle, values and your beloved dog.