April 2018

Are barking dogs driving you barking mad?

We’ve had a significant increase in the number of barking dog complaints over the past few weeks, so we thought this would be a good focus for this month’s edition.

Barking is one of the ways dogs communicate and can signify anything from playfulness to danger. In stark contrast to being playful, they can bark because they’re hungry, thirsty, lonely, sick, untrained, under exercised, chained up or victims of abuse.

The causes of barking listed above should not be part of a dog’s life and as well as indicating a possibly distressed animal, excessive barking can disturb and cause conflict between neighbours. If you suspect a dog is being mistreated, we encourage you to contact the RSPCA on 9770 7555 or 1300 278 3589 or via the RSPCA website at www.rspcansw.org.au.

Are you the owner of a dog who constantly barks?

A responsible pet owner takes responsibility for their companion’s behaviour, no matter how late at night or how inconvenient. As a pet owner it’s your job to ensure your pet is behaving responsibly and this includes taking steps to mitigate constant barking.

If your neighbours have spoken to you about your noisy pooch you need to start working out how you can resolve the issue. I’m sure you can understand how frustrating it can be to live within earshot of a dog that is constantly barking. Some suggested strategies include:   

  • restrict your pet's vision through the fence or gate
  • consider behaviour modification training
  • consider the use of devices such as citronella collars
  • provide toys or other equipment for your dog to play with to relieve boredom
  • exercise your dog to help burn off excess energy
  • make sure your dog has plenty of food and water
  • discipline you pet when it is barking unnecessarily  

These simple steps could fix the issue before tensions rise between you and your neighbours.  If you don’t take any action you may end up in mediation facilitated by the Community Justice Centre (CJC), an independent centre specialising in settling differences between neighbours.

If mediation is unsuccessful and the noise problem persists, there is potential for a complainant to contact Council and find out their rights under the the Companion Animals Act 1998. Council will advise what evidence they require for Council to carry out an investigation.