Barking Dogs

Barking is normal canine behavior, and it is reasonable for dogs to bark from time to time. Excessive barking, however, can result in neighborhood disputes and code violations. Continual barking over long periods of time is a sign that your dog has a problem that needs to be addressed. 

My dog is barking, what can I do?

My neighbor's dog is barking, what can I do?

Help- My dog is barking!

The first step toward controlling this behavior is to determine why your dog is barking.  Your dog may be:

  • Bored or lonely.
  • Guarding its territory.
  • Afraid.
  • Experiencing separation anxiety.
What can be done to control barking?

Excessive barking is a behavior problem. If your dog has not been to obedience classes, take it. Your dog will not only enjoy the activity but it can help you learn to deal with barking and other disobedient behaviors. 

If your dog is bored or lonely, such as barking to get your attention, expand his "people time" by keeping him indoors, exercising him regularly and providing interesting toys. Grooming is also a great way to make sure your dog is getting enough attention. If your dog is guarding his territory, such as barking at "intruders," teach your dog a "quiet" command. Let it know it's done its job, then tell it, "it's alright, Spot." Obedience classes may help with this training. Having your dog neutered or spayed will help to decrease territorial behavior and may minimize barking.

If your dog is afraid, desensitize him to what is frightening. A dog trainer and obedience classes may be able to help you with this as well. 

If your dog has separation anxiety, such as barking as soon as you leave its presence, desensitization techniques can also be used. An example of this training would be to put it in a room with the door closed, when he begins barking, tell him "no," and give a "quiet" command. Your pet will soon learn that separation is okay.

My neighbor's dog barks,  what can I do?

Even the most ardent dog lovers among us become aggravated if a neighbor’s dog barks incessantly. The constant yapping can disrupt sleep, ruin your time in the yard, and generally become an ongoing nuisance. But there are some steps you can take; with effort and a little luck, you and the neighbor’s dog can peacefully coexist.

For starters, don’t blame the dog; he’s being a dog. Several things could cause the barking:

  • Some breeds are more territorial than others. Whether the dog is in the house or out in the yard, he may be “protecting” his home from passing cars, someone walking near his property, or just the mailman approaching the door.
  • Dogs don’t handle boredom well. If the dog is alone all day in the house or left alone in the yard for long periods of time, he may develop unwelcome compulsive habits, such as barking.
  • If the dog sees or hears lots of activity outside, he may become excited enough to bark. This isn’t necessarily a warning; it may be a way to express frustration at being left out of the fun or a stress reaction to the noise and activity.

So what can you do?

1. The first step is to talk to your neighbors. If they’re away from the house all day, they may not even know about the barking. Or they may be aware of it and are already working on the problem.

While it might be tempting to just drop a note in their mailbox, meet your neighbors face-to-face. Leave the attitude at home and communicate in a friendly, neighborly way that the barking is becoming a problem for you and your family. Don’t assume, don’t accuse; just explain the problem and give them a chance to respond. It’s possible they’re inexperienced dog owners. In that case you might want to suggest some resources that will help them manage the barking.

2. You can be proactive, as well. If the dog barks every time you step into your yard or venture near his property, try blocking his vision by planting a hedge or erecting a fence or privacy screen. If the dog’s barking is territorial, blocking his view of your property may remove the threat.

3. Of course, dogs don’t just sense your presence visually. Mr. Barks-A-Lot next door can also hear or smell you. If blocking his view doesn’t help, and he still perceives you as a threat, maybe it’s time to make friends with him.

Ask your neighbors if you and your family can meet their dog and let him get to know you. You might even suggest that the neighbors bring the dog over to your yard to play a bit. If your trips to the yard are rare, your occasional presence may startle or frighten the dog. Try making time outside an ordinary occurrence. Once he’s used to the sight, sounds, and smells of his human neighbors, they may not be such a big deal to him, and he won’t feel the need to bark.

4. So, you’ve done all the polite neighborly things you can to stop the annoying barking, and nothing’s changed. You may have to resort to filing a formal noise complaint. Folsom, most landlords, and homeowners’ associations have noise regulations.  Complaints can be submitted by calling Folsom Police Dispatch 916-355-7231. This could result in your neighbor being cited or given a warning for any violation observed by an officer.

You cannot expect the dog to respect your wish for peace and quiet. But if you’re willing to make some effort, and if you understand why the dog is barking so incessantly, you may be able to resolve all this with a friendly visit, some time spent with the dog, and at most, a few alterations to your yard