Barking issues often happen when you're not at home, so you may not be aware of it until someone complains about your dog.
Constant barking can be annoying and disturbing for your neighbours, and you could be taken to court if you do nothing to stop the nuisance.
As a dog owner, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your dogs doesn't cause a nuisance.
Statutory nuisances and neighbour complaints
Why dogs bark
Dogs are not by nature solitary animals. They need the security of a family group.
Pet dogs regard their owners as a substitute family and can soon become distressed when left alone for lengths of time.
Reasons why your dog may bark unnecessarily:
- boredom or frustration
- attention seeking
- defending his territory
- medical problems
Barking factsheet on JSPCA website
The importance of training
Training is fundamental to achieving a well behaved family pet, and one that does not bark at anything that moves.
A well trained dog should be able to tell the difference between a welcome visitor to your home and an intruder.
Your dog will have a better understanding of the behaviour you'd like him to show if he's trained well. He will be less anxious and won't bark as often unless there's a reason to.
Good training combined with affection and companionship should mean that your dog will not develop bad habits.
Start young and start as you mean to go on.
Some simple things to try
Some dogs just don't want you to go out.
You can try:
- leaving your home at different times of the day so he's not concerned each time you leave
- not making a fuss of your dog when you leave
- putting your dog on his own in another room; firstly for a few minutes, then gradually build up the time you leave your dog alone. Don't go back to your dog until he is quiet for a period, and when you do return, praise him
- leaving your dog where he can't see outside (some dogs will bark because they want to join in what’s going on)
- leaving the radio or TV on at a low volume (some dogs will only settle if they can hear a human voice)
- not leaving your dog for long periods. If you have to, see if there is someone who can look in, take your dog for a walk or let him out into the garden
- installing a dog door to allow your dog access to the garden when you're out
If you have to leave your dog for long periods:
You can try:
- feeding him and exercising him well before you go out
- leaving him plenty of fresh drinking water
- making sure his bed or basket is comfortable and not in a draught or direct sunlight
- leaving him his favourite toys and a large marrow bone to chew on
- checking that the room is not hot or too cold and that there is adequate ventilation
- leaving a light on or use a night-light if you aren't coming back until after dark
Other useful points
If you leave your dog outside all day, think carefully about:
- where you put his kennel and where he can run
- try not to put the kennel near your neighbour's fence, where your dog may be tempted to bark
- make sure your garden is completely secure so that your dog can't stray out and cause problems for neighbours
- don't blame the dog and think that you will solve everything by replacing him with another. All dogs bark and unless you change your lifestyle the problem with continue
- getting a second dog for company might help, but think about this carefully. Do you have the space and can you afford a second dog? Another dog could result in more, not less, problems
What to do if nothing works
Old dogs can be taught new tricks.
You should consult your vet or animal behaviourist for advice how to improve your dog's behaviour.