What are the most annoying sounds to the human ear? Fingernails on a chalkboard, car alarms, squeaking brakes, microphone feedback, mosquitoes and flies, and … excessive barking dogs, according to several surveys we found.
And when it’s someone else’s dog that’s barking excessively? The annoyance factor can be off the charts. Whether you’re just starting your research for tools to help you stop a barking dog, or you’ve reached your wit’s end and feel you’ve tried everything, we have tips on where to go to complain about a neighbor’s barking dog.
Wondering what to do if your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking? When you’ve got a neighbor with a nonstop barking dog, you have several options.
Talk to Your Neighbor About Their Barking Dog
If you’ve got a good relationship with your neighbor, the most obvious place to start is by talking to them.
They may not be aware that their dog barks, especially if your neighbor’s dog barks all day while they’re away or the neighbor’s dog is barking all night. We have a whole resource devoted to dog barking and separation anxiety, which is a common disorder among pack animals. Share that resource with your neighbor.
You might also try writing your neighbor a letter. You’ll find several sample dog-barking complaint letters online, but the best ones:
- Don’t get personal. Don’t make accusations or call them names. Don’t assume anything.
- Stick to the facts. “I’ve noticed your dog barks from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m.”
- Show empathy. You know how frustrating it can be to train a dog. You’re an animal lover yourself.
- Don’t use ALL CAPS. THIS CAN READ LIKE YOU’RE YELLING.
- Kill them with kindness. Even if you feel like yelling, don’t.
Keep in mind that there are several reasons dogs bark. They could be protecting their territory or feeling bored, anxious, hungry, or lonely. Also, the key here is excessive barking. Dogs are allowed to bark; it’s how they communicate. When it goes on for too long — and that’s up to you and your local ordinance — then it’s time to call for help.
Who to Call to Complain About Barking Dog
If you live in an HOA-managed neighborhood
If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association or property manager, start there. It is very likely that your CC&Rs (covenants, conditions & restrictions) have provisions for excessive barking. Contact your HOA board of directors and ask them to notify the neighbor of the barking dog. Remember, barking noises alone are not breaking any rules. It’s excessive barking that you want to report.
If you live in a neighborhood without an HOA
To report a dog that is a nuisance because of its barking, check your local barking laws. Every state and municipality has its own set of noise ordinances. To search online for answers, first look for your “local animal control agency.” You might also search “what are my local barking laws” or “barking ordinances in [state].” You may be able to file a noise complaint if your neighbor has a dog that won’t stop barking.
If a dog is being abused or neglected
If you suspect the dog is injured or being mistreated, the ASPCA has several guidelines for reporting animal cruelty:
- Write a concise, factual statement about what you’ve observed and include dates and times when possible. Include the length of time the dog barks.
- Include photos and recordings, but do not put yourself in danger; if it is not safe to take photos or record video or audio, then don’t.
- Give names and contact information of other people who might also have information about the abused animals.
You may submit an anonymous report, but consider including your contact information in case authorities need to reach you.
Can You Call the Cops About a Neighbor’s Barking Dog?
You can call the police if your neighbor’s dog is barking, but never dial 911 to report a barking dog. Use the police department’s non-emergency line. Before you call the police, however, keep a few things in mind:
- Calling the police could escalate an already unpleasant situation. Do this only after you’ve tried everything else. (See our section below on ultrasonic training devices to stop nuisance barking). Remember: You still have to live near your neighbors.
- The police may be limited with what they can do. Unless your neighbor is breaking laws (and it may be up to you, the complainant, to show evidence), the police may not be effective.
- They might refer you to animal control or another agency that handles code enforcement for nuisance animals.
- It’s not typically a one-and-done neighborhood barking dog solution. The police may ask your neighbor to put the dog inside, but eventually the dog will go out again. You may have to call more than once.
Most municipalities have specific noise ordinances that cover time of day and the length of time a dog can bark. It’s up to you — the complainant — to provide that evidence. In severe cases, after you’ve exhausted all attempts to quiet your neighbors’ barking dogs and the noise continues to interfere with your quality of life, you might be able to file a complaint in civil court.
What Happens When You Call Animal Control on a Neighbor?
Every animal control agency is different, and when you place your first call to them, ask them what their process is. Do they issue warnings? When will they issue citations, and under what circumstances?
Generally, the first call to animal control will result in a warning. You call to report your neighbor dog’s excessive barking, and they send officers to talk to them.
The second time, they might issue a citation, depending on how much time has passed between the first warning and subsequent ones.
After several calls to animal control, it may be possible that the agency will take the dog into custody and impound it.
Can I Use an Ultrasonic Trainer on My Neighbor’s Dog?
One of the reasons we at BarxBuddy developed the ultrasonic training device is because we wanted a tool that could be used to train our own dogs and also stop neighbors’ dog barking.
When BarxBuddy is used as a neighbor dog-barking deterrent, however, it’s no longer a training device. In this case, it is a distraction, designed to interrupt a dog from doing unwanted behaviors. It works best with the train-treat-repeat method of training; however, you don’t have that option with your neighbor’s barking dog.
When the neighbor dog starts barking, you will need to get within 40 to 60 feet of the dog (yes, the sound travels through walls). Press and hold the “ON” button until the dog stops barking.