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Who Do I Call to Complain About a Neighbor’s Barking Dog?

Barking neighbor dogs behind a fence

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 whit’s end and feel you’ve tried everything, we hope you’ll find a solution here. 

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.

Related: If you’re the neighbor with the barking dog, you might be more interested in this post, “How to Stop Your Dog Barking at Neighbors.”

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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What Is Best Anti Bark Dog Collar? Maybe It’s Not a Collar At All

Barking poodle mix

Anti-bark collars are devices that dogs wear around their necks so their owners or trainers can correct unwanted behaviors.  

To answer the question, which anti-bark dog collar is best, you have to understand what bark collars are, what types there are and how they work. The best fit for you and your dog depends on how much time and effort you commit to train your dog, as well as what your dog can tolerate.  

What is a Bark Collar and How Does It Work?

Most anti-bark collars are controlled by a wireless remote, although some models may be sound-activated when your dog barks.

These sound-activated bark collars are tricky to use effectively because other loud noises could signal the collar, confusing your dog. They may not be the best bark collar if you plan to leave it on your dog at all times, even when you aren’t home.

Remote-controlled bark collars operate on batteries, so they need to be recharged or replaced. 

Some bark collars can be worn with your dog’s regular collar, while others are better alone. Shock collars with prongs are not intended to be worn 24 hours a day. Most manufacturers recommend that you remove no-bark collars when your dog is resting or at night.

Anti-bark collars are training devices, which means they aren’t magic wands that correct your pets’ behaviors. They’re intended to be used along with voice commands, treats and rewards to teach your dog what you do and don’t want him to do. 

For stubborn dogs that bark excessively and don’t respond to voice-only commands, the bark collar can be used to get the dog’s attention. That’s what training devices do: They distract a dog from barking so you can correct her behavior.    

What Are the Types of Bark Collars?

There are five basic types of collars:

  1. Vibrating 
  2. Shock collars
  3. Spray
  4. Ultrasonic training collars
  5. Combination

Vibration collars emit a pulse-like sensation to your dog’s neck. They are thought to be more comfortable than shock collars, which emit a static correction. The vibrations typically can be adjusted from low to high intensities. 

Shock collars use static electricity through metal prongs to signal to your dog when he’s doing unwanted behaviors. They also range in intensity from a mild tingle to a painful shock. If you’ve ever accidentally touched a light socket and gotten a jolt of electricity, that’s very similar to the sensation a dog gets from a shock collar. Some shock collars are used with remote controls, while others are used for training dogs with electric fences; if a dog crosses the fence line, he gets shocked.

Spray collars emit citronella when your dog barks, attacking their sense of smell rather than sight or sound. These collars are a good option if you have dogs that are hearing impaired. Spray collars can be used with remote controls or be sound-activated. 

Ultrasonic training collars are controlled by remotes. When a dog exhibits unwanted behaviors, the trainer/owner presses a button, releasing a high-frequency tone that only dogs can hear. 

Combination bark collars use two or three of the technologies that the other four use. For example, one model offers a combination of sound with vibrations and shocks. The idea is to start with the least intrusive technique — sound — and if your dog resists the correction followed by your voice commands, you progress to vibrations and then shocks. 

What Are Humane Alternatives to Bark Collars (and Do They Work)?

Collarless ultrasonic dog training tools are very effective ways to train your dog to stop annoying barking habits. 

The advantage of this type of training device is that your dog doesn’t have to wear anything special. In fact, the ultrasonic dog training tool never comes in contact with your dog. It is about the size of a TV remote control, and when your dog starts barking, you press and release the button. Only your dog will hear the ultrasonic sound, and it will stop him in his tracks. 

Our ultrasonic dog trainer includes built-in lights, which can add a layer of distraction for your dog, especially if he has hearing issues or is out of range. It’s safe, effective, humane and the best way to train a dog to stop annoying behaviors.

What is the Best Way to Humanely Train a Dog to Stop Barking?

The train, treat, repeat method is best for training dogs to stop barking, as well as to stop all sorts of annoying behaviors. 

It works like this: The dog does something you don’t want her to do. You point the device at her, press the button and she stops, because you’ve distracted her. Before she can resume barking, you give a voice command. When she does things that you want her to do, you reward her with a treat. Repeat it every time; consistency is important. 

You can learn more about this type of training device on our product page, as well as this information guide on ultrasonic anti-barking devices.

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How to Stop Your Dog Barking at Neighbors

Dog Barking

You really don’t want to be that neighbor, do you? The one with the noisy dog that turns neighbors into “frenemies”? 

If your dog is harassing your neighbors and barking constantly, it’s probably for a “good” reason: She has one job — to protect her territory. Your dog is not barking because she hates your neighbor — that’s not the reason! Dogs tend to bark more when they are at home for this reason; they’re protecting you, your home, your family, and your property.

And, to be honest, this isn’t always a bad thing. Dogs can hear noises that we can’t. Some of us have dogs for that very reason — not only do we want a companion, but we also want a protector. 

Related: Got a problem with a neighbor’s barking dog?

However, when your dog is barking nonstop or aggressively at your neighbors and you want him to stop, you can train him. Any time you teach something new to a dog, remember that training takes time, patience, and consistency.

Be Consistent When Training Your Dog

When we talk about the importance of consistency with dog training, we mean two things: Be consistent with correcting bad behaviors, every time, and make sure everyone in your house understands “the rules.”

Consistency with commands: Your dog may be the smartest pet you know, but his mind is very simple, and he’s looking to you to tell him what to do and what not to do. If he barks at neighbors and you correct his behavior one time, while ignoring it the next time, he’s learned nothing. You’ve confused him. 

Consistency with people: You might notice that your dog tends to behave better with certain family members than others. Dog training is as much about people training as it is about teaching dogs new tricks. Everyone who lives in your home has to be involved in correcting bad behaviors and rewarding good behaviors using the same tools and commands. For example, your dog doesn’t know that “quiet” and “hush” mean the same thing; everyone should know the same command words.

How to Stop Your Dog Barking at People

Out of sight, out of mind: To reduce your dog’s barking at people, remove what triggers him, especially when you aren’t home. Close windows, curtains and blinds when you aren’t home so your dog can’t see or hear your neighbors. 

You might even consider leaving on a radio or playing white noise or a fan to help block outside noises.

You can also sequester your dog in a part of your house that is further from noises that trigger it to bark. For example, if you have a two-story house and you crate your dog, consider moving the crate to an upper floor toward the back of your house, which might be further from street noises.

If there are certain times of day when your dog barks, try to figure out what triggers her. Does she bark more when kids are coming home from school? Or does she go crazy barking in the evening, like after dinner when your neighbors are in their yards and walking the neighborhood? Recognize these patterns and plan distractions for your dog during these times.    

Train Your Dog Not to Bark at Neighbors, Using ‘Quiet’ Command

Teach your dog to stop barking when you say a command word or phrase such as “Quiet.” We don’t recommend the word “stop,” because if you use that word too much — stop scratching, stop begging, stop chewing, stop jumping — it confuses the dog. “Quiet” means stop barking.

The quiet command works well when used with an ultrasonic sound training device. These training devices are designed specifically to control dogs’ barking. The device isn’t harmful to your dog, and it’s easy to use. 

Again, it’s important that everyone in your household understands how to use an ultrasonic training device with the quiet command. You might consider getting more than one device, so each person has their own and you can keep them in different parts of your home, so they’re handy when you need them.

Show Your Dog Alternate Behaviors

The following technique requires more time, but if you are patient and stick with it, it can work. 

In addition to teaching your dog the quiet command and using the ultrasonic training device, teach your dog to associate playtime or treat time when you see neighbors. 

This is how it works: When the two of you see or hear your neighbors, give your dog a treat or invite her to play. Even if she barks, give her the treat or continue to play. Do this every time you see and hear your neighbors. Eventually, she will look to you for rewards when she sees the neighbors, because she will know this is a trigger for something great.  

One last piece of advice in this section: You may have heard the saying, “A tired pup is a good pup.” Make sure your dog gets exercise and he’ll be less wound up when he’s at home. 

Communicate With Your Neighbors About Your Dog

Let your neighbors know that you’re working with your dog to stop the annoying barking and ask for their support. Tell your neighbors if there is anything they need to know about your dog — if she isn’t good with children, is aggressive toward other dogs, or doesn’t like to be touched on the head, for example.  

Take your dogs on walks and introduce him to neighbors. Reward your dog when she exhibits good behaviors (with a treat or praise or a scratch behind the ears), and redirect her when she barks. By redirect, we mean this literally. When your dog barks at your neighbors, turn her around and head her away from the neighbors. When she doesn’t bark at neighbors, praise her and let her know she’s been a good dog.

What Not to Do When Your Dog Barks at Neighbors

Don’t argue with your neighbors about your dog. Empathize and acknowledge that you’ve heard their complaint. Let them know what you’re going to do and ask them to be patient.

Don’t admit guilt. Tell your neighbor that you’re sorry they’re bothered by the sound of a barking dog and ask them if they have suggestions. That lets them know you understand their frustration and you want to be a good neighbor.

Don’t yell at your dog when he barks. When you yell at a barking dog, you confuse him. He might think you’re just as alarmed as he is.

Don’t give up. We said this at the start of this article, and we’ll end with a reminder: Dog training takes time, patience and consistency. Some dog breeds are easier to train than others, and some dogs within breeds are easier than others. The BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool makes dog training easier. Learn more about how it works.