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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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7 Reasons Dogs Bark

Dog Barking

Dogs bark for one primary reason — to communicate. But you knew that. The real question is, what is your dog trying to say when it barks? 

Well, dogs bark for a number of reasons:

  • Alarm
  • Anxiety 
  • Attention 
  • Frustration
  • Greeting
  • Injury or illness
  • Response

Dogs have simple minds: They quickly associate actions with reactions. If they bark and you yell, they think you’re joining them. If they bark and you take them inside and give them a treat, they think they’ve done a good thing.

That’s why it’s important to understand why dogs bark so you can train them that you’re the top dog. When you give a command, they stop barking. 

With so many triggers for a dog’s bark, it’s hard to know what to do to quiet it, isn’t it? For most dog owners, the longer they have their pet, the better they get to know what their animals’ sounds mean. A high-pitched yipping bark might be an alarm for a backyard invader. A rapid loud non-stop bark might mean someone is at the door. A short, quick yelp might mean “I want out” while a howl might mean it’s suffering from separation anxiety.

Alarm Barks: My Dog Barks At Everything

What an alarm bark sounds like: An alarm bark tends to be loud, nonstop, and rapid.

Why your dog alarm barks: If your dog seems to bark at every little noise and every person or thing that passes by your home, he’s just doing his job. The problem is that you haven’t provided on-the-job training, to let him know when it’s OK to bark, for how long it’s OK to bark, and what to do instead of barking. 

When your dog barks in alarm, he thinks something is wrong. Someone or something has invaded his territory. She heard a noise and she’s protecting her territory.

How to control alarm barks: To control alarm barks when you are home, use a combination of verbal commands with an ultrasonic training device. Ultrasonic trainers are easy to use, inexpensive and convenient. Our trainers use them on their own dogs and keep several in various rooms in their homes, so they’re within reach when their dogs begin alarm barking.

Controlling alarm barks may be more difficult when you are not home. We recommend closing windows so your dog can’t see outside and using white noise, a TV or music to drown outside noises that trigger alarm barks. Also, a well-exercised dog is less likely to engage in alarm barking and more likely to relax and sleep while you’re away.   

Anxiety Barks: Why Dogs Bark at Night and When Left Alone

What anxiety barks sound like: An anxiety bark sounds like a cry, whine or howl and might be mixed with periods of silence.  

Why your dog barks with anxiety: Separation anxiety causes dogs to bark when you leave them alone, and some dogs will experience anxiety when you crate them or at night when you go to bed. 

Dogs are pack animals, and when left alone or cut off from their pack, some breeds, such as beagles, tend to bark and even become destructive. You might find puddles from a dog with separation anxiety. 

How to stop anxiety barks: If your dog begins to exhibit signs of anxiety as you gather your things and get ready to head out the door, you can use an ultrasonic dog training device to correct the barking behavior, which we recommend combining with positive rewards. 

Positive rewards that work well include favorite treats and toys that you give to your dog only when you leave home. That way, she’ll associate your absence with something she loves. 

You might also try a puzzle treat for your dog, which is a treat or toy tucked into another device that your dog has to work to retrieve. This will keep him busy for a while after you leave. 

Attention Barks: Dealing With a ‘Velcro’ Dog

What attention barks sound like: They’re short and quick, as if your dog is saying, “Hey you!” 

Why does your dog become needy all of a sudden? Is your dog a “velcro dog”? They cling to you, follow you wherever you go, and bark when you’re ignoring them? 

They’re lonely and bored. They want a treat or to play. The behavior can be cute for a few minutes, and then it quickly turns annoying. Some dog breeds are more prone than others to being needy, especially the breeds that fall into the lapdog and working dog classifications. 

How to stop attention barks: If your dog barks to get your attention, you can retrain this behavior. Increase their exercise so they’d prefer a nap while you’re busy. Give them something to do, such as a puzzle toy or snack. Create a special place for them, perhaps in a comfortable bed or crate, and teach them a command so they know to go there when you issue the command. Some trainers give treats or favorite toys when dogs go to their special places.

An ultrasonic training tool can be used to stop unwanted barking behaviors as well. This helps your dog associate the demanding, bossy behaviors with negative but not harmful consequences.  

Frustration Barks: When Your Dog Wants Something

What frustration barks sound like: The frustration bark sounds like a combination of an anxiety bark and an attention bark. It’s a short, frequent — and loud — yip.  

Why does your dog bark in frustration? They’re confined, restricted or can’t reach something (a toy or you). You might be OK with a short occasional frustration bark, especially if your dog is trying to get a toy that’s rolled under the couch. How else is he supposed to get your help?

Some dogs engage in frustration bark at night when their people have gone to bed and the house is quiet. They want to be with you, and they want you to play. It’s important not to give into this type of barking behavior because that reinforces the dog’s test. He yipped, and you responded. Success!

How to stop frustration barks: Teach your dog that you are top dog by stopping the frustration barks. It’s OK to alert you when he can’t reach a toy, but it’s not OK to demand a treat, toy or something else just because he’s bored.

Make sure your dog gets enough exercise, so that need for activity is satisfied. Use a training tool like the Barx Buddy to curtail frustration barks. 

Greeting Barks: Overly Friendly Dogs

What greeting barks sound like: They’re not as loud as alarm barks, but they’re constant and might even sound “happy.” The pitch tends to be higher and filled with excitement. 

Why your dog engages in greeting barks: This one’s easy: Someone new has arrived, and your dog loves people!

How to stop greeting barks: Your dog might love people, but not all your visitors will love your dog in return, especially if she barks, nips, and jumps when they arrive. To control your dog’s barking when you come home or when visitors arrive, follow these steps:

  • Keep an ultrasonic training device by your doors, so you can use it in combination with your verbal cues to quiet your dog.
  • Don’t encourage your dog to greet visitors, and don’t respond when your dog is barking at you when you come home. 
  • Tell your visitors not to respond to your dog when she’s barking at them. While you train your dog with commands and the training tool, let your guests know that as soon as your dog has calmed down, it’s OK to invite her over for a hello and belly scratch.

Read more on this topic in our guide to dog barking, When Dogs Bark at Strangers, Visitors, and Intruders.

Injury or Illness Barks: A Dog in Distress

What painful barks sound like: When a dog is in distress, his barks are low, quiet, mixed with whines and may even sound breathy, like he’s panting. 

What to do if your dog is in distress: We’ll keep this short and simple: If your dog is in distress, it’s important not to try to correct her barks. Call your vet.

Response Barks: Why Dogs Bark at Each Other

What response barks sound like: They might echo a neighbor’s barking dog, or their barks might sound short and loud, even howling and whining. 

Why dogs bark at each other: Dogs engage in response barking for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it’s just to join the fun. We know a Yorkshire terrier who’d engage in response barking when her owners had guests over; as the conversation levels would increase, the Yorkie would join in with her barks. While the behavior was cute for a few minutes, it became an annoyance after a while. 

Dogs will also bark when they hear other dogs barking. You might recall the “twilight bark” from the movie “101 Dalmatians”? It was an idea that dogs pass along messages daisy-chain style, across hundreds of miles. Of course, this isn’t true (as far as we know!), but barks are infectious. When one dog hears another dog bark, they join the conversation. 

How to stop response barks: Response barks might be the easiest of all barks to train. Your dog is testing you by his response barks. As soon as it starts, use your Barx Buddy ultrasonic training tool to stop it in its tracks. Your dog will quickly learn that just because Rex next door is barking doesn’t mean it’s OK for him to bark, and when you’re talking with your guests, your dog’s job is to listen.

Training Dogs Not to Bark

To learn more about the Barx Buddy ultrasonic training device and how it should be used to train your dog not to bark, visit the product page. You can contact us with questions, or visit our blog to explore more topics on dog training.

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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.