What's worse than your dog's excessive barking?
A neighbouring dog's nuisance barking interrupting your peace. When your dog misuses their voice, it's possible to take immediate action to rectify the problem - such as training or using an anti-bark collar. Your neighbour's dog is out of your control, yet you still suffer the consequences.
Approaching your neighbour can be difficult. If you don't have a relationship with them, the idea of making contact over a problem can be uncomfortable as you don't know how they will react. If you get along well with them, you might worry about risking a friendship. If you hate each other, well, you know you'll need to tread lightly as the situation can quickly escalate.
It's a touchy topic as people can view 'criticism' against their pet as an attack on their household and family. Effective communication is essential as the last thing you want is a lasting neighbourhood feud. We've put together five helpful tips to approach your neighbour about their dog's nuisance barking successfully.
Tip #1 - Keep It Positive!
Assume the best outcome. Go in to, and deliver, any form of communication with a positive mindset. Approaching your neighbour with anger or aggression will seldom yield a beneficial solution. Most of the time, your neighbour will be unaware of the problem at all and appreciate you letting them know the situation. If they are aware of their dog's excessive problem, they are probably just as frustrated as you and would welcome any solution or advice you may bring to the table.
If you force an aggressive stance, they may interpret your words as an unwelcome threat. If they decide not to take action, the situation can become worse for everyone.
It's essential to make contact at the right time - not when your neighbours are arguing or taking their kids to school. Find a quiet time to have a chat. Starting the conversation about another neighbourhood topic may be useful to develop rapport and build trust. Keep a positive, resolution-hopeful mindset and avoid escalation at all costs!
Tip #2 - Listen and Collect Data
You need to have a basis for your complaint to your neighbour. Most dogs bark, so why is their dog's behaviour unreasonable?
“You need evidence that the barking behaviour is not a once-off issue, but a consistent behaviour”
Collect some data! Document how long and how often their dog barks. Is it during a specific time of the day? Does it occur every time someone walks by their home? If their pup barks incessantly when they're out at work, they'll be grateful to know that their pooch is stressed and missing them.
The more data you log and the more information you're able to collect, the better. If you can identify a pattern, this can help identify the cause to work through. Give it a few weeks - you need to be clear that the barking behaviour is not a once-off issue, but a consistent behaviour. These observations are evidence that should give you more comfort to approach your next-door-neighbour.
Tip #3 - Try Writing a Friendly Note
Not close to your neighbour? If you've never had a real conversation with them, it can be intimidating to confront them over a potential issue. A great way to make initial contact is to write a polite note expressing your concern and a desire to solve it by having a conversation in person, or over the phone. Leave your number to set up a time that works well for both of you. You'll both be prepared and in a better state of mind.
Tip #4 - Don't Beat Around the Bush and Offer Solutions
When you do get a chance to talk to your neighbour, be very clear about the issue and what you hope to achieve. Be very clear about how their dogs excessive barking is impacting your life, daily activities and neighbourhood peace.
Show them the barking data you collected and explain the patterns you've observed. Sharing this with them provides evidence for your claims and helps you both discover the best course of action to reach a successful resolution. If they're open to listening further, consider offering some solutions and resources to help them calm their pooch. Nine times out of ten they'll be grateful for the help!
Tip #5 - Consult Your Local Council or Building Manager
Keep in mind that discussing the issue will be enough to rectify the problem. If it's been a while and your concerns remain, it's time to escalate the situation. If you live in an apartment or strata community, contact your building or strata manager, they will likely have a procedure in place and make contact with your offending neighbour.
If you live in a house, you'll need to contact your local council. You can call them directly or file a report online. Make sure to supply your barking record as well as details such as the dog's address and circumstances around their barking behaviour. Council will reach out to your neighbour and start issuing fines if they haven't been able to progress a resolution.
Have a barking dog or looking for a solution to offer your neighbour? Dog Gear offers anti-bark training collars with free shipping and same-day dispatch. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips!