Excessive dog barking is considered a noise nuisance if, in the opinion of an authorised person it unreasonably disrupts or inhibits an activity ordinarily carried out on residential premises.
Information for the neighbour
If your neighbour's dog is barking excessively, please try approaching the dog's owner before submitting an official complaint with Council. The owner may not realise the barking is an issue because the:
- dog may only bark a lot when the owner is away,
- owner may not hear the barking from areas inside the house,
- owner may be a very sound sleeper and not be woken up when the dog barks.
Talking with your neighbours about your concerns is the best way to resolve any recurring issues. If the owner of the dog agrees to do something about the barking, wait a few weeks to see if they have been successful in their efforts. Your support and ongoing feedback about the dog's behaviours can assist the dog owner to resolve the problem.
If you still wish to submit a complaint please contact Council on 07 4932 9000 or 1300 22 55 77.
Once a complaint is received Council will contact the owner of the dog and advise them of your concerns in an attempt to resolve the issue. Your identity will remain confidential in any correspondence from Council. The owner will also be provided with information that may assist them in assessing the problem and controlling their dog’s barking.
Information for the owner
If you are aware that your dog’s barking may be causing a nuisance in your neighbourhood, you must take steps to minimise the impact on others.
Discussing the issue directly with your adjoining neighbours will enable you to determine if they have concerns and assess the impact of the nuisance within the immediate community. If you’re unsure of how to approach your neighbours the Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Dispute Resolution Centre offers free advice and mediation services. For more information visit www.justice.qld.gov.au or call 1800 817 927.
In the event an official complaint is made, Council allows a period of 14 days to lapse before taking further action. During this period, it is expected that you take some steps to resolve the issue. If further complaints are received after 14 days, Council will take further action. An investigation will be conducted and if the alleged nuisance is proven to be a breach of Rockhampton Regional Council Local Law No 2 (Animal Management) 2011(PDF, 384KB), a compliance notice and/or penalty infringement notices may be issued.
Tips to reduce the barking
It may be unreasonable to discipline your dog for doing what comes naturally, but you can train it not to bark.
Prevention is the best solution
Discourage barking at inappropriate times and praise for silence. Most dogs need to be taught when it is appropriate to bark and when it is not, so enrol your dog in basic obedience classes with a certified trainer.
Ignore the barking!
If you give your dog attention when it barks, even if you get up to discipline it in the middle of the night, you reinforce its behaviour. If your dog responds well to discipline then you can initially reprimand it for barking, however you should praise the silence immediately.
Routine can create stability
Routine provides your dog with a known expectation. Ensure your dog is use to being alone during the day and provide stimulating activities to occupy it during long periods. You must also spend time educating, socialising, exercising and playing with your dog. A walk at the end of the day will teach your dog that it can look forward to your return.
Is your dog experiencing separation anxiety?
For dogs displaying extreme anxiety you may need to introduce comfort cues that will help it relax and accept your absence. This could be a radio, a loud ticking clock, a chew toy or a bone. When you leave give your dog the comfort item, and return before the dog becomes anxious, then greet your dog calmly and remove the comfort item.
Distract your dog using a high pitched whistle or by turning on the sprinkler. Once it is silent for several minutes, praise your dog. It is important that your dog does not associate you with the distraction; otherwise you are simply training your dog not to bark when you are there.
Talk to your vet
Your vet can provide advice about anti barking collars, whilst they may eliminate the barking they won’t address the underlying problem. Your dog’s behaviour may only change from barking to another form of stress.