Barking dogs are among the most frequent complaints received by Council. Under the Dog Control Act 2000 it is an offence for a dog owner or occupier of any premises to allow a dog to cause a nuisance on those premises or public place. A nuisance is defined as a dog:
- behaving in a manner which is injurious or dangerous to the health of any person; or
- creating a noise, by barking or otherwise, which persistently occurs or continues to such an extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any premises or public place
Why do dogs bark?
- lack of exercise
- loneliness or boredom
- lack of suitable sleeping area and shelter
- hunger or thirst
- flies, fleas, worms or other ailment
- protecting territory
- chained or tied up for long periods of time
- continual barking or crying may be a cry for help
As a dog owner, what can I do to prevent/stop excessive barking?
- Exercise your dog regularly - if you exercise your dog daily at the same time, it is more likely to wait quietly for this time to arrive
- Socialise your dog - when walking your dog let it meet other people, especially neighbours, and other dog. This way it will be less likely to bark at neighbours, people or other dogs passing by your property
- If your dog comes inside at night but is outside during the day, it may bark as it has been separated from an area it wants to protect. Install a dog door, but close internal doors, so you can control which rooms the dog can access while your not at home
- Give your dog a warm, comfortable kennel in winter and a cool shady place during summer
- Ensure your dog always has fresh water available
- Give your dog things to do in your absence - food reward toys are great for keeping dogs mentally stimulated and occupied
- Feed your dog before you leave - a lot of dogs lie quietly while their meals digest
- Regularly check your dog for fleas and ensure it is kept free of worms - regular vet checks are recommended
- Never yell at or hit a dog when it barks.
What will happen if the barking continues?
If Council receives a formal complaint about your dog's barking, the Animal Control Officer will come and discuss the matter with you. Suggestions to minimise the barking will be provided, including the tips given above. If the barking continues and Council is satisfied that the dog is causing a nuisance you may be issued with an infringement notice or an abatement notice requiring you to stop the nuisnance within a specified time. Owners can also:
- discuss the use of anti-barking collars with the Animal Control Officer
- seek assistanace from your vet who can give advice about specific treatments or refer you to people specialising in correcting behavioural problems
When investigating barking complaints, Council compiles a detailed list of dates, times and possible causes for the dog's barking. Excessive barking is defined as fifteen minutes of barking within a one hour period.
- It's natural for dogs to bark a lot - dogs bark as a form of communication, excessive barking is not normal
- A dog that barks a lot is a good watchdog - in fact the opposite is true as people, especially neighbours, get to know which dogs are barking and won't check up on it
- My dog never barks when I'm home so I don't think it barks when I'm out - most complaints are associated with times when the owner if not at home. Dogs often become lonely, stressed or bored. Barking is their way of communciating that they're not happy
- I'll get another dog so they'll keep each other company and stop barking - this doesn't usually solve the problem. If one dog is unhappy because of the way an owner looks after it, the second dog probably will be too. Your problem might then be doubled with two dogs instead of one barking excessively