My Neighbor's Dog Won't Stop Barking
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A barking dog is a very common dispute between neighbors. Not only is the noise annoying, but it is disconcerting. Since dogs will bark at the sight of something they perceive as dangerous, it is understandable it might cause us to worry. Some dogs will bark incessantly regardless of what's going on around them. The stress and annoyance a dog that won't stop barking causes is not negligible. The result is bad for us, especially when heated arguments ensue.
At AnimalWised, we will look why your neighbor's dog won't stop barking and what we can do about it. While we are concerned for our own well-being, if a dog won't stop barking, it implies their is something wrong with them also. Although it can be a tricky situation, we show you how you can try to do what's best for everyone.
Reasons a neighbor dog won't stop barking
Barking is a natural and healthy form of canine communication. Some dogs are more prone to barking than others. Certain breeds are known for being very vocal, but it is mostly to do with experience and upbringing. Regardless of their natural inclination to vocalize, when barking becomes excessive, it is a problem. The behavior changes from a normal canine expression to a behavior reflecting distress or discomfort in the animal.
The main reasons a dog won't stop barking are due to:
- Boredom and frustration
Perhaps the most common reason a neighbor's dog won't stop barking is due to boredom or frustration. We may be able to hear the dog more outside our home because a dog may be left in their yard. When a dog's human guardian doesn't spend enough time with the animal, the dog will not have enough stimulation and may bark out of boredom.
A dog can become bored whether indoors or outside. A common error many people make is that a large yard will prevent a dog from becoming bored. While it will allow the dog to run around, it is not the same as taking them for a walk or engaging them in activities. Even in a large yard, a dog will not necessarily be inclined to walk around and explore. To know more, you can read our article on how to tell if your dog is bored.
- Separation anxiety
Similar to boredom in how it manifests, a dog may bark all day because they suffer from separation anxiety. This is a feeling of anxiety or stress brought upon by being left by their guardians for too long. This usually occurs when the dog is too attached to the tutor. The dog either expects interaction so much that they bark when it is not provided, or they are scared their human companion will not return.
In other words, separation anxiety occurs when the dog feels insecure and alone. They want and rely on company so much, they cannot bear to be alone. Barking is a way of expressing this insecurity and calling out for company. Property destruction, improper urination and exaggerated greetings upon return also imply the dog may be suffering form separation anxiety.
- Raising alarm
Instinctively, many dogs will bark when someone or something approaches their territory, in this case a neighbor's property. They do so to protect their space and alert their human family to the presence of possible danger. It is the owner's job to help the dog understand that outside individuals (neighbors, mail carriers, etc.) are not a threat.
Similar to separation anxiety, this excessive barking is due to insecurity. They do not feel safe or they feel their family will not be safe, something which can be exacerbated when left alone for long periods. Dogs which are bored may also bark more regularly as they think that barking to alert their family may also result in interaction.
- Compulsive barking
This reason for excessive barking is particularly serious. It is considered a stereotypy, i.e. a compulsive behavior which is characterized as being repetitious, but seemingly without purpose. The barking is usually monotonous and may not seem to be directed at anything in particular.
As with all kinds of compulsive behaviors, this indicates there is a welfare issue with the dog. It may be a consequence of a stressor as explained above, but may also be due to past trauma or anything which may affect their psychological well-being. When problems are not resolved, stereotypies may develop over time.
Finally, the possibility the dog is suffering from a pain or illness should not be ruled our as a possible reason a dog keeps barking. The barking may be a response to physical pain, perhaps an internal injury which is not otherwise observable.
Senior dogs are also prone to disorders linked to neurological deterioration. In these cases, the dog may be barking due to confusion. This is more likely observed in dogs which do not normally bark excessively, but which have suddenly developed the behavior. Going to a veterinarian to confirm a diagnosis is important in these instances.
How to stop a neighbor's dog from barking
Although it may involve a difficult conversation, the first thing you need to do is speak with your neighbor. It is possible they will be unaware of the dog's barking as it may only occur when they leave the home. At the very least, they may not know the extent of the nuisance barking. Communicating this problem is easier said than done, so here are some tips on how to talk to a neighbor about their dog barking all the time:
- Avoid aggression: at all costs, do not start on the offensive. If you are aggressive, your neighbor will likely take a defensive position and the situation will not be solved. Making threats such as ‘I will call the police’ will also likely not resolve the issue well. Threatening violence or other repercussions may not only result in confrontation, but it is less likely to be effective.
- Use empathy: instead of aggression, explain why the situation has become a problem. Say you understand how dogs have specific needs and show that you care for the well-being of the dog (without implying the behavior is the neighbor's fault). Tell them that you simply cannot carry out your routines and politely request finding a solution to the problem.
- Ask other neighbors: talk to the other people who may be affected by the dog barking. Let them know that you will speak to the neighbor and see if they will lend your support. Do so without ‘ganging up’ on the person and making them feel insecure.
- Propose solutions: if possible try to have a discussion about why the dog might be problem barking. You can even use this article as a reference point and show them the above possible reasons of why a dog might be barking. The owner may themselves be frustrated, so you might be proposing a mutually beneficial solution. Once you discover the reason for the barking, they will likely need to speak to a veterinarian or canine ethologist. Be advised, they may not financially willing to engage this necessary course of action.
Once you speak to your neighbor, you will should be able to come to a mutually beneficial resolution. Remember to stress the well-being of the dog and to maintain a level temper.
Should I call the police if my neighbor's dog doesn't stop barking?
Unfortunately, even when you employ reasonable tactics, it may be difficult to come to a resolution. A neighbor may have a personal or health problem which make them difficult to talk to. Some dog owners are simply irresponsible. They do not care for the well-being of their dog and their neglect is what has led to the nuisance barking in the first place.
This neglect may be in the form of not meeting their basic needs as a care provider. This means providing insufficient or inadequate food, lacking environmental enrichment, not taking them out for walks or any of the basic responsibilities of dog care. It may also be due to an abusive attitude toward the dog. In these circumstances, it is particularly important to remember that the dog will not bark to annoy you, but out of a perceived necessity.
In any case, it is the owner's responsibility to help the dog stop this behavior. However, if they do not meet this responsibility, you should report the neighbor to animal authorities, especially if there is evident signs of abuse. This can be difficult to enforce. If you have already gone over to their property, they may know it is you who reported them. If you feel like you or anyone who lives with you is under threat, then you should call the police.
You have a right to be at home without your peace being disturbed by a third party. If your neighbor's dog barking causes you stress or harms your health, you may be able to take legal action.
If you want to read similar articles to My Neighbor's Dog Won't Stop Barking, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.
- Esteban Alonso, A. (2003). Noise pollution and health. Rey Juan Carlos University, University Institute of Environmental Sciences.
- Elgier, A. J., Mustaca, A., Bentosela, M., & Barrera, G. (2009). Behavioral problems in domestic dogs (canis familiaris): contributions of learning psychology. Psychology Magazine, 18(2), 123-146. https://revistapsicologia.uchile.cl/index.php/RDP/article/view/17123