How do you stop neighbors dog barking? This is one question that keeps coming up from the readers of my site. If you have been kept awake by a neighbors dog you are definitely not alone.
So to paint the picture, imagine this, you have been kept up too many nights in a row listening to your neighbors dog barking. It’s not only inconvenient, it is infuriating! You are sleep deprived, functioning in a daze, losing your patience and your neighborly friendliness is at an all time low. You are at your wits end and a verbal confrontation with your neighbor seems to be the only inevitable outcome.
You can’t understand how your neighbor can sleep through the incessant noise and don’t know why your neighbor can’t see their dog barking all night as a problem. Barking can be a symptom of dog anxiety, however today we will look at practical ways you can reduce or even eliminate the noise caused by your neighbors dog barking.
There are some easy and effective ways, to manage this problem so get a good nights sleep once again. Some of these suggestions involve legal action so it is best to seek appropriate legal advice from professionals to explain process and consequences to you before taking action. All of the legal options are marked as “Legal”.
- Passive way to deal with a barking dog.
- Send an anonymous letter.
- Contact your landlord or local home owners association (HOA).
- Stop Neighbors Dog Barking – The Stealth Way.
- Approach the neighbor – 2nd letter.
- Start keeping an accurate log of barking incidences.
- Legal – Get the authorities involved.
- Legal – Small Claims Court Option.
- Legal – Hire a lawyer.
- Consider moving.
- What not to do.
Passive way to deal with a barking dog.
If you are the type of person to just put up with noise from next door and want to avoid any conflict, then it might be best just to implement one or all of the following strategies to make your life more pleasant.
Earplugs: Buy some earplugs and pop them in when you are going to bed.
Noise-Cancelling Earphones: They can be used to listen to music without outside noise interfering, so you can just put them in and play nothing, the sound of silence. They can be expensive and the best quality can set you back two or three hundred dollars. But if they allow you precious sleep, they are well worth it.
White Noise Machine: If you are like me and hate things on or in your ears, a white noise machine may be just what you are looking for. This machine generates a “neutral” sound, like static on your television. It has the ability to absorb other sounds.
Radio or CDs: Some people can fall asleep to music; others can’t. If you can train yourself to fall asleep to music over time this can be a great alternative. Try experimenting with different types of music and volume levels. Relaxation audios are great.
Air Filter: This is a great idea because it serves two purposes, it cleans the air in your bedroom making it easier to sleep and the sound of the machine working drowns out the neighbors barking dog. Make sure you buy an air filter that does make some noise and this should sound similar to the sound that a white noise machine.
Send an anonymous letter.
The reason for sending an anonymous letter is to notify your neighbor that there is a problem. It might be that their dog is fine when they are at home and they might not have any idea that their beloved pooch is upsetting you or the rest of the neighborhood.
Sending a letter may seem to be a bit confrontational, but the trick is to send it anonymously. If your neighbor doesn’t know who sent the letter, then there is no one to blame. There are some crazy people out there who will defend even the worst dog behavior just because they take any challenge as a personal insult.
People can become very defensive about their dog and won’t hear any negative feedback from anyone even if it is delivered in the best possible way. Here is a letter template you can copy and paste, just change the date and information to suit.
March 3, 2013
You may not realize that your puppy/dog is barking all day while you’re gone. (or barking all night while they are outside).
Your puppy/dog might be bored, scared or lonely. Here is a website that has helped many dogs and may be able to help your puppy/dog too http://doganxietys.com. All of us in the neighborhood would appreciate your attention to this as soon as possible.
Another Dog Lover
A short and sweet typed letter, such as the one above, is the most effective way to inform your neighbor that people in the local neighborhood or street are not happy and invites them to take action to reduce their dog’s barking.
Contact your landlord or local home owners association (HOA).
Your local home owners association should be able to act on your behalf because their job is to protect your “quiet enjoyment” as well as enforce their rules for occupancy. If you rent or live in an HOA community, call them and explain the problem. They might be unsympathetic at first, but you always have the option to follow your complaint in writing with a letter.
Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&R’s) is the information provided by the HOA and in this guide it will explain the provisions on noises and your right to “quiet” or “peaceful enjoyment” of your home. This may be time factored, for example no excessive noise between 10pm and 7am.
Many CCR’s require “multiple household” and multiple complaints to enforce noise rules. Even if everyone in your street hate the barking as much as you do, it may be difficult to convince your other neighbors to support you with the complaint.
Send your landlord/HOA a letter referencing the applicable language found in the CC&R document. Remember to write with the emphasis on finding a solution, do not make threats, antagonize or deliver ultimatums to the governing body.
Be specific, state the facts and include in your letter what the issue is – neighbors dog barking all night, how it is effecting you – making you sleep deprived and unable to function, and ask them to investigate or enforce the rules.
Stop Neighbors Dog Barking – The Stealth Way.
This is my favorite way to stop the neighbors dog from barking. This is another way to combat the barking neighbors dog that requires no personal intervention from you or any officials.
It is a bit sneaky but it won’t hurt your neighbors dog and in most cases will bring piece and harmony for a distance of 75 metres (245 feet) within a couple of weeks.
It’s an electronic dog barking device which emits an annoying sound frequency (that can only be heard by dogs) every time the dog barks.
I have used one of these dog barking devices on my own dog and every time he barked he stopped and looked around for the sound, but didn’t seem to have any ill effects from using the device.
The good news it that it worked really well for me and had the added bonus of stopping our neighbors dog (across the street) from barking all night as well. You can easily install this dog barking device on the outside of your house and point it in the direction of the neighbors barking dog.
I only used the device for about three months and this has trained both my and my neighbors dog to not bark as much. My dog only barks now when people arrive to visit and it is more to alert me of their arrival – not a loud bark – more of a gruff short noise.
The electronic dog barking device I used is called the Dog Silencer. You can take a closer look at how this electronic device works by clicking on the highlighted links, the image above or the banner below.
I have had great success with this product and would highly recommend it. This device available in both a battery charged unit and plug in option.
It costs under $100.00 which you may think is expensive, but what price do you put on a good night’s sleep. You also have a 30 day money back guarantee and a 1 year manufacturers guarantee so you can have piece of mind.
Approach the neighbor – 2nd letter.
If you’re not renting, there’s no HOA and the gentle anonymous letter didn’t work, you need a stronger letter. It can still be anonymous.
Get a copy of your local/state ordinance or by-law that would cover loud noises at specific time of the day. Some cities have specific ordinances or by-laws on dog barking.
Visit your city or county’s official website and do a search for ordinances or by-law in relation to noise. If you can’t find it, call the city attorney’s office or county’s District/Prosecuting/State’s attorney office and ask them.
Get a copy of the ordinance/ by-law and mail it to your neighbor with a stronger worded letter, again try to keep the focus on having a problem and finding a solution rather than making threats or giving ultimatums.
Never threaten your neighbor or neighbors dog but do state that if the situation does not improve, you will have no choice but notify the authorities or law enforcement.
Don’t be afraid to make suggestions to your neighbor. Here is a sample letter you can cut and paste. You can add to it if you want, keep in mind short and sweet is best.
23rd March 2013
We have noticed that after our last letter informing you of your dogs barking at night, little has changed. We have decided to enclose a copy of the by-laws for this county/city for acceptable noise levels in residential areas. We encourage you to read it thoroughly.
May we also suggest that it may help if you keep your dog inside at night or supply toys or activities for your dog to do if he/she cannot sleep at night.
We trust you will do what you can to improve this situation. If your dog keeps barking, we will have no choice but to gain further information on taking the next steps, including legal options.
From a concerned and sleep deprived neighbor.
Start keeping an accurate log of barking incidences.
A log is a written record of when and for how long the dog is barking. This can be used later for evidence for law enforcement or legal pathways.
It is really important that you log the date, time, and severity of the barking noise including the length, when it started and stopped. Personal thoughts, opinions and emotions must be left out of the log; it is just the facts of when the noise occurred and how long it lasted.
It is a good idea to note if there was a reason for the barking, this will show you are fair and give you credibility. This log record will be vitally important for the authorities, law enforcement or any legal action you may take later. Make log entries for at least two weeks before you contact the authorities.
Get the authorities involved.
This may be the police or animal control, depending on where you live. The police are the most effective; however police do not usually like to become involved in neighborhood disputes of this nature. Neighbor disputes are not a priority to police but if they do arrive, take note of when they come, time and date.
Animal control or by-laws officer may or may not be effective. It depends on your area and the laws governing noise levels. Produce your log, audio and video evidence showing that this is a chronic problem. Then you will have a better chance of getting their attention and help.
Provide animal control or the police with copies of your written letters to the neighbor and your log, audio and video evidence.
In most areas, you will need to sign a complaint; your neighbor will know it’s you who has been complaining. Be sure you want this because there’s usually no way around this.
If the police or animal control or by-laws officer does not attend, ask for assistance from your mayor, city councilman or county commissioner. Everyone has a supervisor and is accountable to someone.
Calling in the authorities is an irreversible course of action, so make certain that you are ready for the repercussions. The authorities will do something, options include charging the dog owner with a misdemeanor and may include removal of the dog(s).
A word of caution, never exaggerate or over state your problem. Rely on your log, audio and video, to give the appropriate evidence. It is human-nature to exaggerate and to perceive your problem as huge, but misrepresenting the facts in your case to the police may be a criminal offense.
Small Claims Court Option.
All states in the U.S. allow people to bring actions in Small Claims Court without a lawyer. The amount of money you can ask for compensation is limited, usually between $2,000 and $5,000.
Before considering this option, ask yourself if financial compensation is going to help or worsen the problem. People don’t like being force to legally defend themselves or part with their hard earned money.
To apply to small claims court will need your written or electronic log, copies of police or animal control reports and it is best to have credible witnesses to support your complaint.
You will be required to explain how the barking prevented you from doing normal activities (such as sleeping), how this affected you and give clear evidence of the barking. You will also need to show how you have tried to solve the problem yourself, provide documented evidence of letters you have sent.
If/when you get a judgment in your favor – this isn’t always the outcome, if the neighbor doesn’t pay, you can attach their bank account or get a lien/caveat on their home. This may escalate ill feeling, so if you are not sure, seek legal advice. If the barking still continues, you can go back to small claims court to sue them again but it may be best to move on to the next step.
Get a copy of Everybody’s Guide to Small Claims Court. This will inform you of your rights and responsibilities, so you know what to expect.
Hire a lawyer.
A lawyer can help in two ways. The first is to send an official “lawyer” letter to the dog owner or the authorities, public or private, who should have been taking action to stop the dog barking.
Landlords and HOA’s will be encouraged to act when they get a formal lawyer letter and realize they could be sued. A lawyer letter is a fairly economical way to go and may force some action.
The second thing a lawyer may suggest is to get a restraining order against the dog’s owner. The restraining order may require the dog owner to keep the dog indoors at night or dictate some other action that stops the noise. These orders cannot be obtained through a Small Claims Court so you will need to hire a lawyer.
On the plus side, this is effective legal option in many cases because the dog’s owner could be arrested if he violates the order.
On the negative side the restraining order option might be expensive as the dog’s owner may choose to counter-sue, as is their right. This may end up being a long, expensive and emotional process through the courts.
Alternatively, mediation is growing in popularity. Many courts are now offering mediation or arbitration before court. This gives you the chance to find alternatives and agreements to settle out of court. Mediation is a great idea in theory, but when the situation has got to the stage of court, the dog owner is likely to be a 100% unreasonable, defensive and too emotional for mediation to work.
If you rent you will need to find out if there are penalties for moving before your lease is up and if there are any permanent records that might affect your opportunities to get another rental property.
If you own your house you could consider selling and moving on. Make sure to get informed about the disclosure laws for real estate in your State. In many states the laws say you must disclose to all potential buyers that there is a nuisance in the neighborhood; i.e., the barking dog(s).
What not to do.
Never bait or hurt the dog.
In a sleep deprived state, you might have thought about retaliation by using a poison bait or throwing something heavy at the dog, stop right now! It will be you be the one visited by police, may be prosecuted and face criminal charges, fines and/or imprisonment.
If a beloved pet dies suspiciously, a full autopsy can be ordered by the owner or law enforcement which can prove your guilt. Police have the power to gain a warrant to search your home, can interview family members and other people you may have spoken to about the dog. The police can build a strong case against you.
No matter how frustrating it is, do not be tempted to take the law into your own hands. Punishments for harming, torturing or killing a dog can mean you would face years in prison and get a permanent criminal record which will limit your employment, travel and financial opportunities for the rest of your life.
So there you have a number of detailed options to help stop the barking dog. Dog Anxiety.com invites comments from readers and hope this article was able to help you Stop Neighbors Dog Barking.