If your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, it can go beyond a minor annoyance. A barking dog that doesn’t belong to you can disrupt your sleep, ruin your peace of mind, or become a headache-inducing nuisance. It can even cause your dogs to misbehave as the constant barking becomes a distraction, and you might find that your own pups feel the need to bark back. So how do you get a neighbor’s dog to cut the noise?
Citronella collars deliver a small, short blast of citronella every time the dog barks. These types of collars have been shown to be at least as effective as electronic collars, and do not risk causing any pain or real discomfort to the dog.
Some jurisdictions will act on anonymous complaints, while others require your name and address but won’t reveal this to the neighbor complained about. Check the public or private status of making a complaint before making it.
I have a beautiful border collie that we found at work wandering around half starved at 4 months old. I fell in love with Maggie Mae right away and while at 1st she showed signs of possible abuse such as cowering she adapted and joined our beagle and chihuahua-pug mix she has a couple quirks. Whenever my husband’s cell phone rings or even vibrates she makes a mad dash for the back dog door and runs around the pool before coming back in. Only his phone and regard less of the ringer. I have even changed mine to the same as his with No result. She does the same thing when he sneezes and only him. We laugh about it now but it is a little bewildering!
Dog cameras like Petcube Bites let you not only know when your dog is barking, but let you correct it using two-way audio, and distract them using a laser pointer or treats. A pet treat camera can be a great way to stop your dog from barking even when you’re not at home. Some cameras even have “bark alerts” that send you push notifications every time your dog makes noise so that you can address the problem before your neighbors get angry.
Another thing you can try is recording sounds that trigger the barking and playing these back to your dog – very quietly at first, and gradually increasing the volume – while rewarding them with food. This is a process known as desensitising and counter conditioning.
It gives your dog the message that YOU are in charge, not them, and as explained above, it will help them stop worrying about you when you are not around. When you’re ready, you can always call them over to you, on your terms, for love and cuddles.
Sadly, there is not much to be done short of talking to your neighbor. Try and point out the noise their pet makes is causing trouble for the tenants and offer help on training methods or supplies they could use. Who knows, maybe they didn’t even know they had a dog who barks while they’re away!
Pay attention to the circumstances. Barking at the mailman teaches pups to repeat the behavior when your two-pound terror thinks, “My ferocious bark chased him away — I’m an awesome guard dog, beware!” You may want to enlist your mail carrier’s help — ask him/her to feed your pup a treat once he is quiet and praise him for being silent.
If your dog most often barks territorially in your car, teach him to ride in a crate while in the car. Riding in a crate will restrict your dog’s view and reduce his motivation to bark. If crating your dog in your car isn’t feasible, try having your dog wear a head halter in the car instead. (Important note: For safety reasons, only let your dog wear the halter when you can supervise him.)
Uncontrolled barking might be triggered by a noise or object that catches their attention and startles them. This can happen anywhere and not just at home. If it does happen at home it could possibly be part of territorial or protective barking.
Dogs also bark if they are anxious, so medications can be used in the short-term to help your dog learn some coping skills. They need not be permanent. While there are some excellent dog trainers, there is little regulation in the industry, so skills and methods can vary. Ask your veterinarian to recommend someone if they can’t help.
If your dog’s barking has got to the stage where you are considering using a bark collar, before you do, please speak to a qualified behaviourist. You can contact one through your vet, or visit the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website. If you rehomed your dog from Blue Cross, simply get in touch with the centre you rehomed your pet from for free, expert behavioural advice.
The positive interrupt is a well-programmed, highly reinforced behavior that allows you to redirect your dog’s attention back to you when she’s doing something inappropriate like barking. Ideally, you want your dog’s response to the “Over here!” cue to be so automatic – classically conditioned – that he doesn’t stop to think whether what he’s doing is more rewarding or interesting than turning his attention toward you and running to you for a treat. He doesn’t think – he just does it, the way your foot automatically hits the brake of your car when you see taillights flash in front of you on the highway.
Get other neighbors to file the same complaint. If the authorities get multiple calls about the same dog owner, they’ll be more likely to take action quickly. There’s definitely strength in numbers in this situation, so rally as many people as you can to remedy the situation.
Use a silent dog whistle. There are mixed reviews on whether these devices work, but many have found success with them. Silent whistles make a sound that dogs can hear, but humans can’t, so your neighbors won’t even know you’re using it. Whenever the dog barks, blow the whistle. it may take a number of attempts, but eventually the dog will associate barking with the piercing noise of the whistle, and stop barking.
Your dog might be barking in greeting if he barks when he sees people or other dogs and his body is relaxed, he’s excited and his tail is wagging. Dogs who bark when greeting people or other animals might also whine.
Sometimes dogs bark for darn good reasons. I recall one January morning when I was awoken before the sun. The dogs were going ballistic. I peered out the window to see a young moose sauntering down the street!