It’s that time of day again…the coffee is in your travel mug, the lights are off, and your perfect, angelic dog is waiting for your inevitable departure. You assure them it’s going to be okay and that you’ll be home soon. As you leave, you imagine your dog quietly drifting off to sleep for a day-long nap…
While this paints a pretty picture, and it’s not unreasonable to think your dog is pretty quiet when you’re gone, it’s also not accurate to assume they don’t get into some kind of trouble as they wait for you to get home. In neighborhoods around the world, barking dogs have the potential to disturb the peace. The result? Angry (or even hostile) neighbors who can make life very difficult for you and your best friend – but not when you have a back-up plan!
The old adage “good fences make good neighbors” is especially true in densely packed communities. Property lines are shrinking to accommodate rising population numbers, and we must all try a little harder to co-exist. Persistent barking can shatter illusions of peace and quiet.
What if You’re to Blame?
Even the most dedicated dog lovers don’t want to hear barking dogs all day long, let alone individuals who don’t care for animals. In addition to licensing, cleaning up after your pet, obeying leash laws, and tending to the needs of your barking dog are important tenets of responsible pet ownership. When these things are neglected, you might have to face formal complaints, police intervention, or even financial penalties.
What to Do
Barking dogs commonly precede complaints to the city or police. If this happens to you, we recommend the following:
- Remain calm.
- Do not allow yourself to get defensive or volatile in the presence of neighbors who may confront you.
- Listen to your neighbor’s account of the barking, and don’t argue with them. Sure, it’s possible they’re exaggerating some details (you know your dog better than anyone), but consider the likelihood that they’re telling the truth.
- Be understanding, empathetic, and apologize.
- Reassure your neighbors that you don’t want the situation to get out of hand and that you’ll work to come up with a solution.
Doubting Claims of Barking Dogs
Gain a deeper understanding of your dog’s behavior. Ask other neighbors if your dog disturbs them. Verify the times that were part of the initial complaint. Take a day off and listen for other barking dogs in the neighborhood. Set up a recording device to monitor your dog’s barking.
The Right Direction
If your pet has access to a doggie door that allows them to go outside at their leisure, remove it so they’re only allowed out when they’re with you. Hire a dog walker or ask a friend to stop by once during the day to reduce the chances of your pet soiling the house or destroying the furniture.
It may be worthwhile to document the changes you’re making to modify your dog’s behavior. Routinely check in with the complaining neighbor to ask if things are improving. Remain civil at all times.