sleep during the daylight hours. The dog that lives next door
seems to love the sound of his own voice. He interrupts your
sleep daily. Or maybe, you work during the day, but cannot enjoy
the tranquility your back porch or yard during the afternoon,
evening, and weekends due to the noisy dog nearby. Whatever the
details, the problem is that your neighbor’s dog is disturbing
You work 9-5 Monday through Friday. As you come home, your dog
barks to welcome you home and you gladly welcome your pet inside
the house. You realize that your pet does seem to bark a little
more than necessary, but you think that a few barks periodically
do not constitute a “problem”. In fact, the barking makes you
feel safer. Unfortunately, whatever the details, your dog is
disturbing your neighbor.
A barking dog can result
in neighborhood disputes. Pet problems can soon become “people
problems.” Barking dog problems can be resolved in an amicable
fashion if communication, patience, and politeness are part of
the process. Barking dog problems are rarely solved quickly!
Discussions between the dog owner and the concerned
citizen, explaining the problem, will probably resolve the issue.
As the pet owner, letting your neighbor know that you are
working toward a solution will probably allow you the time to
find the correct solution for your household and your pet!
It is important for the
dog owner to determine why their dog is barking. Is it
genetically prone to barking as most herding dogs are? Is it
bored? Lonely? Is the barking stimulated by territorial
disputes? Is your dog afraid? If you know why your dog is
barking, then it is much easier to know how to resolve the
problem. Your veterinarian or a pet behaviorist may be necessary
to help you make this diagnosis and develop a plan of action.
Here are some ideas for
the dog owner to try that may curb their dog’s disturbing
Certain dog’s barking will be reduced if they are not able to
see the activities that occur outside of their yard. A solid
privacy fence blocks much of their view. This may work for
territorial and nervous barking.
Move the dog inside. Again, if he cannot see and now, cannot
hear what is going on outside, he’ll be less likely to bark.
Should he bark inside, he’ll only disturb your household, not
your neighbor. If your dog is not housebroken, crate train your
Crate training is a
wonderful and humane tool that keeps your home and your pet safe
when you are not home. Many people use a bathroom or utility
room instead of a crate. All barking dogs improve with this
If the dog stays outdoors, moving the dog away from the person
being disturbed may be helpful. Cross fencing or creating a pen
make solve your noise problem. Unfortunately, this solution may
not be sufficient or may create a problem for another neighbor.
This method works best on nervous and territorial barkers.
There are training collars that may deter your dog’s barking.
Training by the pet owner and collar maintenance are necessary
for this tool to work. You cannot just put the collar on the dog
and expect the barking to stop. Bark collars have two different
training formats – smell and shock. Both are negative stimuli
Citronella collars give
the dog a short burst of citronella near their nose. Although
the smell is not harmful to the dog, they do not like this smell
and learn that no barking equals no smell. Shock collars work in
the same manner, but a low voltage shock is given as the
negative stimuli. These collars can be effective with those dogs
that are genetically predisposed to barking, like herding dogs
and territorial barkers. Some anxious dogs do not respond as
well to the shock collars, but respond very nicely to the smell
collars. Remember to purchase a more expensive training collar,
minimum of $100 to insure a quality product. Visit on-line
vendors and local specialty pet stores. Talk with your
De-barking procedure: This simple solution is
controversial! It is a surgical procedure performed by a
veterinarian which will not allow your dog to make a complete
barking noise. Most veterinarians do not perform this procedure
so you may be referred to a referral practice. Pain medication
will be prescribed for your dog during the healing process. Your
pet will still be able to bark, but the noise will be
dramatically reduced to a soft hoarse noise. If your
veterinarian does not have a referral practice, have your
veterinarian contact the Huntsville Animal Services’ director
can find a new home for your dog. Yet, remember that a new home
may create a new problem for the new neighbors. But, a new home
may mean a new situation where the dog’s barking will not be a
problem such as an indoor only dog, a large fenced area without
adjoining neighbors, or playmates for the bored barker.
This is a drastic, permanent solution that does not make anyone
happy. Neighbors do no want your dog to be euthanized; they only
want the noise to cease. Unfortunately, some pet owners are
often unwilling or unable to solve their dog’s barking and
euthanasia is their answer. Obviously, we recommend this
solution only as a last option. We do not want owners abandoning
or releasing their pets, therefore; Animal Services will accept
all pets with behavioral problems. Due to the high surplus of
pets, we are not able to adopt all of our healthy dogs,
especially those with barking problems.
This is an option. You can do nothing! It is your neighbor’s
responsibility to have you and possibly other neighbors brought
to municipal court. We do not recommend this approach as it does
not build good relationships in the neighborhood.
Role: Our department does not and can not write citation
or remove dogs from pet owners. Nationally, barking dog issues
can be extremely hard to resolve. Our department can only act as
a mediator and educator. We work to help the two households find
a solution that is comfortable for both parties. Unfortunately,
about 25% of these situation are not resolved with
communication. The determination of the “nuisance bark dog” must
be made by a City Judge and the complainant must be the one that
asks the City Magistrate to issue a “summons to court” for the
dog owner and any witnesses. We, Animal Service Officers and
staff, can be summons by either party for their case.
Appeal: You have been patient! You have talked with your
dog owner. We have talked with the dog owner. Time has been
allowed, but the problem still exists. Now what can you do?
Because you are the victim in this situation, you must
personally appear before the City Magistrate to get a warrant
against the dog owner which would require the owner to appear in
court about the dog’s disturbing noise. You, the complainant,
have the burden of proof in this situation. So your “bark
journal” (date, time, duration of barking, and what instigated
the barking), any videos of the barking dog, other neighbors who
can testify as witnesses, and Animal Service’s records should be
brought to court as evidence.
Huntsville Municipal Court
815 Wheeler Avenue
Monday - Friday 8:00 AM -
4:30 PM. 427-7800.
Huntsville Animal Services
4950 Triana Blvd.
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 883-3782
Dispatch: Monday – Friday 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. 883-3788