‘Help! I’m being driven mad by neighbourhood barking dogs’

Feb 03, 2020
Karen is facing the challenge of how to deal with her neighbours' barking dogs. Source: Getty Images

Before I get attacked by the haters, I will tell you that I really love dogs. I have owned dogs when I had the right environment for them to live and the correct amount of time to spend with them. I get my ‘dog fix’ by enjoying my friends’ pooches and I often walk on the local beach, which is allocated to dog walkers, so I can enjoy seeing them play and socialise. I’ve patted every dog that comes up to say hi, and so I can honestly say, that although I only have a cat these days, I do like dogs.

But, and it’s a big but, why oh why are dogs left to bark for long periods of time? Six months ago I moved to a more built up area in suburbia, but soon noticed that my peace and quiet was shattered by the carolling canines all around me.

With long driveways and hilly streets, it is hard to identity their place of torment, so trying to get the local council to do something is out of the question. Also, I do not know my neighbours so I’m not sure if I can get them to complain to the council as well. I cannot snoop or look over fences to see where the dogs actually are, but as I’m down in a valley the noise echoes day and night.

There is a huge variety to choose from. First, the staccato yappers. Those horrible little dogs that have a sharp and angry bark, which actually plays along my nerves till I feel like barking back. Then there is the midnight howler — often abandoned all day and night, he mournfully bays at the sky until I feel like the banshees of hell are abroad at night. Then there are the persistent and querulous woofers who bark all day with a few silent periods in between. Then there is the cacophonous rant of the bully dog who barks at every delivery person who arrives, then does an extra 30 minutes for good measure.

I can tolerate the poop on the footpath or the stray dog that shoves it’s nose where it shouldn’t. I don’t mind being growled at or snarled at, but why or why do I have to listen to this discordant orchestra of barking? And what to do about it? I’ve prayed they would get laryngitis, I’ve tried a dog bark silencer whistle (which does not work, do not waste your money), I’ve left polite notes in the owner’s letter boxes alerting them to the fact that it’s pretty damn rough. I’m not sure they even care.

But why do these dogs bark so much?

My theory is that the dog is bored or uncomfortable. Dogs are a huge lifetime commitment.

Doggies like us need shade, a comfy place to rest, plenty of food and water in this heat. They need exercise, love and attention. They need walks. They need human involvement. Why get a dog if you’re at work all day and out at night? Dogs have rights too. They don’t want to be locked in hot cars or tied up in horrible hot back yards with no stimulation or attention. I understand that a dog will bark when it is worried or there is a visitor. But does it have to go on for hours? Are their owners deaf? Or are they just immune?

What to do? I know writing this will get some hateful responses from the deaf dog owners whose little darlings “never bark or annoy anyone” , but seriously, what can a poor woman do apart from wearing noise cancelling headphones all of the time?

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What would your advice be in this situation? Have you ever faced noise disturbances in your neighbourhood?

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