What to do about a barking dog

What to do about a barking dog

According to the RSPCA, the sound of dogs barking is one of the main causes of noise complaint in the UK. They frequently receive reports of dogs barking from concerned members of the public who are worried that the dog may be distressed – along with questions from people who want to know what they can do about the situation.

Unfortunately the pandemic has exacerbated things too. More people were working from home and likely to hear and be disrupted by their neighbour's dogs barking all day long – and of course once some of us returned to the workplace there were more dogs out there with separation anxiety who are not used to being left for long periods of time and they may bark, whine or howl as a consequence of this.

Small dog photo by Isabel Vittrup-Pallier on UnsplashSmall dog photo by Isabel Vittrup-Pallier on Unsplash

Why is barking so annoying?

As humans, we respond to loud noises such as barking with adrenaline and other stress hormones. This can make us involuntarily distressed, even if we are able to rationalise the situation. We may experience an increased heart rate and raised blood pressure, which may drive us to get to the bottom of what is causing the dog to bark in the first place and what can be done about it.

Pug Photo by JC Gellidon on UnsplashPug photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

Eight out of ten dogs don’t like being home alone

Of course there are lots of reasons why dogs bark. They may be bored, scared or distressed. But if they are barking when left home alone, it could be  because they are anxious. The RSPCA reports that around eight out of ten dogs find being left home alone difficult. This can be extremely upsetting if you live near to a distressed dog because there will be no one at home with the dog to notice the barking. Often people don’t tell their neighbours about it when they do return home for fear of causing trouble, but if the owner doesn’t know what is happening when they are out then they can’t do anything to improve the situation.

Red setter Photo by Ryan Stone on UnsplashRed setter photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Lockdown puppies and separation anxiety 

The RSPCA are concerned that many dogs bought during the Covid pandemic may be suffering from separation anxiety. Dogs use barking to communicate and it is completely normal behaviour, but if your dog is barking excessively it can cause problems with people around you as well as being upsetting for your dog. It is important to examine and address the underlying causes of your dog’s behaviour and find a way to help them settle.

Retriever Photo by Celine Sayuri Tagami on UnsplashRetriever photo by Celine Sayuri Tagami on Unsplash

What to do if your neighbour’s dog barks non-stop

Talk to your neighbours about it – if you feel safe to do so. It doesn’t have to be a negative interaction or a complaint, they may have no idea that their dog is doing this when they are out. You can make an audio recording or log when it is happening and for how long. They can then take steps to address the situation. However, if you are not on good terms with your neighbours or you anticipate that they might be defensive, aggressive or unreasonable, you can contact your local authority to make a noise complaint.

Bull dog Photo by Matt ODell on UnsplashBull dog photo by Matt ODell on Unsplash

What to do if your dog barks non-stop

Dogs bark for many reasons and the RSPCA are encouraging people to be #DogKind reminding us to be patient and understanding, both with our own pets and with other people’s. If your dog is barking excessively or you fear that they may have separation anxiety then there are steps you can take to address this, such as contacting a dog behaviour specialist. The RSPCA and Blue Cross also have lots of excellent videos and information on their website to help you get started.

Main Shaggy dog photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash


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