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Barking Dogs

All dogs bark, but in some cases barking dogs may become a real neighbourhood nuisance - greatly reducing the quality of life for their neighbours and increasing neighbourhood tensions.

What can I do about my neighbour's barking dog?

Step 1

Discuss the issue with your neighbour. Sometimes the issue of barking dogs can be resolved by speaking to the dog owner first. It is common that the owner of the barking dog is unaware of the barking or that the barking is a nuisance to neighbours. Once a person is made aware, most of the time they will take steps to fix the problem.

The Queensland Government Department of Justice and Attorney-General has information about barking dogs in the neighbourhood which provides advice on how to approach your neighbour to discuss a concern and tips on setting up mediation.

Step 2

If you don't feel comfortable approaching the dog owner directly, you can communicate with the owner anonymously through BarkUp!,a web-based application that allows you to notify the owner of barking incident/s through an automatically generated letter. Once they receive the letter, if the owner chooses to register, any future reports you make will be logged directly on the owner's account. On their account owners can see further details about the time, duration and type of barking for all recorded incidents. They are also able to respond to the reporting neighbour by choosing from pre-set responses. All correspondence is anonymous.

After advising the dog’s owner, either directly or through BarkUp!, wait a few weeks to see if they have been able to resolve the problem. Your support and ongoing feedback about the dog's behaviour is helpful to the dog and it's owner.

Step 3

If you have reported the issue to your neighbour, waited a few weeks to see if they have been able to resolve the problem, and have not heard or seen a difference in the dogs behaviour, you can make a request to Council to investigate your barking complaint.You can do this by:

  • reporting it online via MyIpswich
  • contacting Council on (07) 3810 6666 with details of the nuisance, location, breed of dog (if known)

You will be asked to provide details relating to the barking, the complaint cannot be lodged anonymously. Note that a barking dog may be an issue for you but may not contravene the Local Laws.

How Council investigates barking complaints

In the first instance a letter will be sent to the dog owner to let them know a complaint has been received. Many owners will work to resolve the nuisance at this early stage. The process and what is required from you, will be explained to you at the time of lodging the complaint.

Councils’ investigation process forms part of a legal process and we must obtain sufficient information and evidence to confirm the existence of a nuisance. One way for Council to collect evidence is via a Noise Nuisance Questionnaire which diarises times, dates, and duration of the barking. Council can consider any other evidence you may provide. Council must also meet the requirements of relevant legislation including:

Tips for neighbours

  • Don’t let the issue fester. Many owners are unaware their dog is creating a nuisance for others. Letting your neighbour know their dog is barking early gives them the best chance to address the problem.
  • Never approach your neighbour in the heat of the moment. An angry confrontation will not solve the barking problem.
  • Understand there is no ‘quick fix’ for nuisance barking, and the issue may take some time for your neighbour to resolve.

Tips for dog owners

  • It can be confronting to receive a barking complaint, but it’s important you consider that your dog may be causing a nuisance, even if you are unaware.
  • Get feedback from as many neighbours as possible. Ask your neighbours to contact you if your dog is barking for long periods. Knowing the times your dog barks will also help you work out the likely cause.
  • Give your neighbours feedback. Let them know about the methods you are using, and how you think they are progressing.
  • Consider engaging an animal behaviourist, trainer or discuss with your vet if you are struggling to modify the barking. An expert is more likely to be able to provide you with support and long term solutions.

More information