Behaviour & Training

Please note that these articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of BestFamilyDog.co.uk. As with all matters relating to your dog, please use your own judgement where appropriate.

Dealing with Noisy Dogs

Love them or hate them, living next door to a dog or dogs that bark persistently can be an absolute nightmare for anyone. It is reassuring to know then that persistent dog barking is not acceptable by current law. However, before taking any formal action it can be worth talking to your neighbour first to explain the situation, because as odd as it may seem, they may not even be aware that there is a problem. If this is not possible (you may find them intimidating or may have fallen on bad terms previously) then you could ask another neighbour to have a word, or alternatively, you could check whether any community mediation services are available in your area.

Why are they barking?

There could be several reasons as to why a dog is barking excessively. They could be feeling neglected if owners are out at work during the day; there could be medical problems; poor training and being over-territorial could also be affecting behaviour. Whatever the reason is, if the barking continues after your neighbours have been made aware of the problem then you should contact your local authority. Different councils may approach such complaints differently but they should be able to provide information regarding their complaints procedure. And in any case, they have a duty to investigate noise complaints and will normally pass you onto their environmental health department.

Take Notes

After explaining the situation you will normally be given a record sheet on which to note the problems you are facing. Here you can rate the level of noise, record the times that it occurs, how long it persists, and how it affects you and your family. If the council then decides to investigate, they may wish and install sound monitoring equipment in your property. This will allow them to assess whether there is indeed a problem or not.

Abatement Order

The assessment of the noise nuisance will be based upon several factors, including whether it is reasonable bearing in mind the locality, how often it occurs, and how many people are affected by it. Each case is judged individually and is based upon the sensitivity of the average person (whatever that is). If the council decides the noise is a statutory nuisance they are legally obliged to serve an abatement notice, which explains what is required of the neighbour causing the nuisance. This notice can be delayed for seven days to afford the council time to persuade your neighbour to cease the noise nuisance. If this isn't successful, the abatement notice must be served at the end of this period. The maximum penalty for not obeying an abatement order is £5000 for domestic premises, so your neighbour would be wise to comply.

There is always a chance that your local authority might decide the case is not a statutory noise nuisance. If this happens they should be able to provide an information pack should you decide to take the case to the Magistrate's Court yourself.

Submitted by Jen Prudas March 2012.