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Aethelwine's avatar

Neighbor's barking dog is driving me nuts. Any suggestions?

Asked by Aethelwine (42961points) January 28th, 2009 from iPhone

The german shepard is left outside all day while my neighbor is at work. The man is hardly ever home, and if anyone here is from Illinois, you know how cold it’s been. I’m part concerned about the dog, but also the constant barking is driving me nuts!

My neighbor is a nice guy, willing to help anyone, but is really hard on his luck. I’ll say he hasn’t had the easiest life. I’d hate to be the person to cause any trouble and earplugs are out of the question (young child at home).

Any suggestions?

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38 Answers

elijah's avatar

Leaving the dog outside all day in winter weather is animal abuse. Does he have any shelter?

Aethelwine's avatar

@elijahsuicide Not that I’m aware of. Having two large dogs myself, I know that the option of leaving them inside is out of the question.

luckily for me, I’m at home with mine

elijah's avatar

The dog is barking because that’s the only way he can ask for help. If you call the SPCA they will check out the situation without telling him who called. I called once on my neighbors dog because they left it tied out all day in the summer. No shade, no food or water. They came and gave them a warning. There’s no reason why a large dog can’t be in a house. He shouldn’t have a large dog if he can’t take care of it.

Aethelwine's avatar

@elijahsuicide I agree, thank you. :)

jasongarrett's avatar

Aren’t dogs, in the city at least, typically kept indoors? My two large dogs are loose in the house when nobody is home. Destructive dogs can be crated when unsupervised—maybe you could buy your neighbor a crate for his dog.

asmonet's avatar

Call the coppers.

Judi's avatar

Let me tell you a little story. I bought a puppy (10 years ago) that was going to be an outside dog. She barked a lot but we assumed it was because she saw us in the house. We ended up bringing her inside when we were home.
One day I got this nasty letter from my homeowners association. It appears that the dog was barking all day and bothering my neighbors. I was so embarrassed, and also hurt. I wish my neighbors would have talked to me, especially since my next door neighbor was the president of the homeowners association. He told me that he didn’t even notice it until it came up. What made me the maddest was that they would not tell me which neighbor complained but they proceeded to publish my address in the minuets of the Home Owners Association newsletter that went out to 2000 homes!
My suggestion would be to talk to your neighbor. He will probably be grateful that you went straight to him instead of getting authorities involved.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

just ask him if he would consider getting it a bark collar or if you could get it one, I know cruel, yet seems like a reasonable solution here. He gets to keep his dog outside, you don’t have to listen to the dog bark all day, everyone is happy. except the dog. But lets face it he is outside all day anyways so hes not happy to begin with. Though I agree with the dog should have some kind of shelter outside. I mean a german shepard is fine in pretty cold temperatures as long as it isnt in the wind and getting wet from the snow.

asmonet's avatar

Cruel = Reasonable?

Judi's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 ;
I tried the bark collar for molly and she got a blister on her neck! I think those things are only supposed to be used when you are home to make sure they don’t malfunction. If you have a “barky” dog, it’s hard to fight their nature.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@Judi I agree it isn’t 100% going to work with every dog. But I know my parents used it on a mini schnauwzer and it worked wonders.
@asmonet And what do you mean WTF it isn’t like its electric shock torture performed on john mccain in vietnam or something. Its just a tool to teach dogs to stop barking and its effective Exspecially when you must be absent. Its just cruel because its a dogs nature to bark, it hurts but it isn’t overwhelming pain. But if you want to twist my words out of context and use that to discredit my opinion thats fine, but I think most people know that I do not mean that Cruelty is reasonable.

asmonet's avatar

@LKidKyle1985: I mean you stated something as cruel, and then added it was reasonable. They don’t really go well together. Regardless of your intentions, your phrasing left something to be desired.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@asmonet Eh I guess I could of worded it better, I just meant that I know some people straight up think its a cruel device, but its reasonable because its a compromise that satisfies both parties.

asmonet's avatar

@LKidKyle1985: Yeah, I figured as much… it just struck me as really frickin’ odd. :)

Darwin's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 : Have you ever tried a bark collar on yourself to see what you are doing to a dog that wears one? You may find it is a lot closer to electric shock torture performed on john mccain in vietnam or something than you think.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@Darwin I have actually, I really don’t think it compares to torture of that magnitude… I guess a better option is calling the pound because the dog is a nuisance and then putting it down? Or letting it destroy the inside of your house. I dunno, bark collar sounds like a pretty nice fix.

asmonet's avatar

@LKidKyle1985: Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, things don’t go from barking to euthanasia that quickly.

Judi's avatar

I ended up bringing molly inside. When she was little she stayed in her kennel box while I was gone and now that she’s older she is out. She has recently developed a habit of biting the door and scratching the window ledge when the gardeners or anyone else is here. I bought “scat mats” to put in front of my door and windows and now she just sits back and barks at them. At least with a scat mat she can get away from it, unlike a bark collar.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@asmonet yeah it is an exaggeration, but so is implying that bark collars compared to torture performed by the vietcong lol

Darwin's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 : Who said anything about calling the pound? The SPCA was mentioned, but that is a no-kill shelter.

If this whole thing is going on in Illinois in the winter, then the owner is guilty of animal abuse and neglect, as well as disturbing the peace. Punishing the dog isn’t going to change that.

Dorkgirl's avatar

Talk to the neighbor. Maybe he does not know his dog barks all day long.

If he does not find a solution on his own you can suggest a bark collar or maybe even some form of “doggie downer” (there are both Rx versions from the vet and natural formulas you can get a pet stores). The dog may just be anxious or upset about being left all day by himself. Something to help take the egde off his anxiety may help.

If you don’t get resolution from this, I’d suggest either the SPCA or make a noise complaint with the city. Most cities have ordinances against excessive noise. I understand you don’t want to bring more problems to this man, but if he won’t take care of the nuisance, greater steps may need to be taken.

BTW, I’ve put a bark collar on myself and they do hurt, but the intensity is adjustable. Some give a warning buzz to help the dog learn not to bark and they only go off when they actually bark. My sister has used on her dogs and they’ve made a big difference. Unfortunately, if this shephard is very furry it may not work—the fur can be too thick for the animal to feel.

Good luck!

Aethelwine's avatar

Thank you everyone for responding. I would want my neighbor to come to me first too if he had any problems with me.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@Darwin Since when was training a dog considered punishment? The question asked wasn’t I think my neighbor is abusing his dog, it was, how do I get him to shut up. So telling her its abuse and should be delt with doesn’t really solve her problem of a barking dog does it. It might eventually lead to him getting rid of the dog or leaving it inside but god only knows how much hassle that might take, not to mention alienating your neighbor who may of complied if you just talked to him about it.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

And I should add, I don’t know what the State or local laws consider abuse. There was a guard dog up the street from my grandma at a junk yard that was out side all the time and this was northern ohio. I know she called the cops on that place but the dog was always out there.

Darwin's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 – training implies an interaction between dog and owner. The actual goal of training is for the owner to communicate the pack rules to the dog. Putting an electric collar on the dog and then leaving him in the yard to discover for himself that barking hurts him now is in no way training.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@Darwin last time I checked, training does not require interaction with anyone. Training is done, by multiple methods to achieve a desired behavior.

asmonet's avatar

Yeah, but a dog learning that it’s natural behavioral instincts cause pain in my opinion, regardless of how slight the pain is cruel and unethical.

Darwin's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 – I would suspect you either do not have a dog or do not consider any dog that you have to be a sentient creature and part of your family. Dog training is specifically the owner learning how to communicate to the dog its place in the pack and the rules of the pack. Anything else is not training.

@asmonet – I agree. Cruel and unethical it is. In addition, it fails to develop the bond between dog and owner that makes dog-owning such a pleasure.

asmonet's avatar

Yep yep! :)

bodyhead's avatar

If you kill your neighbor, someone will take the dog away. Problem solved.

Aethelwine's avatar

@bodyhead If it were only so easy.

The house is cursed, the last two owners had barking dogs also!

maybe_KB's avatar

Wow, to the many comments…Good read I tell ya’!
I’m fairy neutral w/ the Top 3 go-getters on this topic.
I have been to the doggie park many times & have seen the shock collar on many dogs.
I too purchased one (4 years ago) and yes I was incredibly reluctant to put it on my dog.
Hence-It is still in the plastic packaging un-opened.

One has to think why doesn’t the animal cruelty division step up and rid of this collar
*If its truly all that bad.
We (my family) don’t like the sound of constant barking.
Many of us don’t like the sound of constant ANYTHING, really.
If the lady or guy who posted this question puts a dog collar on his or her dog to try & rectify the problem-So be it.
I strongly recommend all the other remedies 1st. that may be of assistance. If none are of Any help or improvement.
But I tell Ya’. ..I had it all planned out…
Apply the collar for a couple days a week-until the barking subside.
Eventually, I figured my dog would wing herself off completely.

P.s. There’s also non-shock collars that let out a scent most dogs do-not like.
If you gotta go the ‘collar route’- maybe that’ll be a healthier alternative.
Check w/ a Vet.

cak's avatar

I’m the parent of a barky dog. I’m the first to admit that she has an annoying bark, to boot. She’s a border collie mix and the barking is usually out of anxiety or boredom – wait, also when she’s really excited and playing. Ok, so if we don’t control her, she barks, a lot. One of my neighbors told me – it was right after I got home from the hospital. She told me she knew no one was home, but the barking was very loud and ear piercing.

I asked her to work with me a little bit, I wanted to hear it for myself. I went to her house for tea and darned if that dog didn’t ever shut her mouth! LOUD, annoying bark.

For my dog, it was a matter of finding things to soothe her. Music playing, a blanket and some toys – she seemed to calm down. The blanket was one I used for a day – and my scent was there for her. The music was just enough to make her think there was someone around.

It was very nice to know that my neighbor approached us before calling the police, animal shelter (we don’t have a local ASPCA) and/or the HOA. Generally, I’m home. However, when we go out, it is a concern of ours, it’s not fair to the neighbors to hear a barking dog, at all hours.

Before you call those places, see if you neighbor even realizes the problem. Then, you do want to mention that in that weather, the dog really could get sick and that it’s truly harmful for animals to be left out, all day, in the cold weather. IF he cannot provide proper shelter, that is a problem. You need to let him know it is something that could be against the law and viewed as neglect. Maybe the ASPCA knows of a way to attain shelter for the dog, at a lower cost. He could consider an indoor crate, as well.

As far as the barking, if he’s only doing it when his owner is gone – I’m guessing some serious stress, loneliness and anxiety. He need to find ways to comfort the dog, provide items with his scent for the dog. Also, he needs to train the dog on his barking impulses.

My pet peeve is when people truly cannot provide proper care for their pets. Keeping them out of extreme weather, is part of proper care. If an owner cannot provide the correct care, he needs to consider finding a better home.

Dorkgirl's avatar

@maybe_kb—oh, yeah. There’s a bark collar that spritzes citronella. Dogs don’t like it, it’s harmelss and it does the same job a a zappy collar. Good thinking!

elijah's avatar

Yeah, punish the dog because it’s neglected. Great idea.
I’d like to put a shock collar on the owner.
I’m sorry but animal cruelty is one thing I can’t look away from. That dog is a living breathing animal. How can anyone justify this neglect? I would rather see the poor thing to to a better home than continue suffering physical and mental cruelty. I have a beagle, I know what annoying barking is. The dog wouldn’t bark continuously if he wasn’t lonely and cold.

mij's avatar

Talk to your neighbour and maybe offer to take the wee dog for a walk when he’s not about…
Keep the communication with your neighbour open and friendly…

Daethian's avatar

As the owner of two small barking dogs and one cranky old neighbor I can echo the sentiment that you should TALK to your neighbor yourself. Maybe the two of you can come up with some ideas. Don’t call the police unless he refuses to make any effort. We have 5 other neighbors, some of who have dogs and none of who have complained. Even the officer that came by said that dogs are going to bark when someone walks by and every time he came by to check my dogs were back inside the house and being quiet. Bah…anyway the worst part is that the guy didn’t just come over and knock on the door. We dont’ want to annoy anyone.

bluefish23's avatar

I think I’d take a little different tack than others who’ve addressed this question. First of all, realize that regardless of the owner’s circumstances &/or whether treatment of dog is (or isn’t) humane, the main issue is this: you have a right to peace & quiet, & not to be subjected to more barking than is allowed by the noise ordinance in your county / city. It’s going to be somewhat uncomfortable, but this is unavoidable if you want to reclaim the quality of life to which you’re entitled. So, dig up the noise ordinance (often online via county website), & it’ll likely provide a detailed definition. Determine if the barking you’re experiencing is likely in excess of that amount. If so, & the neighbor is not someone you know (or know well) & they’re not next door, I think the best option is an anonymous call to Animal Control (or whoever deals with this at the county level). The reason is that if you approach these neighbors & they’re not as receptive or responsive as you would hope (i.e., way too much barking still occurs; & although they may be superficially nice, they may believe YOU are the real problem, in which case dog’s behavior remains much the same), then you’ll be in a very uncomfortable position: if you go to the county/city now, the neighbors will know it’s you, & you’ve just elevated a dispute with this neighbor. A reasonable alternative is to leave an anonymous note in the neighbor’s mailbox, & if problem isn’t resolved within a reasonable time frame, then go to county/city. Regardless, the most important message I have for you is this: you must resolve to stand up for your right to peace & quiet (realizing that normal amounts of noise are expected), & that – by necessity in this case – it will be a somewhat uncomfortable process. If you do know the neighbor, &/or they’re next door, &/or you’re confident they’ll be very responsive, then it may be better to approach them directly (or leave a note with your information), depending on your comfort level. Just understand the risk of this approach. I do agree with others that owner(s) may not be aware of barking, but there’s no reason for them to be offended if a county official makes them aware of the truth: that their dog’s barking is very bothersome to someone else in the area (& may be excessive, per ordinance, etc.).
Having dealt with this problem before, I can tell you it is uncomfortable, but I’m so glad I did it. The reprieve from the noise really did positively impact my daily life. But because it is such an uncomfortable problem to confront, I’m convinced that there are many people who are really bothered by this excessive (barking) noise, but too scared to confront the problem.

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