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Noisy Dog?

Dog's can be very noisy. So noisy in fact that, although I'm based in Argyll, I've been woken up in the middle of the night by dogs barking in Surrey, Merseyside and Fife. That's not strictly true, it wasn't the dogs that disrupted my slumber, it was neighbours of the dogs who phoned our helpline to ask what they should do to get a good night's sleep.

First thing to establish is whether this is an unusual occurrence. If it is, the dog might be barking for a reason. Someone might be breaking into the property, someone in the property may have taken ill, there could be a fire in the property. If you can do so at no risk to yourself check to see if there's anything obviously wrong like signs of a fire or forced entry. You could knock on the door of the property and explain the dog had woken you and you were concerned something might be wrong.

If you don't feel able to approach the property you should phone the police and tell them you think there is something wrong at the address where the dog is barking. It's unlikely the police will come out just because a dog is barking but if it could mean someone is at risk they should respond.

It's not so easy to deal with a situation where your neighbour simply leaves the dog on its own and the dog responds by barking for attention. It may be your neighbour doesn't know their hound is kicking up merry hell when they are not there. Situations like this have become more common in the last few months as people go back to work after the Covid lockdown and their pet suddenly loses the company and attention it has enjoyed for the last year or so.

If you are on speaking terms with the owner of the dog you should try talking to them about the situation. They may not be aware of the problem and there are things they could try to solve it. Perhaps leaving a radio on in the house will help the dog settle. Arranging for a dog walker to come and take pooch for a three mile hike every day might make the dog nap instead of yap. A canine counsellor might be able to cure the problem or the owner may decide to put the dog into a canine day care centre if there's one in the area. If all else fails it may be necessary to find the dog a new home with someone who doesn't have to go out and leave the animal on its own.

Often an anti–social dog is owned by an anti–social neighbour. If personal intervention is not an option or has not worked it is time to get serious. The RSPCA or Scottish SPCA will not usually deal with noisy dogs but it is worth telling them you fear the dog is being neglected. You can do this anonymously. They will check on the animal and at least give the owner some advice.

If that doesn't work and the barking persists there are other things you can do. If the dog lives in rented accommodation you should contact the owner of the property with your concerns. A housing association or the like should have a policy for dealing with such situations. If the property is privately owned you should contact Environmental Health at your local Council. It might take time to go through the required sequence of events (recording the noise, contacting other neighbours, issuing warnings etc.) but your Council should be able to resolve the situation.

If you find barking dogs a nuisance please make a point of not buying a house near commercial kennels. I once had a call from someone complaining about the barking coming from boarding kennels next door to his house. I asked him how long had this been going on and he replied' “How the hell should I know, I only moved in yesterday.”