Is your (or your neighbour’s) dog’s barking making you (or your neighbours) miserable??

There are a number of reasons dogs bark, and most of them are normal.

If the dog in question is getting enough exercise and is not lonely the barking is most likely to start off as territorial, attention seeking, or fear driven barks BUT if you bark back e.g. if you yell at the dog to stop (unless you’ve trained ‘speak’ and ‘quiet’ as a trick and yelling stop is your ‘quiet’) or yell shuttup over the fence, yell at/scream at/generally harass the owners/your neighbours, or in any way engage with the dog or the dog’s human/s while the dog is barking you are rewarding and reinforcing the barking behaviours and it will only get worse.*

The good news is it is an easy fix for dogs of any age!

Just don’t bark back.

If you don’t give the dog the attention it is seeking, or prove yourself to be a threat reinforcing the fear trigger, the dog will get bored. If you have a good neighbour they will have already been trying to get the dog’s attention off you (or whatever the dog was barking at) and onto them with the distract, mark, reward method or similar.

If you have already spoken to the owner/s AND you have tried ignoring the dog (and I don’t mean for as long as you can put up with it for, I mean absolutely totally ignoring any and all barking for at least 3 weeks because that is how long it takes to learn/unlearn behaviours – if you’re lucky. **) OR you are absolutely sure the dog is unhappy or not in good condition (and by absolutely sure I mean absolutely sure, not just making assumptions like “well the neighbour is fat so they can’t possibly be exercising the dog”) then you should definitely contact your local animal protection agency.

And maybe try therapy if you find it impossible to not yell over the fence.

Resources

RSPCA advice on barking – (see esp. territorial. Note don’t yell at the dog is the same as don’t bark back)

I will add some more resources in the future.


*This is not to put the blame on you, or say it is your fault, but if your neighbours have spent the last 15 months working on training with their dog, including multiple training classes, and even an online training programs during covid to make sure it didn’t slip, have consulted their vet or behavioural specialists, and have had great success in getting him to not bark at (or at least stop when it starts) with all other triggers except for you.. maybe just humour them and at least try the don’t bark back thing for a couple weeks? What could it hurt? Why are you so determined to be ‘right’? Wouldn’t you rather solve the problem and be happy?)
**If you think you’ve been ignoring the dog but you have actually been constantly and repeatedly yelling over the fence or calling out shuttup – you are not ignoring the dog you are barking back