We don’t deserve dogs. They’re the best. They’re all feet and ears and unconditional love. But sometimes they can be noisy.
Dogs bark for lots of reasons.
Sometimes they’re alone in the house and they’re scared. Sometimes they’re bored and want attention.
Regardless of the reason, barking dogs are annoying. Annoying for the owners, but perhaps even more annoying for the neighbors.
How to deal with a neighbor’s dog barking
Like a lot of folks, you’re probably spending a lot more time at home. And while you’ve mostly adjusted to life at home, the incessant dog barking a few apartments down is driving you up the walls.
It’s one thing if it’s your own dog that’s barking like crazy. You know how to deal with that. But what do you do when your neighbor’s dog is barking?
1. Drown it out
Assuming this isn’t a regular occurrence and not too much of an inconvenience, just ignore it. If you can raise the volume two clicks on the remote and not cause more of a racket, then do it and let it slide.
That’s not to say it’s entirely worth ignoring. If it’s causing enough of a disturbance to your quality of life, then it’s a good idea to address it head on. But before you do so, take a moment and decide how you want to approach it.
2. Distract the dog
This part is about as easy as it sounds. If this dog is staring through the window and into your home when it sees you doing yoga through the window, just close the blinds or otherwise obstruct the dog’s view. Dogs will bark at anything they see, so if the dog can’t see you, eventually, it will lose interest and walk away.
Then, you can continue on with your crow pose.
3. Use high-pitched sounds
If possible, pick up a dog whistle or high pitched remote alarm. Whenever you hear the dog barking, blow the whistle or activate the alarm and the dog will stop barking. This is essentially training the dog, so be patient. This will take some time. Your persistence will be rewarded.
It’s also important to stop using these when the dog stops barking. A dog that barks non-stop is a terrible nuisance, but the dog is only barking because it doesn’t know that it shouldn’t.
4. Involve the dog’s human
The first course of action is to politely and calmly speak with the neighbor who owns the dog and explain the situation. A peaceful and respectful conversation will end 99 percent of personal conflicts. If you’re not comfortable with a face to face, a civil and respectful note under their door with your name and number is another way to go. If you want the issue resolved, leaving an anonymous note could be seen as antagonistic.
Dog owners aren’t necessarily unreasonable people. And they don’t want their best friend to get on everyone’s nerves. It’s also entirely possible they may not even know they have a noisy dog, especially if the dog only barks when they’re out. Any responsible pet owner will immediately take steps to fix the situation.
5. Loop in your landlord
Apartment complexes and lease agreements have sections that specifically address a problem pet. If a note under the door or a quick conversation by the mailboxes didn’t address the issue, it’s time to bring in some other people.
Tell the community agent in your building’s front office or email your landlord. Let them know you had a conversation with the neighbor to no avail. Be prepared to provide specific documentation, including times when the neighbor’s dog is barking. If possible, a time-stamped audio recording of the incessant noise will also bolster your complaint. Landlords have ironclad rules when it comes to pet owners, who could be subject to fines or eviction.
6. Consider your legal options
If you need outside assistance, there are professional and volunteer mediators who will agree to hear both sides and issue a decision. This is outside the justice system, so the decision doesn’t have the weight of the court behind it. But as long as everyone enters into it in good faith, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Some municipalities will even offer a small claims mediation process to fast track civil disputes. It saves money and time from navigating the small claims court system, which is complicated and drawn out. Binding arbitration is similar in that it’s outside the court system, but is still overseen by a judge and argued by attorneys. A binding arbitration is not held in a courtroom, but breaking the agreement would make you liable.
7. Call animal control
Different municipalities have different rules about animal control departments responding to noisy dog calls, so do a little research before you pick up the phone. Animal Control will typically only come out for specific reasons.
Always call Animal Control if you see an injured animal or if a domesticated pet like a cat or dog is unusually reactive or aggressive. However, if there are no signs of abuse, you should first try our other steps before resorting to this option.
Politeness and persistence pay off when your neighbor’s dog is barking
Dogs make our lives better in so many ways. We love them, even when they get on our nerves. So, when you address this particular problem, keep in mind that it’s someone’s “fur baby” we’re talking about here. If you can, engage with the neighbor’s barking dog regularly in the neighborhood. If the dog associates you with “friend,” then it won’t be so loud and reactive when it sees you.
And when engaging with the neighbor on this topic, show empathy and calm. Anyone would be embarrassed and stressed out to be on the receiving end of this conversation, and people react differently to situations like this. Cooler heads always prevail and when everyone is friends, that means more ear scritches and tummy rubs to go around.