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Barking dogs are saying something.

By Sherry Clark

Published in The Community Voice

Rohnert Park, California

October 7, 2016

Some helpful suggestions for neighbors of barking dogs


October 7, 2016

The Brainy Dog

This article is intended for neighbors of barking dogs. It’s a tough situation.

You don’t want to start trouble with your neighbor but your own comfort is being compromised.

Here are a few suggestions to effectively motivate dog owners to get help.

Most dog partners do a great job of keeping pups calm, cool and quiet. They provide food, water, shelter and more. A well-integrated dog doesn’t have to bark for basic needs. A socialized dog takes new sights, sounds, people and other animals in stride as part of everyday life. No reason to bark.


• Please forgive the rest of us: Some of us who live with dogs do have a little quirk. We don’t hear barking as noise. Believe it or not we honestly believe our dogs are talking. Please be compassionate and mention our dogs are talking during the day. Most dog partners will return the love by listening to why do barking dogs bother you.


• Not your responsibility you say? You’re right. It’s definitely the dog partner’s responsibility to keep the dog under control. The problem is validating that it’s not your responsibility does not change the situation. Have you ever needed a little boost to change a behavior of your own? It’s so funny how we can’t see our own behavior quirks as well as our friends can.


• Why dogs bark: Humans speak for a reason, and so do dogs. Communication, frustration, boredom, anger, fear and joy are reasons for all of us to make sounds. Guess why the neighbor’s dog is barking. The owner may appreciate your insight.


• Dogs bark to: Share location, guard property, keep the bone, amuse the cat, go inside, go outside and back in again.


• Dogs say: I’m thirsty. I’m cold. I’m hot. I have no shade. My collar’s too tight. I have fleas. Please, remove this chain.


• Dogs yell: I’m lonely. Fire truck! I’m scared. Mail! I’m in pain. I need you. Squirrel!


• Dogs ask: Who’s out there? Where’s Mom? What’s that? Are you friendly? Want to play? Got a treat? May I go too?



• Write a friendly letter and include what you think the dog is saying. It can work. I’ve had many barking dog clients tell me the neighbors made them aware the dog was barking.


• Say to us, “As a friend, I thought you should know some of the neighbors are chatting about your barking dog. Anything I can do to help?” Say you’ve heard of some good dog trainers.


• Buy us a bag of dog treats. Say it’s a reward for the dog being quiet yesterday between 1-2  (a.m. or p.m.). We may be embarrassed, but we’ll get the point. This might be the catalyst we need to bring dogs into the house or call the trainer.


• Offer to pay for a dog trainer’s first home visit. How much is quiet worth to you? If you, the neighbor of barking dogs take this step, owners are more likely to schedule additional sessions.


I suggest you not punish the neighbor’s barking dog. Spraying with water, noise devices, yelling, throwing stuff and other aversive methods have potential to make the dog (and owner) more reactive. Remember, we want a peaceful outcome. If the dog has only love in his heart, there is no need to bark.


Find more information about changing dog behavior at

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