No one enjoys a dog that constantly barks, even the owner of the dog. If you’re a neighbor, however, it’s even more annoying because the barking can disrupt your sleep and keep you away for long periods of time.
If you’re wondering what is considered excessive dog barking, there are different ways to measure it, and some are listed in the statutes while others are not. Once you consider if your dog is barking excessively, it’s easier to do something about it.
What Is Considered Excessive Dog Barking?
The term “excessive barking” can mean something different to everyone, and many states do not have laws regarding this type of nuisance. That being said, if you’re not sure what the laws are where you live, your smartest bet is to check local ordinances because it is usually smaller communities that define what excessive barking is. In many places, excessive barking includes:
- Barking for a total of one hour in a 24-hour period
- Barking for 30 minutes or more non-stop
- Barking during “quiet” hours, usually 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
If your dog does any of these things, your neighbor will likely have a legal case if they call and complain about it. If you think that there’s nothing you can do about your dog barking too much, think again. There are, in fact, some simple tips that you can follow to stop excessive barking from your dog. Keep in mind that even if there is no “excessive barking” law, you might still be breaking other ordinances.
For example, most areas across the country have noise ordinances that prevent loud noises, including dog barking and loud music, from occurring after a certain time at night. If your dog is barking at midnight and there’s nothing on the books regarding excessive barking, you could still be held responsible for your dog due to the noise ordinance. Always check with the local authorities to be sure.
The more people who live in the area where you live, the more likely one of these ordinances exists. If you live in a big city, in other words, it is much more common to have a noise ordinance in place than it is if you live out in the middle of nowhere. Still, even living out “in the country” might require that you stop your dog from barking excessively, which is why it’s so important to check local ordinances.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Barks Excessively?
It can be frustrating if your dog barks too much. On the one hand, you want to give your dog some freedom, but on the other hand, you don’t want to be held legally responsible for this barking and annoy your neighbors. If your dog barks too much day after day, the first thing you should do is take them to the vet and make sure that nothing serious is wrong.
Keep in mind that barking often starts with a trigger, and that trigger is different for every dog. Some pet parents start by putting up some type of barrier, such as a fence, in order to separate their dog from that trigger. For this to be successful, you have to first identify the dog’s trigger so that you can hide it from them afterwards. Dogs don’t usually bark for no reason; almost always, there’s a trigger of some sort.
The stronger the bond between you and your dog, the easier it will be to identify this trigger. But putting up a barrier isn’t the only way to stop dogs from barking. You can start by teaching your dog the “quiet” command, which usually works once they get used to it. There are numerous blogs, articles, and online videos that can teach you exactly how to do this.
Anti-Barking Devices and More
There are also some anti-barking devices, but you should avoid the cruel ones such as shock collars because they can make the dog more anxious instead of less anxious, which can result in even more excessive barking. Instead, try devices such as “clickers” used for training purposes, devices that sit on a table and emit a high-frequency sound when the dog barks, and collars — if you insist on them — that vibrate instead of shock the dog.
You can also choose to use a handheld device that emits a high-pitched sound whenever a bark occurs, but these are different from the ones that sit on a table or countertop. With the handheld devices, you’ll be controlling when the vibrations occur, whereas the ones that sit on a countertop go off automatically every time that a barking sound occurs.
If the barking is anxiety-based, you can use counter-conditioning training, and many dog-training classes offered by the professionals are specifically made to reduce excessive barking in dogs. Keep in mind that even things such as old age in dogs can make them bark a lot more than usual, but dogs can also bark due to:
- Being territorial
- Feeling intense fear
- Suffering with separation anxiety
- Feeling lonely
- Needing extra attention
Once you determine exactly why your dog is barking too much, it’s much easier to do something about it. Your vet can be a huge help when it comes to this issue because they will recognize if something is wrong with them either physically or emotionally. What you do not want to do when they bark excessively is yell at your dog, use something such as a shock collar, or slap or hit your dog.
In fact, it’s much easier to use training methods that reward the dog for the right behavior instead of punishing them for the wrong behavior. Whatever you do, you don’t want to just ignore the problem and allow the dog to bark for long periods of time. You need to take a proactive approach and actually do something to take care of the problem.
Excessing barking is often legally defined in local ordinances or state laws. Fortunately, there are things you can do to stop the behavior so that your neighbors aren’t as irritated, and it starts with having the dog checked out by your vet to make sure nothing is physically or emotionally wrong with them. Afterwards, it’s easy to find methods to change their barking behavior.