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Barking DogsNgā amuamu kurī auau

It is important to get barking under control while your dog is still a puppy. Dogs can become nuisance barkers if they are not trained at a young age. A constantly barking dog can cause stress and disturbance for you and your neighbours.

Barking Dogs

All dogs bark; it is part of their natural communication and behaviour and there are many reasons why dogs bark. Before we can attempt to reduce or eliminate any nuisance barking, we must first understand what is causing our dog to bark. 

Dogs usually bark because they:

  • have separation anxiety
  • identify a threat
  • are bored
  • are stimulated by something they see.

Report Dog Barking

A barking dog can cause great annoyance and distress to others. It is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure their dog does not cause a nuisance, ignoring justified complaints could lead to heavy fines and the removal of the dog but...

Dogs are permitted to bark and at times are required to do so. Tolerance is required where occasional barking occurs. It is always preferred that where a barking dog is causing a nuisance, the dog owner is visited to discuss the matter before involving the Council Dog Control Officer. You can contact Council on +64 6 8578060.

The Process

On receipt of a complaint regarding a barking dog at an address specified by the complainant and after checks on registration data, a standard barking dog letter is sent to the dog owner alerting them to the issue. Several days is allowed for compliance. During this period we will continue to log complaints and ask that you also let us know if the barking ceases.

Continued barking after 10-14 days will result in a visit from one of our Animal Services Team with the dog owner to further discuss their responsibilities and to provide them with support in finding a solution. We find that most owners are keen to do what they can to minimise any noise to their neighbours.

We generally encourage this as we want our dog to warn us of any danger i.e. intruder or stranger. Dogs that bark at the postie, joggers or cyclists on the street will have their barking reinforced by the very action of these people leaving. The dog will think to himself “what a good job I have done making them go away” so the very action of these people leaving has reinforced the dog’s behaviour.

This can start with alert type barking and then progress to fear barking as the stranger approaches. If your dog is barking out of fear, you must stop it by making the dog focus on you, and when the barking stops give a command and reward the dog when it is relaxed.

Bored dogs need something to do other than barking. Providing a more stimulating environment. Exercising the dog(s) before leaving is a must. A tired dog is far less likely to get bored. Toys such as Kongs that can be filled with treats or a large bone will get your dog's brain as well as his body working.

Dogs who bark when they are left alone may be displaying a symptom known as separation anxiety. The more lonely the dog, the more upset it becomes and the more it barks. The more it barks the more upset it becomes and so on.

Train your dog not to bark

Teach your dog to bark only to alert you and to then stop barking afterwards.

If your dog barks at everything that moves, use short reprimand words.

If you do the same every time your dog does something wrong, it will soon understand. Praise your dog as soon as it stops barking.

Do not console a barking dog. This will reward or reinforce barking.

Minimise sight stimulus

Do not leave your dog home alone where it can see the footpath or anybody passing by.

Either confine your dog to the backyard or in a way that it is unable to see things to bark at.

You can use shade cloth or brush stick fencing to block off any sight stimulus.

Keep your dog occupied

Giving your dog something to do prevents boredom and barking at everything it sees.

  • Exercise your dog regularly.
  • Rotate and restrict toys your dog can play with at one time. Easy access to all toys will easily lead to boredom.
  • Place treats in different places:
    • around the lawn so your dog can sniff it out
    • in a sandpit, if you have one, so your dog can dig the treats out
    • hanging on a rope's end so your dog has to jump and work for it
    • in a treat ball.
  • Get your dog to play with other dogs. This will help your dog learn the difference between safe and threatening situations (when barking is helpful).
  • Ask a friend or a dog sitter to look after your dog.
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