How to Stop Dogs from Barking

The sound of a neighbor's dog barking can drive you crazy! Here are some ways to stop dogs from barking, including bark control devices.

One of the most common noise complaints is barking dogs. For centuries, one of the characteristics dogs have been bred for is their ability to alert humans to danger, and the result is that their bark delivers an urgent message to the human psyche that is designed to be highly agitating and impossible to ignore. This is a valuable trait in a dog that is trained to bark only when it perceives a genuine threat, but an agonizing nuisance in a dog that barks indiscriminately at anything (or at nothing).

How do you stop a dog from barking at the wrong times? The methods available to you depend a lot on whether the dog belongs to you or to your neighbor.

If a Neighbor Dog Is Barking

If the barking dog is your neighbor's, you have several options for getting the dog barking under control:
  • Negotiating with your neighbor. This is almost always the best thing to try first.

    • Sometimes (if you're lucky) simply informing the owners of the problem is enough for them to stop the dog from barking. Some dogs bark excessively only when the owners are away, and they may not even realize it's happening. Others may not be aware how loud and disruptive the noise is.

    • Repeated complaints, including written complaints documenting each incident, may be necessary to demonstrate the seriousness of the issue to the owner. As difficult as it may be, always remain civil — antagonizing your neighbor will likely only escalate the problem.

    • Consider offering to pay for a dog-walking service, or to send the dog to obedience school, or for one of the other options that are available to the owner. Is it fair that you should be the one to pay the cost to control the excessive barking? No, it isn't. However, if your goal is to eliminate the noise and regain your sanity, this may be the most direct and cost-effective way to accomplish that. (It also communicates to the owner just how serious the problem is.)

    Keep a cool head and an open mind — different people respond to different approaches. Some victims of a neighbor's dog barking, perceiving that the dog was a victim as well, being unloved and callously neglected by its owners, have even offered to purchase the dog, and solved the problem that way, to the benefit of everyone involved, including the dog.

  • Taking legal action against your neighbor. If your neighbors' refusal to control the dog barking puts them in violation of local noise control ordinances, you have grounds for taking legal action. This process can be slow and is often frustrating, and usually builds further resentment, greatly reducing the chances of a cooperative solution. Sometimes this may feel like the only option you have to stop a neighbor's barking dog, but unfortunately it rarely seems to result in a satisfying outcome.

  • Ultrasonic bark control devices, such as the Barker Breaker. These are designed to stop dogs from barking by emitting an ultrasonic signal in response to the sound of a bark. The high-frequency sound is unpleasant for the dog, but inaudible to most humans. Some people have great success using these to stop barking dogs, while others report no results; its effectiveness depends on the dog and on the circumstances. When you're at your wit's end, it's definitely worth a try.

If Your Dog Is Barking ...

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