Barking Dogs - Shire Of Baw Baw

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Barking dogsA guide to effectively managingexcessive dog barking.

ContentsIntroduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Why do dogs bark?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Simple tips to reduce barking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6What can I do to address a barking dog?Step one - Talking to your Neighbour. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Step two - Write a letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Step three - C reate a log of the barking andsubmit a complaint to Council. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10Court action – your responsibilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

IntroductionDogs are an important and loved part ofour local community and can bring manypositives to our lives. Barking is a naturalform of communication for dogs; howeverexcessive barking can cause a nuisanceto neighbours and can even indicateunderlying problems for the animal.Baw Baw Shire Council receives numerouscomplaints each year regarding dogs thatbark excessively and the negative impactsthey can have on residents.The dog’s owner may not be aware thattheir dog is barking and causing a problemfor other residents.4 The dog may only bark when the owneris not home. The owner may not hear the dogor perhaps not be bothered by thebarking; some people are less affectedby noise than others. The dog may only bark at night and theowner may be a sound sleeper.If you have a problem with a neighbour’sdog, or if your own dog is barking too much,this booklet contains information that mayhelp.

Why do dogs bark?Barking is a form of communication for dogs and is a natural behaviour. While it is expectedthat dogs will bark to express this, excessive barking can suggest a number of things: Boredom Loneliness To seek attention To alert or warn of somethingthat be a threat Noises or movement outsidethe dog’s property F ear (e.g. thunder, fireworks,or other loud noises) M edical issues (e.g. fleas,allergy, or illness) Hunger/thirst Inadequate space Provocation Changes in the home Inadequate shelter5

Simple tips toreduce barkingThe most important start to reducing adogs barking is to identify why the dogbarks.If you are unable to identify the reasons forthe dog barking, try some of these simpletips – every dog is different! Do not reward the dog when it barks.Don’t let the dog inside or give itattention – instead, reward the dogwhen it is quiet. Teach the dog to stop barking oncommand – give the dog a commandwhen it is barking and reward the dogfor completing the command if it doesnot bark. If the dog is barking at passers-byor noises on the other side of thefence, block off these areas or put upscreening to stop your dog from seeingthis stimulus. Take your dog on more frequent walks.Even a short 10 minute walk a day isbetter for a dog than no walk at all.6 Provide your dog with things to do. Toys,bones or treats can be left for the dogwhen it is alone. Try to alternate whatyou give your dog, so it doesn’t becomebored. Take your dog to obedience training.Practice at home every day for a fewminutes (or as long as your dog staysinterested) – mental stimulation is justas important as physical exercise for adog. Give your dog a safe space – somedogs bark because they are anxiousor afraid. If possible, give your dogaccess to the house or the shed whennot home so they have a safe space toretreat to. If possible, allow your dog access to anarea inside during the day.

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What can I do to addressa barking dog?Step one - Talk to your neighbourCommunicating with your neighbourcan help to solve barking problems - theowner of a dog is not always aware thatthe barking is a problem. Neighbours canassist by identifying reasons for excessivebarking and what is happening in the areawhen this occurs. Knowing the name of thedog and being familiar with it can also aidin reducing the barking to an extent.Do not bang on the fence, yell at the dogor spray water at the dog as this onlyantagonises the animal and can make theproblem worse.Try the following suggestions to attempt toresolve the issue: Approach your neighbour and ask themif they are aware that their dog barks.State the situation clearly and politely.Step two – Write a letterOverleaf is a simple letter template thatmay help to address the barking dog issuewith your neighbour.8 If it is not possible to approach yourneighbour or you are not comfortablespeaking with them, you can placea note or the ‘Dear Neighbour’ lettercontained in this brochure into theirletterbox. If your neighbour takes no action, youshould complete all applicable sectionsin this booklet and submit a complaintto Council.In most cases the issue can be resolvedbetween neighbours by communicating.This should be attempted before lodginga complaint with Council, as your identitymay become known if enforcement actionis taken.

Date://.Dear Neighbour,You may not be aware, but your dog is currently causing a noise nuisance in theneighbourhood by barking excessively.I have discussed this problem with Baw Baw Shire Council, who have suggestedthat, as a first step, I contact you to express my concern and attempt to rectify thesituation first through communication, without lodging an official complaint.Your dog appears to bark at the following times:.For the following reason/s:.Baw Baw Shire Council have provided some tips that may assist with excessive dogbarking: D o not reward the dog when it barks. Don’t let the dog inside or give it attention –instead, reward the dog when it is quiet. T each the dog to stop barking on command – give the dog a command when it isbarking and reward the dog for completing the command if it does not bark. I f the dog is barking at passers-by or noises on the other side of the fence, block offthese areas or put up screening to stop your dog from seeing this stimulus. T ake your dog on more frequent walks. Even a short 10 minute walk a day is betterfor a dog than no walk at all. P rovide your dog with things to do. Toys, bones or treats can be left for the dogwhen it is alone. Try to alternate what you give your dog, so it doesn’t becomebored. T ake your dog to obedience training. Practice at home every day for a few minutes(or as long as your dog stays interested) – mental stimulation is just as importantas physical exercise for a dog. G ive your dog a safe space – some dogs bark because they are anxious or afraid.If possible, give your dog access to the house or the shed when not home so theyhave a safe space to retreat to. If possible, allow your dog access to an area inside during the day.Your cooperation at this stage would be much appreciated.Regards,Your neighbour.

Step three – Create a noise log and submit a complaintto CouncilIf speaking with your neighbour and/orwriting a letter has not resolved the issue,you may now lodge an official complaintwith Council. Fill in the form by keeping a log of thenoise for two weeks noting the date,time, duration of barking and reasonthe dog may be barking;To lodge a formal complaint, you must: Identify the correct address of thebarking dog;L odge an official complaint with Councilby submitting the completed form.If the above information and noise log isnot provided to Council, no action can betaken. Download the ‘Barking Dog ComplaintForm’ available on Council’s website atwww.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/BarkingDogsor pick up a hard copy from a CustomerService Centre.How to complete the noise logThe noise log in the ‘Barking Dog ComplaintForm’ must be detailed, accurate, honest.The noise log must be provided over atwo-week period and be submitted toCouncil within one week (seven days) ofcompletion. You must be willing to attestto its validity in court if required. This mayseem excessive, but it is required for actionby Council.Overleaf is an example of a noise log.10

ent (I)Continuous (C)7 barks16 barks16 barks9 barks16 barks8 barks16 barks10 barks4 barks---16 barks16 barks10 barksWhat type of barking?(Loud, howling, crying)Barking for how long?Person walking pastNot sureNot sureOwner returned homeI was in my backyardNot sureKids in the streetNot surePerson walking past---Cat on fenceOwner left houseNot sureReason for barking?(Weather, personwalking past, anotheranimal, construction etc)The complaint form and noise log must be submitted to Council within 7 days of completion.TimebarkingstartedSample noise logN/AEating dinner,nuisanceN/AN/AFrustratedN/AHave to turn tv upN/AN/AI was at workbetween 8:30am and2:30pmN/AFrustratedWoke me upNoise (How does thenoise affect you?)

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Once the log is completed,Council will: Assess the completed form and deemwhether or not the noise is consideredunreasonable; Advise the owner of the complaint andsuggest possible solutions.If the noise is deemed unreasonable, aCouncil officer will work with the neighbourto reduce the noise. Once an initial directionhas been given to your neighbour, you willbe asked to complete an additional noiselog to monitor the noise for improvements.Council cannot act if: The complaint and noise log have notbeen completed correctly; Council determines that the barking isnot unreasonable. You will be advised ofour findings.Council will not get involved inneighbourhood disputes. You may chooseto use the following for any civil action:Disputes Settlement Centre of Victoria4th floor, 456 Lonsdale Street,Melbourne 30001300 372 888dscv@justice.vic.gov.au13

Court action- your responsibilitiesCouncil can work within the guidelinesoutlined in the Baw Baw Shire CouncilCommunity Local Law with regard toneighbourhood noise complaints. The onlyway Council can facilitate an outcomewhen all other avenues have beenexhausted is to present the case to theMagistrates Court.14If the matter proceeds to court, you will berequired to give evidence to support theclaim that the noise is unreasonable. This iswhy Council are unable to act without noiselogs being completed.A copy of the Baw Baw Shire CouncilCommunity Local Law is available onCouncil’s website.

--T 61 3 5624 2411E bawbaw@bawbawshire.vic.gov.auF 61 3 5622 3654w bawbawshire.vic.gov.auPO Box 304WarragulVictoria 3820

the dog barking, try some of these simple tips - every dog is different! Do not reward the dog when it barks. Don't let the dog inside or give it attention - instead, reward the dog when it is quiet. Teach the dog to stop barking on command - give the dog a command when it is barking and reward the dog

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