Barking Dogs

Barking Dogs

Barking complaints are common and are reliant on the complainant recording accurate evidence and completing the required documentation. For the matter to be resolved quickly, the dog owner’s co-operation is paramount.

Barking complaints can be time consuming and complex. Dog owners are often not aware their dog barks, they may have higher tolerance levels or they do not see it as a problem.

Nuisance Barking

What is nuisance barking?
Barking is a dog’s way of communicating, so not all barking is considered nuisance barking. Nuisance barking is persistent barking that negatively impacts a person’s lifestyle, and includes:
  • Barking at traffic, people or other distractions long after the distraction has left
  • Barking, howling or whining regularly and for long periods of time without a defined cause.
Guidelines from the Department of Local Government
  • Barking more than six minutes in an hour between 6am and 10pm on any day
  • Barking more than three minutes in any 30-minute period between 10pm and 6am on any day
  • Barking more than 240 times between 6am and 10pm, and more than 32 barks between 10pm and 6am on any day.
What laws govern nuisance barking?

Nuisance barking issues are dealt with under the Dog Act 1976 opens in a new window and associated regulations. While there are guidelines to assess if barking is at nuisance levels, there are no measurement tools in the Act that specify what constitutes nuisance barking. Cases need to be assessed via the barking diaries and other evidence provided.  

Additional information can be found on the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries opens in a new window website.

How do I lodge a dog barking complaint?

Consider speaking with your neighbour first
Complainants are encouraged to speak with their neighbour when a dog’s barking becomes a nuisance. Complainants should inform the dog’s owner when the barking is occurring and the effect it is having. If the complainant is not comfortable talking to the dog owner, they can complete and drop off or post a ‘Neighbour Notification Dog Barking Form’ as an informal way of advising and giving the dog owner the opportunity to address the issue. A copy of the letter can be downloaded below in the related documents.
Dog Barking Complaint Process – Initial Complaint & Response

Initial Complaint: Lodged with Ranger Services

If the complainant has tried to communicate with the dog owner either in person or via our Neighbour Notification Dog Barking Form and the barking has continued to be unreasonable, the affected person should contact Ranger Services on 9411 3444 or Contact Us - City of Cockburn opens in a new window.

Please be aware that it is essential the complainant identifies the property where the dog resides.

Response: Both dog owner and complainant are contacted

The Rangers team will contact the involved parties. The dog owner will be notified of the dog nuisance complaint and ways to reduce barking. The complaint will then be closed.
Dog Barking Complaint Process - Unreasonable Barking Continues

Unreasonable barking continues

If the barking has continued to be unreasonable, the complainant will need to contact the City’s Ranger Service on 9411 3444. The complainant will need to complete Form 7 (an official complaint form, which is part of the Dog Act requirement), then complete the 14-day dog barking diary. The Ranger Service will provide the complainant information on how to complete the diary and other resources that may be helpful.

Please ensure that the actual number of barks/howls/whines is recorded in the diary as well as the length of time each day the barking has occurred.

The completed diary is then submitted to Service Support for assessment.

The City will also accept other forms as evidence, such as CCTV cameras with audio. These will need to be submitted to Service Support for assessment. 
 
A letter will be sent to the immediate neighbours for their feedback on barking in the area. Should a neighbour wish to lodge their own dog barking diaries, they may do so.

Dog Barking Complaint Process - Action Taken
If our investigation determines the dog is displaying nuisance barking, a Noise Abatement Notice may be issued to the dog owner. Please note, the complainant will be notified if a diary has been completed incorrectly, or if the dog noise is considered reasonable as per the guidelines for nuisance dogs.
 
Noise Abatement Notice
A Noise Abatement Notice is an official document requiring the owner to stop or lessen their dog’s nuisance barking below nuisance levels, within 14 days. The order remains in effect for six months from the date specified in the notice. The complainant must keep a dog barking diary for those six months.

After six months the Noise Abatement Notice will lapse, unless genuine complaints have been received during this period.
 
Penalties
If the barking continues, infringements can be issued for each day the offence continues. An infringement will be issued if deemed a breach of nuisance guidelines.
 
The penalty for nuisance barking is a breach of section 38(5) under the Dog Act 1976 and has an infringement of $400 for a dangerous dog and $200 for all other dogs.
 
Repeat offenders may be liable for prosecution in court. The maximum court penalty is $10,000 for a dangerous dog and $5,000 for all other dogs.
 

Tips for Dog Barking Owners

Understanding dog barking causes and possible solutions

Issue 

Possible Solution

Behaviour 
Psychological issuses 
Seperation Anxiety 

  • Professional dog training 

  • Vet assessment 

  • Play soft background music

  • Never reward your dog for excessive barking 

  • Don't let your dog inside or give it attention when it barks

  • Teach your dog to stop barking on command 

  • Use anti-bark devices for a short-term remedy or behaviour modification

Boredom
Excessive energy

  • Daily walks

  • Toys

Reactive to animals and passeres-by 

  • Restrict the dogs vision through gates and fencing 

  • Confine the dog to an area away from people or vehicles

Physical discomfort 

  • Adequate shelter

  • Food and water 

Distractions 

  • A soft playing radio may block out external noises 

  • If your dog barks at regular disturbances keep it inside or enclosed during these times

  • If your dog is barking at distractions over the fence, move the dog or put a barrier to keep it away from that area

  • If your dog barks at gaps in the fence, fill in the gaps 

  • If your dog barks at passers-by, block the view

Tips to stop your dog barking
  • Don't reward your dog for barking too much

  • Don’t let your dog inside or give it attention when it barks, only give it attention when it’s quiet

  • If your dog barks at people or noises on the other side of a fence, move it to another part of the yard, or put up a barrier

  • A radio playing quietly may block any noises your dog is barking at 

  • If your dog barks at regular disturbances such as children walking to school or rubbish trucks, keep it inside or in an enclosed area during these times

  • Ensure it has adequate exercise and obedience training

  • Make sure it has food, water and shelter from the weather

  • If the dog is barking at gaps and cracks in the fence, fill in the gaps, if it's barking at passers-by, block the dog’s view

  • Teach the dog to stop barking on command

Further tips on how to manage excessive barking can be found online at the PetCoach opens in a new window. For more information, contact your vet or an animal behaviorist.
Using Dog Boredom Busters
  • Bustercube: Available at most pet shops and some vet clinics. This is a cube puzzle with different chambers in it. You fill it with dry food and your dog will knock the cube around until the food has been eaten. Quite advanced toy but great for dogs who have graduated from easier ones.

  • Treatball: Similar to Bustercube® but a ball shape. Available in a few sizes but have found dogs with strong jaws can break them on occasions. Not quite as hard as Bustercube® for dogs. Available at most pet shops and some vet clinics.

  • King Toy: A great toy for all dogs. Very good investment as they are practically indestructible. With their unusual shape they are great as a throw toy and even better as a treat holder. Fill it with your dogs favourite treats and it will keep them occupied for hours. Try putting in peanut paste and then dry food. It sticks to the inside and lasts longer.  Also great in summer it can be frozen inside the Kong

  • Empty Drink Bottles: These are a cheap and easy way to keep your dog amused. Simply rinse out and leave to drain. Remove the lid and the plastic ring around the top of the bottle. Once dry, divide your dog’s dry food portion into 2 or 3 bottles. You can vary the size and shape of the bottles to give the dog more or less of a challenge. You may have to knock the bottle around a few times so that some food comes out and your dog gets the hang of it. Most dogs catch on very quickly. As they get better at it, divide the food into more bottles, or maybe graduate to something like a Treatball or Bustercube

  • Ice Blocks: These are better in summer, but most dogs are happy to give them a go anytime. Simply rinse out empty milk containers and open up the top. Put in anything your dog may like. Table scraps, peanut paste, dry food, canned food, pig’s noses and ears, chew bones, raw vegies, etc can be used. Then fill with water to approx ¾ full and maybe add a stock cube for extra flavour. Place in the freezer overnight and then tear of the milk carton and give to the dog. Small plastic containers from takeaway food and empty margarine containers are ideal.

  • Treasure Hunt: Hide small piles of food (10 bits of dry food) in your garden and backyard. Dogs love sniffing out food, Keep it to areas that you want your dog to go in. If you haven’t prepared bottles for your dog you can just throw the food over the back lawn or yard area and the dog will forage around until it has eaten it all. Note – This may not be advisable if you have a wasp or bee problem in your area.


Source: Dog Boredom Busters

More information and contact

For more information please email Ranger Services or call 08 9411 3444.

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Contact

Address

9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Office opening hours:
8.30am to 4.30pm
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

Language Support

Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.