Main Content Anchor

Barking dogs

Dogs bark to express excitement, boredom, stress, anxiety or to let you know they’re defending their territory. But ongoing barking, whining or howling can be incredibly distressing for neighbours and owners. Council, in accordance with the Domestic Animals Act 1994, has developed a process to deal with these matters.

What is considered excessive/nuisance barking?

If a dog creates a noise, by barking or otherwise, which persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises, it is considered excessive/nuisance barking.

It is important to keep in mind that the dog owner may not be aware that the barking is causing an annoyance to other people as:

  • The dog may only bark excessively when the owner is not home.
  • The owner may not hear the barking from some areas in their house.
  • The owner may be a very sound sleeper and has not woken when the dog barks. 

What can you do?

Simple tips for reducing barking

There are a number of approaches you can try to address excessive barking:

  • Make sure that you do not reward your dog for barking too much.  Don’t let the dog inside or give it attention when it barks. Instead, give the dog attention when it is quiet.
  • If the dog is barking at people or noises on the other side of a fence, move the dog to another part of the yard, or put up a barrier to keep the dog away from that area
  • If the dog barks at regular disturbances, such as children walking to school or rubbish trucks, keep the dog inside or in an enclosed area at these times.
  • If the dog races along a path or fence barking at passing distractions, put barriers or obstacles in the dog’s way to slow it down.
  • Ensure that the dog has adequate exercise and obedience training.
  • Make sure that the dog has food, water and shelter from the weather.
  • If the dog is barking at gaps and cracks in the fence, fill them in.
  • If the dog is barking at people it can see passing by, try blocking the dog’s view.
  • Teach the dog to stop barking on command. When the dog is barking give a firm command such as ‘cease’ and call the dog to you. Praise the dog when it stops barking.
  • Attend accredited dog obedience training.

Dogs bark for many reasons and, if these simple tips do not help you, seek further advice.

Download our brochure on tips on reducing barking:

Simple tips for reducing barking  (pdf, 134KB)

Dog obedience

To get your dog into good habits it is recommended that you enrol your dog in a dog obedience club.  Qualified instructors will teach owners how to walk their dogs on a loose lead, and sit, stand and drop on command.

This is generally followed by expanded exercises to include stay, recall and stand for examination.  Socialisation with other dogs and people is important and this is heavily emphasised.

As the dogs and handlers progress through the classes the exercises are refined so that eventually the dogs respond to their handler’s commands whether on or off lead.

Dog obedience and regular training can provide mental and physical stimulation and help prevent ‘boredom’ barking.

Useful contacts/resources

See below websites and resources to help manage excessive barking:

The Dispute Settlement Centre provides free advice to help neighbours sort out problems such as barking dogs. Phone 1300 372 888.

To lodge a formal complaint with Council you need to:

  • Have previously advised the dog owner of the barking/nuisance.
  • Be able to identify and provide the address where the dog/s resides.
  • Provide a description of the offending dog/s.
  • Complete a 7-day dog barking diary log specifying dates and times of barking.
  • Provide your contact information.

Steps to reporting a barking dog

  • Step 4 -  Make a report to Council using our online form on this page. You will need specific information including the barking dog 7 day diary to make a report.

Report a barking/nuisance dog

If you can't do the report online, please complete the hard copy form below and a 7-day barking dog diary to and send both to:

Download the Report a barking dog form  (docx, 57KB)

What happens next?

Once your request has been received it will be reviewed by an Animal Management Officer who will contact you to discuss the matter further. If required, the Animal Management Officer will discuss possible solutions with the dog’s owner, and may issue a Notice to Comply.

If no action is taken by the dog’s owner, and reconciliation attempts fail, Council can apply for a Court Order. You will then be required to go to Court as a witness and give evidence.

Council may consider taking the matter to court only if:

  • The dog owner/keeper has not complied with the Notice to Comply.
  • All avenues for reconciliation/resolution of the problems are exhausted
  • The person making the complaint agrees to give evidence in Court.

Dr Katrina Warren's training tips to help anxious dogs

Further information 

For further information please contact council on 1800 88 22 33 or

Back to top