Dog Law: Talking to Your Neighbors
By Robert Forto, PhD
Many of us that own dogs know that there is nothing more annoying that a dog barking incessantly at all hours of the day and night. What can you do? Whats worse is that it is a terrible situation not to feel comfortable in your own home because you cant get along with your neighbors. This article will give you some tips.
How to Solve a Barking Dog Problem
Here is a checklist of actions to take when you are losing patience (or sleep) over an owner’s noisy dog.
- Ask your neighbor to keep the dog quiet.
- Try mediation, especially if you and the other neighbor have other issues.
- Contact animal control authorities and request that they enforce local laws restricting noise.
- Call the police.
- Bring a nuisance suit in small claims court.
While we hope that it does not come to number five on this list, talking to your neighbors may just solve the problem. Asking your neighbor to stop the noise is either ignored or botched by a surprising number of people. Perhaps it is not all that surprising; approaching someone, especially a neighbor, can be unpleasant and in some cases intimidating.
Talking to your neighbor calmly and in a reasonable manner is the first step to solving the barking dog problem. Even if you do enter into court the judge will ask that you at least attempt to come to a settlement or attempted to work out the problem in some way. You and I know that it costs money and quite a bit of time to take someone to court and nobody ever really wins. Even if the judge rules in your favor and orders the neighbor to stop the barking, you still have to live next door to each other right? So talking to your neighbor is a no-lose situation, and if you approach your neighbor with a modicum of tact, you may be pleasantly surprised by your neighbor’s willingness to work things out.
Sometimes your neighbor is even unaware that there is a problem. If they work all day and the dog is left outside while they are gone, the neighbor may not even know that you are being driven crazy by a dog that the owner thinks is quiet and well-mannered. My advice is to leave a friendly note on your neighbors door and ask for a meeting about their dog’s barking. Keep the meeting low-key and in a friendly tone and don’t allow the meeting to escalate into name calling and threats. Remain calm, cool and collected.
The best advice is to be proactive not reactive and try your best to come to a common ground with your neighbor. Remember that it is important to work things out. You have to live next to each other, and I doubt few people move because of a baking dog. Do they?
Dr. Robert Forto is the training director for Dog Works Training Centers and is the host of a weekly radio program, The Dog Doctor Radio Show, every Saturday. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.denverdogworks.com