It is perfectly natural for dogs to bark and all of us have a degree of tolerance about noises coming from our neighbours’ property.  Loud music, noisy lawnmowers and the like can all be similar irritants of course but what about dogs? What should you do if your neighbours howling hound never ceases its actvity?  These are my top tips.
  • You should obvious start to resolve the complaint in a civilised matter with a cosy chat with your neighbour.  Make sure that you drop by at an opportune moment and do not wade in with a hugely aggressive approach to the problem.
  • Turn up with a peace offering to set the tone of the meeting – a dog chew or something similar would be ideal.  This immediately demonstrates that you are reasonable and want a sensibly negotiated outcome.
  • Offer obvious practical suggestions such as a dog door that allows the dog more access indoors.  There are also devices such as special collars that spray water when the dog barks – dogs can be trained out of barking incessantly.
  • Give your neighbour a bit of latitude after your first complaint.  It may take time to re-train the dog or make other changes. An agreed solution is infinitely better than the opposite.
  • If nothing changes you can of course report the matter to the department in charge of noise abatement at your local council.  They can serve a statutory notice on your neighbour which carries the force of law.
  • If the dog in question is barking because it is chained up for long periods of time or is being abused or maltreated in some way then you should report the case to the RSPCA who in some cases can intervene.  In extreme cases you should obviously report the matter to the police who also have statutory powers to intervene.
  • Another extreme solution is legal action but this has many drawer-backs – it is expensive, uncertain and may simply lead to an ugly war of attrition with your neighbour.  This can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness and there are cases of such disputes becoming malicious in the extreme.  Complaints involving neighbours are very sensitive and should be approached with the dire consequences of a protracted battle being borne in mind.