Information for the Dog Owner
It is unlawful for any person to keep a dog within the city limits that is in the habit of barking or howling, or disturbs the peace and quiet of another person. A violation of the Barking Dog Ordinance is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you have been informed your dog is disturbing another person's peace, you need to take action. To assist citizens in resolving barking dog issues, we recommend the following:
SUGGESTIONS FOR CURBING BARKING DOGS:
- Buy a kennel that is the appropriate size or larger for the dog. At minimum, the dog should be able to stand up and turn around in the kennel. Keep the dog and the kennel inside your house when you are gone. Most dogs adjust very well to the use of a kennel. Puppies should only be kenneled for a maximum of 1 hour at a time for every month in age (e.g., a 4-month-old puppy should not be kenneled for more than 4 hours). No dog should be kenneled for more than 8 hours at a time. For every hour that the dog is kenneled, the dog should be allowed out of the kennel to exercise and join the family activities (e.g., a dog kenneled for 8 hours needs to be out of the kennel for a minimum of 8 hours before going back in).
- Train the dog yourself using books or videos from the library, or enroll in special interest classes at community colleges, the Arizona Humane Society, or a pet store. Consult with your veterinarian or consider professional dog obedience training. Make sure that the trainer uses positive reinforcement methods.
- Buy a barking dog collar or muzzle. There are different varieties that work in different ways. Check with your veterinarian about which one would best suit your dog. You can find these at pet stores.
- Monitor the dog and assess the problem. If there is no reason for the dog to be barking, tell the dog to be quiet. Train the dog to be quiet using the same word every time. Do not yell at the dog because the dog will think you are barking with him. Instead, use a loud sound like a whistle to get the dog's attention. Then, as soon as it is quiet, say "Quiet," praise your dog for being "quiet," and repeat as necessary until the dog recognizes the command. The average dog takes 30 to 60 repetitions before a behavior is mastered.
- Be willing to speak to neighbors for more specific information. Ask the neighbors if they are having a problem with your dog(s). If they are, determine specific information about the time of barking, its duration, and possible reasons for the barking. Let the neighbor know you are willing to work on the problem.
- Think about the time of day that the barking is a problem. Remember, not everyone follows the same work schedule, or they may work from their home.
- Ask yourself why the dog is barking. Is the dog lonely, frustrated, bored, etc.? Regular daily exercise with a human is essential to keeping the dog from frustration and boredom. Providing toys and playing music or other soothing sounds may help.
- Take the dog for a walk instead of always leaving it in the yard alone. This will help the dog become more familiar with its surroundings.
- Don't make a big event out of leaving or returning home. Overly excited dogs are more likely to bark.
- Keep in mind that dogs with access to a doggie door have access to the outside to bark.
- Confine the dog to a smaller area of the yard away from the neighbors.
- Contact your veterinarian or an animal trainer for other ideas. Call the Arizona Humane Society Behavior Helpline at (602) 997-7586, ext. 1301.
PHOENIX CITY ORDINANCE
Sec. 8-2 Barking or Howling Dogs
A. No person shall keep a dog within the city limits which is in the habit of barking or howling or disturbing the peace and quiet of any person within the City.
B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, the city prosecutor may authorize the filing of certain cases or classes of cases as civil violations unless the person has previously been found responsible or guilty of violating this section.
C. A person found responsible for a civil violation of this section is subject to a sanction of not less than one hundred fifty dollars nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars.
D. In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, a person found guilty of a criminal violation of this section shall pay a fine of not less than one hundred fifty dollars.