There are many reasons why a dog might bark excessively, including anxiety, attention-seeking, boredom, responding to other dogs, and playfulness or excitement. Many times if you can figure out what is troubling your dog, you can stop its barking, make the dog more relaxed, comfortable and happy, and at the same time, bring peace to your neighbors and your family.
In Phoenix, it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor for any person to keep a dog that is in the habit of barking or howling, or disturbs the peace and quiet of another person (Phoenix Barking Dog Ordinance). If you have been informed your dog is disturbing another person's peace, you need to take action.
To assist the community in resolving barking dog issues, we recommend the following information and resources to help you prevent and stop excessive barking.
- Monitor your dog to assess the reason it is barking.
- Talk to your neighbors to find out when your dog is barking. Often a dog barks only when the owner is not home, so owners do not realize the extent of the disturbance that neighbors face.
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so your dog has less pent-up energy to burn by barking. Take your dog for walks instead of just letting it out in the yard.
- Be mindful of the access that doggie doors provide to the outside.
- Avoid leaving a lonely dog alone for long periods of time if possible.
- Give your pet toys and provide soothing sounds, like radio or television while you are away.
- Never comfort, pet, hug or feed your dog when barking for attention or out of anxiety (rewarding unwanted behavior encourages barking instead of stopping it.)
- Shouting at your dog to stop barking does not help; in fact, this may actually cause your dog to bark even more. A dog cannot be trained to stop barking by yelling across the yard.
- Consider a bark collar or muzzle. There are different varieties that work in different ways; your veterinarian can help you choose the right collar.
- DO NOT let your dog bark constantly outside, regardless of the reason.
- Train your dog; many books and online resources are available.
- Try confining your dog to an area away from neighbors or away from things that stimulate barking.
- Consult your veterinarian and/or trainer if you continue to face barking issues despite your best efforts.
- Try mediation with your neighbors who are disturbed; often these issues can be resolved when you and your neighbor are both in the room with a neutral mediator.