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What to do with barking dogs in Canberra?

By Madam Cholet 16 July 2010 80

We live next door to a rented property that is tenanted by two blokes with a large dog. The problem we are having is that when said blokes decide to go to the pub after work and not come home for hours the dog barks. And barks, and barks, and barks.

Basically, until someone gets home and lets her in.  The other weekend, no one came home…..so you can imagine what sort of night it was.

We have recently placed a complaint with animal services regarding the noise and as part of this have submitted a 10 day dog diary plus extensive details of how the barking affects us and what we have tried to do to resolve it.

I am wondering if anyone else has been through this process and what the outcome was.

What I have found is that we are in the dark as to what animal services are now doing.

They said that they would do spot checks on the property to try to confirm our complaint and also talk to neighbours.

I have no idea if they have done this. All I know is that they confirmed receipt of my documentation.

Can I be assured that they will check the problem out properly and try to be at the property when we suggest the dog barks? And then what happens? What can they do?

I’m not that hopeful, and with summer not that far away, I am really not looking forward to having to open the windows.

Other action we have taken is to talk to their rental agency and to the dog owner himself. The RE pretends to be interested, whilst the owner, to put it bluntly does not have much going on upstairs – and I’m not talking about the house they live in.

I also have concerns that this is a very large and unfriendly dog, (by the owners own admission), and that the RE has been somewhat derelict in their duty in ensuring that the dog is contained on the property. The owner of the dog recently received 64 stitches when his dog got into a scrap with some other large dogs outside the property.

I have a 2 year old son who enjoys pottering around the front yard with me and I am understandably worried that this dog is not trustworthy and that the fence that contains it is not secure enough.

Should I take this concern to the RE? Do they have a duty to ensure that when a dog is allowed on one of their properties that it is secure and that the dog is not a threat? I would say yes, but then again, I’m pretty fed up.

If anyone is able to offer me any light at the end of a very murky tunnel I would really appreciate it.

What’s Your opinion?


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What to do with barking dogs in Canberra?
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WonderfulWorld 9:40 pm 28 Jul 10

This is a great thread, very humorous and honest, lets face it for many a barking dog is the bane of our lives.
We’ve been pretty lucky in our street, surrounded by dog lovers and have been able to talk to the others about barking dogs, times and why we think it happens. For example, recently partner was being woken 530am every morning. He wrote a note, personalised as we know their names, and suggested they consider why the dogs are barking. They haven’t been a problem since, so the neighbours have accommodated, by placing the dogs inside for that period while they go running or whatever it is they do, plus the dogs are now older and the training has set in. We’ve always had a GS, and the latest is just 12 months old. We are conscious of the barking dog and regularly check in with our neighbours that she’s not been a problem.
I’ve had friends that have had dogs de-barked, used collars and many other tricks. Sometimes dogs are like naughty children, and its in-breed. No matter what you try and the punishment or cure, they just aren’t going to learn.
I think we need to be accepting that if people are trying, then that is all we can ask. The owner that is not showing any signs of trying, report, report, report to anybody that will listen, not sure if it will do any good because they probably aren’t willing to change behaviours as adults.
My two pence.

p1 9:37 am 28 Jul 10

I am a firm believer in training through punishment and reward.

If the do it good, give it a treat.

If the dog is bad, burn down the owners house.

Pandy 8:57 pm 27 Jul 10

If a dog worries a farmers sheep, he can shoot it. So grow a couple of vegies in the back, call yourself a farmer and shot the dogs.

OK joking

cb60 6:27 pm 27 Jul 10

BE FRIEND the DOG/s 🙂

twodesiree 9:56 am 27 Jul 10

bait the mongrels
then bait the ???

dvaey 1:07 pm 26 Jul 10

madamcholet said :

As a postscript – intrigued by the number of posters who said TAMS do nothing, I called Animal services to find out what happens next in the process. Basically she couldn’t and wouldn’t tell me.

This sounds like a situation a friend of mine found himself in. Neighbours dog attacked his (dug a hole under the fence then grabbed his dogs leg from under the fence). Despite this large dog killing 2 adult dogs and biting my friends hand (evening in hospital plus a weeks worth of hospital visits for dressing changes), this dog is still with its owner. Even though the police and domestic animal services turned up after my friend was discharged from hospital, domestic animal services came and removed HIS dog. Only a month after he was bitten, the dog attacked again, killing a second dog. Again domestic animal services turned up, and again the owner of the large dog made a sob story and was able to keep her dog. A couple of weeks after that, the large dog started jumping against a colorbond fence, and after a day or two of that, managed to break a hole in it. Even after this dangerous dog has attacked and escaped, TAMS STILL wont do anything about it. This was around christmas time, and they had family visiting, so at times there were upto 8 kids (from 1-15) at the house.. needless to say they were very hesitant about letting the kids outside to play over summer.

As sad as the situation is, if you cant resolve the issue with the owner directly, dont expect any help from any govt departments, even if the dog is dangerous and actively attacks other dogs, people and property in the neighbourhood.

jasmine 4:24 pm 25 Jul 10

Hate to pour water on any hope you are holding, the truth is there is no light at the end of the murky tunnel only dim bureacracy all the way.

We had a similar problem a few years ago but fact is the ACT Government does nothing at all and neighbours just have to put up with it. One neighbour rang the owner one day to complain about the noise – yet again – and next minute the police were around with a harassment complaint. Luckily they had a brain and realised what the issue was unlike the dog owner who often got drunk and passed out while the dog barked and barked. Probably wanting some food.

Thankfully they moved but there really is a problem in Canberra with dog control. I often thought there should be dog suburbs but I know it would be unworkable because then you would have to have cat suburbs, dog and cat suburbs, loud music suburbs, brawler suburbs – well you get the picture.

I would try talking to the neighbour again and stress how the dog’s noise is affecting your lives and how unhappy you are. Keep doing it until they get fed up with you – it’s only fair you have to put up with the dog.

I would also continue to harass the RE and the landlord. It’s not like there is a shortage of tenants in Canberra.

Mia80 2:35 pm 20 Jul 10

Just promise me you are not one of those neighbours, who pokes their head over the fence and yells at them to shut up, because that REALLY helps… NOT!

Being the owner of one such barker (well I have 2 but only one barks consistently), I feel your pain and the pain of the neighbours. My little guy seems to go off at anything, from someone walking past the house to a worm farting in the next suburb.
As a result I am also acutely aware of other dogs in the suburb barking at all hours.
I trained my pooch to be an inside dog for that very reason. It doesn’t stop the barking, but at least dulls it for the neighbours.

It sounds to me as if this poor mutt next door is lonely and bored.
I don’t think that there is much you can do about that. If your neighbours are not keen to play ball with their dog, they are highly unlikely to want to play ball with you. You don’t make them sound terribly neighbourhood friendly.

For your own sanity, I can only suggest you follow through with your complaint and “dog diary”, and include a copy of it, when you make a complaint to the real estate agency. You may be able to get them to move for your own sanity and make the barking someone else’s problem.

Find out if any of your other neighbours have a problem with the dog and lodge a joint complaint to the Authorities and the Real Estate Agency… more numbers can sometimes raise more of a response (or just as equally ignored).

You could also attempt to train the animal with Troll Sniffers soil clods idea. Sounds like the neighbours wouldn’t even notice a new layer of top soil.

Or purchase an outdoor stop bark device. They can range from between $40 – $200 depending on the brand, and stick it on the fence. It sounds like a lot to buy something like this for somebody else’s nuisance, but it’s more for your own peace of mind.

Do not approach your neighbours… If something happens to the dog, even if it just doesn’t come home after one of its escape tours, they could lay the blame straight on you and cause you a world of new pain.

KB1971 1:42 pm 20 Jul 10

Antagonist said :

Mostly true, Tooks, but still a hasty generalisation. There is little question that your point applies to the dog(s) in the original post. The poor thing is probably neurotic through neglect. However, your point blatantly ignores the variation in personality between different dogs.

I have two Siberian Huskies. Both are females from the same litter. Both are Australian Champion showdogs and therefore well trained and disciplined. Both dogs hold Endurance Titles meaning they are able to gait 20km beside a bike (scooter) in under 2 hours, so we have to run the hell out of them to keep them fit. I am at home full-time and both dogs are able to enter and leave the house as it suits them. One dog is as quiet as a mouse. The other was debarked following constructive discussion with a neighbour over a cold beer.

Just as in humans, some are animals are very introverted while others are overly extroverted. Barking is usually attributable to lousy owners, but this is not always the case. Personality plays a significant role as well.

Agree, we had two Dalmations, they were poisoned last year (as mentioned above) & we saved one.

Their personalities are/were chalk & cheese. Turbo (whom we saved) is fairly introverted and obedient with regards to making noise and barking.

Morgan (whom we lost) was completely the opossite. We rescued him & the 5 years he spent without any dicipline could not be trained out of him. he would bark & howl when we were not there, take off as soon as the gate was open, dig holes & eat anything that was remotely food related (which was his downfall).

I talked to my neighbours & thankfully Morgan would settle down after a while when we left for the day but it was always in my mind that he was pi*8ing everybody off.

Anyway, there is no real easy answer to the question, especially if the neightbour doesnt give a toss.

chrisi 1:40 pm 20 Jul 10

Disposable said :

To everyone suggesting feeding the animal; what happens if the animal actually gets baited, who do you think the owners will suspect first?

Never feed someone else’s animal without the owners permission. Too many issues could arise- the death of the animal being one of them. Not every dog can handle bones. One of my dogs actually doesnt handle marrow bone very well at all. And then there are some people who dont realise that cooked chicken bones can be deadly as well. Always ask owner, and then there wont be any problems later on.

georgesgenitals 1:33 pm 20 Jul 10

Many years ago when we moved into our house, the back neighbours had this massive dog. I’m not sure what it was, but it’s head was bigger than the biggest watermelons you see in Woolies, and it would put its huge paws up on the back fence, and it’s head would easily poke over. It used to make the most bloodcurdling growls, as though it was ready to tear you to pieces.

Of course, our mini fox terrier thought this was great, and would have a bit of a yap at it.

One day when we got home from work, we could hear this horrific growling, but no mini fox terrier barking. I checked the back yard, and a small part of the fence had come loose, and clearly our dog had gone into the big dog’s yard.

Fearing the worst, I peeked over the fence at the source of the terrible sounds. And there, lying on it’s back, with the mini fox terrier playfully nuzzling its belly, is the huge dog, growling away. Turns out the dog was a complete wuss. We made friends with the dog, and would often pat its head when it looked over the fence.

The point, I guess, is that things aren’t always what they seem, and taking the more gentle approach is a great way to at least start to solve these kind of problems.

Sadly, the big dog isn’t with us any more. It made a great guard dog for the neighbours, though.

Thumper 12:49 pm 20 Jul 10

I’m a bit sick of hearing about animal rights. What about human rights?

Huh?

Disposable 12:12 pm 20 Jul 10

To everyone suggesting feeding the animal; what happens if the animal actually gets baited, who do you think the owners will suspect first?

Antagonist 12:03 pm 20 Jul 10

Mostly true, Tooks, but still a hasty generalisation. There is little question that your point applies to the dog(s) in the original post. The poor thing is probably neurotic through neglect. However, your point blatantly ignores the variation in personality between different dogs.

I have two Siberian Huskies. Both are females from the same litter. Both are Australian Champion showdogs and therefore well trained and disciplined. Both dogs hold Endurance Titles meaning they are able to gait 20km beside a bike (scooter) in under 2 hours, so we have to run the hell out of them to keep them fit. I am at home full-time and both dogs are able to enter and leave the house as it suits them. One dog is as quiet as a mouse. The other was debarked following constructive discussion with a neighbour over a cold beer.

Just as in humans, some are animals are very introverted while others are overly extroverted. Barking is usually attributable to lousy owners, but this is not always the case. Personality plays a significant role as well.

Jim Jones 11:35 am 20 Jul 10

geetee said :

I’m a bit sick of hearing about animal rights. What about human rights?

Poor humans, having to listen to the suffering of neglected animals. It’s just not fair, is it?

Tooks 11:17 am 20 Jul 10

geetee said :

PS – Yes I know this situation is probably a result of the owner, not the animal.

There’s no probably about it – it is definitely a result of the owner. Any dog who gets enough exercise, training, and discipline will not be a problem to anyone.

KB1971 10:44 am 20 Jul 10

Pandy said :

Leave a box of snail bait by the letter box?

Sorry Pandy, not funny. I lost on & the other cost us $1400 after they got into some snail bait. Not a pleasant experience….

geetee 10:41 am 20 Jul 10

Where are all the dog lovers of Riot-Act on this issue? You know the ones who contribute eagerly to the ‘ban fireworks’ threads??

For the past year, our new (rental) neighbours have had a HUGE dog which barks most of the night and day. Even when it’s not barking, it’s pushing its’ plastic bowl around the concrete back yard (yep) which makes it extremely hard to sleep most nights of the year.

In addition, the huge mother scares the living daylights out of anyone walking past as it almost knocks their fence down when anyone walks past. (It’s big enough to have its front paws and head over the fence which must be about 5 feet plus high.

And recently I think they acquired another puppy – perhaps to keep the other one company since they never seem to take it for a walk. Now in addition to hearing near constant barking, you get to hear the whimpering of the puppy.

Although I consider myself an animal lover, I’m a bit sick of hearing about animal rights. What about human rights?

Are there any people in Canberra who have had success in complaining about such things?? Can anyone share serious suggestions about how to stop this kind of situation.

PS – Yes I know this situation is probably a result of the owner, not the animal.

Antagonist 8:43 am 20 Jul 10

chrisi said :

“… ‘debarking’ it … isn’t fair.

You raise some great points Chrisi, but I am interested to know why you think ‘debarking’ a dog is not fair?

I agree that it does not treat the cause of barking behaviour. Debarking is not removing the dogs ability to communicate or make noise, but rather reduces the volume of the ‘bark’ to a loud ‘coughing’ sound. It can still be heard from quite a distance and satisfies the dogs need to bark. I have not met a vet who thought it was ‘inhumane’ or ‘harmful’ to a dog. It is a legitimate ‘last resort’ option.

chrisi 9:32 pm 19 Jul 10

Ok…. first thing to remember is its NOT the dogs fault. It’s a dog- they bark… that’s what they do!

Hurting the dog, or ‘debarking’ it, or chastising it isn’t fair. It’s the owner that needs training. Calling the authorities doesnt work.

Option 1). Nice Way.
Knock on the door and introduce yourself. Dont be afraid. Explain that you are a dog lover and that you dont want to cause any trouble, but inform them that their dog barks a lot when they are away. You dont want them to beat the dog or anything, but ask if you can be introduced so the dog knows who you are and can settle him over the fence if need be. Ask if you can give the dog bones on occasion (marrow is a great suggestion because it takes a lot of work and is very cheap!).

Option 2). Rude Way (if owner doesnt respond to Nice Way).
Keep complaining to rental agency. Terms of residential tenancy agreement state that tenant can not cause a nuisance or disturb neighbours. Standard ACT agreement states:

Section 70.
b) The tenant must not cause or permit nuisance
c) The tenant must not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the occupiers of nearby premises.

As the tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement, you constantly complaining to the agency ‘could’ give avenue for the landlord to either evict the current tenant (through tribunal) or at very least not renew the lease upon expiry. As the agency must record all complaints and pass on to landlord, this can also have a detrimental affect to the tenant getting good references. Another avenue would be to remind the tenant of his responsibilites (and potential repercusions).

But long story short, if the tenant is causing trouble and isnt doing anything to limit it, start causing him trouble with his rental.

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