Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Mental Magpie on December 01, 2012, 09:23:59 PM

Title: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 01, 2012, 09:23:59 PM
I realize how very lame this could sound, but I promise you this really isn't about me and my dogs when I say "friend".  It really just isn't one of those situations where I am afraid to admit it is me.

I have a friend on Facebook who will on occasion post about how her neighbor's dog will continuously bark and how the neighbor will do nothing about it.  My friend (LB) also has a dog and will, when the dog barks, immediately bring it inside (FWIW, Mental Boyfriend and I also have this policy; friend and I frequently share dog raising tips).  LB has to be able to let her dog out but she feels it is discourteous to allow her dog to bark at her neighbor's dog (and vice versa) when the neighbor's dog is out.  However, she feels resentment that her neighbor does nothing about her dog barking, too, and won't try to do anything to curb the dog's barking.  To put it a bit more simply, neighbor doesn't care how much her dog barks and will leave it out regardless while NB doesn't want her dog to bark and bother other people so will bring in her dog when it barks.  At the same time, LB wants to be able to let out her dog when it needs to go out.  This has been, apparently, going on for more than a year.

LB feels like she is taking on all of the responsibility of being courteous to those around her and that her neighbor is shirking the responsibility.  I have told her to approach her neighbor about the incessant barking, but she isn't sure how or that how I advise her to will work/is appropriate.  Does E-Hell have any suggestions?


If I can clarify better, please ask; I am not always as clear as I think I am.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: sweetonsno on December 01, 2012, 09:51:03 PM
Has your friend ever discussed this with her neighbor? If not, the neighbor probably doesn't realize that it is a bone of contention. The neighbor may not be annoyed by dog barking (she might tune it out). If she has mentioned it, the neighbor may have forgotten or not picked up on a hint.

I think your friend should talk to her neighbor about it. The next time the dog barks for too long (a few "woofs" should be forgivable so long as it's a reasonable hour), she should call. "Hi, Martha, this is Kathy next door. Rufus has been barking for the past five minutes, would you make sure he doesn't want in?" Repeat as necessary. If your friend can see a reason for the barking, she should clue her neighbor in. "Hi, Martha, this is Kathy next door. I could hear Rufus barking and it looks like the kids on the other side of the lawn are throwing pinecones at him."

Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Surianne on December 01, 2012, 09:55:29 PM
I'm a bit confused -- and maybe you don't know either, since you're just getting it from FB posts, but you might be able to guess at her motives.  Is the dog's barking actually bothering her?  Or is it just that she think it's unfair that the other dog gets to bark, but hers doesn't? 

If it's the latter, then I'd say just keep being the good neighbour she is and look after her own dog.  Whether the other dog barks isn't her concern.

If the dog's barking is actually disturbing her, then she can let the neighbour know as she would with any noise complaint, if she feels comfortable doing that.  Or call in a noise complaint to the police, if that works with the by-laws of her town.

Or do you mean the other dog's barking sets off her dog?  In that case, I think the 2nd option still applies.  I haven't had to deal with that (I dog-sit for my parents' dog, but he seems to take delight in being totally silent when the neighbours' dogs bark at him) so others might have advice as to phrasing.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 01, 2012, 10:07:25 PM
I'm a bit confused -- and maybe you don't know either, since you're just getting it from FB posts, but you might be able to guess at her motives.  Is the dog's barking actually bothering her?  Or is it just that she think it's unfair that the other dog gets to bark, but hers doesn't? 

If it's the latter, then I'd say just keep being the good neighbour she is and look after her own dog.  Whether the other dog barks isn't her concern.

If the dog's barking is actually disturbing her, then she can let the neighbour know as she would with any noise complaint, if she feels comfortable doing that.  Or call in a noise complaint to the police, if that works with the by-laws of her town.

Or do you mean the other dog's barking sets off her dog?  In that case, I think the 2nd option still applies.  I haven't had to deal with that (I dog-sit for my parents' dog, but he seems to take delight in being totally silent when the neighbours' dogs bark at him) so others might have advice as to phrasing.

From what I gather, it ticks off LB like no other just that the other dog barks incessantly.  Her DH works graveyard shift so sleeps throughout the day, and the neighbor's dog has woken up him on many occasions.  It doesn't matter if her dog is outside or not, the neighbor dog will randomly bark for over an hour and the neighbor (who she knows is home) won't stop the dog.  LB feels that when her dog barks, she stops it, so when the neighbor's dog barks, the neighbor should stop it, too.  From what LB says, that's just what neighbors do out of courteous for each other (and I agree).



**I am putting together the information I have gathered from over a year of Facebook posts.  I have texted LB to ask her specifically, but as she has elementary aged children, is going to college, and is in a different time zone, I know she is busy and may not immediately respond.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Isisnin on December 01, 2012, 10:16:06 PM
Your friend could check with the other neighbors.  Kinds like "is it it just me or....".   The other neighbors might have some experience with what the barking neighbor is like when responding to neighbor requests.  If the barking neighbor has a bad rep on the street, best to leave things alone.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Surianne on December 01, 2012, 11:05:27 PM
Thanks for clarifying.  That seems like a legitimate complaint to me -- and the neighbour probably has no idea your friend's husband needs to sleep during the day.  I'd go with knocking on her door with a polite request and explanation the first time.  She should leave her dog out of it, though -- I wouldn't bring up any comparisons of how she's a "better" neighbour (though it's true) as that might just antagonize her.

It's possible the neighbour has no idea her dog is waking up your friend's husband, and will comply with a polite request.  If not, she can figure out other solutions (talking to neighbours to band together, reporting a complaint, buying earplugs/a white noise machine for her husband, etc).
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: sunnygirl on December 01, 2012, 11:55:25 PM
POD to talking to the neighbour.

However if the problem really is serious (prolonged excessive noise) and the neighbour proves unwilling to help, I would suggest exploring the option of making some kind of official complaint if possible. I've had similar issues and once I complained to the local council's noise unit, and once to the RSPCA (UK national animal welfare organisation). The ASPCA may be able to give advice, assuming the OP's friend is in the US.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 07:44:56 AM
I think it migjt be a combination of things. I think expecting everyone to have a zero tolerence policy is unreasonable, IMO. Also different settings might mean different responses. Living close together in the city is fifferent than living acres apart in the country.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: AnnaJ on December 02, 2012, 11:05:55 AM
I think that *treading softly here* some people have a high tolerance for, or tune out certain sounds (dogs barking, crying children, loud music) that bother other people a lot.  It sounds like friend's neighbor is one of these people.

If she hasn't already talked to the neighbor, that's a good place to start.  And just because friend hasn't heard complaints from neighbors doesn't mean they are not annoyed - since friend also has a dog other people may be uncomfortable saying things in front of her about barking dogs.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 02, 2012, 03:49:52 PM
LB says that she has never before spoken to this neighbor and doesn't exactly know what to say. I suggested, "Hi, I'm LB, I live next door. I know we all get busy sometimes but could you please try to keep your dog from barking so much? My husband works graveyards and it often wakes up him. Thanks for understanding."

LB wants to know what to say if her neighbor declines the suggestion.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 03:58:34 PM
I think the first step would be to find out noise laws. If neighbor is breaking t hg em she could call in a conplaint. Also look at what can be done to noiseproof DH's room - then he can sleep through lawn mowrs, sirens, loud kids as well as dogs.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: kherbert05 on December 02, 2012, 06:15:24 PM
If she comes up with a solution - I would love to hear it.


Ernie my left hand neighbor and Popcorn my backdoor neighbor go on for hours sometimes. Leading to my two right hand neighbors - the humans neighbors (they face another street) coming over to complain that Abby and Andi are parking too much - only Abby, Andi, and I were all asleep.


Abby and Andi are sheltie/aussie mixes. Ernie and Popcorn are smaller dogs with higher pitched almost yippy barks. The 2nd time this happened I pointed out the difference in the barks - and explained that I get up at 3:30 so please do NOT com banging on my door at  9 pm - especially when you can tell my dogs are not in the yard. (My front and back doors are actually on the same side of the house about 2 yards between them, separated by a fence. If you are at my door you can tell there are no dogs in the yard.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: LadyClaire on December 03, 2012, 10:55:23 AM
My neighbor often leaves their lab outside to bark all day and often late into the night. There was one week where the dog was left outside every single night until after 3:00 A.M. I was so tired I was on the verge of tears, but the neighbors were never home when we were.

I think someone did finally say something to them about it, because now they rarely leave the dog out after 10:30 p.m.

If they start leaving it outside during all hours I will probably just call the police or animal control. From what other neighbors have said, these particular neighbors are the clueless forgetful types who don't think about their impact on everyone else in the neighborhood (they also like to buy fireworks three weeks before July 4th and set them off until 11:30 p.m. every single night).
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Morty'sCleaningLady on December 03, 2012, 10:59:59 AM
If there is an issue of speaking with the neighbor, your friend could purchase a 'bark breaker' for her yard.  She would want to bring her dog inside when it was on though.  A 'bark breaker' emits an unpleasant sound only the dog can hear when barking is occurring to train the dog not to bark.

I had to use one on my dear departed Mort when we lived near a school.  He was fine until he could hear children playing and, then, in is truly crochety old man bark, he'd tell them to scram.  The bark breaker stopped that.  (And the kids weren't in our yard, but a very nearby one.)
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: BeagleMommy on December 03, 2012, 11:17:45 AM
We have a neighbor that has three large pit bulls.  They are not socialized and are very aggressive.  He keeps them in a large, locked pen.  The dogs bark at everything.  You can't tell what is setting them off.  They don't even phase The Beagle any more.  He ignores them.

POD to checking the noise laws.  We were out of luck when DH was working 8 pm to 8 am.  He would try to sleep around 2 pm but couldn't because of the pit bulls.  Noise laws in our area said barkiing dogs had to be silenced by 8 pm.  DH got earplugs to aleviate the problem.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 03, 2012, 11:44:12 AM
LB and I talked about it and she is going to follow what her city law says. She declined to go speak to her neighbor because, and I quote, "Sure, that'll really endear me to them. 'Hey, I know we've been neighbors for years and haven't spoke, so the first time we do, I'm gonna tell you how inconsiderate you are. Yeah! Let's be friends now, 'K?' I'd rather just call in a complaint."

I'll let you know how it goes.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 03, 2012, 12:48:54 PM
I agree with your friend's reasoning.  If she already had a relationship with the neighbour, I'd advise talking to them first but not having met them despite living there for a while?  You don't want a complaint as your introduction.

I had some neighbourhood yappy dogs driving me nuts.  They would bark all the time and then I found out that the reason the dogs were always in the yard is that the owners would leave the patio door propped open so the dogs could come and go as they wanted to.  I couldn't enjoy my own yard because this dog would bark at me the entire time I was outside.  And when I went inside, it would bark at something or someone else and I could still hear it.  I had to close all my windows.

One night, I came *this close* to calling in a noise complaint but I didn't.  I should have - the house next door to the yappy dog house was broken into.  So the next time a dog was yapping non-stop, I called in a noise complaint.  I ended up cancelling it because the owners came home and let the dog in - it wasn't the same set of neighbours.

The situation has improved but there are so many dogs that when one is outside and starts barking, it sets up quite the chorus.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Eden on December 03, 2012, 12:54:06 PM
LB and I talked about it and she is going to follow what her city law says. She declined to go speak to her neighbor because, and I quote, "Sure, that'll really endear me to them. 'Hey, I know we've been neighbors for years and haven't spoke, so the first time we do, I'm gonna tell you how inconsiderate you are. Yeah! Let's be friends now, 'K?' I'd rather just call in a complaint."

I'll let you know how it goes.

Following that same logic, though, calling the authorities on them isn't exactly going to endear them either. I suppose it's anonymous but Neighbor will likely be wondering who called it in and probably assume the ones who keep hours that would have them sleeping during the day.

I had to speak to a neighbor about this with whom up until that point I'd only had the casual wave from a distance. I just said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but your dog is barking incessantly and makes it difficult to sleep. Could you bring him inside?" My neighbor was extremely apologetic and honestly had tuned it out and didn't realize the dog was barking that much. It opened up a dialogue with the neighbor that turned out to be very useful. Especially after his new pup turned out to be a Houdini and I regularly had to let Neighbor know I'd seen his dog three blocks over!
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Green Bean on December 03, 2012, 07:03:55 PM

(My front and back doors are actually on the same side of the house about 2 yards between them, separated by a fence. If you are at my door you can tell there are no dogs in the yard.

Sorry for the highjack, but how does this work? Is you're back door at the front of the house, or the front door not at the front?  i can't imagine a layout where this makes sense to me.

Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: doodlemor on December 03, 2012, 08:05:59 PM
Maybe something like this would help.  Perhaps the layout of the yards would be such that it would squelch both dogs.  Although pricey, it might be worth every penny if it takes away the aggravation of the barking.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3307+18168+18896&pcatid=18896

I've never used one of these, nor spoken with someone who has.  Maybe an ehellion can share whether these things work.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Morty'sCleaningLady on December 04, 2012, 10:18:29 AM
Maybe something like this would help.  Perhaps the layout of the yards would be such that it would squelch both dogs.  Although pricey, it might be worth every penny if it takes away the aggravation of the barking.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3307+18168+18896&pcatid=18896

I've never used one of these, nor spoken with someone who has.  Maybe an ehellion can share whether these things work.

That's a bark breaker that I referenced in my reply.  They do work.  It will take a while and can annoy other dogs in the area though.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Girly on December 04, 2012, 11:23:32 AM
I had a neighbor that moved in a couple of years ago that has three large dogs. She put up an electric fence that went around her entire yard, and would leave her dogs out all day while she was at work. I work from home, and would hear them bark bark bark bark bark bark the entire day.

Our first communication was me saying to her 'I don't think you realize this because you aren't home during the day, but the dogs are barking almost the entire time you are gone'. She ended up modifying the fence so they stayed in the backyard, and the noise problem was resolved.

I also have two dogs (three at the time this happened), and would leave them outside in our backyard (leave the door open so they can go in and out) that has a 6foot privacy fence. When they would start continuously barking, I would bring them in, every time (not for just a random bark here or there).  I did notice that I was having to call them in less often, and it was because my crazy neighbor put up one of those bark things mentioned earlier in the thread.

I was not offended in the least, in fact, I tried to pay more attention to the barking thinking maybe I had just started to tune it out, however he never said anything to us about it, so I never changed anything we did (continue to call them in when they were barking more than the 'random' bark).
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 04, 2012, 12:36:16 PM
I don't know about LB, I'll have to ask her, but I personally want my dogs to bark until I tell them to stop.  If they're trained to never bark, what happens when someone breaks into our house and I'm asleep?  My dogs know that if they bark more than the random bark here and there, they're coming inside.  (Now they stand at the door and bark when they want in... ::)).  That being said, I'm not sure how I'd feel if a neighbor put up a bark breaker.  Well, I know I'd feel chastised passive aggressively, that's for certain, but my dogs don't bark all that much (we're very conscious about this, see above about what happens when they do) so it would seem OTT to me on top of someone thinking they can train my dogs how they want.  I personally wouldn't by a bark breaker for any dogs but my own, but I would probably recommend it to someone whose dog wouldn't stop barking, like in LB's case.  "Oh, Neighbor, I know how hard it can be to get your dog to stop barking, but it is really keeping my husband from sleeping.  He works graves, you see.  Have you heard of a bark breaker?"
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Isisnin on December 04, 2012, 06:13:40 PM
LB has a good game plan. 

Another problem with LB talking to the neighbor before the authorities is that someone else may already have called the authorities and the neighbor is wondering who called.  So if LB approaches the neighbor under those circumstances, the neighbor may get irate and say "So it was you!!!". And the relationship goes from nonexistent to bad.

this happened to me over my neighbor's shrubs.  I think I've posted this story, so long story short,  I asked him politely to cut back his shrubs overgrowing the public sidewalk.  He shouted "So knew it was you!  You're the reason I got all those tickets!".   A few days, Animal Control stopped by due to LOTS of complaints from apparently one man about my dog.  I pointed at neighbor's unkempt house and said it was him.  I didn't get a ticket and they said they told him to stop calling them as they were noting his calls as "neighbor dispute".  There were some other things that happened that I suspect he was behind.

Moral of the story:  unless you well know and are well friendly with a neighbor, don't ask them to stop the dog from barking/cut the shrubs/etc.  Let the authorities handle it so things can stay peaceable between you and the neighbors
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 04, 2012, 06:45:26 PM
LB has a good game plan. 

Another problem with LB talking to the neighbor before the authorities is that someone else may already have called the authorities and the neighbor is wondering who called.  So if LB approaches the neighbor under those circumstances, the neighbor may get irate and say "So it was you!!!". And the relationship goes from nonexistent to bad.

this happened to me over my neighbor's shrubs.  I think I've posted this story, so long story short,  I asked him politely to cut back his shrubs overgrowing the public sidewalk.  He shouted "So knew it was you!  You're the reason I got all those tickets!".   A few days, Animal Control stopped by due to LOTS of complaints from apparently one man about my dog.  I pointed at neighbor's unkempt house and said it was him.  I didn't get a ticket and they said they told him to stop calling them as they were noting his calls as "neighbor dispute".  There were some other things that happened that I suspect he was behind.

Moral of the story:  unless you well know and are well friendly with a neighbor, don't ask them to stop the dog from barking/cut the shrubs/etc.  Let the authorities handle it so things can stay peaceable between you and the neighbors

I agree, especially because the tips are technically anonymous.  I think if she already had a relationship with this neighbor, or if they hadn't been neighbors for so long without having a relationship, talking to the neighbor would be the best bet.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: kherbert05 on December 04, 2012, 07:39:00 PM

(My front and back doors are actually on the same side of the house about 2 yards between them, separated by a fence. If you are at my door you can tell there are no dogs in the yard.

Sorry for the highjack, but how does this work? Is you're back door at the front of the house, or the front door not at the front?  i can't imagine a layout where this makes sense to me.



Hope this makes sense
                         street
Front yard and driveway

                         front window    garage
                      |
                      |
      side yard   |
                      |
                      |
                      front door
                      |
                      |
                      |
Fence -----------
                      |
                      |
                      |
                      Side/back door
                      |
back yard        |
                      |
                      |_____________________________
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 12, 2012, 08:00:36 PM
LB* wants to know if it would be retaliatory rudeness or plausible deniability (I say the former but understand why it could be the latter) for her to leave her dog outside even if the neighbor's dog barks at it as long as her dog isn't barking. (Holy run-on, Batman!)



*Not the E-Hellion LB...I didn't realize there was a poster with that moniker or I wouldn't have used it for my friend.  Sorry, LB!
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Isisnin on December 12, 2012, 09:40:11 PM
It is perfectly fine for her to leave her dog outside as long as it is not barking too much.  LB is not responsible for what her neighbor's dog does.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 12, 2012, 09:56:38 PM
It is perfectly fine for her to leave her dog outside as long as it is not barking too much.  LB is not responsible for what her neighbor's dog does.

Even though she could potentially get the neighbor's dog to stop barking (and thus annoying everyone) by bringing hers inside?  I realize it isn't her responsibility to stop the other dog barking, but she can lessen the burden on other neighbors by bringing her dog inside (even though I don't think she should have to).  I think I may, again, be confusing nice with polite.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: TootsNYC on December 13, 2012, 07:16:43 AM
Again, I think she's not required to give up the normal living of her life (and her dog's life) because the neighbor's dog barks so much.

Sort of, you don't blame the victim for the crime.

Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 13, 2012, 08:20:51 AM
A couple years ago, anytime I went out into the garden to work, the neighbour's yappy dog would bark its fool head off.  Didn't stop me from gardening.  Well, it did, when I couldn't take it any more.

As long as LB's dog isn't adding to the noise, she's fine to leave it outside.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Shoo on December 13, 2012, 08:27:07 AM
I've got a neighbor whose son won't stop barking.  I struggle with how to deal with it, because it seriously interferes with my enjoyment of my front (and back sometimes) yard.

He's 22 years old, with some kind of mental disability.  He stands out in his front yard and barks for hours on end.  I'm pretty sure he's just bored and trying to entertain himself.  I don't know his parents, but have been tempted to knock on their door.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: rashea on December 13, 2012, 08:56:32 AM
It is perfectly fine for her to leave her dog outside as long as it is not barking too much.  LB is not responsible for what her neighbor's dog does.

Even though she could potentially get the neighbor's dog to stop barking (and thus annoying everyone) by bringing hers inside?  I realize it isn't her responsibility to stop the other dog barking, but she can lessen the burden on other neighbors by bringing her dog inside (even though I don't think she should have to).  I think I may, again, be confusing nice with polite.

Turn it around. Is it fair to her dog that it can't be outside just because the other dog is misbehaving? If it were people, should I avoid my yard because it makes my neighbor start playing opera music (hypothetically)?
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 13, 2012, 03:34:35 PM
It is perfectly fine for her to leave her dog outside as long as it is not barking too much.  LB is not responsible for what her neighbor's dog does.

Even though she could potentially get the neighbor's dog to stop barking (and thus annoying everyone) by bringing hers inside?  I realize it isn't her responsibility to stop the other dog barking, but she can lessen the burden on other neighbors by bringing her dog inside (even though I don't think she should have to).  I think I may, again, be confusing nice with polite.

Turn it around. Is it fair to her dog that it can't be outside just because the other dog is misbehaving? If it were people, should I avoid my yard because it makes my neighbor start playing opera music (hypothetically)?

I fully agree with you. I just wanted make sure I (and she) was covering all the bases. She doesn't want her other neighbors to hate her.
Title: Re: When a dog won't stop barking...
Post by: BowHuntress on December 13, 2012, 07:09:37 PM
We also have a non stop barking dog in our neighborhood, usually my 3 dogs don't return the bark. If I could figure out which house it is I would say something. However I have not been able to, I usually reach the end of my rope when we go to bed and wake up because that dog is barking.

In my opinion, it is perfectly fine for your friend to call in a complaint. In my city they will send out a nice animal office (during their daytime/evening shifts) to talk to the owner. I have also called and said just send an officer out, I have no idea what house but tell them to stand at the corner and they will hear the dog.

We are also very aware of when our dogs bark. I go outside see what they are barking at and either a) give them a scolding- which stops them for long enough that I know they have done their outside duties or b) bring them in.