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Barking Dogs

Barking is one way dogs communicate and can mean anything from playfulness to danger. Complaints about barking dogs are one of the most common calls made to Council's Rangers. Many dog owners are not aware that, while they are not at home, their dog may be nuisance barking and disturbing the neighbours. According to the Companion Animals Act 1998, a dog is a nuisance if the dog:

"makes a noise, by barking or otherwise, that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises".

There are a number of common reasons why dogs bark. Some dogs bark because they are:

  • Chained to a fixed point and don’t have enough room to move around;
  • Being provoked deliberately or unintentionally by people or other roaming animals;
  • Not getting enough exercise;
  • Not properly trained; or
  • Lonely, sick, hungry, or generally neglected.

Chronic or excessive barking is a sign that something is wrong and can be a nuisance to others in the community. Sometimes stopping a dog from barking can be as simple as taking care of their basic needs.

Owners of dogs have responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, to ensure their dogs do not exhibit nuisance behaviour or emit offensive noise.


If a barking dog is a nuisance:

1. Clearly identify the location of the barking dog. Remember noise can travel in different directions and it is easy to mistake which dog is the problem. To ensure its correct identity, you should be able to visually see the dog, not just hear it.

2. Approach the dog owner as soon as the barking becomes a nuisance. It is important to remember that some dog owners find it extremely difficult to believe their dog is barking when they are not home. You should tell the owner: 

    - the dates, times and duration of the dog barking, 
    - the reason you believe causing the dog to bark, if known, 
    - where the dog is barking (e.g. the front or back of the house), 
    - the effect the barking is having on your life, and 
    - any other relevant information to assist the dog owner in dealing with the problem.

3. You should remember that, while the dog barking may be disrupting your life, the dog owner will need time to deal with the problem. Your support and information will greatly assist the dog owner to solve the problem.


Reporting a barking dog
To report a nuisance dog contact Council. When reporting a barking dog to Council, please provide the following information:
  • the location of the barking dog;
  • the breed, colour and any distinguishing features to identify the barking dog;
  • the dates, times and duration of the dog barking;
  • where the dog is barking (e.g. the front or back of the house);
  • the effect the barking is having on your life;
  • when you reported the barking dog to its owner; and
  • any other relevant information that will assist Council.

As part of the investigation process you will be asked to complete a barking dog diary, which is required to be filled out by you over a continual two-week period before any action can be taken. At the point at which the diary is sent to you, a letter will also be sent to the property where the barking is alleged to be coming from. This letter advises the resident/s that a complaint has been lodged with Council and the issue is being monitored. It also contains some helpful hints and tips about how they can address a barking dog issue.

If the dog continues to bark excessively after the owner is made aware of the problem, Council Rangers may issue a nuisance order. A nuisance order requires the owner of the dog to stop the dog from continuing the nuisance behaviour. The order remains in force for six months. If, during this time, the owner fails to stop the animal from barking excessively, they are in breach of the order.

To issue a nuisance dog order, Council requires sufficient evidence and may need to interview other neighbouring residents to correctly identify the dog and determine the extent of the problem.

Council may also issue a nuisance order if a dog is:
  • habitually roaming the neighbourhood;
  • defecating on other people's property;
  • chasing a person, animal or vehicle;
  • causing damage to a property; and
  • endangering the health of any person or animal.

For more advice on managing barking dogs, talk to your local veterinarian or a qualified animal behaviourist/trainer. If you need advice or assistance in relation to a barking dog, please contact Council.


Singleton Council
PO Box 314 Singleton NSW 2330
Ph: 02 6578 7290