Barking Dogs

Council acknowledges that barking dogs can be a great source of irritation to neighbours and residents and can cause strain on neighbourhood relations. Council’s Barking Dog Dispute Process aims to ensure the approach follows legal processes and is fair for all involved.

What causes dogs to bark excessively?

Barking is a normal behaviour for dogs and an important means of communication. The RSPCA advises that when dogs bark excessively, it usually indicates an underlying issue. Some of these reasons for excessive barking include:

  • boredom
  • being anxious when left alone 
  • fear
  • territorial behaviour
  • attention-seeking behaviour
  • lack of exercise
  • disturbances
  • not enough human companionship
  • movement outside the dog's property
  • hungry or thirsty
  • medical condition
  • inadequate yard space
  • provocation
  • behaviour problems
  • change to family structure
  • inadequate shelter from weather conditions

Dogs also bark to alert their owners of trouble, such as an intruder entering the property or perhaps a fire. Remember, a dog’s idea of an “intruder” may differ to that of the owner. It could include cats, possums, other dogs, or even birds flying across the property.

For more information, please visit the RSPCA website for various articles regarding reasons why dogs bark.

What are a dog owner's responsibilities?

While it is acceptable for a dog to bark to warn its owner of trouble, it is the owner’s responsibility to train the dog not to bark at “normal” occurrences such as possums, cats or birds. This can be achieved through humane positive training techniques that start as soon as you bring your new dog home, attending puppy preschool, attending dog obedience classes and/or seeking assistance from a qualified dog trainer or Veterinarian. 

What do I do if I am concerned about my dog's barking?

If you are concerned that your dog may bark excessively, before you can successfully manage a barking problem, you will need to determine the cause of the barking. To determine if your dog is barking excessively;

  • Ask your neighbours to tell you how often your dog barks in your absence;
  • Record your dog while you are away;
  • Consider how much exercise and activities your dog may be doing each day;
  • Consider if there is a medical reason for the barking;
  • Consider if you dog has visual or auditory triggers eg: can see people and dogs walking past.
  • Speak to your vet regarding your dog’s behaviour and to obtain some advice.

The RSPCA advice that once the underlying cause and 'triggers' for the barking are identified, training techniques can be used to treat the excessive barking in a humane way.

For more information, please visit the RSPCA website for various articles regarding how you can stop your dog from barking.

Some tips for reducing barking

While barking is one of the main ways dogs communicate, it is NOT normal for a dog to bark at every noise or passer-by, nor to bark for long periods of time

Here are some simply tips for reducing your dog barking;

  • Make sure that you do not reward your dog for barking too much. Don’t let the dog inside or give it attention when it barks. Instead, give the dog attention when it is quiet.
  • If the dog is barking at people or noises on the other side of a fence, move the dog to another part of the yard, or put up a barrier to keep the dog away from that area.
  • If the dog barks at regular disturbances such as children walking to school or rubbish trucks, keep the dog inside or in an enclosed area at these times.
  • If the dog races along a path or fence barking at passing distractions, put barriers or obstacles in the dog’s way to slow it down.
  • Ensure that the dog has adequate exercise and obedience training.
  • If the dog is being left alone for long periods of time, ensure you leave it toys, bones etc. to provide stimulation.
  • Make sure that the dog has food, water and shelter from the weather.
  • If the dog is barking through gaps and cracks in the fence, fill them in.
  • If the dog is barking at people it can see passing by, try blocking the dog’s view.
  • Teach the dog to stop barking on command. When the dog is barking give a firm command such as ‘cease’ or ‘stop’ and call the dog to you. Praise the dog when it stops barking. If the dog will not listen to you, consider contacting a qualified dog trainer or dog training company for help and obedience training suggestions.
  • Seek professional assistance from an Animal Behaviourist before the dog develops bad habits.

Further Advice


Further advice and information can be obtained from:

  • An Animal Behaviourist
  • A Qualified Dog Trainer
  • A Dog Obedience School
  • Your Local Vet Clinic
  • Dispute Settlement Centre
    Phone: (03) 9224 2222
    The RSPCA website contains excellent information if your dog is barking excessively. 
  • Agriculture Victoria
    Phone: 136 186

Should you require any additional information regarding Council's Barking Dog process please contact Council offices on (03) 5832 9700.