Barking dogs

All dogs bark, but some barking dogs become a real neighbourhood nuisance - greatly reducing the quality of life for their neighbours and increasing neighbourhood tensions. Barking dogs is one of the most common animal behaviour problems council is asked to deal with.

Ongoing barking is often a symptom of another problem, and taking time to understand what makes your dog bark (especially your pet or other dogs in the neighbourhood) is the first step towards solving this problem, for both the dog involved and your neighbours.

Why dogs bark

  • Dogs are very social animals and often bark when they are lonely
  • Separation from an owner can cause dogs to stress
  • Barking may also be the result of boredom and frustration
  • Dogs bark out of fear - this can be fear  of people, objects or other dogs
  • Dogs bark when there is a threat to their territory
  • Playing with your dog sometimes stimulates barking
  • Some breeds have a reputation for barking

You can control barking

Barking can be controlled through several small behavioural changes. Some behavioural changes could be as small as walking your dog twice a day to relieve boredom.

Dogs are social animals and require a certain amount of interaction on a daily basis. If your dog barks when you are away from the premises it is probably due to loneliness.

An easy way of combating this is to provide your pet with stimulants such as balls and chew toys to keep them occupied while you are away. It can also be handy to leave something that belongs to you such as an old shoe.

Give the dog a bone when you leave the house. This will teach your dog that when you leave there is a positive reaction.

A fence that is correctly designed to restrict your dog's vision will help reduce barking. Obedience training and discipline are also very important when trying to stop a barking problem.

My neighbour's dog barks, what can I do?

Talk to your neighbour as soon as the problem arises. They may not be aware that their dog is barking or that their dog's barking is bothering you.

If you are uncomfortable addressing your neighbour directly, a template of a letter you can complete can be found here.

We recommend also enclosing a copy of our factsheet which contains information which may help identify why the dog is causing a disturbance, as well as techniques to reduce barking.

Give your neighbour time to address the issue.  If the barking persists, then we encourage you to complete the Barking Dog Survey.

Council require documented evidence of nuisance instances to be collected before the issue can be escalated.

This allows Local Laws Officers to better identify the cause of the nuisance, which in turn helps them to better assist owners when resolving the issue.

The survey must be formally lodged – it cannot be anonymous. This is a requirement as the document supports any escalation action.

The survey is available on our website and can be completed electronically and emailed to council@mackay.qld.gov.au or via post.

Barking laws

The Queensland Government has introduced nuisance laws to help make Queensland a more liveable place.

If you have an issue with a barking dog, a complaint should be made to council for further investigation.

Irresponsible owners who fail to comply with council recommendations will face significant penalties including infringement fines.

Council staff can help you with barking problems in the community so that you do not have to suffer the nuisance caused by dogs that make too much noise.

Excessive barking

Excessive barking is an offence and council staff will respond to reported barking problems.

Residents are obliged to complete a survey and contact council to lodge a customer request, once the survey has been filled in regarding the barking issue council can investigate.

Initially, the owner will receive an administrative letter. If the problem continues and further complaints are reported, council will investigate.

Anti-barking collars

Anti-barking collars are available for hire from council's Client Service Centres.

When the dog barks, an undesirable odour is released from the collar, and the dog soon learns not to bark.

Anti-barking collars are available for hire for one week, however extra time can be arranged.

Fees (2019-2020) for hiring an anti-barking collar:

  • refundable deposit - $81.60
  • cost to hire for a week - $23.50
  • additional hire - $23.50 for a second week
  • once the collar is returned in working order your deposit will be refunded

Please be aware that the refund is processed by council's Account Payable area and you will receive your refund by cheque or direct deposit into your bank account.