Barking dogs

City of Coffs Harbour Rangers handle more than 2,500 dog complaints each year and the majority are to do with barking dogs.

Dogs bark for a number of reasons, but regardless of the cause, the reality is that a nuisance barking dog can be a real problem in a neighbourhood. 

However, dogs are allowed to bark and not all barking is deemed a nuisance.

The following guidelines are designed to help alleviate the problems associated with barking dogs. 

If you're affected by barking dogs

Step 1.Before contacting us

Discuss the problem with the owner of the barking dog.

They may not be aware that you have a problem. Many dog owners are not offended by the barking of their own dog or may be away when it barks. In most cases owners will want to do the right thing and will co-operate. Our barking dog information pack can help you with this.

Barking Dog Information Pack(PDF, 1MB)

Step 2.Wait

If the owner agrees to do something about the barking please wait a few weeks to see if they have been successful in their efforts. 

During this time you should remain in contact with your neighbour and let them know what the dog barks at etc. This will help them identify any specific issues which may be making the dog bark.

Step 3.Report to us

If several weeks have passed and you have followed the information contained in our information pack, and the barking continues, report the issue to us. 

Step 4.Community test

On receiving your report of a barking dog, we will check to see whether there have been any other complaints in the area.

This is because when assessing whether a dog’s barking is creating a nuisance, we apply a 'community test'. That is, the barking needs to be affecting other nearby residents, not just you. 

If an issue passes the community test, the Rangers will review the matter, and may issue the owner with a letter about the complaints received.

If we determine that the barking of a dog is not a community issue, you can contact the NSW Community Justice Centre. This is a free service and helps neighbours resolve issues such as these.

Owners of barking dogs

Why does my dog bark?

Dogs that bark continually can be annoying for both you and your neighbours. If your dog is barking it may be because it:  

  • is bored
  • needs exercise
  • wants attention
  • may suffer from separation anxiety
  • lacks shelter, water, food
  • may need veterinary attention 

It may be as simple as covering your side gate or fence so the dog cannot see out and see distractions off the property.

What can I do about my barking dog?

We're not suggesting you should stay home and entertain the dog all day every day, however, there are a number of simple things you can do to stop your dog barking that can be found in the Why does my dog bark? Information pack(PDF, 827KB) 

If you are already doing all of the things suggested in the information pack and your dog is still barking, you may need to seek advice from an animal behaviour specialist.

There are also a number of mechanical devices which can be used to train your dog. You can discuss these with your local vet.