Excessive barking or howling
If a dog is well looked after, it will generally not bark excessively and disturb neighbours. Dogs tend to bark for a reason – if they are chained up, hungry, thirsty, bored, sick, lonely, neglected or being provoked by a roaming dog or the cat next door.
If a neighbour’s dog is barking excessively, talk to the owner first. Your neighbour may not realise their dog is bothering you, especially if it barks when they aren’t home. In many cases, the owner will be happy to find a solution to the problem. If the problem persists, contact a Community Justice Centre (CJC) for advice. CJCs organise free and independent mediation for neighbourhood disputes to help people avoid expensive and complicated legal action.
The City of Sydney can also follow up complaints about barking dogs. You should keep a record of when the dog barks, the duration, frequency as well as the behaviour of the dog. City rangers investigate complaints and can issue a nuisance order to the dog’s owner. Heavy fines apply if the owner fails to act on the order and stop the barking.
Please note the City would only investigate in the case of:
- The presence of animals creating nuisance
- Animals being dangerous or harming health
- Unhealthy premises and offensive odours.
If you suspect a dog is being mistreated, please contact the RSPCA.
Our companion animals policy may also be of interest.
How to stop your dog barking
If you own a dog that barks excessively, there are steps you can take. The first is to identify why your dog is barking. A dog should be:
- fed a healthy diet
- regularly taken for a walk
- given attention and mental stimulation (play time)
- provided with shelter from the heat and cold weather.
If there are no obvious reasons for the barking, you may need to consult a vet or an animal-behaviour expert. Refer to the RSPCA’s online knowledge base for guidance.
Last updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2014