Dog owners could face up to £1,000 fine for their pooch's excessive barking - here's how to get it under control

We are a nation of dog lovers and we all want our pups to be as happy as can be.

By Leanne Clarke
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 1:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 1:55 pm

But with reports of a dog being seized after months of endless noise complaints, Kennel Store has advised owners on how to prevent excessive noise from our furry friends.

Dogs bark for a range of reasons. They might be trying to alert you of danger or communicating they want to play, but regardless of the reasoning, you don't want this to become an annoyance for your neighbours, and risk you having your pooch removed out of your care.

Barking is a normal dog behaviour, and your dog may be trying to communicate emotion, being territorial or just trying to grab your attention.

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Barking is a normal dog behaviour, and your dog may be trying to communicate emotion, being territorial or just trying to grab your attention.

Every dog is different and individual so some dogs are more vocal than others, but even the slightest noise can set many dogs off. Whether it's the ring of your doorbell, an incoming thunderstorm or the postman delivering the post.

This can, however, become a source of irritation and stress for both owners and neighbours alike, so there are some practices dog owners can put in place to help minimise excessive barking:

Ensure you're not rewarding the barking

Telling your dog they're a 'good dog' and rewarding them with treats whilst this behaviour is ongoing will encourage it more. Instead, reward your dog when they are quiet.

If they bark at meal times, wait until the barking has subsided and then place their food down. This way, they associate being quiet with a reward, and in time they will learn that continuously barking will not allow them to get what they want.

Don't raise your voice at your dog

You may be inclined to go down the route of speaking in a louder tone out of sheer frustration or desperation, but in turn, your dog thinks you're joining in with them and they will typically just get louder. Identify what is causing the excessive barking and remove the stimulus that is causing it, therefore leading to a quieter, happier dog.

Make sure your dog has a routine

If your dog is bored and has no structure, they're more likely to lean into destructive and less desirable behaviours. Daily exercise, scheduled meal times and regular play can all contribute to a more relaxed dog, which will result in a greatly reduced amount of attention-seeking barking.

Train your dog to become desensitised to barking triggers

If you notice a pattern of triggers that cause your dog to bark, it's important to train them to not react to them unnecessarily. Some dogs are particularly reactive, so this is something to bear in mind when training your dog. This is a process that should be done gradually and with patience. If you have any concerns in regards to training your dog, contact a professional dog obedience specialist or registered trainer who is able to advise further.

Penalty for excessive barking

If you are not able to get your dogs barking under control, you could face varying degrees of penalisation. Per the Governments guidance, councils are obligated to investigate claims regarding noise.

Councils must look into complaints about noise that could be a ‘statutory nuisance’ (covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990).

For the noise to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:

* Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises

* Injure health or be likely to injure health

Should the council receive a complaint about your dog, you will then have seven days to rectify your dog's barking issue.

If you fail to comply with this, you may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £110.

You may ultimately be prosecuted if you do not pay the Fixed Penalty Notice "councils can prosecute them if they don’t issue an FPN or if the person responsible doesn’t pay the fine on time (if convicted they can get a fine of up to £1,000 for dwellings and an unlimited amount for licensed premises)

It's extremely important to address your dog's barking issues as early as possible, to prevent a fine or risk having your dog removed from your home permanently.

Google Trends data shows a staggering 700% increase in searches for "why is my dog barking at night all of a sudden" and a 350% increase in searches for "how much exercise does a dog need everyday" - so UK dog owners are actively seeking this information.