By Fred Hassen
& Toni Drugmand
If you have a barking dog it can be annoying and costly.
Although no one has ever been sent to jail for a barking dog in Maricopa County, Arizona last year aprox 75 dog owners were prosecuted for having barking dogs.
The law states:
“No person shall keep a dog within the city limits which is in the habit of barking or howling or disturbing the peace and quiet of any person within the city”.
The law goes on to read: The maximum sentence for violating the barking-dog ordinance is six months in jail, a $2,500.00 fine and a misdemeanor charge! Although actual records show fines more likely in the range of $300.00 or less, the owner of a barking dog should be aware of potential consequences in addition to the pressures of unhappy neighbors.
Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. Most dogs are a good alarm and when they hear something suspicious they bark to warn us that something is askew or someone is at our door. These barking traits can be very desirable. They can make us feel safe when we are home or help us feel our belongings or property is safe when we are away.
Dogs that are left unattended too long however can bark excessively because they are bored or lonely.
Criminal complaints filed along with annoyed neighbors and the likely possibility your dog is not getting his needs adequately met for exercise and attention are good reasons to take immediate action & diminish unwanted problem barking the moment you become aware of it.
If you wonder if your pooch is home barking while you are away; ask your neighbors to let you know if your dog (s) are a verbal nuisance. This can help maintain the peace of the neighborhood if neighbors think you are responsible and concerned about fixing the problem.
Training options may include:
Teaching your dog to bark on command and then stop barking on command. This may require the help of a professional dog trainer. This may sound like a contradiction but can actually help your dog to be discriminating in his barking.
Some useful training aids are the following;
· Spray bottle with water
· Training collar and check chord
· Throw can with pennies inside
· Bark collar
Training must occur at the moment the behavior occurs.
The most difficult thing about training for the barking dog is that it requires supervision. If your dog is barking when he is unattended, there is very little that you can do about it except to put a bark collar on him. If the anti-bark collar is quality it is effective for solving the problem because when the dog’s vocal chords vibrate the dog receives an electrical stimulation and quickly he will learn not to bark in order to prevent the stimulation from occurring. The problem with the bark collar from a trainer’s perspective is that the dog does not get any aid in discriminating when it is okay to bark and when it is not. It is solely an eliminating tool.
Setting up training situations that provide barking opportunities for your dog while you engineer some way to correct the behavior can be effective. However this can be more difficult for the city dog, especially the apartment dog. In this case better management may be required. If the dog is being left outdoors, then perhaps leaving him inside will help prevent over stimulation for him. A dog crate can help maintain the dog safely in the home if his inside manners are not to be trusted.
If you are the neighbor of a barking dog owner be sure to identify yourself if and when a complaint is made so that the responsible dog owner and considerate neighbor can let you know that the problem is being addressed. You will also provide the barking dog owner’s input as to whether the training tactics are working.
If your problem is serious don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional dog trainer in your area so that you and your dog can live in harmony in your neighborhood.
Ask the Trainer: