Dogs bark to express excitement, boredom, stress, anxiety or to let you know they’re defending their territory. But ongoing barking, whining or howling can be incredibly distressing for neighbours and owners.

How to reduce your dog's barking

If your dog is making excessive noise, first try to establish the cause. The most common reasons are boredom, anxiety, disturbances, discomfort, excitement or attention seeking. You may need a professional opinion. You can discuss your concerns with your council’s animal management officer, vet or an animal behaviourist.

Once you understand the cause, you will need a strategy to address the behaviour. This might include:

  • spending more time with your dog;
  • providing mental stimulation, activities and toys;
  • more physical exercise;
  • attending dog training classes (RSPCA offer several force-free options);
  • socialising your dog;
  • addressing veterinary issues.

Animal behaviour specialists recommend being consistent and rewarding positive behaviour.

If the barking stems from regular events, like end of school or mail deliveries, you could try relocating your dog during these periods can resolve the issue. If your dog barks when disturbed by a neighbour, speak with them and work together on solutions.

If your dog is alone most of the day, below are some other ideas you could try to reduce nuisance barking:

  • Ask a friend or family member to visit during the day to give the dog some attention;
  • Doggy day care’ and professional dog walkers can also relieve boredom;
  • A radio set to a talkback station can ease anxiety in dogs.

Speak to your vet or animal behaviourist for more information and advice.

Nuisance barking

While barking is natural for dogs, excessive barking around residential areas can be distressing and disruptive. If you are concerned about a barking dog in your area, the first step is to speak with the owner. Often the owner is not aware of the issue and may offer solutions to reduce the barking.

If the matter can’t be resolved, you can make a complaint to your Council.


Councils have procedures for responding to complaints about barking dogs. In most instances the person who complains will be asked keep a diary of any barking for a period of time. Procedures may vary between councils.

Where an offence has occurred, the owner may be fined or have a control order placed on the dog, which requires the owner to take all reasonable steps to reduce their dog’s noise. Council cannot seize and detain dogs for barking.

Fact sheet

Barking dog fact sheet