No Kill Pima County presents a free community meeting open to the public on Wednesday – September 18 at Windmill Inn, St. Philips Plaza, 4250 N. Campbell Avenue, from 6 to 8 pm. Everyone is invited.
Three local dog trainers: Janet Galante, owner of Sit Stay Play; Jay Smith, owner of Community Dog Training; and Veronica Zimmerman, owner of V’s Cloud 9 K-9 and author of DOG: A Diabetic’s Best Friend Training Guide, will address behavioral concerns like barking, aggression, house training, destruction, health issues, and more. The goal of the panel is to educate adopters with some helpful tips for working with dogs and keeping them out of a shelter; and for people to overcome hesitation about becoming a foster care volunteer.
Janet Galante submitted the following advice for dealing with a barking dog:
Good fences may make good neighbors, but they don’t necessarily help with barking dogs. Barking is a normal behavior for dogs, but is labeled a problem when it annoys people, or if the dog is distressed. A complaint from a neighbor about a barking dog needs to be taken seriously, but a little due diligence is required. I always recommend that clients talk to the concerned neighbor and thank them for letting you know that a problem exists and assure the neighbor that their concerns will be taken seriously.
Next, involve the neighbor. Ask exactly when the dog is barking, the duration of the barking, if the dog is inside or outside when barking, and if the barking occurs during particular circumstances (if someone is in the alley or when the garbage is collected).
The next step is to verify the neighbor’s complaint. Many times I have been called to help with a barking dog only to find it is another dog in the neighborhood causing the problem. Webcams can easily be set up to monitor the dog’s activity. If webcams aren’t possible, a simple sound activated recording device can be used. If your dog is not the culprit share the information with your neighbor.
If your dog is the cause of the disturbance decide if the amount of barking is more than is reasonable (woof, woof, woof). Make note of when the dog is barking and for how long. Dogs bark for many reasons. If your dog barks shortly after you leave the home, the dog may have some form of separation distress. If the dog starts barking a couple of hours after you are gone then the dog may be bored.
Barking may be related to activities outside of the home like garbage pickup or people walking by the property. Many barking issues can be relieved with the use of management and environmental enrichment. Food hidden in toys and puzzles or food-filled toys frozen in blocks of ice can entertain a bored dog.
If the dog is anxious then a trainer may work with you by teaching your dog how to stay calm and relaxed even in the face of stressful situations. A bored dog may be an under-stimulated and under-exercised dog so the trainer may suggest that the dog be exercised regularly and given more opportunities for play.
If a dog is under extreme distress you may need to find alternative arrangements with a family member, friend, or good dog daycare while you are working with the trainer to reach resolution. Whatever your course of action, let your neighbor know that you are working on the problem and taking their concerns seriously.
If you live in an apartment complex barking can be more of an annoyance to neighbors than if you live on three acres. Some home owners associations have strict rules against barking and may even impose fines. Click here to view the Pima County Animal Noise Ordinance . Tips on finding a dog trainer can be found here .
Janet Galante is the owner of Sit! Stay! Play!