Dealing with barking dogs

Communication with your neighbour is a good starting point.

Always discuss your concerns with your neighbour first. They may not realise their dog barking is creating a nuisance. By raising the issue with them first, you are more likely to maintain a good relationship.

You may find that your neighbour genuinely wants to resolve the problem and in most cases, barking can be effectively controlled. Understanding why a dog is barking can help when discussing the issue and finding the best solution.

Why do dogs bark?

Dogs bark as a form of communication and are usually trying to attract the attention of their owner, alert that something is wrong or to warn off an intruder. While they may appear to be barking for no reason, they are usually trying to tell us something. This could include that:

  • they are bored and need to be exercised more often
  • they are lonely and don’t want to be left alone
  • they are too hot or cold
  • they are hungry or thirsty
  • there is an intruder
  • there is another animal in or around the yard (possums, cats etc.)
  • they are unwell
  • they just need more attention.

While these issues can often be easily addressed, owners may benefit from seeking advice from a professional who will introduce simple and practical steps that provide long term solutions.

Writing to the owner

If you find approaching your neighbour directly too confronting or daunting, you may wish to send them a letter notifying them of the issues. You can download a (DOCX, 14KB)template letter(DOCX, 61KB)

What if my neighbour doesn't resolve the problem?

If your neighbour takes no action or fails to acknowledge the issue, you may wish to contact the Disputes Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV). The DSCV is a free service that provides practical solutions to resolving disputes in the community without the need for expensive legal action. In certain cases this may include mediation between the disputing parties. For more information visit

How can Council help me?

Although we encourage residents to talk to their neighbours in the first instance, we understand that this approach does not always work or can be impractical for a variety of reasons.

If this is the case, you can lodge a complaint by contacting Council’s Customer Service Centre on 8290 1333.  

Our customer service staff will record your contact details, the issue location and a brief description of the problem. The matter will then be referred to the Animal Management Team for investigation and an Officer will be in contact with you in 10 business days.

What happens next?

An Animal Management Officer will speak to your neighbour about the issue and provide advice and recommendations on how they can best reduce the barking and resolve the issue. 

Most barking dog issues are resolved at this stage. If not, we will begin a process of collecting evidence. Officers will provide you with a barking dog diary to record the date, times and duration of the barking. They may also randomly attend the property to observe barking at this time. 

Once a barking dog diary has been completed and returned to Council, the Officer may take a variety of actions to address the issue. This may include revisiting the property and discussing the issues further with the owner, issuing a Notice to Comply requiring the owner to abate the noise or issue an infringement notice to the owner.

Will Council take the matter to court?

We only take a matter to court if:

  • all other attempts to resolve the issue have failed
  • the complainant is prepared to go to court.
  • where appropriate evidence has been obtained to take the matter to court.

 It is important to remember that evidence you give may be subjected to cross-examination.

What can a court do?

A court may issue a fine and orders with specific requirements to address the issue. If the owner fails to abide to the requirements of the order, they may be found in contempt of the court order which carries significant penalties.

Council will not get involved in a domestic dispute between you and your neighbour. If this occurs, you will need to take your own legal action. 

More information about barking dogs can be found on Agriculture Victoria’s website.