A barking dog can be a minor annoyance or a major problem, depending on how near he is, how loud he is and what time of the day (or night) he’s barking. Occasional, short-lived barking probably won’t require action. However, if a neighbor’s dog is driving you crazy when you’re working in your yard every afternoon or keeping your kids awake at night, you may want to take action.
The first step should generally be to talk with your neighbor. Though this won’t always solve the problem, you may be pleasantly surprised. The dog’s owner may be unaware that he’s bothering you and may be able to take simple measures like confining him to another area of the yard or leaving a radio or television on during the day so the dog isn't so conscious of every sound coming from the next apartment. And, you won’t do anything to improve relations in the neighborhood by skipping straight to more drastic measures. Fortunately, if a polite conversation doesn't solve the problem, you have other options.
Contact the Landlord
If the dog lives in your apartment complex or another unit owned by your landlord, getting in touch with management might seem the obvious solution. Chances are that the lease requires the owner to keep the animal quiet enough that it doesn't disrupt the neighbors. And, because your lease almost certainly entitles you to “quiet enjoyment” of your apartment, your landlord has an incentive to correct the problem.
However, even if you don’t have a common landlord, contacting the owner or management of the property where the dog resides may be the next logical step.
Contacting law enforcement should never be the first step. However, if talking with the neighbor and the landlord hasn't solved the problem, you do have legal options. Check your city or county website for local noise ordinances. If the noise exceeds the limits set forth in those ordinances, you have the option of calling your local police or Sheriff’s department when you’re experiencing a noise problem.
Barking dog problems also differ from other noise violations in one very important way: your local animal control may be able to help. In addition to general noise ordinances, many areas have specific restrictions related to barking dogs.
As with any neighbor problem, addressing the issue politely and directly is almost always the best approach. However, if talking to the dog’s owner doesn't bring relief, consider contacting the landlord and, if necessary, local law enforcement or animal control.