Rein in barking or face losing dog

By Alison King

Seven dog owners could lose their pets if they don't control their dogs' barking.
The dogs are subject to noise abatement notices on the back of 242 complaints made across the Rotorua district in just three months.
While roaming dogs and dog attacks steal the headlines, incessant barking is creating another headache for animal control.
From January 1 to March 31 Rotorua District Council's Animal Control investigated 242 complaints, that's almost three a day.
Animal Control supervisor Kevin Coutts said dogs were trained not to bark so it was an owners' responsibility to make sure their pet was not causing a nuisance to neighbours.
"I've a labrador in a kennel all day and we never hear a peep from it," Mr Coutts said.
"Dogs bark from boredom, aggression or from being territorial. They have to be taught not to bark," he said.
"Barking and roaming take up the most of my staff's time and yes, it's a problem. We get a lot of complaints and we attend every one of them."
In the first instance Animal Control staff determine the cause of a dog's barking and try to get the problem fixed, for instance, by placing a screen on a gate. This would be suggested if a dog barks every time someone crosses the front of a driveway and the barking was sparked by movement.
If three complaints were made, a noise abatement notice would be served - seven were issued in the first three months of the year.
"Most people on the first visit will do something about it," Mr Coutts said.
"They may move the kennel or put the dog inside for a couple of days. We work with the owners a lot but if we get further complaints we will remove the dog and hold it until we're satisfied they're going to rectify the problem.

It's up to them to set up a plan but we'll help - we're the experts at it."
Mr Coutts said it was infrequent to seize dogs for barking but it did happen.
Problem barking was defined as barking that was persistent. Dogs that bark when their owners return home were not classified as noisy dogs.
 
Reasons dogs bark
- Separation anxiety: Usually identifiable by barking as soon as you leave. You will need to sneak back and catch the dog barking and reprimand
- Boredom: Usually identifiable by the fact that your dog will bark, dig and chew. To help fill some of your dog's day, buy a large bone and chain it to a tree or post (the bone, not the dog,) so the dog cannot bury it. Consider a dog walking service
- Apprehension or fear: Usually found in nervous, confidence-lacking dogs that bark out of the fear of the unknown and the fact that it is on its own. Try sneaking back and catching the dog in the act. Sometimes locking the dog up can help
- Territorial: Usually the dominant, confident type and often not the worst culprit of nuisance barking. If you have problems with this type of dog, get professional help.

Barking tips
- Never console a barking dog. Reprimand for undesirable behaviour and only praise good behaviour (this applies to fearful and aggressive behaviour as well)
- Do not allow your dog to bark at those things that are not a threat to your security.
- Seek professional help if your dog is too difficult for you to handle
- Ensure your dog is occupied, eg give it daily exercise, provide bones for chewing and/or balls and toys for playing
- Ensure dog is confined in a way that it is unable to see things to bark at
- Arrange with another dog owner for your dogs to play together

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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