Saturday, 18 April 2009

Barking Dogs - How to Share the Joy

Response to recent media on dogs barking.

I too am frustrated by urban residents who permit their dog/s to bark unnecessarily. Even in semi-rural areas, the sound of a dog barking pierces a quiet, peaceful night. It is no longer accepted behaviour, though it is as organic to some dogs as talking on a mobile phone in public is for some people.

But annoyances should be viewed in context. Unlike the ubiquitous and more annoying car or house alarms, the benefits of the companion dog cannot be underestimated. Though some will abhor the choice of expensive accessories, the economic contribution of $4.6 billion annually from pet owners should not be overlooked. Think about this number the next time our government cancels a $500,000 project to your disgust. Alternatively, consider that this is a greater contribution than fishing/forestry combined. Though fish don’t bark, fishing has its own pros and cons, including beach and sea litter.

Quoting NSW Dept. of Health: Animals visit older people in nursing homes, young people in paediatric wards, trauma victims in acute care wards, and people under care in mental health and palliative care services. They provide comfort, entertainment, distraction, solace and a unique form of interaction. The benefits of these visits are well established and comprehensively documented.

There is no such comparison of an public-health benefit for other urban noise such as alarms, diesel buses, pool pumps, the neighbours air conditioner, etc.

As our homes get smaller, and single-person homes become the majority, the solace and motivation a companion dog provides to get out and walk must not be negated just because dogs bark.

It's said that 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name (SMH Letters, 17 April); I would suggest 10% of dog owners annoy others so much as to blind them to the proven benefits of pet-ownership.

Banning dogs from every public space doesn’t work. In Europe dogs are better-behaved and invited into more community spaces. We live in a pluralistic society; if you are annoyed by a dog barking, why not offer to co-parent or pet-sit, then you can share the joy. If the dog is happier or not alone as much, it’s likely to bark less. If this doesn’t work, for the benefit of us responsible owners, throw the noise-regulation book at them. 'Thou shalt not be annoyed by a nuisance dog' has a place is legislation - truly.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tips to stop your dog barking

1. Don’t leave your dog alone for long periods. Train for alone time by starting with short periods. Most dogs would never be alone if they had a choice, so choose a quiet breed if it will be home alone.

2. Provide toys or bones or other things to keep a dog busy. (The TV?)

3. Teaching a dog to bark on command can lead to barking ONLY on command.

4. Exercise doggie before you go out and don't make a big fuss before you leave

5. Leaving an untrained dog in the yard is asking for trouble. There are lots of things to make it bark.

6. Lastly, listen to your neighbours. Better yet - ask them if your dog parks and be pro-active.

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

Anon, I would add 'make your work pet-friendly'. We've got several members who have done it - some have their dog with them one or two days only, and a different colleague has there dog on other days.

Anonymous said...

One of the best ways to keep K9's quiet is to place a citronella spray collar on the dog.
Worked for my Basset Hound X Staffy!
He used to have Separation Anxiety and bark the place down!
But when my dog sees the collar going on he knows to be quiet or be sprayed!

Kimberly said...

I ACTUALLY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH BELL - NOT ONLY BARKING - BUT TEARING UP ALMOST ANYTHING SHE CAN GET HER LIL PAWS AND TEETH ON..
I WAS TOLD SHE MIGHT HAVE TO GO. :( I'M COMPLETELY DEVASTATED... i DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO>. :(

Anonymous said...

I just put a complaint into council about a dog that is left alone and barks all day long but as soon as someone comes home it doesn't bark.

Council want all the neighbours who complained, even if only for the dogs welfare, to be identified.

Yet, the same council does not require the people who claim a dog is dangerous to be identified. So anyone who does not like dogs can go to council and say your dog scared them so it is dangerous and you will never know who it is unless you go to court.

But if you complain about a barking dog, you need to be identified. Does this make any sense?

astridnova said...

There is a forum at http://candobetter.org/node/1281?page=1 about barking dogs and some of the comments are inciting violence towards dogs, which greatly upsets me. I would appreciate people from Barking Mad to add some balance by making comments. They have to be authorised, so just post and later they will be.

SheilaN