Question to my fellow dog owners ~ do your dogs bark?
Do any of you own dogs that don’t bark?
I am just curious because we have two terriers, they bark. They bark when they play, they bark when asking for their dinner, they bark at the post/delivery men and the window cleaner.
They don’t bark at night ~ as they are in our bedroom fast asleep with us. They don’t bark for prolonged periods, especially outside as we are very conscious of our neighbours enjoying time in their gardens. Mostly we spend time outside with them but in the evenings, when we want to relax we close the gate onto the large lawn area and the dogs are confined to the patio & decking area which is close to the house.
We have lived in our home for 13 years, owned dogs for the past 8 years and not once had any issues with our neighbours. In fact we are all on good terms and help each other out as/when needed.
This was until last year ~ a new neighbour moved into one of the houses at the back of ours. Our houses aren’t close as both of our garden lawn areas are between us.
However, one afternoon I was relaxing in our garden and the dogs were playing and chasing one another. I saw our neighbour in her garden and thought nothing of it. Although she keep peering at us from her lawn area.
Later that evening we let the dogs out into the garden before going to bed ~ we always say “bedtime” to them and they jump (usually off our laps) and have a little brief bark as they run outside to do their business they then come inside and go upstairs to our bedroom. It’s a ritual we have and if the patio doors are already open our older terrier, Taylor will often potter outside, do his business and take himself to bed. Our dogs love their sleep.
It was winter and dark, so I stood by the patio door ready to close it as soon as the dogs came back inside.
This one day last year as I stood by the patio doors watching our dogs do their business a raging woman appeared shouting at me from our garden boundaries. I went over to her wondering what on earth was the matter and in hindsight wish I hadn’t bothered.
This woman was raging at me using every swear word possible, calling me an irresponsible dog owner, that I shouldn’t be allowed to keep dogs and that she had complained to the council about nuisance noise from our dogs. That she had moved to Derby from London and although surrounded by dogs there she never heard them bark and that she didn’t like living in Derby.
To be honest I was more than a little shell~shocked by the abuse and I didn’t say anything, just turned around and went back indoors leaving her ranting. I was feeling more than a little shaken by the venom and force in this woman’s tone. What a way to meet your new neighbour!
We are always mindful of noise as one of our neighbours have two young boys who go to bed early and their mother often works nights, so we are also mindful during the day of the dogs barking.
Inside the house, yes, they bark. They often lie on our windowsill at the front of the house. They lie on a big soft Hippo, which is on our windowsill and they use it as a bed. From this bed on the windowsill in our lounge they watch people come and go ~ they hate cats and so if one goes by they bark. From this vantage point they also see other things such as a dog walker collecting next doors dog, foxes (on rare occasions), delivery men etc ~ this causes some barking but it’s contained and there is no way that it could be heard by the one neighbour who lives furthest from us ~ our London neighbour.
The following day Dave took me with him to visit this woman, he demanded she apologise to me for her verbal attack. She did. She then went on that her husband works long hours and goes to bed early, that our dogs barking was keeping him awake. Flummoxed we told her we controlled our dogs and that there are many dogs surrounding our houses, including one next door to her, their garden also backs onto ours ~ so why did she think it was just our dogs?
We called a truce ~ we said that at 6.30pm every evening we would close the gate onto the lawn and not open it until 9am the next morning. That way any barking would be far away from their house. We felt that was very reasonable on our part.
So, we heard nothing for a while then weirdly only a few months ago they pulled everything from their boundary line between our gardens leaving a large gap, a fence panel width, so that they can now see all the way down our garden, patio and into our kitchen and dining room.
A week after the boundary clearing I was outside in the garden with my camera and the dogs ~ the dogs were lying in the shade as it was a hot day. This London woman told me that once again she had reported us to the council for nuisance barking and she had had enough of us.
I apologised for any barking but maintained it was not our dogs barking late at night and in the early hours. She all but called me a liar but changed her tune when Dave, who saw her talking to me, came over. She told us many tales about her numerous health issues and then conversation moved onto the fence panel which needed replacing as we had not got one up and she wanted to put one in. She acknowledged that the panel was for the fence was on her side, the rest was intact, just this one piece was missing. She asked if we knew anyone who would do it for her and I said I’d give her a name and number. We then spoke about where the fence would be fixed and that, we thought was that.
As promised I dropped a card round for her the very next day, with the name and telephone number of a local handyman for them. I also included both mine and Daves mobile numbers as well as our address (as they stated they couldn’t work out which was our house). So that if they felt there was any nuisance barking going on they could contact us and we would inform them if it was our dogs or not.
A few days later I saw them and they said they weren’t going to put the fence panel up as it was too expensive.
I don’t like this invasion of our privacy, that this woman can spy on us across our garden and into our home. We have now sourced a fence panel ourselves and will be putting it up this week to block their view into our garden.
Regarding the dog barking we heard nothing from them after dropping off the card. Plus we kept our word regarding the lawn curfew for the dogs and are always mindful of their barking.
It has reached the point where I am suffering emotionally with stress every time they bark, worrying if yet another complaint would be made and I keep seeing this woman looking into our garden. It’s almost as if she’s wanting a further confrontation with me and I really don’t like her peeking as I feel it’s an invasion of privacy.
Fast forward to a week ago when I received a phone call from our London neighbour. She waded right in without any kind of pleasantries ~ she has had enough of our dogs, she said she was going to the council offices the next day to complain yet again. She also said I must have gone round to intimidate each of our other neighbours to frighten them into not complaining! I was dumbfounded. First, how rude and secondly why had she not contacted us any time before when the alleged nuisance barking was going on ~ so I just said okay then and hung up.
I then allowed myself to cool down and sent her a text (proof read by Dave and the girls). Previously I had no number for her ~ but as she had rung me from her mobile her number was visible on my phone. It was stored as a “recent” call which meant I could save her number as a new contact.
At no point had either her or her husband given us their names, hence us calling her London neighbour. Also we had no telephone numbers from them given in return, they just had ours.
In my text to her I asked why had she not contacted us sooner when these barking episodes occurred? We could then have told her if it was our dogs or not and that we had held up our part of the bargain. We have numerous dogs surrounding both our homes, what made her think that every bark was one of our dogs?
She did not respond.
On Saturday morning we received this letter from our local Council..
None of the factors (on p2) regarding nuisance barking applies to us.
I checked up on the councils website and it clearly states; “You should always try and solve the problem by talking to your neighbour or through mediation before contacting the council.” Clearly we have tried to respond to her but she has not discussed it calmly with us or used any mediation.
Concerned we visited all of our neighbours both beside us and backing on to us, which are the houses flanking London neighbours home. We wanted to see if they felt we had dogs who were a nuisance due to barking, specifically in the evenings through to the morning.
We had a chuckle with some of them regarding the accusation of intimidation as we are on friendly terms with all of our other neighbours. One of our closest neighbours who is apparently intimidated by me is weapons trained in the police force, so I must be awesome to intimidate him.
Our neighbours have been awesome and are supporting us, saying to let the council know they can visit them any time and they would support us in our innocence to this claim. Yes, they can hear the dogs in the garden during the day barking as they play, this is fine. The dogs don’t bark during antisocial hours and it is just dogs being dogs. They did say Taylors dog is rather shrill ~ which it is, so that can grate a little, but only briefly and it’s not very often. No more bothersome than say children playing in their garden.
It would seem she is only aggressive towards me and waits until she sees me alone to launch her attack. She chose to ring my mobile not Daves ~ which I had said in my card was the best number to ring as I often don’t have my phone on me. She seems to back down in front of Dave.
Our plan, now we know we have all our neighbours standing up for us and highly bemused by the accusations made towards us, is to ask the council to send someone to our home. We can then show them the proximity of our house to London neighbours. To say they are free to visit all of our other neighbours to seek their opinion on us and our dogs. That we have been beyond reasonable and accommodating to this woman (her husband never says anything or get involved weirdly). That we would like these accusations and harassment stop.
I’m a pacifist, I loathe confrontation and try to accommodate and do my utmost to be considerate to others. It seems no matter what I do this woman has it in for me and our dogs. According to her it is only our dogs that bark ~ which is completely wrong.
So, my dog loving friends, what would you do in this situation?
To those who don’t like dogs, how do you feel about this, is it something you find irritating but dogs are dogs and need to play or would you complain?
I’ll update once we have chatted to the council. It’s horrid feeling watched and persecuted by this woman, especially when we have been friendly and offered up every avenue for her to contact us at anytime. I will feel less anxious once the fence panel is in place and she can no longer look into our garden and patio.
The sounds around us and from us aren’t a nuisance, just people, their children and pets living their lives.
So for now I will try not to feel so anxious by breathing and meditating. The fence panel will soon be up so I will have some privacy, I won’t have to see her and she won’t be able to see me.
I am open to discussion in the comments under this blog from both dog owners/lovers and from people who don’t love dogs or who find them a nuisance. Have you been in this situation? What did you do to stop it from escalating? How did you manage to discuss the issue with someone who is fixated on blaming just the one party? How can you stand up for yourself when she won’t talk to us and waits until she’s ready to explode and complain to the council?
Maybe we can’t make peace ~ perhaps we can at least make some kind of headway though and get her to acknowledge the other dog owners and that they bark. Dogs all bark at some time or other after all.