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neighbour threatens legal action because of dog barking when visitors approach

We live in a pet friendly apartment block, but our dog Molly had a high pitched bark and barks incessantly when the door bell rings and when people enter the apartment.

Our neighbour has threatened to take legal action if we don’t get it under control.

Any advice would be welcome at this point.

Molly is a small breed, we rescued her but suspect she is schnauzer/miniature poodle if that helps


1 Answer


Hi Mia,

Thank you for your question!

This is a common problem because it’s a natural reaction for dogs to bark in response to noise and also people- especially new people.

It’s important to understand that results will take time - don't expect miracles overnight. Patience and consistency is the key to success.

When the bell goes make sure you don’t yell at Molly or even acknowledge the bark. Doing so will encourage further barking (as she thinks you're barking with her) and she may see it as attention or even reward for her barking.

Avoid ANY contact, don't talk to her, touch her or even look at her while she is barking.

Once the barking stops, praise her and feed a favourite treat and use a word like ‘Quiet’ while you give the treat.

Keep your training consistent, short and positive

Make sure each and every family member uses the same words/techniques so as not to confuse Molly

Eventually you may be able to use the word ‘Quiet’ to briefly stop her barking. In that instant if you can have a treat reward ready and give it to her she will learn to associate that word and yummy treats with not barking.

If you are being consistent and not seeing any changes then it’s time to get a professional to help you. Veterinary behaviourists will be able to come to your apartment and see Molly in her environment in order to help develop a behaviour modification plan with you. They may even prescribe medication initially while you implement other techniques for the long term.

My other tip is that a tired dog is generally a more settled dog.

Make sure Molly is getting physical exercise and mental stimulation each day (playing with her favourite toy, chasing a ball etc). These types of exercise will help relieve her of any boredom and frustration.

Good luck with little Molly- poodles and schanuzers are very intelligent breeds so you may be surprised what a quick learner she can be!

- Dr. Alex Hynes


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