How Do I Stop My Dog From Barking at My Neighbor?

dog barks at neighbors

It’s really no fun to be the neighbor with the barky dog. Yet many people own dogs who bark at the neighbors through the fence – even when the neighbor is minding her own business!

This problem isn’t very complicated, but it can take quite a while to fix. Here’s how to stop your dog from barking at your neighbors.

My dogs bark at the fence at my neighbor anytime she is in her back yard or in her driveway.  How do I get them to stop?

Sincerely, Noisy Neighbor

Stopping your dog from barking is almost never as easy as it sounds – that’s because barking is very natural to dogs.

In fact, up until just a few generations ago, your dog was probably supposed to bark at intruders! Humans used to like dogs that barked.

Dogs are often barkier at home because they’re protecting their territory. The trouble is, your neighbor isn’t an intruder – she’s your neighbor!

How to Stop Your Dog From Barking at the Neighbors

1. Block her vision and sound of the neighbor.

Decorative window film will still let light in, but lets your dog ease up on guard duty. Don’t let her outside to bark when your neighbor is out or likely to come by.

The more your dog “practices” barking at the neighbor, the harder it is to fix the problem!

In many cases, a white noise generator is helpful as well. These tools are especially useful for drowning out the sound of noisy neighbors or apartment neighbors. Fans, music, and TV can also help.

If your dog hangs out by the window or outdoors, patrolling for people to bark at, it’s your job to curb that behavior using preventative tools!

2. Give your dog something better to do. 

Most dogs will happily give up their guard duties if they have a higher purpose in life – like chewing on bully sticks or sniffing out hidden treats!

Just before high-traffic times of day (like when your neighbor comes home from work or when the school bus drops off kids), give your dog one of these trainer-recommended chew toy or puzzle toy.

Most dogs are much happier when they’ve got something to do – they won’t even notice that pesky neighbor!

3. Teach an alternative behavior.

Rather than trying to punish your dog for barking at the neighbors, teach your dog to do something when she sees the neighbors!

I’ve taught my own dog to come and get me when he sees the neighbors – then we play tug for a minute. Here’s how we did it:

  1. Every time you see or hear the neighbors, Dog gets a treat. No matter what – even if she barks.
  2. Do this until your dog no longer barks or fixates on the neighbors – instead, she looks up to you for a treat when she sees the neighbors. You can stop here if you’d like!
  3. Start to only give treats when your dog looks at you in the presence of your neighbors. You can stop here if you’d like – you just taught your dog to look at you in exchange for a treat when she sees the neighbors!
  4. Ask your dog to do another behavior once she reliably looks at you. You can teach your dog to shake, play tug-o-war, or just sit when she sees the neighbors.

Of course, all of this is slightly easier said than done. Most people struggle to teach their dog not to bark at neighbors because they don’t do step 1 properly and try to rush step 3.

If you don’t do a good job of preventing your dog from barking with a white noise generator, window coverings, and smart lawn management, you won’t succeed.

It’s just too natural and instinctive for your dog to bark!

You’ll find the Train Away App helps a lot for teaching your dog to ignore noises.

4. Teach Your Dog the Cue “Enough”

If your dog barks, simply say “enough” in a calm voice, then toss treats on the ground. After a few repetitions, your dog will hear you say “enough” and start looking for treats!

Then you can toss treats to reward your dog for being quiet – and you’ve just taught your dog that “enough” means quiet.

Will A Bark Collar, Whistle, or Sound Egg Stop My Dog From Barking at the Neighbor?

Maybe. But at what cost?

All of these tools stop your dog from barking by punishing your dog from barking. If they weren’t unpleasant for your dog, they wouldn’t work.

The problem is, most dogs bark because they’re excited, aroused, or upset. Each of these tools might stop your dog from barking (because barking hurts, makes the room stink, or produces a scary sound). But they also add stress to your dog’s life.

Imagine you were watching an exciting movie, and every time you reacted to the movie, you were sprayed in the face with citronella. You would quickly get frustrated, upset, or even scared.

Many dogs start to display OTHER behavior problems when their owners use these tools. Instead of barking, they dig at the door, chew on their own paws, or even bite their housemates.

Instead of trying to treat the symptom (barking), treat the problem (showing your dog that neighbors are nothing to bark about).

How Do I Stop My Dog From Barking at My Neighbor? | journeydogtraining.com

Comments 40

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  1. My 6mo Golden will not walk on a leash. When he sees it he cowers. After it’s attached he lays down and won’t move. What can you suggest?

  2. I’m the neighbor who has to listen to barking dogs at all hours. What can I do?

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  3. My dog is reactive but his fence barking is a result of my neighbours doing things like looking over the fence, yelling, kids doing the same things and theie tenants doing the same and they even started throwing their dog into the mix. They don’t correct things on their end meanwhile I have been correcting and recalling and doing my part. Worst is, my dog isn’t even an outdoor dog and is barely in the yard. They seem to always run into the times I am feeding him or when he is relieving himself. It’s getting really stressful and they aren’t the sort of people I can talk to, they’re really inconsiderate people. When we were on better speaking terms and when I first got my dog I had caught their tenant shaking the fence and making faces at him when he was about 4 months old. I did text them and let them know what happened and that to help me train my dog its best they just ignore his barking if they are passing by…but obviously they stopped caring.

    Their kids and dog get let unattended outside a lot and they only use the yard if the weather is nice. My routine and schedule typically haven’t changed since I got my dog and its been 5 years now and the neighbours get worse and worse every year

    1. Shelly, I feel your pain. My neighbors are rarely outside, only during the spring/summer months because I live on a lake. I have tried giving the neighbors a box of dog treats and my 11yr old said she saw the neighbor just throwing them over the fence, kinda defeats the purpose of getting to know the dog. Oh and my dogs are inside dogs, they are maybe out 1-2 hours a day, but only if it’s not too hot as they are heat sensitive. Just recently, I caught my neighbor swinging a shovel at my dog at the fence line and telling her he is going to bash her head in on several occasions. It makes me wonder how long they have been mistreating my dog and now she looks at them as foe not friend. I had to file a restraining order on the neighbor because he started to become a bully not only to my dog, but to my family as well. I am working with her. If I notice she is staring in that direction, I call her name, make her sit then give her a treat. She has been doing better since I started this rewarding process. I also fenced off an area of my yard on the opposite side of my house for my dogs to relieve themselves. Both these things I am trying to implement are taking time, but I think my dogs are smart enough to catch on. Good luck with your neighbors, they can be really crappy!

  4. My 7 month puppy barks at neighbours on one side. They’ve never done anything to him, always been nice. Every time they are in the garden he jumps at fence, barks really loud, fur stands up. He does bark at the other side a little but more playfully,nothing like that. I am 100% sure they have never done anything to him! They are starting to look frightened of him and I don’t know what to do ?

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  5. I don’t know if the dogs just merely dislike our neighbors, well for one , they often bring in strangers whenever the dogs are released but I believe that the dogs just respect the presence of our neighbors so they don’t bite their visitor but they still show their irritation by barking aggressively. But Every time they are always barking at our neighbors aggressively, I don’t know if dogs can sense bad people or something because these folks are a bit troublesome .

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  6. My dog only barks if something is going on in my neighbor’s yard. She is always inside. I have lived here for 3 yrs. Today they came over and ask me to make her stop barking because they were playing a game in the back yard. My dog cant see them, she can only hear them. And she isn’t aggressive at all. What can I do. Treats dont work cause she is never outside long eno

  7. My neighbor tryies tonteok the dog to be quiet throughbornover the fence no matter how many times I ask or tell him not too and it drives her potty. She’s a rescue and I’m trying really hard to build her confidence at home and don’t want this to become her go to behaviour. Im trying to distract her with other things and doing the enough practice but she just heard him again and becomes inconsolable again and stops listening. We end up going indoors which is the only thing I can find to do to stop her spiralling. I don’t know what to do!

  8. I’m the neighbour that the dog is still barking at. We have patted the dog on numerous occasions and been gentle. But, it was still barking and growling at us even after it knew us for a quite a while. No matter how many times we patted him. Sometimes it wouldn’t bark then the next day it would again and scare me. The neughbours resorted to a bark collar. And today after not being barked at for quite some time, it still barked at me. I think the bark collar was turned off as she didn’t yelp.

    Can I teach the dog not to bark by giving it treats myself? I feel very sorry for the dog. It looks bored most the time with nothing to do in the back yard. It often watches me through the kitchen window or over the fence when we are outside.

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      Hi Angela, that’s a tough situation. I personally might toss treats to help a dog learn to be quiet around me, but that’s risky in case the dog has allergies or your neighbors think you’re interfering. I would ask permission from the neighbors first!

  9. How do I get my 15 month old Aussie Border Collie mix to not bark through my apartment door at the neighbors?

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  10. hi, my dog barks at my neighbours when I am at work. She doesnt bark when I am home. My neighbour is distressed and so am I. My dog has kong slow release toys and other toys (and another dog) in the yard. I’m at a loss to know what to do.

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      Would you like to schedule a consult to see if I can help you problem-solve? Just hover over the 1-on-1 training tab on the menu of the site to see your options. I’ve got so many questions and suggestions for you! And be sure you’re using the tips already laid out in this article.

  11. My next door recently acquired a male collie dog. My female pomeranian cries and barks at next doors dog. I feel that she wants to play with him. How can I stop my pomeranian from crying and barking at next doors dog. Also my next door neighbour is having the same problem with her dog. What can we do?

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  12. I feel that maybe they want to be closer to eachother. My other two dogs are fine with next doors dog. It’s just my one dog that is crying and barking at next doors dog. What can I do?

  13. This may sound weird or even creepy. I noticed that my neighbour’s dog barks only at me even when I move inside my house which is about 7 meters from the fence line. I did not make the connection at first but because I am keeping a diary of its barking that I can put 2 and 2 together. It barks when I am watering my garden (it is understandable), it barks when I am on my deck (It is still understandable), But it did not bark when tradesmen came around 7am to work on the un-occupied house next door, it only barks when I got out of bed and moved inside my house getting my breakfast ready. More spooky still, after I had my shower yesterday and moved to my spare bedroom to get change, it barks. This is no co-incidents as I observed for a while now. Is it a possibility that they have telescopic equipment to point to my windows of my house and stir up the dog every time there is sigh of life inside? Is there other explanation for this?

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      Hi Tu Bee, I’m sure that they’re not using a telescope to stir up the dog – most dogs are much more focused on sound than vision, so a telescope wouldn’t have that effect anyway. I would guess that this is an example of sensitization – over time, the dog has become more in-tune and sensitive to your movements, rather than learning to ignore them. This is pretty common when training is ignored and left to chance!

  14. my Labrador is nearly 3 and only barks when my female neighbour walks past the fence or when I arrive home from work , I have tried distracting him but he constantly barks, I have been told by another neighbour that my neighbour has yelled at my dog before. I don’t know what to do, I shift work 12 hours 7 on 7 off.

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      Can you ask your neighbor to toss treats to your dog? Treat bombs usually do the trick. You can put up a little sign on your fence and a bucket of treats. If your dog is indoors, you may want to invest in something like a PetTutor to help remotely dispense treats when your dog is upset.

  15. Good afternoon….I too have the problem of my dog (border collie/poodle mix) barking at my neighbors. They don’t even have to be outside! He barks if he sees them in their window….his command to stop is “That’s enough.” He will stop and look at me for a minute and then go right back to barking. Do I just keep repeating that’s enough? Do I treat him every time he stops? He is so stinkin’ smart that I swear he does it on purpose because he knows that when he stops and comes inside he gets a treat! =)

    Thank you in advance for your advice.

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      Hi Lori! I’d say that’s enough, reward him, and then move him away from the window to distract him with a different “job,” like lying on a bed quietly while you reward him. If he returns to the window or to barking, redirect him again.

  16. Im getting a English Springer Spaniel Show dog. I don’t plan on showing her i just prefer how they look.
    I looking for advise on things i need to do prepare for her. I don’t work so we will be together a lot. Which is a blessing.
    My big concern is potty training. I have a doggy door and my neighbors have little barking dogs.
    Any advise would be appreciated. Has anyone had any luck at Pet Smarts dog training.

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  17. Hello… me and my family live in a two story house, however me and my family live on the bottom and we have neighbors on the top. Our dog sandy, is always barking at them, and I’m worried one day she might attack them. She a good dog around me and my family, very loving, and gentle, she just really doesn’t like the updoor neighbors. So I want to know how to fix this, so that neither her or my neighbors get hurt. In addition to that because she doesn’t like the neighbors and they literally live upstairs and their exit from their house is a stairway to the back yard, were my dog is most of the time, we have to keep her tied up or inside and I really hate it because she loves walking around and playing outdoors, but unless we figure out how to teacher her to stop barking at the neighbors and bring her to tolerate/like them, she can’t do that, because we don’t what her to do anything to the neighbors and potentially have her put down because of it.

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  18. #4 – “Enough” and throw a treat on the ground away from the barking area, has been great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop our dog from barking at our neighbor when they’re in their backyards, but at least it can stop him. I would say there is a #5 – arrange with your neighbor that when your dog barks and him/her, you put your dog on a leash and immediately take your dog over there to see what/who that sound is. Then, when the dog knows your neighbor and associates the sounds and smells with the neighbor he knows, he will probably bark less.

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  19. my dog barks at my neighbours kids when they play in the lane way or the postie but only when I’m at work.. How am I meant to train her when she doesn’t do it when I’m home? I’ve tried pretending to leave and sneak back in but I can’t guarantee what time the neighbours kids are going to come out to play.

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  20. Hmmm… we’ve done the exact training you mentioned but our dogs get bored of the treats, we’ve gotten them better treats but eventually those get old too. I also shouldn’t be giving a dozen treats or more a day, but we have multiple neighbors and at least one household is outside usually at all times during the day. We do have bark collars and they worked for a while but our dogs have decided they don’t care about the negative consequences either, they would just rather bark (batteries are good and the collar works just fine). They come inside when called but eventually want to go back out, and I don’t want to just keep them locked up all the time.

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      Hi Claire, I’d be happy to help more in-depth if you need. It sounds like you’ve tried a few different things and I wonder if we need to tweak a couple other things to get good results. You can book a 15 minute call with us in the link in the menu (under 1 on 1 training).

  21. Hi Kayla, can you explain how these tips apply when the dog is outside?

    Our dog will stand at the end of our fence on high alert (mostly looking for bunnies!!!) but if he sees or hears the neighbor (or a garage door opening, kids, a car, etc.) he will start barking. We don’t leave him outside for long unsupervised (less than 5-10 min usually). Then when he barks, we call him back inside and he comes. But of course, a few min later, he wants to go back outside and do the same thing on repeat. We have been using a citronella bark collar on our windowsill inside and that seems to be working well enough but I understand the feedback above and will try replacing it with training. Our dog is generally pretty anxious of other people (seems to be genetic and that he’s a rescue from a puppy mill) and is not very food motivated so training can sometimes be difficult to figure out. His anxiety often trumps food and I’m not sure how much, if any, of his barking is anxiety motivated. THANK YOU!!

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      Hi Anna – it sounds like your dog has appointed himself to be the Neighborhood Watch; it may be anxiety motivated. Is it possible to go outside with him, then use a leash to move him away if he barks? Basically teach him that if he barks, he’ll get reeled in and can’t continue to be outside? Then if he asks to go out right away, he doesn’t get to go. That’s a place to start.

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