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).

Comments 15

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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!

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