Barking Dog Complaints

Are you having issues with a barking dog in your neighborhood?

Denver Animal Protection (DAP) recommends you first try to solve the issue directly with your neighbor before calling us. Because most dogs bark when their owners are away at work, the dog owner may not even know their dog is barking. If you and your neighbor are unable to resolve the issue, your next step is to call the Denver 311 Help Center.

DAP will not take an anonymous barking dog complaint, which means that you must leave your contact information with a 311 agent. The agent will then route your call to DAP, which will send a warning or courtesy notice to the dog owner advising them of the complaint. This letter details the barking dog ordinance and gives the owner an opportunity to fix the issue.

DAP will not take a new barking dog complaint less than two weeks after the first complaint is made. The dog owner needs to have time to receive the letter and take steps to fix the issue.

If the first letter does not work and the barking continues, contact 311 again and leave your information with the agent. DAP will then refer both parties to Community Mediation Concepts. This is a free service offered by the City and County of Denver. Note that DAP will not take a third barking dog complaint until mediation has been attempted and is unsuccessful. If the reporting person refuses mediation, DAP will not take any further complaints from that person.

If the dog owner refuses mediation and the barking is proven to be a nuisance, the dog owner is subject to citations from DAP.

The reporting person will get a letter in the mail that provides mediation information. An Animal Protection Officer will go to the dog owner’s house to gather their information and tell them that mediation is required.

DAP has a very high success rate with mediation for barking dog issues. If mediation does fail, Community Mediation Concepts will contact DAP. DAP will then allow the reporting person to make a third barking complaint to 311. At this point, the reporting person must have proof that the barking is a nuisance (such as an audio or video recording of barking), or a second neighbor must serve as a witness to the same barking incident.

Barking Dog Tips

Dogs that bark too much can be frustrating for dog owners and anyone within earshot , but dogs bark, right? It is your job to teach your dog when it is okay to bark, which will make you, your dog, and those around you a lot happier. Dogs bark too much when they are bored, need exercise, are afraid of unfamiliar people or other dogs, or are tied up in the yard. If you fix these issues first, your dog will be less likely to bark.

Puppy Barking

Tackle barking dog issues during puppyhood, when possible. Introduce your puppy to new people and other dogs and take them for walks near noisy places. Never punish a bark. Allow your puppy to “sound the alarm” a couple of times, then call them back to you and offer praise. This teaches that they have done their job, shouldn’t continue barking. The goal: The dog comes to you, stops barking, and then gets praise, treats or playtime. 

Crate training can successful in treating barking issues. Use the crate as your puppy’s safe place, where they go for quiet time. Puppies need plenty of exercise before crate time and plenty of toys in the crate to keep them busy

Excessive Barking Issues

Your dog may bark too much  even when there’s nothing to bark at. You may need to try different ways of fixing this problem, because each dog may respond better to one way than another. The most important thing is that your dog always has access to food, water, and shelter, because a dog that is well cared for will be less stressed out and more open to training.

  • Give your dog daily exercise and human time. Dogs are social creatures, which means it’s important to play with your dog on a regular basis, as well as to practice obedience training.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. This reduces  aggression and frustration, and it can also get rid of unwanted behaviors such as  barking, fighting, digging, chewing, escaping and marking territory.
  • Do not tie up or chain your dog  in the yard. Dogs who are tied up or chained get upset and bored.
  • Do not leave your dog outside while you are away. Barking triggers are everywhere, which can make the problem worse. 
  • Crate your dog when you need to leave them at  home alone, but never for more than 8 hours at a time, and no more than four hours for puppies up to six months. Leave your dog with plenty of things to do like chew toys and puzzle toys.
  • Create visual barriers. Block areas that trigger the dog so they cannot see the things that cause them to bark.
  • Leave a radio or the television on to soothe the dog.
  • Get your dog checked once a year  by a veterinarian.  Underlying medical conditions can cause  a barking problem.
  • Get help from a professional dog trainer, if needed.

Allowing your dog to bark excessively in the City and County of Denver is an ordinance violation of D.R.M.C. 8-17 and could result in a Violation Notice, a monetary fine, or a mandatory court summons. Please help your dog and your neighbors by not allowing excessive barking.

Download the barking dog tips (in English and Spanish).