To think the correct way to address a noise complaint should be...?

(69 Posts)
Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 14:50:40

To address it with the person you are complaining about before registering aforementioned complaint?

I have had one filed against me and I totally understand why (I would like to make this clear!) because my dog barks a lot. I've just moved from a detached house into a terraced house with very thin walls, I mean so thin I can hear the neighbours turning their bathroom light on and off.

So anyway, my dog barks and it's horrible, she's a little yappy knobhead who I love dearly, but she drives me mad. However, I wish the neighbours had spoken to me first purely because I'm trying really hard to train her out of it and in order to do this I need to know when they feel she barks the most. If I'm out of the house I obviously wouldn't have a clue. What I would prefer to have done would be to give them my contact number and ask them to get in touch when they feel it is particularly bad. I'm not happy for this to continue, especially when I have a baby on the way and I truly feel for my neighbours.

I'm in an awkward position now as the complaint was made anonymously so I'm unsure whether to go over, introduce myself and explain I'm doing my best and would appreciate their help?

Is it unreasonable that I really wish they had spoken to me first?

CoilRegret Mon 12-May-14 14:54:57

Maybe you should have introduced yourself & yappy little knobhead dog first and explained that you were trying to train her?

It's unfortunate they made the complaint formal before speaking to you, but I would go & introduce yourself to all your new neighbours and apologise for her behaviour.

I'm still shocked we and all our immediate neighbours had a note, some 13 years ago now, about neighbours apologising about planning to try to sleep train their baby. We lived in flats, but with thick Georgian walls, and genuinely heard nothing, until the toddler developed a fascination with the springy doorstops.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 12-May-14 14:55:47

It really depends, if it was a case of asking someone to turn down their music then I would approach you. As you have a dog that's constantly barking/ barking quite a lot I would probably have filed a complaint as well. Sorry but your suggestion of asking them to call you when the barking is bad is just not on. Why should someone keep phoning and chasing up on you about your dog, or waiting for you to train it while driving people insane.

owlbegoing Mon 12-May-14 14:57:06

Could they have maybe tried to knock on your door while you are out?
Do you leave your dog indoors often for long periods of time?

BoomBoomsCousin Mon 12-May-14 14:57:09

I think it's always best if people can resolve things face-to-face, though I apreciate there are times that people are unable to do that or fear to try. But I think YABabitU. You knew it was going to be a problem so could have approached them when you moved in and realised how thin the walls are. Instead you waited.

Go round now or drop a note round apologising for the barking, outline what you're doing about it and asking if they would help you out as you describe. It doesn't matter that someone has reported you. Whoever it is won't be the only one bothered by the barking will they?

cutefluffybunnes Mon 12-May-14 14:57:44

YANBU to wish they had spoken to you first, but it's uncomfortable for people to complain to their neighbours, and perhaps they do not know you well enough to come to you first. Also, you have a loud, yappy dog. You know that. You are not doing anything at the moment that alleviates the suffering of your neighbours. If they had come to you first, how long would they have had to wait before escalating it to the authorities (and thus destroying any hopes of anonymity)? They are sick of it now, and want it resolved, and probably wanted to force immediate action.

You must have realised the dog is hellish for your neighbours, so you could have gone to them first and apologised and explained, and headed off this complaint.

ThatBloodyWoman Mon 12-May-14 14:58:29

I would approach the person I had an issue with directly first.

And I would expect the noise abatement officers would expect me to unless it was a crack house or something.

Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 15:00:56

CoffeeTea Good point, I didn't think it might come across that way! I'm kind of at my wits end with it as well so as I say, I can totally understand how they must feel!
I also don't want things to be awkward with my neighbour and for them to think I'm not doing anything about it.
To be fair, I am now on maternity leave so rarely out of the house and spending a fortune on getting a proper trainer in, so maybe I should just go over and mention that to them? As I say, it's a little awkward as I can't be sure who made the complaint, but obviously I wouldn't stomp over and accuse them of it!

CrystalSkulls Mon 12-May-14 15:04:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 15:04:50

Sorry, don't mean to drip feed, I should have made it clear I have been trying very hard to train her (albeit unsuccessfully!) not just waiting for them to tell me when she's barking. It would just help if I knew that when I nip to the shop or go out for an hour if she's howling because she never seems to be when I leave or come back IYSWIM

cutefluffybunnes Mon 12-May-14 15:11:59

I got that your were already trying, however I doubt your neighbours care much about your efforts unless they are successful. They have no emotional attachment to your dog, and they just want some peace. Hope the training helps!

matildasquared Mon 12-May-14 15:16:35

I'm trying really hard to train her out of it and in order to do this I need to know when they feel she barks the most. If I'm out of the house I obviously wouldn't have a clue.

Leaving your dog home alone to bark all day is just awful. Why'd you even get a dog?

And in order for you to train her, you need your neighbours to let you know when she barks the most? They're supposed to keep a log for you?

If it were occasional noise I would approach the neighbour, sure, because sometimes people don't realise. But you left your dog alone to bark all day in a terraced house.

There was no misunderstanding, you just expected your neighbours to put up with it. That's outrageous. Why would they approach you when you've made it clear you don't care about them? I'd have made a complaint too.

matildasquared Mon 12-May-14 15:19:42

No, don't go over and tell them you're getting a trainer in. You should have done that long ago. Having a dog barking all day in a terraced house is just not an option.

DoJo Mon 12-May-14 15:20:19

Given that you know there could be a potential problem and have already taken steps to address it, it would probably have been a good idea for you to approach them first and explain that you are aware of the noise your dog makes and reassure them that you are doing your best to train her. Whilst this wouldn't have made the noise any less intrusive, it would possibly have made them more inclined to work with you, whereas the fact that they have had to put up with it with no idea of whether you are even aware of it or not has probably got them a bit riled.

I think that going round and apologising for any inconvenience caused (you don't have to reference the complaint, although you could always say 'I know someone's complained and I don't blame them at all' to allay any fears that they might have) could be the best way forward. You can ask them if they have noticed the problem being worse when you're out and try to work with them to reduce her noise at the times when it bothers them most as well.

Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 15:20:53

At £300 so do I cutefluffybunnes!

To be fair there has been a vast improvement lately, no middle of the night or early morning barking and she tends to stop pretty quickly too, which is why I just want to know if it's when we're out of the house (never for long) because then there's the whole separation anxiety issue to deal with.

Bloody dawgs.

matildasquared Mon 12-May-14 15:22:08

Okay, you don't leave her alone all day. Still.

Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 15:26:33

Sorry matildasquared, I've never said she is left alone all day. In fact I actually mentioned that I may go to the shops or pop out for an hour, dog owners aren't entirely housebound. Before I went on maternity leave I worked part-time and my partner worked shifts, if there was ever going to be an overlap where she may be left alone my parents had her for the afternoon.
As I say, I totally understand why my neighbours complained and why they are frustrated. I can see now that I should have gone over and explained that we are training her before it got to this point. So really, I'm being hypocritical to expect them to come to me.
Thanks guys smile

Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 15:26:54

Oops- x post!

matildasquared Mon 12-May-14 15:27:07

The dog barks all day. Why would it stop when you're out of the house? You earlier said, "In order to train her I need to know this..." which is really just more procrastination on your part.

Have you actually had a trainer in?

Daisymasie Mon 12-May-14 15:34:03

If you realised there was a problem you should have approached the neighbours instead of waiting for them to approach you. That was putting them in an awkward position. They probably felt that you couldn't fail to realise that the dog's barking would penetrate the walls, and that you obviously didn't care or you'd be doing something about it (which you were, but how were they do know that when you didn't explain).

I agree it would be nice if they approached you first. But some people are so rude and disagreeable and self entitled nowadays that neighbours are often afraid to approach anyone who's causing a problem for fear of the response they will get, so prefer to just deal with it through official channels. It'a pity, but I can kind of understand it.

Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 15:35:30

Again matildasquared , I've not said she barks all day, but she does bark excessively and it's very loud. It's generally when she hears a noise outside or the postman/visitors come etc.
The trainer has not been yet, because as I said we have been trying to train her ourselves and whilst we have noticed a vast improvement, it's not enough. Also, £300 is a lot to spend in one go when we've got a whole lot of baby stuff to buy!
It would be helpful to know if she is in fact barking when we're out and if it's constant as it would go someway further to explaining her behaviour, eg. if it's down to separation anxiety.

mumblechum1 Mon 12-May-14 15:43:46

Have you tried those collars which squirt citronella-scented water every time they bark? I offered to buy those for my ex neighbour who had 5 rescue dogs which never shut up if they were outside.

I think they do work. We bought sonic things to try to shut them up from our side of the hedge but they didn't work. We're all detached as well, really unless you are at least 50 to 100 yards away from the nearest house it is always going to be a nuisance to have a dog barking.

diddl Mon 12-May-14 15:47:09

Record her when you are out?

Bean89 Mon 12-May-14 15:48:45

mumblechum You know I did try one of those and it was fantastic. Unfortunately the refills and batteries were very expensive and then the collar itself stopped working and the poor thing was getting squirted in the face constantly! I felt awful for her! The price that they are I feel I would prefer to get the professional trainer in to try and properly resolve the issue and see if we can understand more why she does it (my OH thinks it's her being overprotective of me).
She just heard a noise outside and got a big ol' STOP from me. Waited 10 seconds (up from 3 seconds!) and rewarded her. A couple of months ago it would have taken 10 minutes to calm her. Baby steps!

OldFarticus Mon 12-May-14 15:53:22

I think YAB a bit U. The neighbours don't give a shit whether you are training your dog, they just want some bloody peace I expect!

FWIW I also had a terraced house and NDN's who used to leave a boxer pup alone all day. The barking and howling was just awful. I raised it with them in a friendly way and got an earful of abuse. Next time I would just file a noise complaint tbh.

Obviously they were not responsible dog owners and it sounds as though you are. However if neighbours have bothered to complain it's also fairly safe to assume that the dog barks and howls a lot when you are out and you need to act/soundproof/train accordingly.

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