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Neighbours complained to landlord re barking

(40 Posts)
HelpMeGetOutOfHere Wed 30-Jul-14 14:33:40

I have no idea what to do. We have lived here for 2.6 years and neighbours have never said anything to us about the dogs. Anyway on Saturday landlord rings and asks if she can come round and speak to me.

When she arrives she looks upset, and says she has some bad news. One of the neighbours has been complaining to the agent that the dog has been barking all day long. We have 2 dogs and have never had complaints before, I work out of the home during school hours, but often h or ds1 (17) are home earlier and ds1 is currently only at work 2 days a week.

We live in a semi detached house in quiet residential crescent, its not a through road to anywhere and very little traffic. apparently they believe it to be the Labrador that barks and not the terrier as its a deep loud bark not a yap. In the evening you can hear lots of dogs in the neighbourhood, in their gardens and I have a few times mistakenly old the Labrador to stop barking to realise its not him, he's lying indoors in his basket.

Basically the landlord has given us 4 weeks to sort the problem or the dogs will have to leave! Or at least the Labrador will.

They are both walked for at least an hour before I leave for work, and then walked again when I get home and then h or ds1 take them for a walk before bed. They are left with toys and the tv on very low. We are now experimenting with keeping the blinds closed so that he can't see birds/cats/people walking past. The terrier can't see above the window sill anyway.

What else can we do?

Moving is not an option, we can't afford to, rents have gone up considerably and after a run of landlords selling up on us we feel as secure as you can do in a private rent and the landlord is lovely, carries out repairs quickly and generally just leaves us to it. Also as the agent won't say who has made the complaint, I can't really go knocking on the neighbours doors without looking like im angling for an argument.

Namechangearoonie123 Wed 30-Jul-14 14:39:12

You need to check it's your dog.

I left my phone recording and went out to check how long my dog barked for (he had separation anxiety).

He stopped after a couple of minutes and then didn't start until I pulled up an hour later in the car.

It may not be your dog.

Vitalstatistix Wed 30-Jul-14 14:40:49

If it is your dog, can you afford a dog sitter?

Namechangearoonie123 Wed 30-Jul-14 14:41:05

Are your direct neighbours who you're adjoined to in all day? Retired?

If it's not the ones you're actually attached to I wouldn't worry about it at all, we have neighbours a few houses away who's dog barks and frankly it's just background noise and not to be complained about if you're not attached.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Wed 30-Jul-14 14:46:49

dog sitter isn't an option, far too expensive round here.

the ones attached to us had a baby about a year ago and it looks like she's not going back to work (babys party was at the weekend and she appears to be home each day)

we do talk to them, if we are getting in cars/leaving the house that type of thing, but not proper conversations iyswim. Even though both couples are of a similar age to us, their dc are much younger, side attached just a year old and side not attached about 3/4 and just 1.

I know the Lab does bark, hes being protective, but all dogs bark at some point? As well as being a family pet he is here to protect the house to, so I wouldn't want him to be totally silent.

I asked on another forum and people suggested anti bark collars but they seem barbaric and cruel. and like I say I do want him to bark sometimes as a burglar deterrent.

Namechangearoonie123 Wed 30-Jul-14 14:57:37

You still need to figure out how much and how long and recording it is very easy to do

It's not acceptable for him to bark while you're at work for 8 hours, never mind for your neighbours but for the dog as it suggests anxiety. And he can be trained out of that.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Wed 30-Jul-14 15:04:30

I'm pretty certain that hes not barking all day long. I forgot to lock the front door yesterday, so went home from work and locked the door, no barking. So I'm certain its only if the neighbours cat is sunbathing on our window ledge or a bird flaps about in the tree in the front garden, or the postman knocks.

they aren't left for 8 hours or more a day. 6 is the longest. even if I am going out after the school run I will come home let them in the garden, walk them round the block, make sure food and water etc before going back out. but its very rare that that would happen as h usually home before me or one of the ds. ds1 has been finished for college for the summer since june and doesn't start work until lunch time on his 2 days a week, so would be left for a maximum of 2 hours on those days.

My phone is a work one, its an iphone but I need it with me when im out for work, so couldn't leave it home as a sound activated recorder, can you do that with an ipad?

Namechangearoonie123 Wed 30-Jul-14 15:07:30

Yep, you can. Even desktops with a microphone will do it.

If it's only a few minutes a day then really I would be ignoring the complaint.

Shutting the windows helps obviously as does giving them access to corridors and not rooms - particularly the most social room you're joined to. So I wouldn't leave them in the lounge if that's their lounge you're attached to.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Wed 30-Jul-14 15:12:45

We don;t currently have a desktop, so would need to be ipad/ipod/kindle etc.

They currently have free reign downstairs, the door to the hallway is shut so that they can't go upstairs (in our pet clause contract that they are not allowed upstairs on carpeted areas), we do have doors to the lounge which is at the front of the house, but when we were closing them to keep the dogs out of the front of the house when we were out the Labrador was just jumping up at them opening the doors but also scratching them, when we blocked the door, he got frantic and scratched at them, so decided it was best to leave them open.

thanks for the suggestions so far, I will investigate sound recorders.

would take them to work with me, but I work in a converted building on a farm and there are others dogs on the farm and hes fearful of other dogs after being attacked.

longjane Wed 30-Jul-14 16:37:10

I don't think the landlord can make you get rid of your dog.
She can of course give you notice and you move out.
I would start looking for a new place .

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Wed 30-Jul-14 17:11:51

It's in our pet clause that any nuisance caused we can be asked to rehome them. It's hard to find a landlord that will accept any pets let alone two dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs and hamster.

I pay £1050 in rent a month which I pay with no top up benefits but if we were to move now assuming we could find a 3 bed in the area we would be looking at a minimum of £1300 a month assuming that the ll would allow any
Pets at all. Plus the removal costs, deposit, rent in advance. We pay 6 months in advance here as our credit rating rating wasnt great. It should be better now but we'd not get the advance rent or the deposit back until after we'd moved out.

We've also just signed a new two year contract so it could potentially cost us a fortune to leave the contract early. That's why we get rent cheaper here as she would rather have a long term happy tenant than ones moving every 6/12 months for more £.

We will do what we can to try and keep the neighbours happy which is why I asked for advice, but moving is not an option. I have asked her to ask the agent to get the neighbour to knock and speak to us to see what the issue actually is and if we can work it out together.

YourHandInMyHand Wed 30-Jul-14 18:03:16

You need to find out how long the barking is going on for.

I would be recording for at least 3 working days to see what was going on.
I would THEN ask the landlord to confirm with the neighbour whether the dog they can hear is barking all day or not. You will have evidence of your household noises to compare it to.

My dog had separation anxiety and I very reluctantly bought a massive crate and crate trained her. She loves it and is much better when I am out.

EthicalPickle Wed 30-Jul-14 18:16:45

It doesn't have to be constant barking for it to be irritating. If the dogs are inside then you would think it would be your 'attached' neighbour that has complained.
I think 6 hours is a long time to leave the dogs. Even if you can't afford a dog sitter could you get someone to check on them in. The middle of the day?
Do they bark when you let them into the garden. I have a few neighbours that seem happy for their dogs to have a good old bark when they let them out. It doesn't go on for ages but it is loud. I think the owners just get immune to the noise - a bit like parents do to the noise of their kids confused
If your house is attached can you keep the dogs away from the 'shared' wall. I obviously it's impossible if you have open plan but if your staircase/hall is adjacent to the shared wall then maybe you could close it off??

longjane Wed 30-Jul-14 18:36:16

I think the clue her is asked to re home and you have just signed for too years .
I very much doublt the landlord can do anything then.

Sit tight .

YourHandInMyHand Thu 31-Jul-14 07:50:05

Ethicalpickle I agree it doesn't have to be constant. I have a dog but have also had noisy dog neighbours that howled for a 2 hour window everyday it was awful. They clearly needed company and a walk at that time of day and it could have easily been solved. That's why I suggested recording. Unless you know what times and how long for it's hard to tackle it, especially in a tight time frame.

GothMummy Thu 31-Jul-14 08:02:02

Could you ask a friendly neighbour to let you know if they hear your lab barking? Also, is this supposed to be a "new" habit or are they complaining about a longstanding problem?

My lab barks at the door/when post arrives but I think dogs are allowed to do that! Our old neighbours complained a lot though and I had to record my dog to prove for my own peace of mind that he was not barking all the time I was out.

GothMummy Thu 31-Jul-14 08:06:03

Oh forgot to add, my friend had a similar issue with her spaniel and complaining neighbours so set up a webcam for a week which proved the dog was quiet/asleep.

They also asked the neighbours to record the times they heard the barking. It turned out not to be their dog that was noisy but another on the street.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Thu 31-Jul-14 11:07:45

I've downloaded an app. Will use it next time I leave the house. As it happens now it's summer holidays I'm only in the office on a Monday and Wednesday and home the other days so I'm not anticipating a problem for the next six weeks.

They are generally quiet dogs when we are at home the lab will bark when someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the door. They sometimes bark at a bird on the fence or a cat on the shed roof but not often.

There are dogs around here that bark far more often. It's a very dog heavy area as lots of parks and lakes and green spaces. It seems that literally every other house has at least one dog. There's a schnauzer at the back of us who barks and yaps all weekend long and evenings. A Doberman about five doors down who barks a lot too.

NotDavidTennant Thu 31-Jul-14 11:25:55

I'm surprised that no-one has suggested that you go round and speak to the neighbours about the issue. If they're willing to talk to you about it, then you could find out if there are particular times and situations when it bothers them, and that might open up discussion about possible solutions or compromises that could be made.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Thu 31-Jul-14 16:19:36

Not the problem is the agent haven't told us which neighbour it is. I'm just assuming it must be the neighbours attached to us.

I'm home today and took the dogs out with me when I went to the pub for lunch as we went for a walk before and after. So they've not been left home alone today. They are both now asleep on the floor.

I am keeping my own diary and noting if they bark when I'm here, the lab did bark apparently for no reason this morning which is unusual for him. He was sat watching every mouthful of toast waiting for crusts he was facing me sat on the floor and them just started barking really loudly. For about two minutes. I'm confused as to why though as he's never done that before. No window that he could see out of or door etc. all he would have seen was me and the wall behind the kitchen table.

Confusedandazed Thu 31-Jul-14 16:39:18

Just wondering if there was any chance your neighbours don't like dogs. My friend had the same problem where neighbours complained. They did not get on with these neighbours and they commented how much they hated dogs. Turns out the neighbours were using dog whistles to wind her dogs up and make them bark, so they could complain to the landlord.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Thu 31-Jul-14 16:56:41

Umm it is a possibility. They do have a bit of a bed in their bonnet about living next door to renters!! I'd have thought better the devil you know the previous tenants they said used to play loud Eastern European music and the children would be out until 10-11 at night bouncing on the squeaky trampoline and shouting/playing. But who's to say the next tenant wouldn't be trouble in other ways.

I don't want to ask either side unless I see them as don't want to come across as being confrontational. I have asked the agent to ask the complainant to knock and
Speak to us so we can resolve it. In the meantime will keep a diary of the family's comings and goings and fingers crossed the iPad app will record anything while we are out.

When we got the dogs I wasn't going to be working but after two years unfortunately had to return to work
In order to help pay bills!

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Thu 31-Jul-14 16:58:12

They have a cat that keeps crapping on our grass but I've not complained we just pick it up with the pooper scooper when we do poop patrol daily.

GothMummy Thu 31-Jul-14 17:49:23

Confusedanddazed- thats appalling! How did your friend find out about the whistle?

OP - I really hope you can sort this out, I do feel your pain, I turned into a nervous wreck whilst we had our old dog hating neighbour!

We now have nicer neighbours who have a cat that craps my garden but I would rather have that than the agressive dog haters.

I once had someone complain about the noise of my guinea pigs squeaking!!!

sonlypuppyfat Thu 31-Jul-14 17:57:29

I've no advice but at the back of me there is a small terrier type dog it cries and whines for hours it's enough to drive you round the bend.

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