Has a neighbour threatened to report your dog for barking in your community? Here’s what you should know
8 July 2018| Last updated on 13 November 2018
First of all, it should be understood by all dog owners in Dubai that sadly, you’re a minority.
What we mean, is that there are strict rules and regulations that dog owners are expected to follow while living in Dubai. Plus, bear in mind, not everyone and everywhere in Dubai is dog-friendly. So much so that if your dog is perceived to be in the wrong, you're more likely to be punished.
Particularly if you are faced with a noise complaint by a neighbour due to your dog barking incessantly. In fact, if your neighbour calls Dubai Police or Dubai Municipality to take action, you risk having your pup taken away from you.
Despite there being rules and regulations in place for dog owners in Dubai, when it comes to barking complaints, there isn’t too much information available to use for guidance.
The good news is, there is no known and specific law in Dubai’s Federal Law that automatically penalises the owner of dogs who may bark or cause a nuisance for your neighbours.
Noise complaints to Dubai Municipality and Dubai Police
It generally goes that any noise made during the day is acceptable, and may not cause too much of a disturbance to your community. Be it your dog barking, a party, drilling or similar.
However, in the evenings, especially after 10pm, a dog barking continuously is bound to result in some disgruntled neighbours.
Understandably, they would be within their rights as tenants in your community to complain to either Dubai Police or Dubai Municipality if your dog barking is causing too much of an issue.
If you are then paid a visit from an official, you may face fines – or risk having your dog taken from you in extreme circumstances.
What to do if you have a complaint against your dog
If ever your pooch causes you to be slapped with a noise complaint by an annoyed neighbour, first of all – DON’T panic.
Sadly in Dubai and across the UAE, there are too many pets – dogs in particular – dumped because their owners are scared of facing the (rare) consequences of a noise complaint.
Here are the steps to take if you receive a noise complaint against your dog in Dubai:
#1 Double check your contract and building/community regulations
To be on the safe side, cross-check your tenancy contract. If your landlord has specifically stated in your contract that pets are allowed in your residence, that’s good. Also double check if your building allows pets.
If you’re living in a building that doesn’t allow pets, but your tenancy contract says so – or vice versa - you’re less likely to win against any threat of having your dog removed. In fact, you may end up with an eviction notice – or the request that you get rid of your pet.
The latter scenario is of course, not ideal. Again, this is a reason why dog owners may feel the need to find a new home for the pooch – because they simply don’t have the means to move from where they currently live.
If that is the case, please contact one of the many, amazing rescue groups and organisations in Dubai that can help you re-home your dog the correct way.
Alternatively, if giving your pet up is an absolute no-no, as it should be – they’re family! – then you should consider moving to a more dog-friendly place to live in Dubai.
#2 Apologise to your neighbour, and explain
Sadly, a lot of dislike towards dogs in Dubai is due to a lack of education for the most part. Not everyone is experienced with dogs, nor have they ever really been around them. As a result, they’re often branded a threat.
If you should receive a noise complaint, attempt to make contact with your neighbour and first, apologise, and secondly, explain how you’re taking action to help reduce any barking in the future.
#3 Identify what is causing your dog to bark, and take actions to fix
If you know your dog is startled by sounds outside; like cars going by, neighbours in their gardens, people in the hallway… Put measures in place to reduce the likelihood that your pooch will hear them and react.
- Make sure your dog is well exercised on a morning>… Help drain their energy so they’ll rest when you’re out
- Leave the radio on, or the television on – this is a great way to drown out any outside noise
- Invest in a pet camera; there are several available on Souq.com, all with cameras and audio
- Leave your pooch with a long-lasting treat, and remove it when you return
- Purchase some sound-proofing and install if possible
If your pooch is experiencing separation anxiety, you might feel at a loss for what to do. But don’t despair, there are actions you can take to help reduce your pup feeling extremely lonely when you’re not there… And letting the neighbours know about it!
- Again, make sure your pooch is well exercised – drain their energy so when you’re not there, they know when to rest!
- Invest in a ‘thunder jacket’
- Don’t make a big deal when you leave… Your time apart is no big deal, and you need to let them know that it’s just business as usualy
- Re-train your pooch; start with 5 minutes alone, then 10, then 15 minutes and so on until you’re confident they’ll be okay without you
- Invest in some training… There are many great dog trainers in Dubai you can contact to help train your pooch against barking
- Arrange a professional dog-walker or dog-sitter to come and visit your pooch during the day
- Arrange for your dog to go to one of Dubai’s great doggy day-care centres during the day for socialisation
- Keep calm when leaving, and assertive; having a confident pack leader, which you are to your dog, helps to ease their anxiety
- Purchase an audiobook – the help of a human voice can help reduce their stress, or leave the TV on
- Give them treat-dispensing toys to play with while you’re away, or create a ‘treasure-hunt’ for them in your absence
If all of the above fails, consult your vet. Or consider crate training, if you haven’t done so already.
#4 What NOT to do if your dog barks a lot
Do not scold or punish your dog; often anxious behaviours like barking are not the result of disobedience or spite. They’re distress responses!
If you punish them, they’ll become even more upset and the problem could get much worse.
Instead, develop behaviour correction; for every time they DON’T bark, reward them. If someone knocks on your door and your pooch barks, ignore them. Reward them when they STOP barking.
#5 Work on the ‘speak’ and quiet’ commands
When it comes to corrective training, there are a couple of commands worth teaching your pet to help you both out when it comes to barking.
- With a treat in your hand, allow them to sniff it – when they stop barking, praise them and give the treat
- Repeat until they start barking as soon as you say ‘speak’
- Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach them ‘quiet'
Repeat the above steps in a calm, quiet environment without distractions until your pooch has mastered the commands. Knowing these two instructions will help tremendously if ever you need to quieten your pooch.
#6 Consider an anti-bark collar
As a last resort, if all of the above fails – you could consider an anti-bark collar. It’s a topic that’s often debated between dog owners, as some would argue using one is cruel and inhumane.
That we agree with – if the wrong anti-bark collar is used. Things like the shock-collars and the vibrating collars are probably the worst out of the range you can buy.
Collars that spray air or water, which interrupts your dog while barking, often prove effective.
However, you must understand that anti-bark collars are a form of punishment, whether it’s an air one, or a shock one – it makes your dog feel uncomfortable and prevents them from barking. We’d recommend only trying one as a last resort, after all of the above has failed.