If a complaint has been aimed at you about your dog’s behavior, you should at least be willing to talk about the problem, even if you think your neighbor is being completely unreasonable. It is in your interest to solve the problem quickly, before it escalates.
If you have received a complaint about your barking dog, open the lines of communications with your neighbors. If you received an anonymous complaint, visit your neighbors and let them know that you received a complaint about your dog’s barking. Explain that you want to work on stopping the barking but until the other day you weren’t even aware that the problem existed. Ask your neighbors if they have heard the dog barking, and if so: 1) When did it start? 2) How long did it last? 3) Was there an apparent stimulus for the barking, such as nearby construction, deliveries or something else?
If you are away from home regularly and your dog is barking, ask if your neighbors can assist with trying to change your dog’s behavior. When the dog barks, ask the neighbors to say the dog’s name and “Quiet!” or “No bark!” This might at least interrupt the barking. When your dog stops barking he should receive verbal praise, petting or a special treat that he gets only when he stops barking.
If the neighbors are not an option for help, you will need to set up a situation that allows you to catch your dog in the act. Do your workday morning schedule on a weekend day. Leave the house and then come back to see if you catch your dog barking. If you have a two-person household, one person could leave and the other could stay behind to observe the dog’s behavior. Use the negative and positive reinforcements described above to correct and reward your dog.
You can also check out local dog training classes. Check the phone book under “Dog Training” or search the internet for a complete listing of trainers in the area.
You can also check your local pet store for barking solutions.