What Is Excessive Dog Barking? (AU Laws Explained)

Dogs have always been known to be popular companions because of their loyalty and constant companionship. However, excessive barking can sometimes create frustration not for dog owners but also for their neighbours. It's important to be mindful of your pet's barking especially if it becomes a nuisance to your neighbours and decide to report it to the Local Council. To ensure coexistence within communities, Australia has established guidelines that help determine what qualifies as excessive dog barking.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind barking in dogs and explore these guidelines on how responsible dog owners can effectively address and prevent such behaviour.

Quick Summary:

  • Dogs use barking as a means of expressing themselves and communicating with their owners and other animals.
  • The regulations concerning dogs differ from one state to another. It is the responsibility of local governments to address these matters and they may give warnings or notices to resolve the problems.
  • Dog owners have the option to seek assistance from professionals or use bark collars to manage their dog's barking habits.

Why Does My Dog Bark Excessively?

Dogs naturally communicate through barking like how humans use words to express their emotions and intentions. Barking serves as a way for dogs to bond and interact with their owners and other animals. Here are some common factors that can contribute to barking in dogs.

Being Territorial

Dogs that have a sense of territory may tend to bark excessively, especially when they feel their personal space is being invaded or threatened. Their barking serves as an alert to their owners and a way for them to establish dominance over their territory.1 By providing training and socialisation, this behaviour can be addressed, reducing the level of territorial aggression in dogs.


Excessive barking in dogs can also indicate fear. When dogs perceive potential threats, they may resort to excessive barking as a way to communicate their fear or deter those threats. It's crucial to address the causes of fear in your dog, helping them feel more secure and ultimately reducing their excessive barking.


Like humans, our furry friends can experience loneliness too. A lonely dog often expresses its longing for companionship through barking—a poignant reminder of how vital human connection is for these loyal creatures.

Attention Seeking

While seeking attention can be quite bothersome, dogs naturally resort to communicating this by barking, whining and pawing to communicate their need for attention. Whether they yearn for a walk outdoors or want to spend time, it is important for dog owners to learn their dogs needs while balancing this with healthy boundaries.

Separation Anxiety:

When dogs experience separation anxiety they tend to bark to express anxiousness and fear when left alone. Barking becomes their way of getting attention, calling their owner back or dealing with their distress to seek reassurance. Dealing with separation anxiety requires patience, reinforcement, and gradually learning your routine especially if you work outside of home.

An effective approach to managing dogs' behaviour is through training and positive reinforcement. This can help redirect their actions and teach them ways to get attention. Seeking guidance from a dog trainer or veterinarian can also be beneficial, in addressing this issue. 

How Is a Nuisance Dog Defined in Australia?

In Australia, a nuisance dog is one that annoys or inconveniences the public or neighbours. Excessive barking, aggressive conduct, or disturbing acts are examples of this.2 Local governments handle these situations and may issue warnings or notices to remedy the issues. Responsible pet ownership is essential for community peace and safety.

What Is Considered Excessive Dog Barking in Australia?

close up shot of a dog barking excessively

A lot of people in Australia enjoy having dogs as pets. However, it can be bothersome when they bark excessively. Excessive dog barking is considered when a dog's barking becomes persistent, loud, and disruptive, causing annoyance or inconvenience to persons nearby. To maintain a community and promote pet ownership, each state in Australia has its laws to regulate excessive dog barking. These are the regulations governing dog barking in each state.


In New South Wales (NSW), the local councils are responsible for enforcing the Companion Animals Act of 1998. This law defines a dog as a nuisance when it continuously barks for a minimum of 30 minutes or for an hour during the day or if it causes noise that unreasonably disrupts the peace, comfort or convenience of neighbours at night.3 Owners who do not address barking may be subject, to penalties or court orders to ensure appropriate actions are taken.


In Queensland, dealing with excessive dog barking is addressed by the councils according to the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act of 2008. If a dog barks or creates any noise that unreasonably disturbs someone's peace it is considered a nuisance.4 Pet owners who receive complaints about their dog’s barking are required to take steps to resolve the issue.


In Victoria, there are regulations in place to address the issue of excessive dog barking. The Domestic Animals Act of 1994 prohibits dogs from making any noise like barking that can disturb or upset neighbours. Local authorities have the power to investigate complaints and owners who fail to adhere to these rules may receive warning notices.5


In South Australia, the control of excessive dog barking is regulated by the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995. Local authorities have the authority to look into complaints regarding dogs. If deemed necessary, the council can issue a directive instructing the owner to take measures to manage the barking. Failure to comply may require settling the penalty and expiation fee.6


The Dog Control Act 2000 in Tasmania regulates excessive dog barking. A dog may be considered a nuisance if it barks, howls, or produces other noises that persistently disturb the peace and quiet of any person.7 Local governments have the authority to issue notices asking the owner to take corrective action.


The Dog Act 1976 in Western Australia handles excessive barking issues. If a dog barks incessantly and causes a noise problem, the owner may be issued a notice by the local council.8 The owner must then take the necessary actions to lessen the barking. Noncompliance with the notification may result in fines and penalties.


Excessive barking in the Northern Territory is regulated by the Dog Act with local councils being responsible for handling complaints about barking. If it is determined that the barking is excessive the council has the authority to instruct the owner to take measures to control it. Failure to comply with this instruction may lead to penalties.9


In the Australian Capital Territory, excessive barking is governed by the Domestic Animals Act 2000. If a dog barks incessantly and causes a noise nuisance, the owner may be issued a nuisance notice.10 To prevent excessive barking, the owner must take proper measures. Penalties may be imposed if you do not comply.

Can You Be Fined for Excessive Dog Barking in Australia?

a dog barking excessively outdoors

Yes, dog owners can be fined for excessive dog barking in AU. Each state in Australia has its own restrictions addressing excessive dog barking, and dog owners must be informed of the rules that apply to their area. However, there are some universal concepts and guidelines that apply across the board.

  1. Noise Nuisance Regulations: - Noise nuisance regulations, including those relating to dog barking, are primarily governed by local authorities. These regulations seek to ensure that all citizens live in a peaceful and harmonious environment. If a dog's barking causes a major disturbance in the neighbourhood, the owner may face sanctions.
  2. Investigating Complaints: When a complaint is received, the local council will usually look into it. They may seek evidence of the barking, such as audio or video recordings, witness accounts, or written complaints from those who have been affected by the barking.
  3. Issuing Fines: Fines may be enforced if the local council believes that the dog owner has not taken enough measures to alleviate the excessive barking. The amount of the fine can vary depending on state and municipal rules. However,  dog owners who have a subsequent offence may result in harsher punishments.

What Can I Do to Get My Dog to Stop Barking Excessively?

As a dog owner, there are steps you can take to prevent excessive barking and create a peaceful living environment, for both your furry friend and your neighbours.

Training and Socialising

socialisation training a dog to cut down on excessive barking

It's important to train your dog and give them opportunities to socialise. This helps reduce anxiety and territorial behaviours that can lead to barking.

Keep Your Dog Engaged

Make sure your dog stays mentally stimulated by providing toys, playtime, and regular walks. This helps prevent boredom-related barking.

Get Professional Assistance

If despite all your efforts, your dog's barking continues to be a concern it might be helpful to consult with a dog trainer who can provide expert guidance.

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Address Health Issues

Excessive barking may also be a sign of underlying health problems. Regularly consult with a veterinarian to ensure your dog's well-being.11

Consider Anti-Barking Devices

dog wearing anti barking device due to excessive dog barking

Another way to help dogs to stop barking uncontrollably is by using anti-barking collars. These devices are tailored to the specific demands of each dog, ensuring effective training without inflicting harm. These collars are intended to be accurate and dependable, offering a gentle and non-confrontational method of reducing excessive barking for a quieter and happier environment. Here are some types of collars that can help.

Shock Collars

This is the most effective collar for training your dog. When it detects excessive barking, shock collars emit a low-level static shock that is safe for your furry friend. This device must be used with the guidance of a professional dog trainer and is suitable for dogs that are more difficult during training sessions.

Many dog owners are taken aback by the static shock option; however, keep in mind that the shock is not painful. It's similar to the 'zap' you receive when you rub your feet across a carpet and then touch something else. It's unpleasant for a little moment, but not enough to cause harm.

Vibration Collars

Another alternative you can use is vibration collars. This device helps curb your dog's barking safely because it emits a soft pulse that attracts and redirects the dog's attention. This humane strategy promotes calmer and happier interactions between dogs and their owners. Remember to use the collar responsibly and modify it to your dog's requirements.

Citronella Collars

Using citronella collars is a way to address your dog's barking in a friendlier manner. These collars emit a burst of citronella scent whenever your dog barks excessively. The scent acts as a distraction helping your dog understand the need to reduce its barking.

Rest assured, this method is both safe and humane causing no pain or discomfort. It's important to remember that using the collar responsibly alongside reinforcement techniques will effectively train your furry friend. By following the guidelines provided, you'll notice a decrease in your dog's barking without any harm caused.

Final Thoughts:

Excessive barking differs from person to person, council to council, and state to state. While some local governments have very specific criteria, this is not the norm, thus we recommend that you check with your local government for the most up-to-date information. Nevertheless, pet ownership should be practised by dog owners. We can do everything in our ability to rectify our dog's behaviour, whether that means employing equipment or seeking help from a professional to instruct our canine companion.


  1. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-causes-dogs-to-bark-excessively/
  2. https://www.darwin.nt.gov.au/live/pets-wildlife/dog-cat-management/nuisance-barking
  3. https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/act-1998-087
  4. https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/noise-and-crime-in-the-neighbourhood/barking-dogs-in-the-neighbourhood
  5. https://www.mornpen.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/new-website-documents/your-property/animals-amp-pets/pest-amp-nuisance-animals/docs/barking-dog-information-for-dog-owners.pdf
  6. https://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ch31s11s10.php
  7. https://www.legislation.tas.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/act-2000-102
  8. https://www.cockburn.wa.gov.au/Health-Safety-and-Rangers/Dogs-and-Cats/Barking-Dogs#:~:text=An%20infringement%20will%20be%20issued,%24200%20for%20all%20other%20dogs.
  9. https://www.darwin.nt.gov.au/resident-services/pets/dog-cat-management/nuisance-dogs/nuisance-barking
  10. https://www.cityservices.act.gov.au/pets-and-wildlife/domestic-animals/animal-nuisance
  11. https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/behaviour/barking#:~:text=If%20your%20dog%20is%20barking,always%20speak%20to%20your%20vet.