Awfully Loud Neighbor Animals -- What to do?

A decade ago our family moved into a nice neighborhood with a lot of retirees; I work from home need quiet to write and conduct phone interviews.  A couple of years ago, the next-door neighbors put a pool in on our property line and proceeded to play loud music a lot.  Then they moved away but turned it into a 24/7 Air B n' B with frequent loud parties, nudity, drug use, etc.  After 18 hellish months, it finally sold.  The new neighbors are more considerate but have three dogs and a set of of which grew into a very vocal rooster.  This summer we also got new neighbors behind us with dogs.  The two sets of neighboring canines now have barking competitions several times a day.  The Air B n' B we absolutely had to fight for the sake of our 9-year-old son whose bedroom window overlooked the chaos.  No matter how kind, thoughtful, and reasonable we tried to be, it escalated into the owner threatening us with a lawsuit for "hurting his business."  (We are in an area zoned strictly residential.)  Laws and codes were on our side, but an expensive and long legal battle loomed over us until he sold.  We had such a bad experience that we're afraid of starting over with requests for quiet even when the city codes clearly outlaw roosters and perpetual barking.  Conflict with a neighbor is just so painful that I went the anonymous route, sending a card welcoming the folks to the area but politely letting them know their dogs were a problem.  Nothing changed.  I don't know much about dogs, although I do like them when they aren't causing problems.  What effective words can I use to let these people know that we don't dislike their dogs and want to be good neighbors yet need them to do better?  What is reasonable to expect noise-wise from dogs?  (The two behind us are the biggest problem and are left alone outside in the fenced backyard all day.  They don't seem to be any particular breed--one medium-sized and one rather large.)  Is there a way I might get the two dogs to like and trust me so that I could calm them myself when the neighbors are gone?  And, finally, are there any sorts of meditations or mental strategies for tuning out noise you can't stop?  (Closed windows, playing music, white noise, and other measures only help so much.)   Thanks for any advice.

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As a dog owner, I would appreciate a neighbor ringing my doorbell (wearing a mask and stepping back to social distance of course)  I would want my neighbor to tell me in person that the dogs barking is disturbing my work and ask them to figure out a solution.   Maybe keeping the dogs inside when they are gone would be it, maybe a bark collar or maybe if you got the dogs to know you,  they wouldn't bark at you.  I'm not a dog trainer, maybe there is some advice they can give, but I wouldn't send a postcard.  I'd go talk to them.  

I have had neighbors with two German Shepherds that they left in their yard all day/night barking and it was hell. I am so sorry you are going through this. I don't know if your city codes have anything to say about loud dogs, but it seems to me that the best course of action is to approach your neighbors and tell them it is a problem. If you had a few neighbors on your side that could also approach them separately, perhaps the neighbors would get the message and do something about it. If they are like my former neighbors who refused to do anything about it, then your best option is probably to get some noise canceling headphones. Alternatively, you could try one of those dog bark deterrents that emits a high pitched sound that humans can't here, but I am not sure how well those work.

I had a friend in a similar situation and they made multiple complaints to animal control. Eventually animal control will come out and start giving warnings if something isn't done.

Hi--you seem awfully nice and this is so reasonably written, but it sounds like the city life is not for you. I feel like this noise is just what you have to live with when you live in a heavily populated area like many areas in the Bay Area. I think dogs barking, roosters crowing, music playing loudly as long as it's not like after 10pm is pretty reasonable. I don't own dogs but I'm not sure what you expect the owners to do when you sent them a card saying their dog were a problem. I'm sure they'd like their dogs to bark less too?

This probably isn't that helpful but my parents used to live next to a really anxious dog that barked a lot and my dad offered to start bringing her on his daily dog walks with his dogs. This sprouted a beautiful friendship both for the dogs and my dad and the neighbors. My dad walked the dog every weekday, the dog was a lot more tired and therefore quiet when he got home, and then he became friends with the dog owners and they shared lots of meals and drinks both at home and at restaurants. Owner would often take my parents out for dinner after watching the dog/to thank them. 

I’m so sorry for this situation. We went through something very similar. I called Animal Control, and I actually happened to be calling from our back patio trying to enjoy our peaceful garden. The woman who took the call could hear the volume, intensity, and malice in the dog’s barking during the call; she took my complaint, and visited them (from what I understand; I remained anonymous throughout). I believe they first received a citation; something more serious happened when the barking continued and I called again, thughiot100% sure what - the barking stopped. It is against some City code to have a dog barking at a volume that bothers neighbors; this was completely dealt with by Animal Control and I never had to talk to them (TBH I was afraid it might be confrontational, this dog sounded MEAN as well as loud...). Best of luck. 

I don't think there are magic words that will solve this problem. You've tried anonymous notes, as far as I can see your other options are 1) talking politely but directly to them  about this or 2) joining forces with other neighbors to talk to them. I'd start with 1, then go to 2. It's not easy, it will be uncomfortable, but without asking, you have no way to know the barriers to solving this. When you talk to them, I recommend keeping what you say brief and factual and direct, and communicating your willingness to work together to solve the problem. Here's a sample script: "Welcome, I'm Reaves, I live behind you! I wanted to ask you about your dogs" Leave a space, see if they volunteer anything. If not... "I work at home so when the dogs bark during the day I have a hard time concentrating." Leave a space, see what they say. If nothing.. "Would you be willing to keep them inside more often?" Leave a space, see what they say. etc...

My dog is loud when he barks. I do not leave him outside, and I try to be mindful of neighbors, but it's possible I'm annoying them. It would be awkward if my neighbor called me out about it, but I would live. Most likely worst thing that happens is your neighbors find you irritating.

Roosters are very loud, ear-piercing. They really don't have a place in the city where people live close together.  Depending on what city you live in, you may find there are limits on roosters, as in, no roosters allowed or only one rooster allowed.  My friend in Berkeley had some chickens and one rooster, and she had to bring him inside every night in a cat carrier after the neighbors complained. So you might be able to talk to the city about the rooster without having to be personally involved.   

Regarding barking dogs.  I've had dogs all my life and there are currently 4 dogs living in my house.  Most dogs don't like being left alone, and they bark. The owner isn't home, so they think the dogs are just hanging out in the backyard not bothering anyone.  But I know from first-hand experience that persistent, relentless, never-ending barking is torture. I personally would be too shy to confront the dog owner face to face. If I had their email I might send them a very short polite note that their dogs are bothering me and request that they please keep their dogs inside. And then I would start complaining to the city. Check the noise ordinance in your city. Keep a log of the barking. Keep complaining.  If you think the dogs are neglected or endangered, contact your city's animal control department too. The owner might pay more attention to a visit from the city than a note from a neighbor.

By the way, I don't necessarily recommend this, but there's a lady down the street who goes out onto her deck and screams expletives at the neighbor, calling her by name, when her dogs are barking!  It's not very nice to hear but it's actually been very effective at stopping those particular dogs from barking. :) 

I hope you can find some peace!

Which city are you in? I live in Oakland and have used the Public Nuisance office as a helpful resource.

I think for the rooster, you can just send a picture to animal control and they will take care of it. You could probably even send an actual physical photo though the mail anonymously. 

It will take more work to get anywhere with the dogs. And it will be extra hard during a pandemic. But the only way to influence the neighbors is to create a friendly relationship with them so that they feel an obligation to be considerate. Or to form a group with other neighbors to put serious and ongoing pressure on them to be responsible. Either way, it will take a lot of time and energy and will be difficult to accomplice given the Covid situation. 

I am so sorry! I have known far too many irresponsible and inconsiderate dog owners. They don't pick up the dog poop; the park, the sidewalk, other peoples lawns, it is all fair game. They let their dogs annoy people with too much barking. They allow their dogs to run up to small children and scare them. They take them to parks and rec areas where they are not allowed. Too many of them think the rules don't apple to them. And then of course some dogs actually bite and kill. So tired of dogs and dog owners! 

Been in your shoes.  Sounds like you have done all of the polite neighborly things you could possibly do. Questions is what do you do when you are trying to be a good neighbor and your neighbors are not reciprocating?  Not much you can do.

It really stinks when the city has laws that they will not enforce. Been there with dogs, chickens, gas powered leaf blowers and fence height.  I've had the city flat out tell me they can use discretion when enforcing the laws.  It's frustrating.  (Sounds like this is where you are at.)

You can always move, but then you might end-up with worse neighbors.

You didn't mention the city, but some have neighbor mediators. We tried that and the neighbor told the mediator what the mediator wanted to hear and did nothing.  Complete waste of time as a mediator has no authority.  

You could try noise cancelling headset.  Don't by the cheap ones, you should be spending around $300.

Do you know why the dogs are baking?  Are they in distress? Need water?  You could call the county animal control. Or when they start barking give them some food.

Good luck.  Wish you were one of my neighbors.  You sound very reasonable. 

Hi, we had a similar issue with a neighbor. He worked from home and when he was home the dogs were so quiet, but if he left they barked non-stop. He didn't really understand the issue because honestly he didn't hear it. We had a good relationship with him and he was very kind, so he felt bad, but I think he really didn't think it could be that big of a deal. When other neighbors also reached out to him he started to see that it was an issue. Then someone reported him to animal control and he received a letter saying the dogs were an issue. We offered to have him text us and we could let the dogs in or out if he wasn't going to be home and that helped us be able to resolve the issue in the moment. If other neighbors are also dealing with this maybe you can combine forces to say it's a disturbance or offer to help let the dogs in the house when the neighbors aren't around, or see if a local kid can walk them. I'm not sure where you live but you can look into local noise ordinances and document the barking and send them an official complaint. It never escalated to a negative relationship in our case, but it was a pain for a bit.