I feel like I'm probably more just looking to whinge rather than actually look for advice about this one.
I got a letter yesterday from the local ranger saying a neighbour had complained about our dog barking. We got a 'bark card' which states that our dog barks 'all day long' and it also states she does it regardless of whether we're home or not.
The thing is that I graduated from Uni in December and don't start work until August. So basically I've been home all day, every day for the last 6 months with the exception of the one day a week I work. On the one day a week that I work my partners home, and it's also an afternoon shift so I'm home until 2.30pm.
Now I'm not saying our dog is perfect by any means. But she doesn't bark unless there's something to bark at. The way our house is set up, we have a laundry near the back of our house that has a door that goes outside. This area is a small area that goes from our garage up the length of the house where we installed a pool gate so that our dog can't go into the wider back yard without us there. Unfortunately this 'run' that we created happens to be directly next to our neighbours patio. Now as I said, she doesn't bark unless there's something to bark at, so she only barks when our neighbours are actually outside using the patio.
In saying that, as I said I'm home all day every day, and our dog has always been primarily an inside dog. She is always inside, full stop. When I'm out we keep her confined to the laundry, but she doesn't have access to the back yard unless we let her out. She also sleeps with us.
I only ever let her outside for two reasons - to go the toilet and to play. When she plays in the backyard she's supervised and the neighbours can make as much noise as they want and she won't care because she's too distracted. The only time she really barks is if I let her out into the run to go to the toilet and walk away for a few minutes and they just happen to be outside. AS SOON as I hear her bark I bring her back inside, no exceptions. I know how annoying noisy dogs can be and refuse to be one of those neighbours.
And before anyone says anything, it's not separation anxiety or boredem barking when we're out. She's been raised since she was a puppy to be left alone because I used to go to uni/prac and she'd be left alone. We also set up a camera inside just to check and see if she was barking while we're gone and she doesn't. She pretty much just sleeps/plays with toys until we come home.
Now regardless of all this, we've been reported anyway. This annoys me so much because it's literally just untrue. Our neighbours on the other side are actually some of our closest friends and they said they never hear our dog bark, so logically it could only be the ones with the run on that side of the house to report her, or possibly the people behind us (but the run isn't on the back of our house and there's a distance between the run and the back fence anyway).
We've also had landscapers working on our front and back yards for the last 3-4 weeks, who are obviously quite noisy and around all day. She hasn't barked at them once either. They don't phase her, because she's inside and doesn't bark..
As I said, I'm not really looking for advice on how to treat this problem. Basically just having a sook really. It also really annoys me that they'd go straight to the council rather than bothering to speak to us first. We're not bad neighbours as far as I know and I thought we'd be quite approachable. Maybe they just didn't want to stir things up but I'd much rather someone be polite and speak up rather than get the council involved. We also have quite a few dogs in our neighbourhood that do bark a lot, so its a bit annoying that ours gets complained about..
Oh, one last thing! I let her out the other day to go to the toilet, I'd walked as far as the end of the hallway (about 3 meters) and I heard her barking. I went straight back to bring her inside and heard our neighbour outside in her patio howling like a wolf... Then she yells in a nice and condescending tone 'Oh, calm down *my dogs name*!' (they know my dogs name from previous conversations) and then continued howling like a wolf. Apart from the fact I have no idea why she was howling like a wolf in broad daylight.. I felt like it was a little rude to acknowledge that she was stirring my dog up and then continued to do so.
Anyway, in response to this I'm going to politely go to ALL of our close neighbours and the ones across the road and ask if they've complained/if they hear our dog barking. If they say they haven't heard her I'll be asking them to sign a statement saying so. And if they have I'll be asking what times it occurs. I'll also be buying an outdoor video camera with microphone and setting it up so that I have proof that it isn't her.
Speaking of.. Anyone have any advice on outdoor video cameras with microphones ? Haha. Thanks for letting me rant!