Barking Dogs, grrr!

I’m sure this issue must have been discussed before, but as a relative newby to this site (and to France) some advice is welcome. So in 2015 we saw the house, fell in love with it, a year later bought it (a year?! yes, owner died, house passed to family, probate, etc. etc. but that story is for another day) 2 years on and several visits later we are at the decorating stage, or rather, hubby is, as I am increasingly reluctant to go there and spend a week listening to the the neighbours barking dogs. “Why don’t you just go around and have a word with neighbours” I hear you say. Well, it isnt just one neighbour, its 3!! One neighbour at the side of our house has 3 dogs, the one behind our garden has one dog and the one in front has 2. I think they take it in turns to start the others off, but anyway it’s driving me nuts, bananas, bonkers, up the wall, round the bend…I suppose the moral of this story is buy a house with your head and not your heart. While I’m contemplating putting up the ‘a vendre’ sign, have we been unlucky or us this a general problem with French people and their dogs?

Are they hunting dogs? As those are often left in kennels day and night to bark like crazy.

Otherwise it’s hit and miss as to whether your neighbours are good dog trainers or not. If you are in a rural area a lot of french will consider that “il fait son travail” if a dog barks when someone goes by, arrives at the door etc etc. However they should then stop… In our hamlet of 20’ish houses there are 14 dogs, so a bit like church bells ringing they bark in sequence as someone comes through the village. But it doesn’t last long so we’ve learnt to ignore it (apart from our dog who is trained to shut up after two barks, which he mostly does).

If you go to your Marie you can ask if there is an arrêté municipal contre les bruits de voisinage. Most places have put this in place, and most of them refer to dogs barking. So you can put in a complaint if the barking is extreme, especially during the night.

However, if it is only a minute or so of barking as something happens you may not be doing yourself any favours by complaining tho’. - even if that happens 20 times a day. You may well be considered more like tourists who come to the countryside and complain about cocks crowing…

Hello Jane.

Thank you for your reply. I agree with your last comment - I think a complaint would only make matters worse.

These dogs are in runs during the day when their owners are at work so I think they are barking out of boredom, and then they they bark with excitement in the evenings when they are let out!!

Here in the UK we have a neighbour who has 5 large dogs - they bark when the postman or refuse collectors arrive - understandable as they are protecting their territory - but then quieten down, so this doesn’t bother us, and at least we’d know if there were any house robbers in the area - LOL!

I think we may just have to put up with this - a peaceful retirement chilling in our beautiful and sunny garden doesn’t look likely, but more of a problem is that we were hoping to let out the house as a holiday gite for the next couple of years - perhaps we’ll have to ensure that we only rent out to tourists who adore dogs unconditionally!!

Thanks again for your comments, regards, June

In which case the only possible solution is to get to know people in the village, including your neighbours, and then you can raise it directly in a less complaining way.

One thing we did after we had been here a while was ask the mayor to recirculate the arrêté to the whole commmune, as all three neighbouring houses were in the middle of major construction and we wanted to see if we could ensure that our gîte guests at least have an hour and a half free of heavy machinery at lunchtime. It did have a small positive effect.

.Or offer to take the dogs for a walk?

I think approaching the mayor is a good idea - apparently any requests accompanied by a bottle of whisky are more likely to be granted!!

But not sure about walking the dogs - I don’t think they are ever walked, which might be part of the problem, and two of them killed another neighbour’s cat when it made the mistake of going into their garden, while another one regularly breaks into its owners poultry pens - by the awful noises I dread to think what happens then! Don’t wish to be on the receiving end myself!!

I’ll let you know how the situation develops - wish me luck!

Get a dog yourself, maybe with a bigger, noisier bark​:joy::joy:

Hunting dogs are not normally walked. They are kept in a run or pound and they not surprisingly bark from boredom.
There’s no point in offering to walk them. Les chasseurs don’t approve. I know. I’ve tried it. My neighbour’s weimaraner spent his life in a pound became miserable and finally died.
Some forms of local nuisance have to be put up with for the sake of living in harmony with neighbours.

I wonder if building a wall or building one a bit higher might be useful for creating a sound barrier. Sound-canceling headphones. A good stereo system… A sun room with some thick partitions…

That’s why I asked if they were hunting dogs, and it seems not as in runs during the day. I don’t know about your area but round here the hunting dogs are not trained at all and are unmanageable.

Although the commune would be more open to complaints against hunting dogs as they are so well known for being bad neighbours.

We don’t live in a village but our dog does bark when she can see a car on the lane or walkers.
We rescued her from the next door farm where she was tied up all day and her only bit of fun was barking.
We stop her when she has done her job of warning us that someone is around.
We also find that there is a chain effect and that when another of the local dogs they can set off the others.
We hear farm dogs barking in the night if there are foxes around.
Fortunately we do not have neighbours who keep hunting dogs, but when they are out hunting in nearby fields barking and their bells ringing both our and our friend’s dog bark like mad.
The really annoying dog belongs to a neighbour who let her wander and she chases our car as we drive past.
Nothing seems to get through to them that they should control their dog and they be ome unpleasant and say we are driving too fast.

We had ‘the hound of the Baskervilles’ up the road, which howled, rather than barked, all day.

We asked our neighbour: not just French, but 100% local, never lived more than 20 km away. She was not approving: that dog, she said, they lock it up all day, it’s gone crazy, they ought to take better care of it.

(I don’t know what’s happened to it, but we haven’t heard it recently.)

So ask around discreetly. You may find not all locals are pro-dog. In fact, our end of the village is very much the opposite: cat owners all!

Sorting this problem is not going to be easy. Either taking the “legal” route or the softly softly approach as a friendly but concerned neighbour. The French appear to have the same deafness to barking dogs as they do to noisy screaming children. Thankfully I have never bought a house with neighbours near enough to hear.