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.

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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.

Errrrmmm… A dreadful situation but it does illustrate how doing some pre-offer or pre-purchase research can provide vital information…


Can’t control who your neighbours will sell their house to?

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Or indeed rent to. The family at the top of the chemin rural that descends to our house has about ten dogs, all rescues. In the 15 years we have lived here we have gone from nice quiet elderly couple (lovely) to family with motor bikes (aagh!) to family with 10 dogs. No you can’t control who your neighbours are. What you can control (fortunately in our case) is how far away they are. Right from the beginning we knew we could not have immediate neighbours because we arrived with two Airedale dogs and did not want any problems. So we are surrounded by farmland and it was one of the priorities on our “must have” list.


I agree with Sue that distance from potentially noisy neighborhood dogs is key. We hesitated quite long and hard about buying our house here in Normandy, due to the tenant neighbours dog. It barked incessantly in their garden, from dawn to dusk every day, with its owners seemingly quite unconcerned about the noise or its welfare.

In the end we reckoned that a 75m strip of meadow between us and them,plus their own leylandii hedge as a buffer should suffice to blunt the worst of the noise. We also hoped the tenants might move on. One day the dog literally disappeared.They never found it, and the tenants themselves moved on…




Barking dogs comes in 2nd after ‘other peoples music’ acording to the UK council noise control depts.

Here in FR I have had moderate to low annoyance factor with barking dogs. My neighbour, 100m down the urban lane, has two ‘rats on a string’. One, a chihuahua, stands at the fence overlooking the lane and yaps non-stop. I do find the smaller, the yappier. It is there, along with its fellow r.o.a.s. because it’s been put in the garden while its owner is out. Longer out: more yapping. This dog would make sitting out in the garden almost impossible. If that situation occurs [lots of interior refurb] , there will be words.

Another dog, left out 24/7, barked 24/7 - yes: all day/all night. It was just far enough away down the valley to be almost tolerable. All of a sudden this dog is no longer en casa. Perhaps someone closer to the nuisance has at last complained and something has been done. The dog gone, hopefully.

If it comes to it, Ibuprophen is fatal to dogs. Small doses accumulate. Liver function ceases.

You may be horrified at this last comment but I tell you I was intending to do this, until …

My next door neighbour in Valencia had a dog, medium size, which never left her flat. Ever. The smell was indescribable. Literally sickening.

My neighbour was a depressive alcoholic with colon cancer. She spent days out on the street, in bars … meanwhile the dog barked and howled non stop.

One day, after my gestoria had been at my flat for 3 hours, seeing to a proper job by the gas company, she called several hours later.

“Is that the dog, still barking?” “Yes. Just as it was when you were here - and as always”

She called the police [In Spain, everything starts with the police, even public health and hygiene]

Getting no response knocking smartly on the door, they called los bomberos - the fire brigade. Lusty firemen in full rig broke the door down. The policewoman ventured inside. I durst not. The woman lived without electricity and there was no telling what you might be treading in. Filth, for sure.

She reappeared, with a scarf over her nose, clearly shocked. The animal welfare people were called to take the dog and a cat away.

A neighbour had obviously tipped off the woman’s son. Just as the animal squad were about to leave with the animals, he appeared and vouched for ‘looking after’ them. The animal squad were obliged to leave them [unlike the RSPCA who can override an owner’s protestations]

The police, los bomberos and the animal welfare squad left. Things resumed as before. It was hell.

Occasionally there would be 6-8 hours of peace. Then it would start again, slowly at first then up to full-on furious barking. I worked out that she was drugging the dog with her medications.

Weeks later a policeman pinned a notice on her door that she was going to be up before the beak for ‘una casa insalubridada’ The case was many months hence.

I returned from weeks in UK to get away from this. My neighbour, Dangerous Downstairs Doris, came up to tell me "She’s died!".

I did restrain myself from Jurgen Klopp-like fist pumps but it was, in the words of a friend, a life changing moment.

The dog was gone. Over months, the smell faded, as did the memory of two years living next to the worst neighbour/dog problem imaginable.

An agent giving me details of a house was good enough to point out that ther was a nuisance dog next door …

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Free speech? !#%<!? Surely, this contravenes moral codes, both in thinking it and in posting here.

The rest of the text is quite funny but this bit made me choke on my café au lait