BARKING dogs and loud music appear to be bothering a lot of people in Swansea, according to numbers of complaints.
Swansea Council had 4,175 music complaints in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 – the equivalent of nearly four a day.
It also received 2,554 dog barking gripes during the same period. Meanwhile, noisy drilling and banging led to 197 DIY noise complaints.
The council has urged householders to be considerate neighbours, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when so many more people are at home.
And canine behaviourist Karen Kirkwood said there were techniques dog owners could deploy to try to reduce their pets’ barking.
“But the big question is why the dog is barking,” she said. “That would be my first line of questioning to owners.
“It could be because they’re alone, frightened or being territorial. It could be boredom, frustration. Some dogs bark because they’re in pain.
“It can be self-rewarding. They can get pleasure out of barking, increasing serotonin levels in their brain.
Mrs Kirkwood, of J and R Dog Training, Killay, added: “It’s their only form of communication, and barks differ in tone.”
Asked if certain breeds tended to bark more than others, Mrs Kirkwood certain smaller breeds were a bit “yappy”, particularly some cross-breeds.
Jugs – a pug-Jack Russell cross – have become popular, but Mrs Kirkwood said there might be more Jack Russell than the generally quieter pug in any given dog.
“If there’s more Jack than pug in a Jug, you can get a little ‘barky’ dog rather than a placid dog,” she said.
Mrs Kirkwood added that owners can, with help, teach their dog to bark on command.
The council’s website gives tips to prevent excessive noise bothering neighbours and asks people to be reasonable if a neighbour contacts them with a problem.
Councils can prosecute noisy neighbours.
A Carmarthenshire couple with 16 dogs who failed to comply with a noise abatement notice issued by Carmarthenshire Council was fined and ordered to pay costs at a hearing at Llanelli Magistrates Court last July.
Meanwhile, it was reported last summer that one of the reasons that Dyfed-Powys Police’s dog section was moving from the force’s headquarters in Llangunnor, near Carmarthen, to a new base in Pembrey was due to complaints about barking.
A Swansea Council spokesman said every noise complaint was logged and then allocated to a case officer, who would contact the complainant.
The spokesman said: “If the noise is from loud music or a barking dog, for example, there are processes in place so that the council can investigate whether or not a statutory nuisance is being caused.
“We do try and work with residents and initially this is usually a cautionary letter, which often means that the problem is resolved without any formal action being taken.”