Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Protection From What?

Quite often, you'll hear the owners of barking dogs say that the dogs are there for protection. To which I say: Protection from what?

Around here, there are barking dogs that go ballistic at:
  1. Joggers
  2. Walkers
  3. Bicyclists
  4. Children heading to or from the school bus stop
  5. Dogs being walked on leashes, and no, those dogs aren't barking
  6. People in wheelchairs and motorized scooters
  7. Families out for a stroll
Note the absence of vandals, burglars, and other nefarious types from the above list.

So, again, why all the noise? Is it a way of intimidating the rest of the neighborhood? Offering public proof of what a jerk you are?

To the dogs, I say that you're doing a great job. And the great job you're doing is preventing peace and quiet in the neighborhood.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. If you yearn to walk through your neighborhood without the non-stop barking assault, have I got a store for you! Check out the tee shirts and bumper stickers in my QuietBarkingDogs store.


  1. The dog who barks at the innocuous things that you've mentioned, will also bark at the burglar, murderer, vandal, etc., etc.

    And on the flip side: The fact of the matter is, the dog who bites the burglar will probably also bite the police officer who comes to investigate!

  2. Its been said before, and it worth saying again, that to many of these dog owners the dog fulfills the role of projecting intimidation, and as a means to exert control over others. In other words, the dog is a weapon.

    The uselessly barking dog is the proverbial "boy who cried wolf" in that the incessant false alarms would serve to REDUCE the probability that an exceptional event would be noted. No one believes a liar even when he is telling the truth.

    True story. I have a friend who lives in Charlotte, NC in a neighborhood with a severe barking dog problem. The cops are generally good about ticketing the owner, but the owner in question is SUPER hard core (makes the case that impoundment is required in at least some cases).

    Anyways, he and his family were wakened yet AGAIN by the yard barkers. Rather than call the cops, they decided to just close all the windows and turn fans on. Why bother dealing with police when it doesn't do much good? All that would do is result in another couple of hours of lost sleep.

    Turns out that on the night in question, someone was breaking into cars all up and down the street. They dogs may indeed have been barking at the criminal, but since they were noted to frequently bark uselessly no one did anything. Everyone had been conditioned to "just get used to it".

    This blows most excuses out of the water. What good is a watchdog if we are explicitly instructed to "just get used to it"? How do we know if he is barking at nothing, or if the event is truly exceptional? If it were a watchdog, shouldn't I call the cops EVERY TIME IT BARKS? Again, the nutters can't open their mouths without contradicting themselves.

    1. You are right when it comes to the yard barkers. Dogs shouldn't be kept out in yards to begin with. The yard doesn't need to be protected - no one could possibly steal it!!

      A dog kept inside can be a deterrent because most criminals look for easy marks and don't want to be bitten.

      So, to all you dog owners out there that keep a dog for protection, keep him INSIDE. That's where he can be useful, and you won't be p-ssing off your neighbors either.

      And, you are correct when you say that a lot of people keep dogs for intimidation purposes, or to boost their macho image, etc. For the most part you can tell which dog owners they are - just look at the type of dog at the end of the leash.

    2. Good points, Anon. Its been said that a dog CAN be a deterrent to crimes against your property or your person with the caveat that it has to be INSIDE THE HOME. If Hannibal Lecter breaks into your home at 3am, what good is the dog if its tied to a tree in the yard? It can't protect you physically. Sure, it'll bark but don't all yard dogs bark a lot? Remember... barking is what they do! If the neighbors call the cops about the barking, you KNOW they are going to be ignored in most cases.

  3. As the industrial designer and engineer I find impossible to concentrate around my setting, due to extreme dog presence. To make matters worse I love cats. So not only that I am confronted with constant barking but also with actual killings of the animal I love. From 5 AM to 12 PM they are constantly present, off the leash, without the muzzle, barking and slaughtering cats, the owners yelling, cats screaming as the dog butchers perform autopsy for fun.
    In a year I was unable to produce anything creative and I haven't felt really relaxed and inspired for years cause of this. And they are getting them more and more each passing year. I used to paint really bright paintings, inspired by the morning clouds and sunrises, I used to wake up early in the morning and watch the sun rise and smile. Now I sleep late with the pillow over my head and constantly feeling like I was run over by the heard of buffaloes knowing that the torture of the dogcravers will only intensify as the day passes by. And that it will never stop until I die.

    1. I hope your cats are not running loose, because, that is just not fair to your neighbors, or to the native wildlife.

  4. Loose dogs are an excellent reason to keep your cats indoors. Of course, the loose dog is guilty of everything the loose cat is and a LOT more.

    1. Being kind and considerate to your neighbors is an excellent reason to keep your cats indoors (unless you have special cat fencing that keeps them in your OWN yard) whether there are loose dogs in your neighborhood or not.

  5. i had this very same discussion with my neighbor when i complained about her dogs barking. when she tried to claim they were part of their home security system, i pointed out that false car alarms and false home alarms generate citations and fines.

    here's what i don't understand. how is this part of a home security system if it is consistently being ignored? my dogs are not allowed to bark at everything that moves. people walking past my house are also off limits. when they bark, i check it out within seconds. i think my neighbors just get another beer and turn up the TV.

    1. "how is this part of a home security system if it is consistently being ignored?"

      I think the idea is that the very presence of the dog and its barking will deter the would be burglar from choosing that particular home to pilfer since criminals are generally opportunistic and look for easy prey.

      The dog(s) should be kept indoors, though, where they can be more effective and not disturb the neighbors.