14th September 2012
TOP End residents are going barking mad.
Darwin council reported 512 barking complaints in the past year as cranky people complained about their neighbours' dogs.
The fine for a nuisance woofer is $282 and a problem animal can be declared a Category 3 nuisance, which attracts an additional yearly registration fee.
Darwin council community services general manager John Banks said dog owners were not automatically fined.
"We work with the owner to try to fix the dog with behavioural training," Mr Banks said.
Bark Busters dog behaviouralist Janette Shearing trains canines to stop barking from Darwin to Kununurra and Alice Springs in one-on-one sessions.
She said many pets suffered separation anxiety and worry about their owners' safety when they leave.
"They are calling the owners back to the pack," Ms Shearing said. A lack of exercise also contributed to the problem. "People haven't got time to exercise the dogs and they're suffering," she said.
She said owners had to show good leadership so their furry friends knew they are safe when they leave. Some owners want their dogs to bark at intruders or when there is danger, so she works with them to stop nuisance barking.
"We have correction aids, and voice tone is important," she said.
"Owners must not use the dog's name when yelling at it. "We teach the owners how to correct the dog properly."
It's possible the perfect pooch for neighbourhood peace could be the Basenji an African hunting dog that genetically cannot bark.
Tutu and Della can only make a strange yodelling noise.
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