I love Maggie – our beautiful black lab. She is the sweetest most lovable dog you will ever meet. She is mellow and well behaved . . . that is until she steps outside into the backyard. Maggie immediately becomes a one-dog Neighborhood Watch and a BAD BARKING CITIZEN! 

While I’m extremely annoyed by Maggie’s barking, I can only imagine how my neighbors feel about it. It’s up to me as a homeowner living in an HOA to get the problem under control. After all, it’s natural for dogs to bark. In fact, I have it on good authority that barking is in their job description. 


If you live in an HOA and are putting up with a bad barking citizen, here are some tips to deal with the problem:


●Prior to going directly to the HOA with your complaint, have a friendly conversation with your neighbors about how their barking dog is affecting your life. Ask them to take the steps necessary to get the barking under control.

●Be real about what constitutes a nuisance. Does a bark or two really disrupt your life or is this a constant, repetitive problem that is affecting the use and enjoyment of your home? 


If the neighborly approach doesn’t work, report the barking nuisance to your HOA. Make sure to log the dates and times the barking was out of control and include this in your complaint. Understand that the covenant enforcement process in an HOA takes time. Typically, an initial letter will go to the offending homeowners outlining the problem and asking them to get their barking dog under control. If the homeowners don’t remedy the problem, generally a second letter will be sent to them. In some cases, this letter will threaten a fine for failing to take action. However, before a fine can be levied the homeowners must have notice and opportunity for a hearing. Also, it’s important to understand that the governing documents must give your HOA authority to act on your complaint. Generally a nuisance provision will be sufficient.


●Reporting the problem to local animal control is always a great option. Many times, animal control has more enforcement tools than an HOA. In addition, receiving a visit from local law enforcement can sometimes be the wake-up call homeowners need to take the problem seriously. 


Oh and as for Maggie and her barking, we finally found a solution. Maggie looks quite stylish in her citronella bark collar when standing guard in her backyard. Maggie’s collar is both humane and effective.