Being a responsible pet owner


Pets bring joy to many and are important members of the Isaac Region however without responsible pet ownership your pet could cause problems for your neighbours and the wider community. 

This page offers guidance on how to achieve responsible pet ownership and have your pet become a welcomed member of your neighbourhood. Should you have any questions or enquiries about topics discussed on this page please contact Community Education and Compliance. 

Introduce your pet to your neighbours

When introducing yourself to your neighbours don’t forget to introduce your dog too. Introducing your dog to your neighbour is a great way to start a conversation and get to know your neighbour. 

Your neighbour might be happy to keep an eye on your pet while you're at work or even look after them while you're away.

Letting your dog safely meet your neighbour and their dog can also reduce any future barking problems that may arise. 

Explore your new neighbourhood with your dog

Moving to a new neighbourhood is an exciting time for yourself and your dog. Be sure to take the opportunity to explore the neighbourhood with your dog. 

Regular walking and exercise for your dog can also help reduce the risk of them escaping and wondering without you by their side. 

Ensure your dog doesn’t become a nuisance 

Barking is a normal behaviour for dogs and an important means of communication. A dog’s bark communicates their emotions, much the same way people use their voices, however sometimes excessive barking can become a problem for your neighbours. 

Why do dogs bark? 

Dogs bark for many reasons, and even though they appear to be ‘barking for no reason’ they are in fact trying to communicate something to their owner or anyone who is willing to pay them attention. 

The way a dog barks, its body language, and what’s occurring around them helps to provide context as to why they are barking. 

Main Reasons Why Dogs Bark: 

  • Lack of exercise
  • Boredom
  • Stress from being separated from its owner
  • Disturbed by noise, people, objects or other animals
  • Feeling that its territory is threatened
  • Stimulated from play
  • Inadequate shelter from weather conditions
  • Hunger or thirst
  • A medical condition 

Is my dog barking excessively? 

You may not be aware that your dog is causing a disturbance until your neighbour speaks to you or you are notified that there has been a report lodged with your Council. It may be hard to believe that your dog barks throughout the day if your dog does not bark while you are around. 

Barking is considered as excessive if it occurs for extended periods of time, too frequently, or at inappropriate times of day or night, and it must be addressed. Barking may be classified as a noise nuisance if it causes distress to the neighbours or owners. 

What are my responsibilities? 

Your dog is your responsibility. Barking problems require attention because the problem will more likely increase and be harder to turn around the longer it is left unattended. On-going barking is often a symptom of another problem. Taking time to understand what makes your dog bark is the first step towards solving the problem, both for the dog and the neighbours. 

Helpful Tips to Stop Barking

Increase exercise

Instead of increasing the length of the walk, take your dog out more often. Two 15 minute walks could be better than one 30 minute walk.

Focus on enrichment

  • Rotate any toys daily so that there’s ‘new’ things to play with. 
  • Scatter your dog’s meals out on the yard, or in the house so that they have to spend time finding each individual piece. 
  • Hide small handfuls of treats around the backyard or house and on different surfaces to encourage them to smell and explore. 
  • Put dry food in old soft drink bottles (take off the ring, lid and label) or cardboard boxes - just pick up the cardboard bits at the end of the day. 
  • Invest in a clamshell pool - fill with water for swimming or sand or digging. Bury things to encourage digging in an appropriate area.

Change their routine

Try including and alternating between enrichment activities on different days to keep things interesting.

Try training

If your dog is displaying ‘good’ behaviour like laying down quietly - reward them! Just drop a treat in front of their nose. They will soon learn quickly that it’s better to remain calm. When your dog has started to bark, say ‘Quiet’ in a happy voice. If they look at you and stop barking, quickly give them a treat. Never reward a bark, only silence. 

Generally, it is best to interrupt dogs that are barking. Provide them with something else to do that is productive and interactive. Avoid yelling, as the dog might just think you’re joining in.

Change the environment

  • Change what your dog can see - shut blinds, close doors, or put up a temporary fence to limit their access to parts of the house or yard that they like to patrol from. 
  • Leave a radio on low volume (preferably classical music which can be calming for dogs) to help mask some of the triggering sounds.
  • Seek medical advice
  • Talk to your vet or see an animal behavourist about the barking.
Other obligations of pet ownership

Pet ownership also involves caring for your animal’s wellbeing (shelter, food, enrichment and medical care) and includes effective control, containment and limits on pet ownership.

Animal welfare 

The welfare of your animal is reliant on your ability to appropriately provide for their care. This includes their food, shelter and medical care. Speak to your local vet about available vaccinations, worm and flea treatments for your pet and appropriate options for food and shelter.

Effective control 

Wandering dogs are a concern in the Isaac Region, wandering dogs have the potential to cause vehicle accidents or worse attack pedestrians or other animals. As the owner or responsible person of an animal you have a duty to provide and maintain a proper enclosure to prevent them from wandering.  

When in public the owner or responsible person must at all times ensure their animal is under effective control. Isaac Regional Council Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011(PDF, 6MB) states that an animal is under effective control only if the person is physically able to control the animal by being held on a leash, halter or rein, held in a temporary enclosure, tethered it to a fixed object which cannot be moved, or tethered in or on a vehicle and unable to reach beyond the vehicle extremities. 

Failure to appropriately restrain or effectively control your animal could result in the seizure of your dog and/or fines for non-compliance.  

Keeping Multiple Animals 

Under schedule 1 of the Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011(PDF, 6MB)  it is prohibited to keep more than 2 dogs over the age of 3 months on an allotment (such as a house) and more than one dog on a multi-residential premises (such as a townhouse). 

You can report if someone is keeping muiltiple dogs to council by calling Council Community Education and Compliance department on 1300 ISAACS (1300 472 227).