November 25, 2008 | 8:00am
All day Sunday at my place, the neighbor's dog kept barking (and barking and barking and barking). It's a small dog, of course. In the extensive urban lore that chronicles the incessant barking dog phenomenon, it's the small ones that so often turn out to be "yappers." Careful sonic analysis (conducted over eight straight hours) of its bark reveals it to be a chihuahua, or some chihuahua-like creature. Its owner was away. It was troubled. It needed to express itself, all well and good. I started searching the Internet for solutions.
suggests "Tell the dog 'Be quiet.'" Oh, okay! Then Professor Chihuahua and I can sit down for a cup of tea and discuss existentialism afterwards.
has some technological solutions that seem like they could work, if the owner had some time to invest in Pavlovian techniques. But the chihuahua's owner is nowhere to be found.
I don't know how well these "bark collars" work. Some spray the dog with citronella
, some emit a high-pitched sound that irritates dogs, some
(and mean as it is, this is my favorite) release a jolt of electricity each time the dog barks.
In Los Angeles, it's illegal for owners to let their dogs keep barking ad infinitum if said barking causes a public disturbance. From the Department of Animal Care & Control:
"Barking Dogs: Any pet owner or custodian who allows a dog to bark continuously or for an extended period of time in a manner that annoys the neighbors and disturbs the peace and tranquillity of the neighborhood may be guilty of allowing a public nuisance and punishable by a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1000 and/or six months in jail. (California Penal Code 373A and L.A. County Code Sec. 10.40.065)"
Though I can't imagine anyone's actually spent six months in jail for letting their dog bark. The process begins by filing a complaint with Animal Services
. But full remedy is at minimum a 15 day process. The chihuahua next door finally stopped after someone else in the vicinity lit a series of fireworks at night. But I can still hear the barking even in the silence.