If all dog show folks lived in rural areas with no close neighbors and no zoning issues, things would be a lot less complicated. Unfortunately, that is not the case and many of us live in residential areas with close neighbors and lots of restrictions. Some of us prefer living in the city for convenience, easy access to schools, shopping, restaurants, elderly relatives or simply because that's where we lived before we got into dogs. Others have found the cost of homes with any amount of property to be prohibitive, or to require too long a commute to work. Whatever the reason, living in a neighborhood surrounded by other people brings with it a lot of responsibility.
It's not uncommon to read of a dog owner who is being harassed by neighbors, animal control, or their city because of the dogs, with the complaint generally being too much barking. Far too many other dog owners immediately take their side and comment about "bad neighbors", "crabby retirees", "people with too much time on their hands", "troublemakers", "dog haters" and such. But what about those neighbors? Could it be that those complaints are justified?
When you own a home in a nice residential neighborhood and pay (often astronomical) property taxes, you expect to be able to leave your windows open and enjoy your yard on nice evenings. Yes, there may be occasional noise from kids playing, loud music, late parties and early mowing, and an occasional dog barking when someone walks by the yard. That goes with living in a community. BUT the neighbors should not be expected to put up with endless barking from dogs left in the yard - OR left in the house with the windows open. I've had a few inconsiderate neighbors over the years and I know how annoying even a small dog barking for hours in the yard or the front window can be. What about a houseful of dogs?
Some people are not bothered by barking dogs. You may not be, but many of us are! Even though I am a dog owner, I truly hate listening to uncontrolled barking. It gets on my nerves and makes me crabby. I can't sleep, concentrate, or work in my yard. You may have the right to own a dog - but I have the right not to have to listen to it for hours on end. So do YOUR neighbors. Why do you assume that your dogs' barking should not bother your neighbors? Why should your neighbors have to put up with it? Perhaps that neighbor works nights and needs to sleep during the day or has a serious illness that makes it difficult to sleep. Perhaps the neighbor would like to sit on his patio without listening to your dogs. Perhaps he'd like to work in his yard without having your dogs charge the fence. Perhaps the neighbor would like to listen to the birds, or the sound of crickets, but all he can hear is your dogs. How fair is that?
We are all in this together, dog owners, non-dog owners, and dog haters. We are facing ever more restrictions on our rights to own and especially to breed our dogs. Every inconsiderate dog owner who annoys their neighbors makes it worse. Please, do your part. Don't force your neighbors to put up with needless barking, and don't make things harder for the rest of us. And PLEASE, don't use the excuse "dogs bark". Yes, they can and do. It's your responsibility as a dog owners to manage that barking, and to consider the rights of others. To do anything less is to be selfish and irresponsible and will hasten the day when none of us will be able to keep dogs in the city.