I currently have an issue at home with a neighbour’s barking dog. It is very annoying as it’s a large breed with a big deep bark, which carries across to our house frequently during the day and at night.

I was getting more and more annoyed and angry, but was reluctant to say anything because of my concern about the interaction with the neighbour. I was thinking that they might get angry or aggressive if I complained, they may retaliate in some way, they may think I’m being unfair as other dogs bark too.

I was fearful of having a hard conversation.

While I did have the option to complain to Council, deep down I knew that a better course of action was dealing directly, so I summoned the courage to visit the neighbour.

And my fears were unrealised. I found the interaction actually useful and pleasant. They explained the history of the barking, their work with Council, what they were doing at home to manage the dog, and asked for some help. While the dog still barks, we have created a window in the relationship for working together to get a result we can both live with.

So in this case, the bark was worse than the bite – my fear of the hard conversation was out of proportion with the reality, and the resulting discussion has helped to build an initial relationship to help us find solutions together.