Q: The dog next door barks really early in the morning, and the owner leaves him yapping in the yard while she’s at work. What can I do?
A: Here’s your script: “Jane, I’m worried about Atlas. I don’t think that you’re aware that he barks his heart out while you’re away.” Or “Atlas wakes us up every morning like an alarm clock. But on weekends we’d like to be able to sleep later. Is there anything you can do to keep him quieter? We’d really appreciate it.” If this doesn’t help, see if your other neighbors are also bothered, and if so, send a note from the group. A complaint from more than one person may persuade the owner to rectify the problem. Your last resort is the police. Many communities have an ordinance about nuisance barking, which is sometimes classified as a misdemeanor. Some areas even offer a type of “barking dog complaint packet” that spells out the protocol for taking action.