Barking Dogs

There’s this dog in my neighborhood who gets on barking jags for a half an hour at a crack in the middle of the night about three times a week. Needless to say this doesn’t do much for my sleep or my disposition. I’ve talked with the owner a couple of times and the guy could care less. “That’s just what having dogs is like” was his reply last time. I’ve tried calling the cops, but they don’t really do anything. Someone told me that they can’t really issue tickets for that sort of thing. They said the EPA could though (noise pollution, I assume). Does anyone know a legal means of taking care of this (ie something besides doggie assassination)?

call one of those area/building meetings… there must be other people who hear the dog too… maybe they would be interested in telling him that the EPA could issue a ticket to him

maybe put posters up in the area…marked anonymous telling people the address where the owner and the dog are and what time the dog barks in the morning…that would give him attention

Fight fire with fire.
When the dog starts, get a big pan and a heavy stick (metal is best) and go out on the street next to the apartment with the dog and bang the hell out of the pan. Yell if it makes you feel better. When the cops come, tell them that the dog barking annoys everyone and they do nothing so you didn’t think anyone would care about a little accompanyment. This will have one benefit: everyone will come out and complain about the dog, the police will realize that they will have to do something or the crazy foreigner will do this every night.
What have you to lose? They are not going to put you in jail or fine you and you won’t be asleep anyway.

When I first arrived in Taiwan five years ago, I was in the same situation that you’re in. I would move once every one or two months to try to find a place where I couldn’t hear any dogs barking during the night. I also tried politely asking the neighbors to please put their dog inside at night, but everyone I said that to laughed at me and thought it was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard of to put their dog inside at night.

Then after talking to Taiwanese friends about it, I learned that in Taiwan, dogs are considered to be dirty stupid animals. I have never seen a dog in Taiwan who has been house-broken, and I have never seen a dog who has been taught any commands (like “sit”, “down”, “come”, “heel”, etc.). I have never seen a Taiwanese person pet a dog, and I have also never seen a Taiwanese person walking their dog on a leash.

Dogs in Taiwan are treated the same as pigs and cows are treated in the States. They are always outside and they have almost no contact with humans. So when you call the police in Taiwan to complain about a neighbor who lets their dog bark all hours of the night, it’s just like in the States if someone called the police to complain about a neighbor’s cow who moos too loudly!

In addition, I have found that the only reason a Taiwanese person ever buys a dog is for it to bark every time anyone ever walks by the owner’s house, day or night. So that’s why when you ask a neighbor to please put their dog inside at night, it’s exactly like asking them to turn off their burglar alarm every night, which of course they won’t do because that’s the main reason why they bought the dog in the first place!

Everyone knows that when dogs bark, 99.999% of the time, the person they are barking at is not a theif, so it’s obvious to me and you that dogs are a lousy substitute for an electronic burglar alarm. So the smarter Taiwanese people just buy an electronic burglar alarm if they’re afraid of theives. But unfortunately, there are people all over Taiwan who still would rather get a dog and wake up hundreds of people every night rather than trust something that’s “newfangled” like an electronic burglar alarm.

Of course, there are a few exceptions. Maybe one day, I’ll meet a Taiwanese person who keeps their dog inside their house, pets their dog, teaches their dog commands, housebreaks their dog, and only lets their dog outside to urinate and defecate. But during the five years that I’ve been in Taiwan, I have never yet met a Taiwanese person who does this.

So when I learned that there’s nothing I could do to change the Taiwanese thinking (that the only thing dogs are good for is as an alarm system), I decided to soundproof my bedroom windows.

It only cost 5000 NT to soundproof two windows in my bedroom. One is a huge 5’ x 4’ window, and the other one is a small window for an air conditioner. I called a window company and told them that I wanted them to make the windows so soundproof that I wouldn’t be able to hear any dogs barking outside.

It was very simple to do because since the walls in Taiwan are so thick, they simply added two more thick panes of glass behind the original window, making a total of three layers of glass. And the important thing is that the additional layers are not open-able. They are each just one thick (10 mm) pane of glass, and they are sealed with silicon around all the edges, which gives them a vacuum seal. (If the windows were open-able, then they would leak air and hence leak noise.)

The window installation was very successful. Now my bedroom is so quiet that I can’t even hear the loudspeaker trucks that go by! And it doesn’t matter that I am renting my house. When I move, I won’t say anthing to the landlord because she probably won’t notice anyway. But even if she does notice, I can easily remove the extra windows because the original windows are still there.

Mark, that was brilliant. I am going to cut and keep those comments.

By the way, the EPA issues fines based upon the ‘scientific’ results of sound-level meters they have. I have checked on this sort of thing before, and the EPA office in Taipei said they have to put the device in the room of the person who has a complaint to measure the sound level. If the sound is above a certain level, they issue a warning to the violater. If the sound level continues, they issue a fine. I recall the fine is 6000 NT, maybe. This is what the EPA told me. No doubt what they say to others – and then actually do in the real event – changes according to the time of day, moon phases, wind velocity, and sun brithness.

That is why I like Marks’ idea. If you want to do something right…well, you know!

the Taipei City EPB (check the yellow pages or EPB website) have a noise phone number to be called any time of day or night. After, I think, 10pm they will stamp on excessive noise. And they do.

I live on the Chunghsiao - Fuhsing corner, where there has been construction on and off for most of the last 5 years - Mucha Line, Nankang Line, MRT building, now a new department store going up; sometimes the workmen, going for deadlines or using large machinery they can’t maneuver in the daytime traffic, work through the night. I’ve called the EPB many times, and every time, the noise has stopped after 20 minutes.

Of course, the MRT was way behind schedule, but I slept well.

Ah, so YOU’RE the reason the MRT was years late! Ah-HA!

About the soundproof windows: it’s a good idea, but if the windows could feasibly your only way out in the case of fire, it could be dangerous. I remember that there was a fire at a restaurant on Zhonggang Rd. in Taichung a few years back that we went to cover for the news station I was working with. Even though there was a big floor-length window facing the road on the second floor, and the other exit was blocked by the fire, nobody could break through the window, and everyone inside died.

Do the noise regulations apply to “renovations”? A few years ago we were one of the first families to move into a new building (don’t ever make that mistake if you can avboid it!) in Da Jr. For the next 6 months, everyove around us was tearing out walls, replacing tile, and remodeling kitchens. Work didn’t cease on the weekends, either. One Sunday morning the guy above us started tearing out floor tiles at 6 AM. Another morning (also before 8 AM), the jackhammer caused so much shaking that thinks were falling off shelves. We often had to leave the apartment. How I would have loved to get someone fined.

Thank you for the suggestions. I’ll definitely scout out the EPB number and give that a try. Damn dog barked from 4:30 to 5:30 this morning. I wish that I could take the “home improvement” route but that would require sealing off the sliding “glass” (ie that light-refracting plastic you find here) doors that lead to my little patio. I might still try calling one of those companies, though I think my window-box a/c would be enough of a noise leak to destroy the benifits accrued.

Welcome sells raw beef and rat poison and it’s open 24-7. Here doggie doggie.

A SLINGSHOT tends to do the trick okay, too – that’s my method. And, if you whistle every time you shoot a shot, then eventually all you have to do is whistle and the dogs get the message. Course, by then, you’re already awake.

The dog problem here SUCKS worse than anything else. I hate it! Actually, though, I have found the Taipei City government to be quite responsive, and they can issue tickets for noise now, so I’ve read. It’s just a matter of getting the cops over to the right place at the right time. Not an easy task. I’ve tried flyers as well. Nothing seems to do the trick, really.

Thanks for the reminder about meat and rat poison. Good idea…

If it weren’t for just one dog, in particular, my whole neighborhood would be 100% improved. Too bad the owner’s an inconsiderate a-hole who, firstly, denies he’s the owner at all, which is a flat-out lie, and secondly, says things like, “This is Taiwan, not America … dogs are animals … they bark.” He thinks the whole street is his own personal front yard, and lets his dogs wander, bark, and scare the shit out of people, at will.

Whata jerk. I’d like to feed him a little of that meat, along with his ugly dogs.

Mark that is a good idea, and I wish I’d thought of it when I was in Taiwan. I would say the dog barking problem is the biggest problem I ever had to face in Taiwan. And yes of course, the owners think it’s hilarious. That, I put down simply to selfishness. Dogs were a status symbol of some sort when I was there, the bigger the dog and the smaller the cage it was kept in, the happier the owners were.

When will there ever be a cull of stray dogs ? What could possibly be less humane than leaving mad diseased animals lying festering in the streets until they expire ? They used to line the streets of Zhong He - is it still the same ?


Killing stray dogs won’t solve the problem. They need to make the sale of ‘cute little puppies’ illegal. You should only be able to buy a dog once it’s fully grown and then it should be licenced with a chip, neutered unless you can prove you are a dog breeder etc etc. Actually I think it should be illegal to keep a dog unless you have a good outside area for it to use (ie you live in a proper house).


It’s not just selling. Go down to the Jianguo Flower market and look at all of the cute little puppies and kittens at the north side of the Xinyi intersection. They’re giving them away, and if you want to be truly frightened, look at who they’re giving them away to. Mostly teenage girls with nary a clue about how to keep a pet, who obviously didn’t come to the market looking for a dog and are just getting one on a whim.

I would like to get a cat, but I am holding out until I live somewhere where I can care for it properly.

I use a Honeywell air filter to one, filter my air, and two, provide background noise at night. I never am woken up by dogs or cats, though I know they are out there. Actually the crickets are louder by far.

You can use a fan too bu it won’t clean your air of dust and such.

To Mark: I live in Mucha and see on a daily basis people walking their dogs (on a lease) on the dikes, or on the university grounds. A few weeks ago I saw some lovely alsatians at one of the temples in Maokong. There were well-groomed and well behaved, siting calmly as little chidlren came up to pet them. The owners said that the biggest expense keeping the dogs was not food but air-conditioning in summer. The dogs had their own area in the house and it had to be kept cool night and day because of the dogs thick coats.

Saw another dog on a lease tonight on Roosevelt Road Sec. 2 of all places. Yes, the dog was alive and with his owner. Both seemed pleased with each other’s company, too.

Grizzly, and everybody else with noisy dog problems: I sympathise with you completely. We live in the mountains in XinDian- great views, fresh air, and more dogs than you can shake a stick at (home dogs and strays- people come out here to dump those bought-on-a-whim night market dogs mentioned above…) not to mention roosters (every bit as annoying as dogs, if not more) and frogs (also very noisy at night) for a lot of the year…

Anyway, I’ve found an excellent solution to the problem for those months of the year when the aircon isn’t in use, much easier, cheaper and faster than moving house (done that, too) or doing major renovations to your house- earplugs! There are some excellent ones on sale in most supermarkets, pharmacies etc. The ones I use cost about $40NT for 4[ie 2 sets]and are made of soft, orange foam- they block out all noise completely. You may feel as though you’re hoisting a big flag saying “I surrender” as you slip 'em in, but after an excellent night’s sleep that won’t worry you too much! They will probably feel a bit uncomfortable at first but you do get used to them after a few days- within a week it’ll probably feel strange going to sleep without them. The only problem I have with them is that I can’t hear my alarm clock go off, even when I put it right next to my head! (it wakes my wife up though, and she pokes me in the ribs…)

If you try them, be sure to push them right in, as they can fall out overnight if you don’t. It pays to have a pair of tweezers handy too, for those times when you push too far!

For anyone at the end of your rope, I say- give 'em a go!

Anyone else have problems with cats in heat or people on the upper floors who love to clean house, do dishes and drop things on the floor every night over your bedroom from the time dinner finishes until around 3am? Anyone found solutions, obnoxious or calm, for these problems?


Good idea, but earplugs don’t do the trick for me. In fact, cuz of this god-foresaken barking-dog problem here in Taiwan, I’ve become basically addicted to earplugs: I can’t sleep without them anywhere, anymore, even if they don’t completely solve the problem! Still, in case you’re interested, I use this kind my dad sends me from the States, called “Mack’s Silicon Earplugs.” They’re awesome as far as earplugs go, but even so, they only suffice to muffle far-off sounds – they’re not good enough for loud dogs right across the street. No way, at least not for me. But good suggestion, all the same.

Originally posted by purpleflower: I use this kind my dad sends me from the States, called "Mack's Silicon Earplugs."

I also use Mack’s, and highly recommend them. I can’t find them in Taiwan though and had to buy a multipack the last time I was in the U.S. (they sell a package of six pairs).