Whose dog barks louder?

Filed in Dogs of our Lives

Our little village has gone to the dogs; literally. Our up-door neighbours moved out several months ago because they couldn't handle being surrounded by dogs. Our own dogs bark but thankfully not incessantly but there are plenty of other dogs to make up for the silence.

The view from our village

In clock-face terminology, try to imagine this arrangement.

At 2 o'clock, a new neighbour has moved in and surprised us by laying claim to having not 3, not 5 but 13 dogs. Only four of them reside on the roof where we can see them. The other nine reside within their third-floor apartment. Three of the roof-residing dogs bark occasionally and who can blame them? Life on a walled-in roof can be pretty dull.

At 3 o'clock, our neighbour owns four or five dogs. We almost never hear them bark because the windows are almost always closed shut.

At 4 o'clock behind the 3 o'clock building is another building whose ground floor occupier owns four beautiful and extremely human-looking Afghan hounds. They spend much of their time standing on their hind legs leaning on the brick wall and watching the people and other dogs pass by below. They of course bark every time a dog goes past, and occasionally when people go past.

At 5 o'clock on the second floor, there are two small dogs. On the roof belonging to another person are another three, possibly four dogs. I'm not exactly sure how many because we've never seen them, just heard them fight and bark on occasion.

At 7 o'clock just behind us, there are another two or three dogs. They're pretty bored inside so they spend some of their time looking out the window and barking at us whenever we pass by. The alley-way between their building and ours makes an excellent amplifier so their barking is sometimes the loudest and one of the main reasons that our up-door neighbours moved away.

At 9 o'clock on the second floor is another dog. He spends almost all of his time on the balcony. He's not really allowed inside the apartment. As a result, he's the watchdog for our little row of buildings, barking at each and every man, woman and dog that passes by the back of our building. Our own dogs respond in kind to each of his alarm signals by barking and running outside. I wish I knew dog-talk because our dogs instantly know by his language whether the passer-by is a human, a dog, a monkey or a man pulling a small trolley and yelling at the top of his voice "buying old television sets, buying old air conditioners" (always in Cantonese of course; 收買電視機,收買冷氣機).

At 12 o'clock on the other side of a forest area are more dogs.

And in our home, there are ten dogs. They're wonderful members of the family and we love them all. Thankfully, they're not as noisy as they could have been and generally keep pretty quiet. The things that really rile them up to a full barking frenzy (and frenzy is exactly the right word to use here) are people walking their dogs past our gate (ie, an intrusion on their territory) and monkeys.

Some of our dogs watching the neighbours

But back to the question; whose dog barks louder? I would have to say that our dogs bark the loudest but it's not really a question of decibels as much as a question of responsibility. When other dogs bark, it's not my responsibility and I don't have to worry about them or the noise they're making. When our dogs bark, at some point I have a responsibility to quiet them down. There's a psychology angle to all of this and it has to do with the pressure of being a responsible neighbour. Consequently, our dogs bark the loudest, especially if they're barking at 8 or 9 in the morning when some neighbours might still be sleeping.

Thankfully though, our ten wonderful dogs are relatively quiet; except when the monkeys comes visiting but I'll tell you about them another time.

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14 Responses to “Whose dog barks louder?”
  1. comet says:

    I am also a dog lover, I really touching that you feed 10 dogs at HK! Your kindness is touching everyone!!! you are the best!!!

  2. Erin says:

    Hey Greg,

    Could you please update us on what happened to that stray dog you found recently? I feel sorry for him and i hope he is doing okay....

    Thanks,
    Erin
    From Toronto Canada, but currently visiting family in Hong Kong

  3. Arthur Heng says:

    This is insane! You should take pictures of every family's dog to make this article even more interesting, or perhaps intimidating, lol

    There's a old man near my living area who breeds a kind of bird which sings really well. He places a mic near his birds and BROADCAST the birds' chirping! Its really relaxing to listen to, its like a free public service. But hopefully none of your neighbours're ... insane enough to do that to their doggies, lol

  4. sapphire says:

    I know very little about dogs and cats because we are not allowed to have any furry pets at home due to one of our family members’ health problem. Exposure to irritants such as pet dander and pollen may trigger or worsen his symptoms.
    There is a saying: “barking dogs seldom bite”. On the other hand, quiet dogs normally bite?

  5. 河國榮 says:

    Sapphire,

    "barking dogs seldom bite" might be true. dogs bark to warn other dogs of the coming danger or intrusion, and to look tough and scare off intruders. they're hoping to avoid a conflict. if they're serious, they won't bark. they'll growl, so be wary of growling dogs (usually crouched down a little, ready to spring forward).

    "quiet dogs bite"? I'll have to think about that one. I don't think it's necessarily true.

  6. Teresa says:

    It's the first time I visit this wonderful place and was very impressed by the TV programme introducing your love for pets and the touching story for the stray dog.

    However, there is something troubling me very much and wonder if you help "them".

    Tonight, I know of a friend who want to give up a 8-month old Husky and a 1 year old Samoy doggies. And are now awaiting for adoption. Could you recommend some friends interested in them? They are lovely and really wish they have a happy future.

    Thanks.

  7. Kevin Liu says:

    Hi Greg,

    I have the interview from Dogs Magazine scanned. Sorry for the late reply. Can you send me your email again please.

    Also I have a litter of puppies, 4 Sharpei, which we would like to give to a good home. My parents are coming back to HK next Monday so I need to find a good home for them before then.

    Anyway you can also call me on 60820939.

    B rgs,

    Kevin
    Tai Po

  8. Lorrry says:

    I live in your lovely doggy little village and I own a beautiful dog whom I love dearly. She NEVER barks unless an someone actually enters our property who she does not know.

    I am driven nuts by the irresponsible attitude of most of our dog owning neighbours who allow their illmannered dogs to bark constantly without any control.

    I dont blame the dogs, just the idiot owners.

  9. Wendi says:

    G'day, Greg!

    How're you? I'm new to your blog.

    I knew you learnt your second language VERY well(I though you could only speak, couldn't imagine you can both recognise and write the characters.), and you're an animal lover (My friend told me you had 10 dogs.) But reading these stories here really made me think "He's just awesome!" As you know, most people come to HK just for a nice job and money, or whatever those can bring him/her. They don't like, or even hate the rest of HK though.

    I shed some tears reading your pet stories. One year has gone by, but I'll pray for Jason, the eleventh. I agree that air-conditioning rooms and non-stop supply of canned food, aren't what make our four-legged friends happy ones. Some of my neighbours' dogs(I live in a village, too.) are happy fellows who enjoys themselves to the extent. They go wherever they want, go skinny dipping, or even date the neighbourhood opposite sex. They can't enter the house, but their loving owners "prepare" rice and leftovers "on time" for them right after dinner. They have a place to get rest and comfort, and to show they're good watching dogs and get praised. Living in a walled environment will drive them crazy i guess, haha!
    They're very good dogs, though I'll get on my nerves when I walk my dogs, scare they'll get into a fight!

    Of coarse there're very poor doggies here who lead miserable lives, and feed themselves with what they find in the rubbish bins. I guess, and i'm doing my best, I feed them with leftovers and dog food. Coz I know they will end up to be put to sleep if i send them to the RSPCA. That's all we can do when we can't take them home, i guess.

    Yeah, you mentioned your wife's allergic to dust mites. When you go downunder next time, try to grab Bosisto's Eucalyptus Dust Mite Wash from a chemist. USe it in the laundry to kill dust mites and remove allergens. It works for me!

    By the way, wanna tell you that I saw you on occasion in the neighbourhood and ParknShop, but not recently.

    Gotta run soon! Wish you and your family and your pets are all going well. Take care, mate!

  10. Wilson Chan says:

    Hi Greg,

    How are you, may be you still remember me Wilson Chan, we went to Uni together, first year in UNSW.....
    me and albert, still remembered you ate so much ice-cream.....

    drop me a mail if you have time

    Wilson

  11. Gina says:

    Hi Greg,

    I have 13 brisons, they are a family. I live on Hong Kong Island in an apartment. My dogs are quiet most of the time, only bark when people chat outside our front door waiting for elevator, and when we come back home. Well, the management office now give us 9 days to move them out. I am not giving them up and my family will find a new home.

    Greg, I am thinking of finding a place with a private roof top and let them live on the roof. Do you think it can help? Can you share your experience?

    Thank you. Have a good day.

    Gina

  12. 河國榮 says:

    hello Gina.

    first off, I'm very happy to hear that you value your pets so much. Too many people today too easily give up their pets, usually resulting in a sad and deadly ending for the pets. (what the SPCA doesn't tell people is that most of the animals that they receive are consequently delivered to the Agricultural Department and put down.)

    Personally, I think pets should be allowed to be with their guardians, especially dogs which are a very social animal. I would therefore hope that if you do find a place with a roof, that you leave the door open for part of the day to allow them free access to your living area. They'll be much happier.

    On the roof, be careful. Hong Kong can get very hot and dogs can easily die from heat exposure. Make sure that they have sufficient cover from the sun if they desire it, and that they always have plenty of water.

    Also, if they're house-trained, designate one corner of the roof as a toilet and keep fresh toilet material there be it newspaper or whatever other material they're used to. It would be better if they knew where the toilet was and kept all of their toilet products in the one place rather than spreading it all over the roof. One more thing to note would be the slant of the roof. If there is a slant to one corner, think about putting the toilet area near that corner so that overflowing urine doesn't flow back to their living area.

    regards,
    河國榮

  13. Gina says:

    Hello Greg,

    Thank you for your comments, they are well taken. Here is a good news -- we found an apartment with private roof top! We are now working on a sound proof dog house with drainage, ventilator, heater and split-type air-conditioner in a corner of the roof. The doggies will be allowed 3 playing sessions and will stay inside their house after 9 pm everyday. I hope the private roof, the dog house and a fixed timetable for them will work.

    送來一條魚---年年有餘
    http://zqbbs.netsh.com/usr/12/12_191_17.swf

    Best regards,
    Gina

  14. lee says:

    hi greg, i have 3 dogs of my own and i live in an apartment with neighbors above, below, to the right and left. my dogs bark each time we come home and open the main door to the apartment. the neighbors above my apartment have mentioned this to me a couple months ago about our barking dogs especially when we come home late at night (around 11). one of the three dogs is the more prone to barking one. she's kept in her crate when we are not home. so naturally, she'd be barking in her crate when we come home. is there anyway i could soundproof her crate?