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How can I record a barking dog?


Rod at home
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I hope that this is the appropriate forum to post this question. It was the one I thought most closely satisfied what I was looking for.

 

Now onto the topic. I am, unfortunately, a very light sleeper. I go through great pains in order to reduce the outside noise as much as possible. I live in a quiet neighborhood, normally. But sometimes my neighbor's dog will bark, waking me up and then I cannot get back to sleep. That stupid dog barked this morning at 2 AM, and I'm still awake. Gave up trying to get back to sleep at 4:45. The neighbor's not interested in my complaints.

 

In my town we have an animal control department. I've been in contact with them about this issue. Their response has been, "Unless we witness this for ourselves, we will not do anything." So, what's their hours of operation? When can they "witness this for themselves"? Monday through Friday, 8 AM until 4:30 PM. Yeah, that doesn't do me any good, especially since I'm at work. Even if the dog is barking non-stop, I can't tell because I'm not around. The animal control dept.'s attitude is very much, "Yeah, well tough". There's a city ordinance against animals (dogs mainly) making noises at night, but they're not interested in enforcing it.

 

So I asked about this on my neighborhood's Facebook page. Someone there gave me a great idea. They suggested that if I recorded the dog actually barking, and had with it the time of night that the animal barks, then the animal control department will have the necessary evidence and then they can enforce the law. So that brings me to why I'm here posting this message. I've never purchased a security camera, or whatever I'd need to do this, and more importantly my budget is such that paying hundreds of dollars for something like this is just not possible. (Hey, if I did have the money I'd already have a home server of my own, or a newer car than the 24 year old Ford that I have, which overheats if driven more than 10 miles.) But I figured you people are really great at gadgets, maybe you can give me some ideas as to what I might be able to do to record a dog barking at night with a  time stamp to match. Clearly, something like 1080p isn't necessary. And I'm assuming that I'd have to purge the previous night's recording each day, in order to save on storage. (The dog doesn't bark each night.) What suggestions can you give me, please?

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I don't have a solution for your recording question but I have an alternative suggestion.

 

White Noise.  I have a hard time sleeping in hotels when I travel.  In those cases I use an app on my smartphone that generates white noise.  I usually use something that is pretty constant like the sound of a fan or the sound of a large waterfall.  For my son we have a radio that is able to generate white noise.  It sounds like the roar of a large waterfall but obviously you can adjust the volume so it's not overwhelming.  The white noise is constant and it keeps you from being startled awake by these other noises (like the neighbor dog).

 

Some people run oscillating fans year round because the fan noise helps them sleep.

 

For what its worth, when my daughter was an infant she had health problems that prevented her from sleeping.  One thing that almost always worked was to turn on the vacuum cleaner.  The constant sound was actually soothing to her and would allow he to fall asleep.  We later found a CD that played a constant track of a vacuum cleaner that we would use to help her sleep.  It sounds crazy but it really worked.  We don't use it with her anymore.

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Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like you have the financial resources to do it, but taking people to court is often an effective way to get them to pay attention. Many times, you don't even have to actually take them to court; just the threat is enough. A cheaper alternative is to have a lawyer draft a letter to your neighbour that suggests further action may be forthcoming if they don't do something about the dog. Sadly, this would likely cost a couple hundred dollars too.

 

An free option you haven't mentioned is to talk to your elected representative. Instead of complaining to Animal Control about the dog, complain to your representative about Animal Control. Ask your rep to intervene in your case and get Animal Control to do its job.

 

A very cheap option to record the dog is to use an old video camera. Many people have these lying around collecting dust. You could record using the camera standalone, or you could connect the video out port from the camera to a video capture port on a computer and use some low cost or free software to record. Some of this software even has motion detection, so it won't record unless something is going on.

 

Finally, D-Link has quite a few low cost surveillance cameras, some of them with sound and motion detection.

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I'll run an oscolating fan during the summer, which works for me. But during the colder months of the year that doesn't work, because it's too cold.


Thank you, ikon, three excellent ideas here.

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I still think something like this white noise generator http://www.homedics.com/deep-sleep-white-noise-machine.html is worth a try.  Try it for a couple weeks and if it doesn't work you could always return it to the store.  It's a lot less aggravating then dealing with a lawyer and the courts.  You can still try talking to your elected official if you want.  You can also still try using the video camera to try and catch the dog in the act.  Unfortunately dogs bark and you already mentioned this one doesn't bark every night.

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If you have a smartphone (iOS or Android), there are at least a handful of apps that can record audio-only or video+audio, with the ability to be voice/sound activated. Apps typically cost just a couple of dollars at most.

 

There are noise generator apps as well... even free... again, for smartphones or tablets.

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Any voice recorder *could* do it, assuming you have a good Mic. And most do have the option to attach a Mic. But this may not be cheap. And the Smartphone option may be better.

 

Also, if you already have them, an IP Camera may work here. Depending on the it's settings and/or the software you use with it, it can be triggered to record when it hears sounds.

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Or get one of those free dog whistle apps on your phone. When he barks deploy the app. In theory over time

this example of punishment in the psychological sense would lead to a decrease in the undesired behavior.

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