SHE’S one of the few dogs to be trained to bark when she’s asked to.
With a simple command of ‘speak’, Tess will woof and show off her vocal talents.
So it was no trouble sticking a microphone in front of Tess to show just how loud dogs can bark as part of a council-backed drive to clamp down on noise complaints.
East Hampshire District Council is trying to cut down on the number of complaints from residents about noisy dogs. Barking canines were responsible for the highest number of complaints about noise last year, with 119 call-outs.
Dogs can bark at around 90 decibels – as loud as chainsaws, food mixers or shouting.
Tess, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier belonging to council dog warden Richard Smith, showed she can be just as loud as any other dog – clocking up 90.5 decibels on a noise recording device.
Mr Smith, 57, from Horndean, said: ‘It wasn’t very difficult as I have taught her to bark on command.
‘We set the microphone up and then we got Tess to bark into it. She does enjoy anything that we ask her to do. She will do it to the best of her ability.’
Eight-year-old Tess joins Richard every day in his work van, along with his other dog George, a Border Terrier Cross. When Tess is not barking into microphones, she helps Richard by attracting other dogs to the van.
While Richard is out trying to catch stray dogs, some hounds will come up to the van just to sniff out Tess.
Richard said: ‘It’s just a natural instinct that all dogs have.’
Richard said the best way to stop a dog barking was to keep it active and occupied.
‘We get a lot of dog barking complaints at this time of year when the people are in their gardens and windows are left open,’ he said.
‘The worst thing you can do is just to leave your dog alone in the garden. They need lots of exercise and things to keep them occupied. A tired dog is a dog that doesn’t bark very often.’
Dave Griffiths, the council’s environmental protection officer, added: ‘They may bark because they are not used to being left, are reacting to sights and sounds around them, or are frustrated from lack of exercise.’
And with all the activities she is asked to do, Tess is a dog that snoozes more than she barks. Richard laughed: ‘She spends most of her time lying upside down on a bean bag sleeping!’