At one time or another, most of us have experienced a neighborhood dog that never seems to stop barking. Whether it's working in a garden, having a picnic, or just reading, most people go outdoors to relax, and a barking dog is not a particularly relaxing sound.
The Reason Dogs Are Barking
The first step in solving the problem, is to realize that, unlike some humans, dogs don't bark just to hear themselves make noise. If a dog is barking, there is usually a reason, and to stop the barking you need to find out what triggers it. Is the dog barking when you, or other people are outside? If that is the case, and you're friendly with your neighbors, you might try to talk to them when they are outside, explain the problem, and ask if it would be possible for them to bring the dog outside. Dogs are quite territorial, and once he or she knows you belong, it won't see you as an intruder, and won't bark when it see's you outside(in theory). The same could be true if you have pets of your own. If neither animal is aggressive it may help to socialize them, or even let them play together if possible.
If you don't know your neighbors well, or are hesitant to bring up the subject, you could try leaving a nicely written note on their door. However you decide to proceed, do it rationally, and respectfully, an angry neighbor is the last thing anyone needs. You could end up having a complaint filed against you because your lawn in 2 centimeters higher than the city code allows.
Another thing to try is getting a good dog whistle. Every time the dog barks, give a few short blasts on the whistle. Eventually the dog will associate barking, with the unpleasant noise. There are also products available that attach to your house and emit the same high frequency noise whenever the dog barks. This is the same type of product that you buy to keep unwanted animals out of your yard, it is a high pitched sound that is painless, but annoying to the animal. A word of warning about the whistle or product that you use, try to find out, in an unobtrusive way, if anyone living close has a hearing aid. While you are feeling proud of accomplishing your goal without upsetting the owners of the dog, you could be unknowingly making the slightly grumpy, older gentleman next door, very unhappy (it seems that some hearing aids can also pick up that piercing sound.).
How to Complain
If none of these things work, you may be forced to call and complain. Do this very carefully, as a last resort, and do it anonymously. People tend to get very irate when they get complaints, even if you have spoken to them about the problem before, and letting them know who complained will just give them a target for their anger. Before you call anyone, look carefully through your city's codes, the noise laws may only apply during certain hours.
All in all, the best way to solve your problem is to work with the dog owners and try to keep a peaceful neighborhood. Contacting the authorities going to cause hard feelings, and if your neighbor reacts badly, you could find yourself dealing with something much worse than a noisy dog.