Ten-year-old Oleg lives in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine—a warzone that often echoes with anti-aircraft fire and missile strikes. Sometimes these sounds are in the distance, while other times they’re frighteningly close. At school, Oleg learns about the bomb shelter and what to do when encountering a landmine. While many have left this dangerous area, Oleg remains with his grandmother, who has taken care of him since the death of his mother. This observational film follows a year in the life of Oleg, and emphasizes the warm bond he has with his grandmother. He also has a close friendship with his cousin Yarik, who's more disturbed by all the sudden noises—or perhaps he’s not as good as Oleg at hiding his fear. Meanwhile, the boys also find the war exciting, especially when a neighbor teaches them how to use a gun. By sticking close to Oleg, The Distant Barking of Dogs shows the effect of conflict on children.