For some dogs, the mere approach of a visitor at the door can set off a wave of barking that often continues for many minutes. Some breeds are more prone to this alert barking than others, but any dog can become your own personal doorbell.
Luckily, you don’t have to put up with this rude behavior. There are a few different things you can do to make your dog stop barking at the door (and likely stop jumping on your guests as they enter as well).
Many of these tips take a bit of work, but they can be more than worth it. Just imagine the sound of silence after the doorbell rings.
One of the reasons your dog barks at the door is because it doesn’t get rung very much. When it does ring, there is a bustle of activity inside the house as you go to open it and sometimes a new friend to love on! This is a react of excitement.
One way to prevent your dog from barking at the doorbell, then, is to desensitize them to it. Ring the doorbell often – and then don’t come through it. Ring the doorbell, and then walk around and come through a different door. Alternatively, you could stay outside for a few minutes, so they don’t associate your entrance with the doorbell.
Eventually, your dog might un-learn that the doorbell always means exciting, new opportunities. It’ll just be another sound that goes on in the background.
Skip the Doorbell Altogether
Barking at the doorbell is often a trained behavior. The doorbell rings, your dog barks, and then guests enter, and your pup gets rewarded! One way to prevent them from barking at the door is to get rid of the trigger – the doorbell.
If you know you have guests coming over beforehand, this is often simple. Just tell them not to use the doorbell and text you instead (or just come on in when they get there). There will be no doorbell to alert your pup of their presence, which will likely result in much less barking overall.
Of course, your dog might still bark at your friends as they enter the door, which brings us to the next tip.
Train Them to Ignore the Doorbell or Knock
We know what you’re thinking: “My dog would never just ignore the doorbell.” But, with some training, it is possible to train almost any dog to ignore the doorbell when it is rung.
This training takes a few steps in total and a bit of effort on your part. However, it is one way that is sure to work with enough training.
1. Introduce Your Dog to the Door
This step is pretty straightforward, but it requires quite a bit of patience. First, stand right next to the door. Open the door and then close the door. When your dog stays calm, give them a treat. You’re teaching them that staying calm when around an opening door is a good thing, which is precisely what you want when friends come over.
Introduce a command word while you’re doing this as well. Many people choose “calm,” but you can pick whenever you’d like.
You can use their dry kibble as their treat since you’ll probably have to do this step a few different times. You don’t want them filling up on treats and potentially gaining a few pounds.
- We reviewed the best low calorie dog treats: see our favs here!
2: Add Distance
Now, you’re going to start in another room of the house. Tell your dog their command word. Walk to the door and open it. Reward your dog if they stay calm.
In this step, we’re trying to reduce your dog’s excitement in the moments before you get to the door – where all the barking usually happens.
3. Add the Doorbell
For this, you’ll need a friend to help you. Have your friend ring the doorbell. Give your dog the command word, walk to the door, and then open it for your friend.
Truthfully, the first time you do this, your dog is going to bark like they usually do. They haven’t yet associated the command word with the doorbell. However, your job is to reward them as soon as they stop barking or even pause. When you reward them, repeat the command word.
Eventually, your dogs will begin associating the command word with not barking – even after the doorbell has been rung. It may take a few weeks to hit this goal, but it is possible with even the noisiest dog.
Featured image credit: Alexei_tm, Shutterstock