It can be really frustrating when your dog barks at the door every time someone comes over. Not only is it a nuisance for your guests, and in some cases your neighbors, but it can also be a sign that your dog might need some training.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss why this behavior happens and how to stop a dog from barking at the door. So, whether you’re a first-time pet owner or you’re just looking for some new tips, keep reading!
Contents of this article:
- How to stop a dog from barking when someone is at the door.
- Why do dogs bark at the door?
- How to stop your dog from barking at the door.
- Control and management.
- Desensitize your dog to the stimulus.
- Ask your dog for an incompatible behavior.
- How to stop a dog from barking at the door.
How to stop a dog from barking when someone is at the door.
Picture the scene. You’re sitting relaxing at home in the evening, when the doorbell rings. Your dog’s reaction is to go crazy and tell the whole world. The barking wakes your baby and disturbs the entire neighborhood. If this sounds familiar, then you’ll want to keep reading.
Why do dogs bark at the door?
There are several reasons your dog barks at the door, but the most common one is excitement. When someone comes to the door, your dog knows that there’s a chance they’ll get to go outside or meet someone new.
The sound of the door, whether it’s a knock or a doorbell, is a predictor that something exciting is about to happen and your dog gets very excited and can’t contain themselves.
How to stop your dog from barking at the door.
It’s not always appropriate for your dog to perform their ‘happy dance’ and sing the song of their people when someone arrives. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to stop this behavior.
Control and management.
The first, and easiest, option is to change your doorbell to one that doesn’t make an audible noise but that alerts you on your phone. This way, you can be present when someone comes to the door and your dog won’t get the chance to voice their excitement.
I know someone who has 16 dogs (yes 16!!), and she has a doorbell that alerts to a bluetooth headset. This is the perfect solution for her. To train 16 dogs to not bark at the door would take a lot more effort than it would for just one dog!
Another option is to put up a sign on your door that lets people know that you have a dog and they shouldn’t knock or ring the doorbell. This will serve as an immediate deterrent and let visitors know not to expect anything but barking if they ring the bell.
The second option is to train your dog to do something else instead of barking when the doorbell rings. This will require some training and patience, but it can help make your home a more peaceful place for everyone.
Desensitize your dog to the stimulus.
Whether you have a doorbell or a knocker, we’ll look at ways you can change what this noise means to your dog.
Knock on surfaces.
Start by knocking on other surfaces in your home, such as a table or countertop. Before you start, make sure that your dog is in a quiet space and there’s nothing else going on to distract them. Once they’re calm and relaxed, knock on the surface and give them lots of treats and praise.
Over time, increase the intensity of both the knocking noise and the rewards so that your dog begins to associate positive things with door-related noises.
Ring the doorbell.
This is a little more tricky. First, if your doorbell is fancy with multiple ringtones, change the ringtone to one that your dog does not already have an association with. Start by ringing it yourself and then giving your dog a treat.
Some doorbells can be activated from inside the house. If yours doesn’t have this facility, it’s useful to record the sound of the doorbell and play it on your phone at random times.
This teaches your dog that nothing exciting happens when they hear that noise. Ideally nothing will happen 80% of the time the dog hears that noise, so you will have to do this many times a day to break the current association.
The goal is to get your dog to the point where they can remain calm when the doorbell rings.
Create a positive association.
Besides desensitizing your dog to door-related noises, you can also create a positive association with the stimulus. For example, you could have someone come by and ring your doorbell or knock on your door, but not let your dog see who it is.
When they stop barking, give them a really special treat or play with them in a way that’s especially fun and exciting.
Over time, the stimulus will become associated with something good coming from you rather than from the door, and this can help reduce or eliminate the barking.
Ask your dog for an incompatible behavior.
Another option is to teach your dog an alternate behavior that they can perform instead of barking. One popular option is to train your dog to go to a particular place in the house when they hear the doorbell ring or someone knock on the door. This helps redirect their attention away from the stimulus.
Go to “Place” – Teach your dog to run to their bed, mat or crate.
This is where we train the dog to go to a specific spot in the house and stay there when they hear the doorbell ring. This is a great option and also prevents your dog from rushing visitors.
The doorbell becomes the cue.
Rather than telling our dog to go to their bed, mat or crate when the doorbell rings, we want the doorbell to be the cue that tells our dog it’s time to go to their spot.
To do this, we start by putting food on their spot when they hear the doorbell ring. Do this multiple times, without asking your dog to go to their bed, mat, or crate. You don’t have to say anything, just make the door related noise and drop high value rewards in the place where you want them to go.
This teaches the dog that when the door noise happens, food appears on the bed. This may take many repetitions, so do it as much as you can for it to become a reflex action to the sound of the door.
Whilst you are working on training this, it’s helpful to feed all their food and treats in this spot, so they build up a great association with it.
How to stop a dog from barking at the door.
So, now you know how to stop a dog from barking at the door. Be sure to use these tips consistently so that your dog can learn that this is the new way of behaving when someone comes to the door. Soon enough, your pup will be quiet and well-behaved when guests come over!