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Help! My Dog Barks at the Door When No One’s There

Jack Russell Terrier looking out of glass door

Dogs often bark for seemingly no reason at all. This can become frustrating for many dog owners as they are unable to identify the reason for this unwanted behavior. Keep reading to know why a dog barks at the door when no one’s there and how to solve this problem.

Causes of Unexplained Barking

Dogs can often hear and smell things that we humans cannot. They have up to 40 times more olfactory receptors and can hear frequencies in ultrasonic ranges. It may seem random to us, but canines mostly don’t bark until they feel anything. Let’s take a look at some possible reasons for the unexplained barking.

Critters

Possum on a fence

Dogs are experts at picking up quiet sounds and often start barking at the door if they hear critters. They may also start pacing back and forth while whining as if trying to explain something. Usually, your dog can hear critters and rodents outside the house that you are unable to hear. The detection of these creatures is one of the most common causes of unexplained barking.

Frustration

Sometimes, your dog wants something that he/she cannot get and will start barking out of frustration. Other times, it is just territorial barking. Likewise, your dog can also bark at a nearby animal, warning it to stay away. Even if the cause of the barking isn’t noticeable for human ears or nose, the enhanced senses of canines can pick it up.

Attention

Black and white dog getting his head rubbed

Some dogs quickly learn that barking is the quickest way to get attention. Many owners encourage this behavior by caving into their pet’s demands. If your pup is looking at you and barking, chances are, he may be looking for attention.

If you own such a canine, he/she will love to make eye contact before barking. He/she barks at the door to let you know that it’s time to go for a walk. Dogs that do not get much care during the day may seek negative attention.

Health Problems

This reason for unexplained barking is often overlooked. Canines who are in pain tend to bark a lot. Similarly, senior dogs can engage in aimless pacing and unexplained barking as they often suffer from canine dementia. These dogs are also known to bark at the door when no one’ there.

How to Stop Your Dog from Barking?

Boston Terrier laying down next to human's feet

There are many triggers that can cause a dog to bark. For this reason, it’s important to find the root cause of unexplained barking to solve this problem. The following is a list of techniques that you can use to prevent inappropriate barks at the door.

Attention Barking

The best thing you can do about this problem is to try to ignore the barking. In addition to that, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. Always remember that a tired dog barks less.

The more you cave into your dog’s excessive attention needs, the further you enforce this behavioral problem. When your dog barks at you, make sure not to make eye contact as it’s enough for him/her to keep barking.

Dogs are pack animals and thrive with human companionship. Therefore, it’s important to put effort to give them the right amount of attention. A frustrated or bored dog can cause havoc around your house with his/her loud barks.

White Noise

White noise machine on end table in bedroom

A lot of sounds that make your dog bark are audible in quiet environments. White noise offers a solution for that as it can help mask these sounds so your dog cannot hear them.

An easy way to produce white noise is to turn on a fan at low setting. It should not be loud but low enough to help your dog relax. This is usually only needed during the night when the environment is quiet. During the day, white noise is not needed.

Newly adopted dogs are often scared when they enter a new home. You should try to relax your dog by using white noise or pheromone diffusers. The more relaxed your dog is, the quicker it adapts to a new place and barks less.

Exercise

Walking and helping your dog exercise can help reduce the amount of frustration and barking. If your dog wants to go outside and his/her wish is not being fulfilled, he/she barks at the door to show his frustration.

Some dog breeds have more energy than others and they require extra exercise to stay happy. If you own an active canine, make sure to give him/her sufficient physical activity. On the other hand, some canines have low energy and are satisfied with a short walk.

Take a Look Around Your house

Close up of mouse

There might be rodents or other animals around or inside your house. Your dog may constantly be barking to alert you of their presence. New owners fail to understand this message and it is often taken as unexplained barking. The easiest way to counter this sort of barking is to call an exterminator and clean up your home.

Dogs will also try to alert you if they see something wrong in the house. For example, if you have overflowing water in your kitchen, your dog will try to get your attention towards it.

Rule Out Possible Health Issues

An ill dog will bark at you as well as the door. If excessive barking is caused by an underlying health problem, it can lead to severe complications, if left untreated. If your dog’s unexplained barking doesn’t stop despite all the training methods, consult your vet. It’s better to remove the problem early on before it gets worse over time.

Recommended Dog Training Courses

There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.

  1. Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer
  2. Brain Training for Dogs

These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.

The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.

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