Irrespective of the underlying cause, a dog that barks at the door can be really frustrating (and even embarrassing in some cases). There are a variety of methods to stop this bad behavior. However, you MUST know the exact reason(s) for selecting a suitable technique. Once you have sorted this out, all you need is consistency and patience to get the job done.
Reasons for Dog Barking at the Door
The sound of doorbells could be one of the triggers that instigate barking. Basically, some dogs are afraid of loud noises and a sudden eruption of ding-dong can startle their sensitive hearing. The element of fear takes over your pet as it starts barking at the door. Some common signals of fear in dogs are listed below:
- Tail low and/or back between the legs
- Head lowering
- Ears pulled back
- Shaking, spinning, or pacing
Protection or Excitement
A number of domestic dog breeds have a long history of being guard dogs. Due to this instinct, they don’t like an outsider in their territory. They want to protect themselves and the parents from any intruder. The barking is their way of alerting the intruder of their presence (asserting their authority).
Barking at the door can also be triggered by positive feelings. For instance, if the dog knows that there is someone friendly at the door, the barking could be to greet the visitor. In this case, the element of excitement will be responsible for the barking. The following actions will depict that your dog is excited about the knocking at the door.
- Wags tail rapidly with hip or full-body wagging
- Pants in between barks
- Runs back and forth between you and the door
It is critical to have detailed knowledge about your dog’s body language to decide what kind of training/treatment is needed.
Given their ability to associate sounds with certain actions, dogs quickly learn that noise at the door means that someone is waiting outside.The excellent hearing of dogs allows them to hear someone approaching the doorway before the doorbell rings.
Best Method to Stop Dog Barking
Desensitizing your dog to door knocking or doorbell is the best method to stop dog barking. Having said that, this method can take some time (depending upon your dog and the severity of the situation).
In these circumstances, it is necessary for you to stay patient and positive. Yelling at your dog is NOT an option. This is because the loud noise will encourage your pet to bark even more. Similarly, you will need to stay consistent with your training methods to ensure the best possible results.
We know that dogs associate the sound of door-knocking or doorbell to barking. So, what you essentially need to do is to retrain the dog’s mind to react in a calmer fashion when the door is knocked. For this purpose, you need to have sufficient dog treats at your disposal.
For the training, you need to softly call your dog away from the door whenever the doorbell rings. Make them sit and reward their good behavior (sitting down) with a treat. Repeat this process in different areas of the home so that the dog becomes accustomed to it. It is important to treat your dog every time he/she obeys your command.
Once it becomes a part of your dog’s system, you won’t need to offer a treat at every instance. However, an occasional treat is needed to keep them interested.
Recommended Dog Training Courses to Stop Dog Barking at the Door
There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.
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.