How to Stop Your Dog From Barking at the Door

There are plenty of times when people knock on your door. Dogs are smart animals. They become accustomed to the sound of a doorbell or door-knocking as a sign that someone is within their territory. They bark at them. This can be annoying for you. Learning how to stop your dog from barking at the door can discipline your dog from barking randomly. 

Do this if Your Dog is Barking at the Door

If you find yourself frustrated at the loud barks from your dog here’s what you should do if your dog is barking at the door:

  • Don’t yell at your dog. It doesn’t make sense as the sound of the barks from your dog will only mix in with your yells. This will encourage your dog to bark more because of the loud noise. 
  • Keep calm. If you are exhibiting a negative outlook, your dog may read your body language. He may think you’re being threatened and will bark even more. A calm and relaxed mind will make it a lot easier to stop your dog from barking at the door. 
  • Be consistent with training techniques. To reinforce a behavior to your dog, you need to be consistent. This involves everyone in your household also. Any inconsistencies may lead to its old barking habits. 
Dog sitting on a sofa holding a tennis ball

The Reason Your Dog Barks at the Door

Dogs are intelligent animals and associate doorbells and knocking on the door as a sign of someone arriving. They either are wary of the stranger or are excited to meet a new face. 

As a dog owner, you should know how to learn your dog’s body language. Your dog is usually excited if:

  • Your dog runs straight to the door after a doorbell or knock
  • Your dog is wagging its tail and sometimes its body
  • Your dog cannot sit still and runs around, usually back and forth to you and the door

Training Your Dog to Stop Barking at the Door

There are various training techniques to discipline your dog from barking at the door. In Psychology, Pavlov coined the term “conditioning” which means reinforcing the behavior by frequenting a stimulus and reaction. 

In your case, the stimulus is the knocking of the door and the reaction should be your dog stops barking at the door. Consistent reinforcement of this behavior will train your dog to stop barking at the door. 

This training requires a lot of your time and effort. You also require an assistant to act as a guest for you. Get treats and rewards to help reinforce your dog’s behavior. 

Ignore Doorbell

This method is done by having you ignore the doorbell. This is a form of conditioning where you ignore the bad behavior and reward your dog if he stops barking. 

  • Have someone ring the doorbell for you
  • If your dog barks at the door just sit quietly in an adjacent room from the door
  • When your dog stops barking and goes towards you, pet your dog and give your dog a treat. This will condition the dog that if he stops barking, you will pet him/her and give him/her a treat. 
  • Tell your dog to sit and go over to the door. If your dog starts barking again go back to your quiet position and ignore your dog. Wait until your dog stops barking and reward him/her. Repeat the process. 
  • If the behavior is conditioned, you can open the door and have the guest greet the dog. 
  • Repeat this process until your dog is conditioned to not bark at the door. Remember, consistency is the key. 
A man and a woman posing in front of a door with a dog

Specified Place

This method involves commanding your dog to be at a specified place when someone rings the doorbell. 

  • You first need a specified place where the dog can go to. It can be a mat or a room or a specific area in your house. 
  • Go to that specified place and give your dog lots of treats on that specified area. 
  • Practice a command or verbal cue that will direct your dog to the specified area. Reward your dog if he/she goes to the specified area using your command. 
  • Command your dog to stay in place until you command him/her to freely move. Reinforce by giving your dog rewards. 
  • Now practice with someone ringing the doorbell. When the doorbell is ringing, command your dog to go to the specified place. When your dog is in there, command him/her to stay. If your dog barks, ignore it. If your dog stops barking, reward with treats. 
  • Now you can answer the door, if your dog follows you then you may want to use a leash or have your dog in a closed room to hold him/her down. If your dog keeps barking ignore until it stops and reward him/her. Redirect your dog to the specified place. 
  • After opening the door, go back to your dog and reward him/her for staying and not barking. 
  • Repeat this process every day until your dog is conditioned for this behavior. 

Other Ways to Stop Your Dog from Barking at the Door

If your dog is hard to train and you’re losing all hope of stopping your dog from barking,  consider devocalizing your dog. A common misconception about devocalization is that it completely removes the vocal box silencing your dog. It only decreases the pitch and volume of the dog’s voice. 

Having Many Guests in Your Home

If you’re having a party at home, there will be many people and no matter how much you’ve trained your dog, it might bark. You need to have a management plan before you invite people over to your home. 

A great option is to make an area assigned exclusively for your dog. It should be as far away as possible from where your guests are. The area should be comfortable for your dog and if possible an environment where your dog can easily sleep. 

As an alternative, you can hire a dog sitter to take your dog out for a walk while you entertain your guests. 

Conclusion

It’s natural for dogs to bark at strangers and even people they know because they’re territorial. As a dog owner, you should learn how to stop your dog from barking at the door. Neighbors might find it annoying and file a complaint against you. Train your dog with the right behavior and maintain consistency to reinforce the behavior. 

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