Some dogs bark uncontrollably when the doorbell rings. It is annoying for the owner and can be scary for the visitor. Understanding why your dog is behaving this way is a first step to stopping it.
Why do Dogs Bark when The Doorbell Rings?
Different dogs bark at the doorbell for different reasons. Sometimes it can be fear. If this is the case he will usually be exhibiting other fear signs at the same time. These signs can include pulled back ears, turning away from the sound or shaking and spinning.
Related Article: How to Recognize and Handle Fear in Dogs
Sometimes, they could just be telling you that the doorbell is ringing. If this is the case, the dog will often stop barking as you move towards the door.
It could be conditioning. Over time, your dog has learned to associate the ringing of the doorbell with a new person appearing. They could be warning you that a new person is around, or they could be excited in anticipation of the visitor giving them some attention.
Stopping Your Dog From Barking At The Doorbell.
You can start by managing the behavior. This involves focusing your dog’s attention on something else. You can teach him to go to his own place.
Related Article: Teaching Your Dog To Go To His Place.
The next step is to teach your dog to ignore the bell. This will be usually take a little while to accomplish.
As with all training you will need to be patient and persistent. Don’t yell or punish your dog. Focus on positive reinforcement – rewarding and praising him when he does well.
Be consistent and make sure all family members are “on board” and following the same methods.
Related Article: Using Positive Reinforcement To Train Your Dog.
You don’t want your dog to exhibit the barking behavior. Every time he does this, he is more likely to regress to those behaviors in future. Set him up for success.
There may be a number of different things that start him barking at the door. These are called triggers. You must work on each trigger separately.
Prevent your dog from seeing or hearing the triggers when he is not in a training session.
Train him to ignore each trigger separately.
The triggers could include someone knocking at the door, someone ringing the doorbell, the door handle moving, the door opening or the person entering or saying hello. It can sometimes difficult to know whether some or all of these is causing the problem. Go through them one by one.
Train Your Dog Not To React To A Knock On The Door
You need to give your dog a better alternative to barking. Before you start have a stock of treats handy. Begin the training away from the door. Knock on something that sounds like the door and before he gets a chance to start barking, give him a treat. Knock immediately before he is given the treat. Repeat this many times. He will learn that the knock is an indication that a treat is on the way.
When he is OK with this part of the training move to the door. Knock on the door and give him a treat. As he progresses, get someone else to knock on the outside of the door while you are giving him a treat inside. The sequence is knock – immediate treat.
Be patient, if there are any slip-ups go back to the step before.
Train Your Dog not to React To The Doorbell
Once again, start this training away from the door. Record the doorbell sound on your mobile phone and start the training with the volume lowered. Using the same routine – ring the bell then reward. Repeat over and over, gradually increasing the volume. You are conditioning your dog not to react to the sounds.
Using this method of trigger followed by reward, work your way through all the possible triggers.
If you see your dog getting excited at any point, stop the training and start again when he has calmed down.
Finally, put all the triggers together. If this is too much for your dog, try two of the triggers at a time and work your way up.
If your dog barks during training do not reward him. Go back a step and put less time between the trigger and the treat.
This training will take some time but is worth the effort. Success will come sooner if your dog doesn’t hear the triggers outside of training time.