Tips for Controlling Your Dog’s Barking at the Door
Brought to you by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline – the AKC’s 7-day-a-week training support service
By Hilarie Erb, AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer
Would you like to be able to hear the doorbell without your dog getting into a frenzy? It is a natural and sometimes even desirable reaction for dogs to alert their people when someone is at the door. But you can teach them that everything is okay and that they can stop barking when you want to open the door.
First, think about what you do when the doorbell rings. You don’t realize it, but you have already taught your dog that it’s a very exciting thing because you drop whatever you are doing at the moment and rush to the door…every single time. This is an excellent example of how consistency makes for good dog training! You have reinforced Fluffy’s natural watchdog instincts. Now let’s make a conscious effort to use consistency to your advantage.
- Place Command
- Teach your dog to go to her place, such as a comfortable bed or rug that may be in sight of the door but still a cozy spot. Enlist the help of a friend or family member. Ask them to ring the doorbell several times while you ignore it. Calmly sit or continue doing whatever it is you are doing. When the dog quiets down, lure her to the place and reward with a delicious treat. Repeat as often as needed until your dog understands that when the bell rings, she gets a treat for getting on her bed. Let your helper know that they don’t have to wait at the door for you to let them in. It might be a while until you get to the point where you actually open the door.When the dog learns to associate the bell with getting a treat on her bed, it’s time to graduate to opening the door. If the dog gets up, do not open it. Just calmly direct her back to the place. Again, lavishly reward so that she knows staying calm and away from the door makes you dish out goodies. You still may not get the door open, but you are getting there.
- Wireless Doorbell
- A great way to speed up the process, and to save friends and family a lot of standing around on your front porch, is to get a wireless doorbell kit. These are inexpensive and you can make the doorbell ring yourself with the button that you have in your pocket, unbeknownst to your dog. You can ring the bell all day long and throw a treat to the special place. When you reach the point where your dog automatically goes to his place when it rings and you go to the door, pretend that you are talking to a person at the door. Soon you can invite real live friends to help and actually come inside.
Even if your dog is well-trained and calm when the doorbell rings, if you are expecting lots of visitors, say Halloween trick-or-treaters or party guests, the best and safest thing to do is to put your dog in his crate that is in a quiet room. Give a special treat such as a food-stuffed toy or chew so he has a special party treat to enjoy too.
Join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline TODAY at the discount price of $59.99 – $20 off the regular fee. This provides lifetime training support for your dog. No renewals ever necessary.
For more tips and advice on training your dog, join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.