Why Dogs Bark at the Doorbell
Signs of a Distressed Dog
- Excessive panting
- Spinning, pacing, or shaking
- The tail is low and tucked between the legs
- The tail is high and wagging fast
- Struggles to focus
- Dilated pupils and tight skin around the face
- Ears are pulled back
Signs of an Excited Dog
How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark at the Doorbell
- The best way to get your dog’s attention is through something they love, like food or toys. Knock on the door or ring the bell and immediately give them the toy or treat. Practice this technique consistently; before you know it, your pup will come running to you for a treat when someone is at the door. Tip: Keep the treats and toys in a convenient location for easy and quick access.
- Avoid negative associations by not yelling. When your dog barks at the door, refrain from shouting, as it only adds to the noise and can scare them.
- Next time a guest arrives and your dog barks, throw a handful of treats away from the door and challenge them to be okay with the yummy snacks. The seeking activity will put their nose to work and get them away from the door.
- A dog barking is their form of communication. So, naturally, they are trying to tell us something by alerting us that someone is at the door. Try talking to your pup to communicate what is going on. When someone you expect knocks, you can say, “Yay! It’s Henry here to play!” or “It’s okay. We are safe.” Eventually, they should learn that a ring or a knock is part of everyday life.
- Knock on hard surfaces throughout your home. If they respond by running to the door, use the treat spreading technique to distract them with their nose. Over time, gradually increase the volume of your knocking until your pup ignores the sound and searches for goodies instead.
- Teach them to run to their bed when the bell sounds. You want to place the bed in a room where they are isolated from visitors. Have a second person ring the bell, then encourage your dog to run to his bed. Have him lead the way and put some treats on the bed when you get there, and stay together for a few minutes while he enjoys his treat. Do this activity several times, but keep these training sessions short and sweet. Usually, 10 minutes is plenty. Over time, continue practicing, make it fun and race your dog to the bed. As they improve, you can give a treat toy that slowly dispenses the treat, so it takes them longer to enjoy.
Tips for Success
If you’re struggling to keep your dog from barking at the doorbell, don’t worry – there are a few things you can do to help lessen the chances of your pup.
- Put up a sign for delivery personnel not to ring the bell or knock.
- Use a sound machine or fan to block the noise for sensitive dogs.
- Block access to windows or doors that your dog barks at.
- Try translucent film on windows that surround door frames to block visual stimulation.