A dog barks at the sound of someone ringing the doorbell. Learn tips and tricks of ways to train your pup from barking every time they hear the bell or a knock.

Dear Cesar,
I have three dogs that bark like crazy whenever the doorbell rings, and they have been a challenge. To correct them, we have been ringing the doorbell, flipping them over, and growling in their faces to let them know it is not how they should act. Is there anything else I can do to stop them from barking at the doorbell?

- JR

Cesar’s Answer:
First, this technique of flipping your dogs over is not appropriate for the type of training you’re trying to do. You want to teach your dogs not to attach any particular significance to the doorbell. Still, by using a technique designed only to block a dog that is being aggressive, you are teaching them to become more anxious, or possibly defensively aggressive, when they hear the doorbell.

Understand it from your dog’s point of view – what they are learning is, “Doorbell means my humans will attack me,” and that is not the idea you want them to have. Using the sound of the doorbell is the right thing, but you want to associate it with something calm and pleasant for your dog. If your dogs are already trained to sit calmly before receiving treats from you, you’re halfway there.

You need to get them to sit calmly for a treat first, then ring the doorbell. If they do not react to it, they get the treat. If they do respond, redirect them with the smell of the treat (but don’t give it to them yet), get them to sit calmly and wait, then repeat the process. You will teach them that “doorbell = treat,” but only if they sit calmly. You’ll also want everyone in the house to have treats on them at first so that when the doorbell rings at random, they can reward the dogs that comply right away.

Eventually, you’ll be able to do away with the treats. Finally, you said you have three dogs; focus on the most dominant one in training; this will help you in training all three at once. Good luck, and stay calm and assertive!

Why Dogs Bark at the Doorbell

Dogs are often sensitive to noises, especially those with hearing abilities. This can be a problem when the doorbell rings or someone knocks on your front porch! Dogs are curious by nature, and being unable to see what’s on the other side of the door can be frustrating. Dogs can be hard to understand, but you must find out why they do what they do before trying to change their behavior—knowing the “why” will help you find the best approach to training for the desired outcome. It’s also important to note that not all dogs are distressed when the doorbell rings or there’s a knock on the door. They could be excited about the person behind the door. Understanding your dog’s body language is essential to know why they are barking.

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

  • Running back and forth in front of the door 
  • Intermittent barking versus persistent barking 
  • Runs straight to the door when someone knocks or rings the bell 
  • Tail wags in a circular motion

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.

More From Cesar's Way Videos

Recommended Videos

Related Posts

October 5, 2023

Why Do Dogs Bury Things?

Dogs like to bury things. Sometimes that means finding a bone or a toy under

October 5, 2023

Does Your Dog Resent You?

We've probably all experienced that “guilty dog” look — the one that they give us

October 5, 2023

Dog in Mourning: Helping Pets Cope With Loss

A heart-tugging image of a brown Labrador retriever named Hawkeye lying beside the American flag-draped

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Tips From Cesar & The Pack

Don’t get left out of the doghouse! Sign up now to make sure you’re up to date on the latest happenings!

Trending Today

Trending This Week