How I Trained My Dog Not to Bark at Visitors

Dogs bark for many reasons. If your dog barks at visitors, you can train him to be quiet.

Why Do Dogs Bark at Visitors?

Have you ever wondered why your dog goes on a barking spree when someone’s at the door? Well, let’s break it down a bit.

Whether it’s the doorbell ringing or a stranger showing up, these things can make dogs bark like crazy. It’s their way of talking to us. But, here’s the thing: Too much barking can bug the neighbors.

So, let’s figure out why your dog turns into a barking machine and what I do to make things a bit quieter. We’ll come up with a plan to keep your pup happy and your home more peaceful. I’ll help you understand your dog’s “language” and keep the barks in check!

The Benefits of Barking

Excessive dog barking is more common in some breeds. It is more challenging to stop dog barking in these breeds.

Yes, you read that right. Barking has some benefits. For example, I would be pretty grateful if my dog alerted me to an intruder or fire.

It’s also important to note that some dogs were bred to bark. For these dogs, suppressing their barks can be extra challenging.

If you have a working breed like Beagles or Huskies, they will have strong instincts to communicate by barking.

Other breeds like Schnauzers were originally bred as guard dogs, so they will be more likely to bark at passersby. 

You can still manage your dog’s excessive barking with patience and positive reinforcement. But it helps to be mindful of your dog’s breed characteristics. 

How to Stop Dog Barking at Visitors

What is Causing the Barking?

I start by identifying the triggers that cause my dog to bark. Is it the doorbell ringing, a knock at the door, or simply the sight of strangers? Pinpointing the cause allows you to tailor your training approach to address the root issue.

My dog barks at the mailman. Original, right? Well, we get a lot of packages and she is always excited to greet the person delivering them. Knowing what was causing most of my dog’s barking shaped my approach moving forward. Let’s explore what steps I took!

Recreate the Situation Over and Over Again

If your dog notices passersby, this may get your dog's attention and cause him to bark. Barking behavior and barking at visitors is normal.Our delivery driver normally rings the doorbell. This is what sets off the symphony of barks. The first thing I did was desensitized my dog to the doorbell ringing. I would have one of my daughters ring the bell while I was inside with my dog.

When the bell rang, I asked my dog “Please settle down and be quiet.” I made sure to praise her once she was quiet. This took practice, but now the doorbell doesn’t cause so much chaos in my house! My dog learned to stay calm when the doorbell rings.

Addressing Different Emotions Behind Dog Barking

Dogs may bark due to excitement, fear, or territorial instincts. Understanding why your dog is barking creates a wonderful opportunity to improve your relationship. Just think of your dog’s barks as communication. He is trying to tell you how he feels!

Too many dogs are surrendered to the animal shelter for barking at visitors. The best thing for your dog is training!

The “Why” Behind the Bark

Excitement Barking:

  • Dogs, just like us, can get overly excited. Does your dog tend to bark when you come home or during playtime? This could be her way of saying, “Yay, you’re here!”

Boredom Barking:

  • Imagine being stuck inside all day with nothing to do. Boredom can lead to frustration, and in a dog’s case, excessive barking. She might be asking for mental stimulation and a bit of playtime.

Loneliness Barking:

  • Dogs are social animals, and being left alone for long periods can cause loneliness. Barking might be your dog’s way of saying, “I miss you, come back!”

Why Is My Dog Barking at My Guests?

So, maybe your dog isn’t bored or lonely or a bit too excited. Maybe all of his barks are aimed at houseguests. This is known as alert barking.

Dogs are natural guardians. If your pup barks at the doorbell, passing cars, or even a nearby tree, he might be trying to alert you to potential dangers. Even though your guests or that tree are harmless, your pup might not be so sure.

Do you think your dog is excited to see guests? Or does it seem that the barking at visitors is more aggressive?

Barking at visitors does not mean your dog is aggressive. But be mindful of his body language when your dog sees visitors.

Look at your dog’s body language to understand why he is barking at visitors. If he seems very wiggly and loose, he is most likely barking from excitement. If he growls, bares his teeth, or raises his hackles (the hair on his back), this may be a sign of aggression.

If your dog barks aggressively, I recommend using a crate to keep everyone safe. I also advise you to work with a professional dog trainer. They will be able to help you based on your dog’s specific needs.

Positive Reinforcement: The Secret to Silence

Now, let’s dive into my approach to bringing some peace and quiet into your home. 

Teaching a Quiet Cue

For dogs inside all day, the window can be stimulating. They may see a delivery person or other dog pass by. This makes it hard for your dog to remain quiet. I introduce a simple cue like “be quiet please” in a calm tone. I think it’s really important to use the world please here. Try saying it out loud to see for yourself! Say “be quiet,” then say “be quiet please.”

I’m guessing you will hear a big difference in your tone. 

When my dog stops barking, I celebrate with praise and a treat. This reinforces the connection between my dog’s silence and the reward.

It’s worth noting that it’s unproductive to yell anything at your dog when he is barking. If you start shouting, he will probably think you’re barking back! This might get him even more excited and cause more barking.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is important in any training routine. I make sure to reward quiet moments each time my dog faces a barking trigger. She quickly learned the connection between silence and my happiness. 

Remember, our dogs just want to make us happy! My favorite way to reward my dog for silence is by using TTouches and praise. 

The Fine Art of Distraction

If your dog is barking at visitors, you can help him quit barking with a distraction. After a few minutes, your dog will settle. You can also distract your dog from barking by introducing alternative activities or toys. Redirecting her attention helps break the cycle of barking. It’s also another great way to reinforce positive behavior.

If my dog seems to be barking out of boredom or anxiety, I provide mental stimulation. You can use puzzle toys and interactive games to occupy your dog’s mind when you’re not around. 

If I’m home when my dog goes into a barking frenzy, we do a quick 1 minute training session together. If my dog was simply bored, the training session gives her something to focus on. If she is anxious, a successful 1 minute training session can improve her confidence.

Try the TTouch

If your dog is barking out of boredom, anxiety, or excitement, TTouches can really help. I use these gentle touches and circular motions to soothe an excited or anxious dog.

TTouches promote a strong sense of calm. I’ve also found that they help my dog listen more readily, which is helpful when I ask her to stop barking. 

Give Your Dog a Place to Relax

Does your dog start barking at the door? When your dog sees visitors, this can cause barking. Choose a designated settle place while your dog learns to be quiet.Create a designated relaxing spot for your dog away from the entrance. This provides a safe space where he can sit and observe visitors without barking excessively.

I like to use my dog’s crate as her special place. It’s like her home within our home. She knows that going in her crate means it’s time to relax. It naturally soothes her. If your dog doesn’t have a crate, you could designate her bed as her quiet spot.

Should I Stop My Dog From Looking at People?

If your dog starts barking at the window, this is normal. Your dog or puppy probably loves watching out the window. They are your family member and can't wait for you to come home!

Is your canine companion convinced she’s a guard dog? Maybe sits in the window all day and constantly barks at everything that passes in front of your house.

It might be tempting to block all the windows if you want your dog to stop barking. But I encourage you to leave the curtains open.

Most dogs only spend a small part of their day outside. Apart from these times, looking out the window is their only exposure to the world outside your front door.

Allow your dog to observe people. Remind her that looking at passersby is not a cause for alarm. This helps your dog learn the difference between observation and reactive barking.

Should I Use a Bark Collar?

If you want your dog to stop barking at visitors, please do not use a bark collar. Instead, reward your dog or puppy with treats when she is quiet;

Whatever you do, please don’t use shock and bark collars. 

Bark collars have been proven to be ineffective and cruel. They can make your dog aggressive and fearful. They also will not stop barking long-term. 

There is no reason to use a bark collar! You can train your dog to be quiet. And better yet, working on this skill together can improve your relationship.

Final Thoughts

Showing your dog to welcome visitors calmly may take patience, consistency, and compassion. Be mindful of aggressive behavior, give your dog a place to relax, and reward quiet greetings.

Your guests will feel welcome before you know it! Just remember to recreate scenarios, identify triggers, and tailor training to your dog’s emotions.

Check out my free videos to learn more! You can learn lots about working with your pup and strengthening your bond with your dog along the way.

PS- Coming soon! My new dog training book for kids will be released soon. Follow along with Super Roxy as she teaches kids how to train their super-dogs! If you are interested in joining our review team in exchange for a free copy of the book, please contact us at [email protected]

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