How to Stop a Dog Barking at the Door

Dog Barking Like Mad at the Door Every Time You Have Visitors?

Does your dog start barking as soon as it hears anyone by the door and go crazy when someone has the nerve to knock or ring the door bell?

I know our dogs still have some problems with this…

Well, they don’t, but I sure do!

But, at least they’re usually a lot better behaved now when someone comes to the door than they were in the past.

Back then, they’d all rush the door if they heard or thought they heard anyone out there…barking like mad and trampling over anyone in the way in the process.

It’d take forever to answer the door…

Wrestling with our many dogs all the way…

We did have five of them once upon a time…crazy eh?

Sadly, cancer has taken some of them, but not all. We still have more dogs than most.

Answering the Door Shouldn’t Have to Be This Way…

Maybe you aren’t as crazy to have so many dogs, and only have one, but you’d like it to behave and be quiet once you go to the door…

But, instead your dog is barking and jumping around your legs doing its best to trip you up as you head for that door…and, you’re doing your best to get it to stop, but nothing is working!

Telling it to be quiet, sit down, it’s okay…

And, of course, it’s not listening to you!

By the time you get to the door you’re screaming at the dog to shut up already!

And, you’re about this close to losing the last shred of your sanity…

Yelling at your dog to shut up doesn’t work too great does it?

You’ve tried using the coins in a can to get it to stop, which works to a point

Sure that works, sort of…or maybe you’ve tried one of those noise makers similar to an air horn? Or maybe some other type of noise maker…Either way, yes, we’ve tried quite a few of these methods with our noisy, yapping dogs and found that they work to a point…

But, what I found out after trying it for a short while using something noisy to get your dog’s attention is a good one as long as you can find the thing that you need to make the noise…

And, if you can’t find it, well…

You’re just out of luck then!

They can spot if you have the noise maker or not, and if you don’t…guess what?

They’ll cavort and bark all the way to the door with you to greet your guest with the usual loud barking. Worse yet, if your dog acts anything like ours…

Your guest will be treated to a dancing-with-the-dog lesson as they try to avoid getting jumped on…

Yes, being a dog owner is great, isn’t it?

Always exciting, lol.

Is it Possible to Stop The Dog Barking Like a Crazy Fool When the Door Bell Rings?

You’d love to have a dog that recognizes that yes, someone is at the door…so, it’s okay to bark once or twice to alert you, but then stop.

Is this even possible? To have a dog that only barks a couple times and then be quiet when someone is at the door?

Let me tell you, that yes, it certainly is…of course, there are some days that things go backwards, but for the most part our dogs have been much better behaved now when our company arrives.

Why Yelling at Your Dog Doesn’t Work

Okay, I admit it…

Yes, I’ve yelled at our dogs before to get them to be quiet… I had to do something right?

Well, the thing is, it doesn’t work…at all! And, if you’re yelling at your dog too, then you probably realize that no, it doesn’t work to get it to be quiet, does it?

So, if it’s not working,

Why are you still yelling?

It only adds to the noise… and guess what?

By yelling at your dog you’re giving it what it wants…

Yes, you’re giving it one of the main things it absolutely loves (besides a good treat) by yelling at it… a reward for its bad behavior!

What do I mean, yelling is a reward for the dog?

Now, before you go off thinking this makes no sense…

Think about it…what IS that one other thing it craves so much besides food or treats?

It’s YOU!

Your Attention!

Yelling and screaming at your dog to be quiet is giving your dog the attention it sooo craves…

Dogs Learn to Bark to Get AttentionDogs learn what actions will get them attention from you…they aren’t dumb!

They read and study us like a book….learning what they can do to get our attention even if it means us yelling at them.

It’s still You focused on Fido and giving it attention.

In order to figure out how to stop this behavior we need to

Watch and learn from your dog.

First of all, we need to figure out a few things:

  • Why is the dog barking in the first place?
  • What sounds or sights trigger the barking
  • Body language – does it appear frightened, angry, happy?
  • Energy level of the dog

Of course, we all know that yes, the dog is barking at the person knocking or ringing the door bell, right?

But…

Why Do Dogs Bark? Is it just to annoy us?

No, of course not…

Although sometimes it might seem that way, they don’t bark for these reasons…dogs just don’t think that way.

Of course, some dogs bark more than others…some bark at a leaf blowing by…

There are many reasons a dog can find to bark…

  • Fear
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Territorial – protecting their territory
  • Boredom
  • Greeting
  • Pain

Dogs can’t talk…at least not our language. Barking, growling, or whining is how they get their word across. Another form of communication that dogs do oh, so well is body language.

But, the main reason most dogs bark is to alert you to something…

Whether it be a noise, a sight or maybe even something they can smell that is new to them. Or, maybe they just want to tell you, Hey, buddy! I’m bored…let’s go play!

If they’re barking at someone knocking on the door, or some noise they hear outside, they’re telling you,

“Hey, something’s going on and you should look into it!”

But, if all you do is yell at your dog and not pay attention to why its barking, then guess what?

You’re teaching it to bark at everything…

Yes, you heard me right…

You’re teaching it to bark.

Screaming at it to shut up is NOT getting your dog’s attention…

instead you’re the one giving the dog attention!

And, the more your dog barks, the more you yell…

So at your wits end, you resort to talking to it like a baby… “ooh, you’re okay, you poor baby….”  petting the dog til your arm falls off, thinking maybe it’s scared of something and needs reassuring. You have to do something to get it to calm down…anything to get it to be quiet!

And, now every time your dog wants attention it knows

All it needs to do is bark…

Kind of like that little kid in the cartoon constantly saying, “hey mom, hey mom, mom, mom moooom, MOM!” over and over til her last nerve was broken and she blew a fuse…

Answering in a roar of anger, WHAAAAT?!!

Stop Dog Barking - Stop Yelling

But, whaaaaat? Why are you yelling at me?

Sound familiar?

Then, the guilt…yes, I know.

I know, because I’ve made the same mistakes before…

You feel guilty for biting their head off for something so petty. Something that could have turned out differently, if you’d just stopped what you were doing for a minute to see what it was they wanted in the first place.

Now, you feel bad, your dog feels bad…and well, everyone feels like a jerk.

And, then you gotta make it up to your dog, so you give it cuddles and treats.

Lo and behold…The cycle begins.

Your dog eventually learns this will get him rewards…maybe not the best ones, but at least…

He’s got your attention now, doesn’t he?

Quite sneaky aren’t they?

Now what? Is there a way to stop this crazy cycle?

Or, can you?

No, you can’t really stop a dog from barking completely…nor, would it be a good thing to do so either in my opinion.

But, you can teach it that this barking trick is not going to work anymore…that it only needs to do it’s job of alerting you and then it needs to stop.

Steps to Stop the Dog from Barking at the Door

Now, I’m not an expert at this, but it’s what has worked for our dogs lately for the most part…please read ***Note at the bottom of page.

(However, they still have occasional bad days where they could be quieter when someone is at the door.)

  • Write down a list of what makes your dog bark – knocking at door, door bell, phone ringing, greeting someone, car in driveway
  • Be calm & quiet – no need or use to yell
  • Reward dog immediately when they’re doing something you want – being quiet!
  • Have treats that they love on hand
  • Practice answering the door
  • Keep a leash near the door if needed

When answering the door as someone is knocking or ringing the bell stay calm and quiet. Instead of rushing for the door, get up and walk calmly to it. No yelling at the dog either…just go and look to see who is there.

Ask your guest to wait a minute and tell your dog okay in a a relaxed tone of voice…act like it’s no big deal someone is at the door.

Don’t say anything else to your dog. Often they’ll quit barking if they see that you’re not making a big deal of the situation and nothing else is happening. We’re all just hanging out at the door.

Wait a minute for your dog to be quiet…the moment it stops, give it a “good boy” or “good girl” and that really good treat it loves. I’d recommend a treat that’s extra special.

A dog that’s still barking and acting like a crazed baboon, jumping all over and barking is another story though…

Since it’s attention is solely focused on that darn door and the person behind it…

Then what?

Well, ours used to be like this…all five of them when we still had that many!

And, occasionally they still had these outbursts…but, not as bad anymore.

1. Stay Calm & Quiet – no yelling!

The key is to distract it to focus on something else besides the person at the door. Get your dog to focus on you instead, which is why I’d recommend instead of screaming at it, to calmly say okay, hey, or even a shhh just once.

Of course, it probably isn’t listening to you, but it still hears you…and, instead of increasing its energy level by yelling, acting mad at it, etc. if you remain calm and relaxed the dog will have an easier time to do the same.

2. Give Your Dog a Time Out

Meanwhile, grab that leash you have by the door and attach it to the dog’s collar to get better control of your dog. Or, you can also just grab the collar, but if you need to use a leash to keep hold of it better, then by all means do so.

What I’ve done with our dogs is to bring them outside at first, through the other door to the backyard, which is fenced in and safe for them. I then leave them out there for a few minutes til they calm down.

If you don’t have that option, I’d suggest bringing it to a separate room that is dog proofed and safe for your dog to be in for awhile…it’s only til they’re quiet.

Exactly NOT what the dogs wanted really…what they wanted was to greet the guest!

But, once they stopped acting like fools and barking outside, I’d let them back in…

3. Letting your Dog Out of Its Time Out

Of course, I knew they’d get all excited again…

They certainly didn’t forget we had a visitor!

And, not wanting them to go racing into the house like Tasmanian devils and jumping on our poor unsuspecting guest, I’d put them back on the leash. If your dog is anything like ours have been when greeting guests I’d suggest doing the same with yours before you let it back inside or out of whatever room you put them in for time out.   ***(Please read disclaimer below)***

*Tip – have them in a place that has two doors to get through…especially if you have more than one dog. Otherwise, upon opening it, your dogs might bolt through the door and rush the guest before you can get a hold of it and put the leash on.

Once back in, I’d make sure they didn’t get too near our guest til they’d calmed down again. Keeping them on a short leash kept them right at my side while I sat down in a chair a bit further away from the guests. Until they calmed down, I ignored them…the dogs, not the guests!

I didn’t look at the mutts directly at all, nor did I say a word to them…instead I’d talk with the guest a bit.

I didn’t have to do this to all five of our dogs though…thank goodness!

Just the main offenders at first…the ones that were more aggressive in their barking and could actually hurt someone by jumping on them too forcefully…it’d happened too many times to myself. One of our dogs would always greet me at the door by racing full tilt towards me and pretty much body slamming me. And at over 60 pounds, this dog, Argon, actually left bruises more than once.

Make it a Plan to Ignore the Dog

It works great if your guest is in on the ignore the dog plan…so, before letting your dog back in give your guest the scoop! Tell the guest that you’ll let them know when it’s okay to pay any attention to the dog.

Remember, this means no one pays attention to the dog by talking directly to it, petting it, or even looking at it…ignore it like it’s not there while it’s barking.

If you’re patient and wait, they’ll tire of their antics, realizing they’re not getting any attention at all from anyone. Our dogs eventually realized this and ended up laying down quietly.

Rewards for Being Quiet

Once they’re quiet, give them a reward…they deserve it! Give them a treat that they really enjoy!  I’ve found dog treats work well…not just any old dog biscuit or something they get all the time. Save this special treat for these occasions!

Just drop it by them on the floor…as if it’s appearing out of nowhere.This way you won’t get your dog all excited again by saying something to it.

It’ll take time and a ton of patience, but eventually you’ll have a nice, calm dog even when you have a visitor knocking at the door…sure they still bark a few times when someone knocks on the door. But, I find that fine…

It lets me know someone is there and instead of acting like a bunch of rabid dogs like they once did, they now only give a few more half – hearted barks once I get to the door.

They no longer act like crazed, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics that I have to drag away by the collar to a time out in the back yard!

Instead I’m able to keep them right there with me to answer the door. Now, I just grab their collar for a few seconds til they settle down a bit if they have that rambunctious look in their eye.

Here’s a great video example of how to train your dog how Not to bark from Kikopup…it describes how to go through your dog’s triggers. Again, these are the things that you’ve found out make your dog bark such as a knock at the door, doorbell, phone, etc.

 

The main thing you must remember is…

The calmer you are… the calmer your dog will be.

Stop yelling, it’s not doing anyone any good.

Hope this helps you with your dog. However, all dogs learn things differently, so you might have to try something else that may work better for you, or you might even try a professional dog trainer if the situation is such that your dog is too hard to control. ****Please read note below!

Any questions or ideas you’d like to suggest? Does your dog bark at the door? What things have you tried to get it to stop?

I’d love to hear from you! Please leave any comments in the box below.

Thanks for reading! I know it was a looooong read, so I appreciate it.

Please share this if you like it. I’d appreciate it and our little doggies would too!

***Please note: I’m not by any means a professional dog trainer…this is only what I’ve done with MY dogs and has worked for me. I know my dogs well and what my limitations are. The only reason I’m writing anything on this site is in the hopes that it may help other dog parents like myself in this situation.

Things may be different in your situation and with your dog. I have no idea how your dog behaves or how it may react. Nor, do I know whether or not you have the physical strength to hold onto your dog if it reacts badly to this situation. So, if you feel that you can’t control your dog even on a leash, and you fear it might hurt your guests, itself, other dogs, pets, etc. then please don’t do this! Get someone to help you…a professional dog trainer sounds like a good idea right about now, doesn’t it?*** Click here to go back to reading the steps

2 thoughts on “How to Stop a Dog Barking at the Door

    • Hi Carlotta,
      I’m glad you’ve found this helpful in getting your dog to stop barking. It’s what has been working for our dogs, but some days it’s still an ongoing process. At least they’re far better behaved and don’t bark very much at all now when someone is at our door. It takes time and patience for it to work, so hang in there!

      I’d love to hear how it works for you with your dog and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help as much as I can. Just leave a reply here or if you’d like, you can hit the contact button to send me a message.

      Thanks for reading and commenting here!
      Best wishes 🙂 ~Sherry

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