Are you bothered by the way your dog keeps barking at visitors? It’s okay for a guard dog to bark at strangers. What if your dog isn’t a guard dog but still barks at your neighbors and friends? We can understand how annoying and embarrassing it can be. This behavior is especially prevalent in puppies and untrained dogs. But this is not something to be avoided. It can lead to serious aggression in dogs. If your visitors have already entered the house, your dog can end up harming them.
Here we’ll tell you how to stop dogs barking at visitors. This information will save you from future embarrassment and will make your dog welcome and see your guests off peacefully.
Why Does Your Dog Keep Barking at Visitors?
A dog’s tendency to bark is natural as barking is his only habit. However, there are some occasions when this is wholly undesirable. There are many reasons why is your nervous dog barking at visitors. Some of these are:
- The territorial nature of the dog: he is simply not letting a stranger intrude on his territory. So, he’s barking to let you know that someone has entered his domain without his permission.
- Your pooch may be doing this to warn you about the presence of a stranger who might pose a threat.
- Some dogs, like Dobermans, are protective in nature. These dogs are pretty certain that barking at strangers to protect you is their job. So, they are simply pleased with themselves for being able to do it well.
- The dog may be jealous of the visitors if you are attending to them in front of him. Your pooch becomes agitated and starts barking harder if he believes you are ignoring him.
How to Stop Dog Barking at Visitors?
Luckily, you can teach your furry friend to stop barking whenever a guest knocks on the door with a little investment of time and effort. Here are some methods to control your nervous dog barking at visitors:
1. Understand Your Dog’s Body Language
Your dog is likely to display other signs of nervousness before he starts barking at your guests. Through reading his body language, you can understand if his barking is really because of that visitor or if there’s any other reason. When you know he’s nervous, you can prevent his reactive outburst beforehand by controlling and altering his behavior.
Here are a few cues to watch out for:
- An upright, forward-leaning, or toe-pointing body posture
- An extended tail and a stiff tail wag
- Ears firmly pressed to the head or pinned ears
- Tightly closed muzzle
If your dog exhibits any of the above signs, stopping his barking can be as easy as taking him away from the guests or diverting his attention with food.
2. Train Your Nervous Dog Barking at Visitors
You must implement counterconditioning and desensitization methods to train your dog to stop barking at visitors. Use positive methods of training to make him realize that guests are not bad. Every time your guests come over, make them give a biscuit to your pooch. This will make him love your visitors.
Here are two training approaches you might use:
- Pretend You Can’t Hear
Take a neighbor’s or friend’s help. Ask them to knock on the front door or ring the doorbell. On hearing the sound, the dog will look at you. When he does so, simply pretend that you can’t hear the bell. Ignore him if he starts to bark. However, if he chooses to ignore the bell sound, give him a treat. Continue doing this until your dog no longer barks in response to doorbells.
- Train Him to Go to a Spot
Choose a place for your dog to stay when a visitor comes over. Ask your dog to go to that place and give him a command to “stay” there. Treat him if he follows your command. Now, ask a friend or neighbor to ring the doorbell. You might talk to them right in front of the door as well. If he stays in his place during this time, give him lots of treats and pets. Repeat the procedure until your dog learns to remain in his spot when guests arrive at your home.
3. Make Your Dog Familiar With the “Quiet” Command
Your dog must learn to stop barking when commanded by you. It can be effective to use commands like “No!”, “Quiet!”, “Hush!”, or “Stop!”, especially when combined with rewards and treats. You must practice this initially if your dog isn’t familiar with these types of commands. Learn more about basic dog commands.
4. Punishment is Not a Solution
Negative reinforcement methods to teach your dog are ineffective and sometimes inhumane. Punishment is one of them. Getting upset with your dog won’t help, especially if they are barking out of fear or anxiety. It is likely to make their reaction even worse.
Punishing your dog is not a solution every time he barks at your visitors. They will begin to link the doorbell with a bad experience and fear the sound of it. This is more likely to encourage them to keep barking. In other cases, your dog may go into depression or fall ill.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Dog Barking at Visitors
Your dog may bark at your guests due to his territorial or protective nature, fear, jealousy, or some other reason. It is always important to know why he does so and how to stop the dog from barking at visitors. You can try the above methods of training to stop this behavior in your dog.
We hope these will help you get over the problem soon. For more such information, keep visiting All dog tales!