How to Stop a Dog From Barking at Visitors

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There are some dogs that bark a lot and others that barely make a peep, but it is extremely common for dogs to bark when someone knocks and rings your doorbell. Fortunately, with some patience and some training techniques and commands, like "quiet," you will be able to quiet your dog and calm her down so you can welcome your guests.

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Pretty much all dogs will bark when someone knocks or rings your doorbell.
Image Credit: Cindy Shebley/iStock/GettyImages

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Reasons dogs bark

There are several reasons your dog barks at visitors. Many dogs will bark when someone comes into their territory, and your dog likely views the household as his territory. Another possibility is that visitors startle him. Whether your guests knock or ring the doorbell or he simply sees your guest outside the window, this could be normal alarm barking. Barking may also be simply a greeting, especially if your visitors are well known to your pup.

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Regardless of the reason your dog is barking, teaching him to stop barking when you ask is important to maintain a happy and peaceful home. You can start the training with some obedience commands.

Teach basic commands

Teaching some commands to your pup is a great way to start dog barking control training. "Quiet" is a good choice when asking your dog to stop barking. Introduce the command in a training session when everything is calm. Say the command and as long as your pup is quiet, offer a treat. After a couple of days, ask a friend to gently knock on the door to trigger your dog's barking. After a few barks, give the quiet command. When she stops barking, offer a treat. With practice, you can use this command anytime your dog is barking.

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Another command that is useful for dogs that bark a lot is "go to your bed" or "go to your mat" or something similar. Set up a dog bed for your pup in a room next to the front door. Toss a treat on the bed and tell your dog to go to her bed or mat. After a few repetitions, ask her to go to her bed and then give her a treat.

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When she understands the command, ask a friend to knock on the door. When she barks, tell her to go to her bed. When she does, you can open the door but be prepared to close the door right away if she gets up. Then, start again and repeat the process until she stays on her bed until your guest is in the house. Remember to reward her with praise and treats.

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Dog barking control training

Another great way to reduce or even stop your dog from barking at visitors is to get him used to the sounds associated with a guest at the door. Start by quietly knocking on a wall, table, or another hard surface. You want the sound to be low enough that your dog does not get anxious and wound up. Continue to practice, increasing the volume of the knocks.

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Once your pup is accustomed to the stimulus, you can move on to actually knocking on the door. Don't forget to reward your pup when he remains calm and quiet.

Training tips and considerations

During the training, remember to stick with positive reinforcement. Don't punish your dog, as this can make him more anxious and more likely to bark. Avoid yelling and raising your voice, as your dog may think you are joining in with the barking.

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Be consistent with the training and make sure that everyone in the household knows what is expected of your dog when a guest enters the home. This will ensure that your dog also knows the rules, and he can relax, knowing exactly what is expected of him.

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