How To Stop My Dog Barking At The Door
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Does your dog bark every time your doorbell rings? You should know that this is normal behavior in dogs. This behavior can however, also generate conflicting situations with some neighbors, so in many cases it may be necessary to stop this barking. We believe that there is no need for punishment, and promote the practice of positive reinforcement.
In this AnimalWised article we will teach you how to stop your dog barking when someone is at the door. We will also explain why this happens, what kind of learning is involved in this behavior and most importantly, provide you with a complete step by step to handling this situation.
Why does my dog bark when someone comes to the house?
Dogs are territorial animals by nature, for that reason, it is not surprising that some dogs bark when someone comes into their home. They carry out this behavior with the aim of alerting us and, at the same time, alerting the possible intruder or visitor that their presence has not gone unnoticed. It is important to emphasize that this is a characteristic behavior of this species and that it should not be interpreted as a behavioral problem.
However, if your dog is barking at every noise in an excessive and compulsive way, the risk of creating a problem of coexistence with other residents appears. This behavior can also cause a dog to experience high peaks of stress and anxiety.
Teaching your dog not to bark when the doorbell rings is an easy and simple process, but one that requires perseverance, dedication and a good "timming".
Why does my dog bark when the bell rings?
Before explaining how to prevent your dog from barking when they knock on the door, you will have to understand how classical conditioning occurs. It is a type of associative learning. Understanding it correctly will help you to effectively resolve this barking problem:
- The timbre at first is a neutral stimulus (EN) that does not cause any reaction in the dog.
- When the bell rings, people appear (EI) and the dog barks to alert us.
- In the end, the timbre functions conditioned stimulus (EC) , and the dog gives a conditioned response (CR), as a result of the conditioning. This happens as the dog associates the timbre with the arrival of people.
How to teach your dog not to bark at the doorbell
To get your dog to stop barking whenever the bell rings you will need to work using the bell. How? You should ask a family member or friend to help you carry out a "counterconditioning" process. Here we explain in more detail how to prevent your dog from barking when the bell rings:
- Ask a friend or family member to stand under your house and ring the bell when you ask. You can use the phone to coordinate the ringing bells. You should not open the door or let anyone in, the goal is for the doorbell to become a neutral stimulus for your dog. For this reason, the sound of the bell should not be a precedent for the arrival of any person, but a mere sound of the environment.
- When the dog barks, you should ignore it completely, even if it is annoying you.
- Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the dog does not bark, then you must congratulate him with a click and a prize (if you have worked the clicker for dogs) or with a "very good" and a prize. It is important that you are very quick so that the dog does not become distracted and completely understands that the click or "very well" will only happen when he does not bark after the bell has rung.
- It can happen that the dog needs between 10 and 30 repetitions before understanding and making the correct association. You must be patient.
- We will repeat this process on a daily basis, noting the progress in a notebook, to see how many times the dog does not bark from all the times we rang the bell. Once the dog stops barking 100% of the time, we will work with visitors, so that people can visit your home without your dog barking. Then we will have to alternate real visits and ringing calls that do not imply the arrival of people to our home.
It is a simple process, because all we have to do is reinforce the dog when the bell is ignored. Nevertheless, this process does take a couple of weeks or months so you have to be determined and not stop this training.
Related problems or doubts
Here we mention some possible problems that may arise during this process and how you to react;
- My dog never stops barking: perhaps you need more repetitions so that the dog begins to associate that the sound of the bell does not always imply that a person appears. You should also start with short bell sounds and increase the volume or ringing.
- My dog barks at people when they come to my house: usually dogs carry out this behavior with the objective of seeking attention, so you should ask those who visit your home to ignore your dog and caress him only when he stops barking. If your dog also barks a lot when you get home, you should follow the same procedure.
- My dog had stopped barking, but now has started again: if we stop practicing the "false visits" it is probable that the dog will recover its old habits. Return to making false ringing sounds that do not involve the arrival of people at home.
- Can I use an electric shock collar? The European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology points out that the use of this type of tool does not prove more effective than other types of training. This type of punishment can also can cause stress, discomfort, pain and anxiety in dogs.  Neither is there adequate learning, therefore, the use of this type of tool is completely discouraged.
If after following this procedure for several days you are not obtaining any results, you should consider going to a professional canine trainer or educator so that they can correctly evaluate your case and guide you.
If you want to read similar articles to How To Stop My Dog Barking At The Door, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.