How To Stop Dogs Barking At Visitors

There's nothing worse than dogs barking when visitors arrive or when someone approaches the front door. Agreed? Read on to learn how to stop this anti-social and unwanted vocal behaviour and restore peace and quiet in your home!

Dogs Barking At Visitors

Dogs barking when visitors arrive, or when someone approaches the front door, is a good thing, right?

Golden cocker spaniel in mid-bark. Plain white background.Woof Woof!

Well yes, it's okay for our pets to bark when we have guests arriving, or when strangers are approaching the house, but we we don't want our dogs to keep barking after we've answered the door.

Enough is enough, isn't it?

Ideally, we want our pets to display perfect manners: sitting quietly and patiently until our visitors have entered the house and are settled.

Unfortunately, what we want and what we get may sometimes be two entirely different things!

Don't worry though, help is at hand.

How To Stop Dogs Barking At Visitors

If you taught your puppy the 'Be Quiet' command when you first brought him home, you're unlikely to have a barking problem with your dog.

However, there may be occasions when his manners begin to 'slip' and you feel the need to do something about it.  Or, it may simply be that you never got around to teaching your puppy the Be Quiet command.

Either way, you can learn how to stop your dogs barking by following the simple steps explained below.

  • Enlist the help of a friend. Explain that you're training your dog and what you're trying to achieve and ask him to stand outside your door.

  • It's important that you don't allow your dog to meet visitors at the door, not just yet anyway. Instead, put your dog into his crate or bed or ask him to sit well away from the door you're about to open. 

  • Open the door slowly and ask your guest to ignore your dog; they shouldn't even look at him.

  • If your dog is calm and quiet, reward him with praise and a small treat.

  • However, if your dog begins barking or makes a move towards your guest, close the door and ask your dog to sit, or place him back in his crate or bed. Repeat this until your dog is calm each time you open the door. 

  • When you get to this stage, open the door and invite your guest in. Keep your dog at arms length. Don't let him interact with your visitor just yet.

  • Ask your guest to take a seat. Remind him not to make eye contact or acknowledge your dog. Give him a couple of treats and ask him to throw one to your dog. 

  • Allow your Cocker to pick up the treat, but ask your visitor to continue ignoring him.

  • If your dog approaches your guest in a calm manner, your guest may reward your Spaniel with another treat and eye contact can be made.

  • If your dog remains calm, your visitor may stroke and welcome your pet, but he shouldn't make too much of a fuss of him.

  • If your Cocker misbehaves, or is not calm, ie jumps up or barks, let him know you're not happy with his behaviour by saying, 'No' or 'Bad Boy' and remove him to another room. Leave him there for a few minutes before letting him back in again.

  • If your Spaniel insists on misbehaving, continue removing him from the room for a few minutes.  He'll soon get the message!

You'll need to continue practising these exercises until there is no reaction from your Cocker either when you open the door or when you allow your visitor to enter.

Do this and it won't be long before your dog realises that reacting in a calm manner toward visitors will get him 'in on the act', and may even get him a treat or two!

Your Cocker Spaniel will be displaying perfect manners in no time at all!

Is The Doorbell Triggering Your Dogs Barking?

Have you thought that your dogs barking may be triggered by the doorbell and not necessarily the arrival of your visitor?

You could ask your guest to call you when they're outside, rather than ringing the bell, but that won't actually resolve your problem long-term because there'll always be someone ringing your doorbell, cold callers for example.

If you believe the doorbell is the problem, then you'll need to get your pet used to the sound of it to help stop him reacting like a Tasmanian devil each time it rings!

How To Stop Dogs Barking When The Doorbell Rings

Here's how to help desensitise your pooch to the sound of your doorbell:

  • Ask a friend, or preferably a member of your family, to ring the doorbell every minute for 3 minutes.

  • When it rings, ignore it and don't look at your dog. Just pretend you can't hear it. If he barks, ignore him, simply carry on about your business. If he stops barking, heap on the praise and reward him with a treat.

  • An alternative would be to distract him from the sound using his favourite toy (as well as ignoring the bell). 

If you practice this each day for at least two weeks you'll soon find that your Cocker stops reacting to the sound of the doorbell.


How To Stop Dogs Barking At The Postman

By the way, have you considered leaving a bag of treats hanging outside the front door, or on the garden gate, and asking regular visitors, (for example, the postman) to give your puppy a treat each time he delivers the mail?

This way your puppy will soon associate the postman, or anyone in a uniform, as a friend and learn to trust them.

Your Dogs Barking: Summary

Consistency and persistence is the key here. If you practice the above exercises each time you have visitors, your pet will soon learn that:

  • Visitors are not a threat to him or you;

  • If he misbehaves, he will be excluded, and won't be given praise or treats;

  • If he behaves well, he will be allowed to join in the fun and rewarded with the odd treat or two!

I hope that some of the above advice above works for you and that your dogs barking soon becomes a thing of the past.

Good luck!

Photo Credits for How to Stop Dogs Barking at Visitors:
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