How To Stop Dogs Barking At Guests

I think you'll agree; there's nothing worse than your dogs barking at visitors when they arrive at your home, or someone approaches the front door. This is an anti-social and unwanted vocal behaviour and must be stopped.

Read on to learn how to stop this and restore peace and quiet in your home!

Stop Dogs Barking At Visitors

A vocal dog playing up when visitors arrive or someone approaching the front door is good, right?

A beautiful headshot of a golden cocker spaniel with his long pink tongue showing.What a quiet little boy!

Dogs barking at guests or visitors approaching the front door is good, right?

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

Enough is enough, isn't it?

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

Unfortunately, what we want and get maybe 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 Quietcommand when you first brought him home, you're unlikely to have a barking problem with your adult 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 this command.

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

Dogs barking can be very anti-social. This golden cocker spaniel isn't very quiet!Listen to me Mum!
  • 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.
  • You mustn'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 moves toward your guest, close the door and ask him to sit or place your dog back in his crate or bed. Repeat this until your Cocker Spaniel 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 arm's 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 your guest a couple of treats and ask him to throw one of them toward your dog.
  • Allow your Cocker to pick up the treat, but ask your visitor to continue ignoring him.
  • If your dog calmly approaches your guest, 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 shouldn't make too much fuss over your dog.
  • If your Cocker misbehaves or is not calm, i.e. 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 until he behaves well. 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 allow your visitor to enter.

Do this, and it won't be long before your dog realises that reacting calmly toward visitors will get him 'in on the act', and he may even be rewarded with 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 a dog's barking may be triggered by the doorbell and not necessarily your visitor's arrival?

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, you'll need to get your pet used to the sound of it to help stop him from 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 dog 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 your dog barks, ignore him; simply carry on with what you were doing or walk away. 
  • 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'm confident that the above advice, if applied often and consistently, will help and that your dogs barking soon becomes a thing of the past.

Good luck!

Photo Credits for How to Stop Dogs Barking at Guests:
1. iStock_000021357535
Krzysztof Bolek @