why do dogs bark at the door

Why do dogs bark at the door ?

Most if not all dogs, even the most timid and even tempered dogs, react chaotically and bark whenever a knock on the door or a doorbell is heard. Although, what are the reasons for this reaction?

Common reasons dogs bark at the door

They could be alerting you

Majority of dogs have learned to associate any noise at the door with someone, wanting to come in, being on the other side of it. Your dog, knowing this information, wants you to know about it too, and the best way to convey it to you that they know of is by barking! Because they have great hearing, dogs will usually hear the person approaching the door way before they even reach for the doorbell, and definitely before you hear them coming.

When they bark, they are effectively alerting you to answer the door, since they already know that is the easiest and quickest way to grab your attention. Canines are great at associating certain sounds with certain actions and that’s why clicker training is an effective and popular way to train them, and the sound of the doorbell is not any different.

Dogs have excellent memory, so they have definitely noticed the pattern of events that will happen: they bark to alert you, you go over to the door to check and open it, before even reacting to what is on the other side of it. And as far as your dog is concerned, they need to bark before you know to open the door.

They are trying to protect you and themselves

Not taking into account how domesticated they are, the majority of dogs will still view themselves as the guardian of your family and the home. So, when the doorbell rings, it is automatically taken as an interruption to the otherwise peace in the home and a potential danger to your dog’s environment.

They then bark, to not only assert their authority but also alert the intruder to their presence as a guard dog. Whether it is good or bad, your dog will sense a presence before you do.

That means whether it’s an intruder, a family friend, a relative, or even better a food delivery person your dog will bark regardless of who it is. The barking indicates a sort of mix of warning and excitement on the dog’s part, all depending on the circumstance at hand.

It is worth to keep in mind that your dog, at times, will take its emotional cues from you, so if you are feeling excitement to greet a friend at the door, then they will be excited as well! However, if you are worried that someone on the other side of the door is a danger to you, then your dog will probably sense your fear and react in a similar way.

One simple way to tell whether your dog feels scared or feel as if their territory is being threatened is when they bark at the door. According to the Humane Society, canine body language can reveal quite a lot. For example: if their tail is low and ears are firmly back, it is likely that they are scared, meanwhile a threatening posture is accompanied with a high tail and ears up and forward. If you want to train them to stop barking at the door then try to work out the motivations behind your dog’s barking first, since it will help you immensely.

How to stop a dog barking at the door?

First off don’t worry if your dog seems to be adamant about barking at the door, that does not mean that it would be impossible to train it out of them, it will only take a bit more time and effort that will be worth it in the end.

Like we mentioned before, dogs are excellent at associating certain sounds with certain behaviors and actions, so we will use that to our advantage and retrain them into associating the sound of the doorbell with a rather calm reaction.

Start by getting some treats and practice every time that someone comes to your door, do this frequently even if you don’t have many visitors. Shouting at your dog’s barking is actually really counter productive as the volume and panic evident in your voice will make the dog bark more and react with fear.

Instead of yelling, just softly call your dog over and away from the door whenever the doorbell rings and make them sit, reward them with a treat if they comply afterwards. Make sure to do this frequently and call them into different areas of your home when they get the hang of it. You may even use a clicker to reinforce these behaviors in your dog if you want to.

Remember to give your dog a reward whenever your dog does not bark at the door and obeys your commands instead, and eventually, over some time, this behavior will be ingrained to the point where they will automatically associate the sound of the doorbell ringing with a treat.

When it gets to this point, you won’t need to give them a treat every time, however, make sure to occasionally still do that so they hold their interest and keep their calm behavior.

If you own more than one dog, make sure to keep your focus on the more dominant one first while you attempt to train them, since this will make it easier to train the others as they will naturally follow and learn the correct behavior directly from their alpha.

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