It’s a quiet evening around your house. So quiet; the only noise is the faint hum of the air conditioner. That and the sound of your dog’s gentle breaths in and out as they sleep.
Then you hear the tap of footsteps walking up to your front door. You cringe as you brace yourself for the familiar noise that is sure to follow:
Your pup’s eyes shoot open as they jolt awake and launch into a barking frenzy.
Sheesh, moment of serenity over.
This makes you wonder: what is it about the doorbell that triggers your pup? Why do they get so fired up?
Dogs bark at doorbells due to their instinct to protect their territory in response to a sudden change in their environment. However, it can also be out of excitement or fear. It is possible to train a dog to stop barking at the doorbell by teaching them to go to their bed when the doorbell rings, giving them treats when guests arrive and providing them with space to calm down.
In this article, I will explain why dogs are triggered by doorbells. I will also tell you how to get your dog to stop barking at the doorbell.
You know your pup’s barking at the doorbell is totally innocent on their part. But deep down, you wish that a simple visitor or delivery wouldn’t send them on a loud barking spree.
No need to plug your ears until it’s over. It’s totally possible to stop your dog from barking at the doorbell.
Allow me to explain why your pup may do this in the first place and how to get them to stop.
Ring a doorbell, and almost any dog within earshot will be triggered to bark. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
But why is this?
A doorbell ringing usually means a major shift in a dog’s environment. A new face, familiar friends, or special delivery is arriving to stir up the atmosphere.
With this new arrival may also come other things that can cause your pup to feel a bit unsettled: shrieking, laughing, booming voices, and more changes to their once calm and secure home.
All this stimulation may be a bit much for your dog to take in. Because think of it, a lot of this new energy coming into your home may be aimed right at your pup!
New guests may coo in your dog’s direction about how cute they are or aggressively try to pet, hug or kiss them.
It makes sense that your pup may meet all this activity with a sense of fear or excitement. Either one of these emotions could cause your dog to bark.
If your pup is barking out of excitement, their tail will likely wag, and they may run head first towards the door.
On the other hand, if it’s fear behind their barking, you may notice your dog’s ears are pinned back as they bark. They may also be shaking or spinning with cowering body language.
Getting your dog to stop barking at the doorbell is definitely possible. There are a variety of different ways to do this.
Let’s take a look at a few:
The sound of the doorbell only triggers your dog to bark because this is your dog’s natural default reaction.
Whether your pup barks out of excitement or fear, you can help your dog to build a new association with the doorbell. This means they will react differently when the doorbell rings.
One way to do this is to train your dog to go to bed when the doorbell rings. You can do this by luring your dog to their bed with a tasty treat each time the doorbell rings. If your pup calmly and quietly walks to their bed when commanded, you can give them the treat.
It may take some practice for your pup to adopt this new association. The goal is once your pup has learned to do this, they will be able to do it on command without needing the treat.
Another method to calm your pup down when the doorbell rings is to provide your guests with treats for your dog. A dog who is barking out of fear may chill out if they understand that the person on the other side of the door is a friend and not a foe.
To help prove this to your pup, try leaving a container of treats outside your front door. Encourage guests to gently toss treats near your dog as they enter. Suggest that your guests approach your pup while turned to the side in a non-threatening manner.
Try making it a rule that your dog doesn’t have to socialize until they are ready to do so. This may mean putting some limits and boundaries around your guests and how they’re allowed to approach your pup when they enter your home.
If your dog is afraid or just overly excited when guests enter, you can request that your visitors give your dog some space to cool down. Allowing your dog a moment to feel your new visitors out can make all the difference between a dog who is calm and collected and a dog that goes wild with a ring of the doorbell.
Try letting your dog come to guests in their own timing instead of your pup feeling ambushed when they’re not ready.
It can be puzzling to see your normally laid-back pup thrown into a tizzy the second the doorbell rings.
If your dog becomes a barking machine at the sound of the doorbell, it’s probably because they’re excited or fearful of the associations they have around the doorbell. The doorbell may represent chaos, unpredictability, and noisy new people.
The good news is just as your dog learned to associate the doorbell with negative things, your pup can associate it with good things!
You can train your dog to quietly retreat to their bed when the doorbell rings. You can also set your dog up for success by instructing guests to give your dog treats and to enter in a non-threatening manner.
With these tips, the next time your doorbell rings, you may hear…absolutely nothing!