Doorbell barking

Doorbell Barking, Teaching a dog not to bark

Article written by Renee Premaza, Dip., CB,CCBT Dog Obedience Trainer

Begin training your dog when things are quiet at your house. Don’t even try to train him not to bark when someone unexpectedly rings your doorbell or your phone rings. Set up your training session when you have plenty of time, and don’t expect miracles to happen with one training session.


I have found clicker training to be the most effective way to get dogs to calm down when they hear the doorbell ring. So, if you’re clicker training, put your clicker in one hand and have treats in your pocket or in your other hand behind your back. If you’re not clicker training, use a special word, like "YES!" or "GOOD" when your dog quiets.

Never have your treats right out in front of you or those treats will become a cue for the behavior. Treats are for rewards and so they should come from a hidden area.

First thing you might want to do is enlist the help of a friend, family member or neighbor. If your dog barks like a nut when someone rings the doorbell, have someone ring the doorbell just ONCE. Now your dog is going to bark his head off, right? You just stand or kneel down near your dog by the door and remain quiet yourself. Don’t say a single word to your dog – SAY NOTHING. Eventually your dog is going to stop barking. Wait for the dog to be quiet and then count in your mind for 5 full seconds. Count:
1 1,000 – 2 1,000 – 3 1,000 and so on up until 5 1,000. Your dog might begin to bark again after only 2 or 3 seconds. Don’t get discouraged! Just be patient and wait. Once he’s quiet for those 5 full seconds, be prepared with a very delicious food treat, like string cheese, hot dog bits, or liver treats, and immediately click/or say "YES! and deliver that treat. Have your assistant ring the doorbell again, and repeat this whole process all over again. You might be surprised to notice that he stops barking in slightly less time than it took him to quiet the first time the doorbell rang. As you continue working on this, wait until you see that your dog is barking about 3 times before putting a cue on this behavior. Your cue could be saying the words, THANK YOU, or QUIET, and then click/or say "YES!" and deliver the reward to the dog. Don’t be in a rush to put this cue on the behavior – wait until you’re pretty sure your dog fully understands that you want him to bark about 3 times. THEN add the cue.

Dogs get nutsy when they hear someone knock on the door too! So, along with the doorbell, you’ll need to teach him the same behavior when someone knocks on the door. If you can’t find someone to assist you with this training, you can do the knocking or the doorbell ringing.

Copyright 2004 by Renee Premaza

Author: Amy Dunphy

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