Why Do Dogs Bark at the Door?
You might often find yourself in a situation where everybody, from your guests to the delivery man, is reluctant to approach your front door because of your dog’s barking. Or sometimes, it might seem like there’s no apparent reason for the barking, and it might get a little bothersome.
Dogs bark at the door because it’s their way of alerting their owners that there’s activity outside the door.
Dogs have powerful hearing, so they can pick up on sounds outside our door that we can’t hear. This behaviour is also their way of showing that they’re ready to protect their territory, says The Factual Doggo.
The rest of this article will go into more detail about why dogs bark at the door and how you can train your dog to remain calm whenever someone shows up at your doorstep.
Why Dogs Bark at the Door
Barking falls into various categories, such as territorial barking, barking out of excitement or fear, and separation anxiety barking, amongst other types. That said, there are two main reasons why dogs bark at the door.
1. Dogs Want To Warn You
Your dog is more than just a furry ball of fun and energy – they are also a walking powerhouse of super senses. Aside from their exceptional sense of smell, dogs also have hearing that’s far superior to ours.
Dogs can hear noises from farther away, and science states that they can hear sounds as high as up to 65,000 Hertz. To put this into perspective, a dog can catch the tiny squeak of a mouse that humans can only hear with the help of special tools.
Therefore, it goes without saying that your dog can hear what’s happening outside your door more clearly than you can.
Your pup can tell that somebody is approaching the door before they knock or ring the bell. Barking at the door is your dog’s way of letting you know that you have a guest – or that an intruder might be creeping by.
2. They Are Protecting Their Territory
Our canine friends are incredibly territorial creatures. Your dog sees itself as the protector and guardian of your home. This loyal, protective attribute is one reason why dogs are kept for security purposes in many places around the world.
From a dog’s perspective, everybody from the pizza delivery man to your friendly neighbour is a potential threat to the safety of your home.
By barking at the door, your dog is warning intruders or passersby that they’re ready to defend their territory. A threatening posture might sometimes accompany this kind of territorial barking.
An upright tail and ears pricked straight up indicate that your dog is ready to attack if the situation calls for it.
How To Train Your Dog Not To Bark at the Door
As much as we appreciate our canines’ vigilant nature, it can get troublesome if they make a habit of barking every time there’s activity at the door. It can also scare guests and service delivery people who might not be used to it.
Thankfully, with some training, your dog can learn the proper way to behave when there’s a knock on the door.
What You’ll Need
- An assistant, such as a trusted friend
- Dog reward treats
- Pick a command word. Identify a word you will use to command your dog to calm down when they start to bark. For the training to be effective, you must use the same command every time. You could say “Sit,” “Quiet,” “Stop,” or whatever you like.
- Ask your friend to knock on the door. Have your friend walk up to the door from outside and then knock a few times. Your dog will likely hear somebody approaching and might start barking even before your friend starts to knock.
- Give the command. Use your chosen command word to ask your dog to stop barking.
- Reward your dog. Wait until your dog stops barking to reward them with a treat.
- Start again. Repeat the steps, and this time have your friend ring the doorbell. Repeat the training a few times, alternating between having your friend knock on the door and ringing the doorbell.
Remember to reward your dog with a treat only if they obey your command. This will teach them that the right thing to do is to remain calm when there’s somebody at the door.
It will take time and several rounds of trying for your pooch to learn this new rule, so don’t worry if they don’t get it right the first time around.
As you teach your dog not to bark every time somebody shows up at your doorstep, here’s an extra tip to bear in mind that can help make the training that much more successful.
Socialise Your Dog
Lack of socialisation could be an underlying reason for excessive barking. If your dog is not used to interacting with different people, then barking becomes a way for them to show nervousness or fear.
Aggression towards other people is also a sign of under-socialisation. Unexpected sounds like a knock on the door can cause alarm and stress in your dog and trigger a barking marathon.
Socialisation is one way to get your dog more comfortably accustomed to unfamiliar people and a variety of noises. Introduce your pooch to a few of your friends, one at a time.
Encourage your pals to greet your dog and pet them – and give them a few treats – so that your pup can learn that not everybody is a threat.
Spending time outside – whether on a walk or playing in the park – can help your dog become adjusted to various sounds, making them less startled by the ringing of the doorbell.
Dogs are naturally territorial and protective creatures. When your dog barks at the door, they’re trying to warn you of a potential threat.
A dog’s hearing is much more powerful than ours, so they’re more capable of hearing what’s happening outside our door than we are.
If the barking gets bothersome, it’s possible to train your dog to remain calm whenever there’s somebody at the door.
However, just remember that your dog has only good intentions, and they’re only trying to do their job of protecting you and your home.
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