How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking at Visitors

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Does your pooch bark at every visitor who walks in your door? He does this for several reasons, based on the fact he is territorial. He barks to let you know there are intruders in his territory. In essence, your pup is quite sure in his mind that barking like this is his job and he is proud of being able to do it well. Okay, so although barking is a natural behavior in your pup, there are times when this type of behavior is completely unacceptable. One thing worth knowing is that if your dog thinks you are ignoring him, he may get frustrated and bark even more. The good news is that with a little time, effort, and patience, you can train him not to bark every time a visitor comes to the door. 

Defining Tasks

The command you decide to use is up to you, but keep it simple. Use something along the lines of "Quiet" or "Hush". Whatever you choose, keep it simple and use the same command each time, otherwise, you might confuse your dog. In reality, what you want your dog to do when someone comes to the door is to behave and remain quiet. The hard part is that this behavior goes against his nature, so it will take a lot of patience and practice to get him to the point where he completely ignores the doorbell or when anyone knocks on the door.

This is an important behavior that can be taught to any dog who is old enough to have mastered the basic commands. It can take several weeks for your pup to master this behavior, but if you are willing to train him on a daily basis, you can speed up the process. 

Getting Started

There aren't many things you will need to perform this type of training. These are a few:

  • Treats: To reward him when he gets it right.
  • Clicker: If you have been using one for his other training.
  • Time: At least one training session daily.
  • Patience: Training your dog to stop barking at visitors requires a lot of patience.
  • A quiet place: You need a quiet place to train your pup without any distractions.
  • At least one visitor: In most forms of training, you will need at least one visitor to knock on your door or ring your doorbell.

The Hush Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Start with a treat
Find a treat your dog simply cannot resist, think pieces of cheese, doggy treats, liverwurst, anything your dog absolutely loves. The idea is not to fill up his stomach, but to reward him for getting it right.
Step
2
Grab a neighbor
Get a neighbor to volunteer as an assistant, and have them stand outside your front door ready to knock or ring the bell when you give your pup the 'speak' command. Give the command and if your pup doesn't bark, have your neighbor wait 2 seconds and then knock or ring.
Step
3
If he barks
At the very moment your pup barks, tell him "Yes" and give him a treat. Of course, if he barks before your neighbor rings or knocks, you can do the same thing.
Step
4
Repeat the training
Wait for a little while and repeat the above exercise. Each time the bell rings or your neighbor knocks and your dog barks, say "Yes" and give him a treat.
Step
5
'Hush'
Now when he speaks, use the 'hush' command while at the same time offering him a treat. Your dog cannot bark, sniff, and eat at the same time, so when he hushes to investigate, let him have the treat and praise him.
Step
6
Continue training
Continue this training until your dog fully understands what the command 'hush' means and that he is to do so unless you give him permission to speak. Be patient, it will take time and patience to make this happen.
Recommend training method?

The Pretend You Can't Hear Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Grab some help
Grab a family member or neighbor who can devote an hour a day to helping you train your dog for up to a few weeks. You may need to line up several people to help ensure you have the training coverage you need.
Step
2
Ring my bell, ring my bell
Have the neighbor or family member stand outside the front door and ring the bell or knock on it.
Step
3
Pretend you can't hear
Your dog should look to you for guidance. When he does, simply pretend you can't hear it. If he starts to bark at the noise, ignore him too. If he ignores the bell too, give him a treat and praise him.
Step
4
If he barks
If your pup barks at the doorbell or knock on the door, continue to ignore him.
Step
5
Repeat this process
Keep doing this on a daily basis for at least two weeks or until your pup no longer barks when someone comes to the door. Just remember to give him a treat every time he doesn't bark at the doorbell or knock. In time, he will learn to completely ignore the noise.
Recommend training method?

The Designated Spot Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Choose a "go to" spot
Choose a "go to" spot where your pup will be required to go when the doorbell rings or someone knocks on the door. This can be his bed, a specific spot on the carpet, or another room. No matter what you choose, stick to one spot in order to avoid confusion.
Step
2
Take him to his spot
Using a leash, give your dog the command you have chosen to make him go to his spot. Most owners use something along the lines of "go to X" where X represents the place. When he goes there, give him the 'stay' command and a treat.
Step
3
Ring the bell
Have a neighbor or a friend ring the bell. A single bark or two is okay, but your dog should stay on his spot when you tell him to. If he does, be sure to praise him and reward him.
Step
4
Up the stakes
Repeat this process using several people ringing the bell or knocking on the door. If you really want to up the stakes, have them ring the bell several times and then open the door. If he stays in his spot, reward him with a treat and praise.
Step
5
The final test
As a final test, stand next to your door, try having a conversation with an invisible person on the other side of your door or, better yet, with a real person. If your dog remains in his "go to" spot, be sure to reward him with lots of praise and plenty of treats, if not, go back and repeat the training until he no longer barks at the doorbell or knock, but instead goes directly to his spot and stays there quietly.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cobalt
Boxador
1 Year
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Question
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Cobalt
Boxador
1 Year

My dog is terrified of people coming into the house, he doesn't warm up to them either. He just barks, barks, and barks, while he's shaking. I want him to be OK with people coming to my house if I tell him "it's OK".I had my niece spend the week, and it took him 2 days to even let him touch him while he walked by. We've tried having the guest ignore him, he will get close and smell they're shoes, or pants, but as soon as they move, even a finger, he gets scared and runs. How do I get him to be OK with people, once we've invited them into my home?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kelly, I suggest having guests toss him treats whenever he stops barking for a couple of seconds (not while barking). Have guests otherwise ignore him unless he initiates the interaction and work on teaching him obedience and self-control in other areas to build his trust and respect for you so that he will watch you for instruction. Teach him the "Touch" command and once he is more relaxed around a person (after they have done treats tosses with him) have them calmly practice "Touch" with him with treats. Once he is calm enough to be within a couple of feet of a person, while on a secure harness or martingale collar (something he cannot slip out of) have the person go on walks with you and him or play a favorite game like fetch with him with your help taking the ball from him and handing it to him. He needs to practice these things regularly with one or two guests at a time time instead of only every once in a while - if you do not have frequent guests willing to help, then I suggest hiring a trainer who has staff and works with other trainers who can work with him as "guests" and rotate our the new people to expose him to different people. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Boomer
Mix
One Year
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Question
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Boomer
Mix
One Year

Boomer is a well trained and behaved dog, except when people come to the door/come in the house or yard. Then he barks constantly at them. He'll usually stop once the visitor comes in and stays a bit. If we are out on walk or in public he never barks at strangers - it's only at our house. He's also very shy with strangers and won't let them pet him. With people he knows he's a total love bug. I've been trying to use the "quiet" command when he barks and I make him sit and treat him, but as soon as I stop the treats he'll start barking again.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Renee, It sounds like his barking might be due to anxiety around people because of his shyness. Building his confidence around people and desensitizing him to guests coming over and the noises and things that happen when guests come over may also help, in addition to working on Quiet. The Quiet command addressed the external behavior but desensitization can help address the underlying anxiety that makes it hard for him to stay quiet. Check out the video linked below to learn how to desensitize him to people and things related to people coming over. When guests do come inside, instruct them to ignore him for about ten minutes while you reward him if he behaves calmly and quietly - associating guests with boredom and calmness can also help remove some of the anxiety/excitement combination associated with new people. Finally, as he improves at the Quiet command require him to stay quiet for longer before you give the reward so that you are not only rewarding him for becoming quiet but also for staying quiet. As he improves you can gradually add more time between when you give the command and you finally reward him with the treat. Door barking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Buster
beagle cross
9 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Buster
beagle cross
9 Months

How to stop him being scared of new people, especially men, and running away and/or barking at them

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jodie, Practice walking by strangers, at first from a distance, and whenever he remains calm or looks at you for direction, reward him. You will occasionally see him deciding whether to act fearfully or not, when you see him thinking about it, call his name, and then reward him for looking at you. By doing this, you are telling him what to focus on instead of his fears. In this case focusing on you and remaining calm. As he improves, very gradually decrease the distance between you and the other people. When you are very close to other people, reward him when he acts calm or is attentive toward you, by pausing and passing him treats or inserting the peanut butter straw for him to lick. If you think that he might bite someone then spend time getting him used to a basket muzzle, by giving him treats or letting him lick a peanut butter covered straw whenever you put it on, and have him wear the muzzle when he passes by someone close enough that he could bite them. Also, recruit friends or family members that your dog does not know, to help you. Put Buster on a six to ten foot leash, attached to a collar or a harness, that you know he cannot slip out of. Have your friend enter your home, yard, or public location where you are, and stand or sit about fifteen feet away from Buster, and ignore him. He will likely bark for quite a while. Simply wait for him to take a break for a couple of seconds. Be patient and expect this to take a long time at first. Give your friend lots of your dog's favorite treats, and any time that he is quiet or doing something calm, for even two seconds, have your friend toss him a treat. The treat needs to come from your friend so that Bailey will learn to trust him. As Buster warms up to the person and is doing well overtime, allow your dog to get closer by attaching the leash to something secure that is a couple of feet closer to your friend. Keep repeating this, until your dog is only a couple of feet out of reach from your friend. If your dog is still doing well, and not reacting fearfully, and wanting to meet the person, then give your friend even better treats, and allow your dog to reach the person all the way if he chooses to, while the person calmly interacts with your dog and gives him treats. Every time that your dog goes up to the person without barking, have your friend reward him. When your dog is comfortable around your first friend, then utilize another friend's help, and practice the same thing with that person. Keep practicing with other friends, one person at a time. If your dog becomes used to people in your home but still reacts badly to people outside, then have your friend meet you in a public place, so that your dog thinks your friend, who he has never met, is a stranger. Good locations to meet could include your neighborhood side walk, in a pet store, or at the park. The more people that you can get to help you with this, the better your dog will react to people in general, rather than just being comfortable around a few people. Practice this the most around the types of people your dog is scared of. In this case men. Even practice this around children, once your dog is doing better with people in general, but be extremely careful around kids, and make sure that the child is very comfortable with all dogs and not frightened by Buster's barking. When you practice around children, use a leash and have your dog wear a collar or harness that he cannot slip out of. Have him wear a basket muzzle during the interaction if you think there is a chance of him biting out of fear, and let the child reward him with a peanut butter or cheese covered straw for him to lick, if the treats are too big to fit through the muzzle holes. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Guy
Terrier mix
3 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Guy
Terrier mix
3 Years

Guy always barks at people when they come inside the house, then runs up to them, jumps on them and proceeds to bark and cry at the same time. If anyone comes up to me and hugs me (including my daughter who he's been around since we brought him home at 6weeks) he runs up to me, puts his paws on me and barks/cries. How do I get him to relax when someone comes in the house and/or when someone is near me?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paulina, First, I suggest working on building his calmness and respect for you and your family. Check out the articles and videos linked below. I suggest having a bit of a boot camp with him for a few weeks to teach him calmness and respect in general. Work up to him being able to stay on Place for 1-2 hours to build calmness especially. Don't skip teaching him to walk at heel, focusing on you - that is very important for calmly teaching respect and self-control also. When you want to let him pee, tell him "Okay, go pee" so that he is being given permission and not just breaking a heel command to pull over to something. Don't let him stop and pee on every tree though. Once at the beginning and once at the end, and he should be expected to stay focused on you the rest of the time now. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Once you have created a solid basis of respect and taught him how to calm himself by having him practice things like Place and crate manners for long periods of time, then tell him to go to Place and practice having him stay on Place when people come to the door. Practice this a lot with people you can get to help you. Use your body language and a drag leash on him to enforce the place command. Correct outburst, calmly reward him when he is calm and relaxed. When he is calm, you can tell him "Okay" to let him off the Place to greet guests. If he still tries to jump, then step in front of your guest and step toward him until he is several feet away from them - this is to teach him to respect their boundaries. If he may bite when you do this, get him used to wearing a basket muzzle and practice this with him muzzled until he can be calmer. If you feel there is aggression and not just rudeness and over-arousal, hire a professional trainer to help you implement this as well. Always take precautions to keep people form being bitten. Step Toward method for jumping - you be the one to get between him and your guest and walk toward him so that they don't have to. Again, use a muzzle and have a professional trainer help you if there is aggression present - which there could be when he is aroused. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jerome
Dachshund
5 Years
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Question
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Jerome
Dachshund
5 Years

When someone comes to our house, our dog constantly barks and jumps on our guests. He doesn't usually chill out until they sit down. But when the guest gets up and walks anywhere in the house, Jerome will run up to them and bark and jump on them again. Why does he do this? And how can I get him to be more relaxed when people come over? The ONLY people he does not react this way to is my mom, my sister, and my niece and nephew. I think that is because he has known them most of his life so he recognizes them. Please help! What training method would be best for him? I know he's not a puppy, so training will be a little more challenging, but with the right input from a trainer I know we can do it. Thank you so much,
Sincerely
Lauren

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lauren, There are two routes you can take for this, the first route is best for dogs that are reacting due to anxiety and feeling suspicious of guests, the second is better for dogs that are being pushy, rude, and overly excited, or controlling. Route 1: Desensitize to people before they enter your home to teach him to like them better and start things off calmly, then use the Quiet command for any further barking, and the Step toward method for any jumping. When teaching Quiet, you will reward him for just getting quiet at first. As he improves wait until he stays quiet for longer and longer before giving a treat so that he is learning to STAY quiet, not bark, then stop, bark, then stop...: Desensitize: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Quiet: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Step toward method - for jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Route 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwvUOf5oOg Also, you can teach Quiet and use the Step Toward method from the articles linked above when it is just you with pup, then when guests are over and he already knows what "Quiet" means and not to jump on you, tell him Quiet and "Ah Ah" when he jumps or barks. If he doesn't immediately stop and stay quiet and on the ground (not jumping), then use a pet convincer - which is a small can of unscented pressurized air (NOT citronella), sprayed at his back or side (not face) when he tries to jump or starts barking, then have him go to Place or Down and you or guests can give a treat calmly when he is totally calm - wait until calmness, you are rewarding the calmness not just lying down. This process interrupts his aroused state of mind, teaches calmness, then shows his with interaction or a small treat that the calm behavior is what he should always be doing - plus keeps him loving guests instead of just associating them with being corrected. You are essentially telling him "No not that; do this instead". Place command: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ He is being rude and demanding to your guests, so when you correct be calm but firm to let him know that that's not acceptable, then when he is being polite guests can reward or interact with him calmly - keep energy calm though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Pepper
German Shepherd
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Pepper
German Shepherd
3 Years

I just adopted my three year old shepherd mix a few days ago and she is already very attached to me. It is not a problem and I am very happy that she is comfortable with me. The only problem with her is when strangers (friends) come to the house. Outside of the house, like on walks or at the store, she loves going up to everyone she sees. When strangers (friends) come over, she does not act aggressively as I know she must be anxious and scared because someone is in her yard and house that she doesn't know and she wants to protect me from them. Her hair stood up and she lowered her body to the ground while putting the person in between us. I tried to get her to understand that it was okay. I have never experienced something like this. She does not stop barking until I take her away from the situation, which I do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maci, First, it sounds like she is actually being possessive of you - which is more related to insecurity and a lack of respect - making her feel like it is her job to be in control of situations, which is really hard on an anxious dog. A truly protective dog usually understands the difference between an actual threat and a normal situation where you are inviting someone in. In her own home she is more likely to act possessive because she views it as her territory. Both her respect for you and the fear of new people need to be addressed. I highly recommend hiring a professional trainer to help with this. Check out Thomas from the Canine Educator on YouTube, look for someone who trains like that and is very experienced with aggression. Check out the video linked below - People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest and those working with a dog should never be put at risk -just in case. Notice that the rewards are given during calmness - not all the time because you don't want to reward aggression and encourage it, and corrections are used with good timing and calmness. With reactivity and aggression you want to stop the unwanted behavior, but then once the dog is calmer you want to do a lot of socializing around people to help overcome fear or dislike if that's an issue for the dog also. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Stopping the unwanted behavior also makes it easier to continue to expose your dog to people for ongoing socialization. Another important part is structure. Building a dog's trust and respect for you helps a dog trust you to handle situations, and also deals with possessiveness that many aggressive dogs are displaying - where they basically view you as theirs and are trying to keep others away from you, like a dog would do with a toy they are guarding. This is a respect issue and not true protectiveness - which is more related to genetics and an actual perceived danger they are protecting you from - there can be some cross-over with possessiveness and protectiveness though, especially for naturally stronger driven breeds. A structured heel and a solid - long Place command are probably the two most important commands for you to practice as far as obedience goes right now. Your walk needs to start out super structured. No scanning the horizon for others or checking out from your dog. She needs to be slightly behind you, focused and following you, and working during the walk. Place command is a great impulse control building command, and has the bonus of helping to build respect and calmness, plus helps manage behavior when people come over. Work up to her being able to stay on Place for 1-2 hours. How you teach these commands matters - with reactivity or aggression issues, calmness, business-like attitude, and slightly firm is important - but not anger, yelling, or unnecessarily roughness. Just being consistent about enforcing rules calmly and teaching her mind. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo If she is generally a bit nervous, then some confidence building exercises may also help her overall attitude. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 The trainer in many of the videos above also has other videos on fear aggression and reactivity. An example of a structured walk with a reactive and aggressive dog: Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Itty
American Pit Bull Terrier
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Itty
American Pit Bull Terrier
3 Years

My dog is a loving and extremely nice pitbull, when someone comes through the gate, knocks on the door or comes in she barks and gives a mean sounding growl or snarl. She does this until they walk up to her and pat her or lets her smell them. I have to insure her that everything is ok and my guest as well. She does this with everyone except with guests she knows well. I always insure my guests she won't bite them, but I'd be uneasy to place a bet on that. I am a amputee and she knows I have a disability and is very protective of me and my wife, but barks only when we're at the house. Doesn't do this when at the park, walking down the street or at supermarket. How can I get this under control and not have guests scared to get out of their car?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eric, I suggest desensitizing pup to visitors. Check out the video linked below. Since your situation is more than just barking, desensitizing him will just be the first part of the training. Use a back tie leash or basket muzzle to keep visitors he doesn't know safe while practicing entrances. Also, teach pup Place, and work up to pup being able to stay on Place while visitors enter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Place - when new people are present and you are practicing, also use a back tie leash to secure pup to something sturdy nearby to make sure he can't get off place. Keep the leash loose enough that pup doesn't feel it unless he tries to leave Place. You want pup to stay on Place because of obedience through training and not just because he is forced - the leash is just to keep guests safe while practicing. Reward pup with treats when he is CALM and tolerant on Place, but not while acting aggressive: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Since pup is fine when you are not there he may be possessive of you. If so, that's a respect issue. Work on the following commands and methods with him - if needed, hire professional help from a trainer who specializes in behavior issues, uses both fair corrections, positive reinforcement and a lot of structure and obedience exercises (not alpha rolls and such) to gain respect, and has a lot of experience with various types of aggression. Working and consistency method (You will already be doing the obedience method): https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Simba
Daschund cum Terrier
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Simba
Daschund cum Terrier
8 Months

We got Simba 3 months back from Shelter. He is well trained for pee and poo and outside walks. When we visit our friends house, he plays very well with their dogs and with them. But if anyone rings the door bell or anyone come to our house, he starts barking and run to them. If they sit, he will be quiet, but if they start moving, he will try to jump on them. But the same friends house when we visit, he behaves very well.Training classes also , he behaves very well. But this barking and jumping on known friends is what we would like to control.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, for the jumping check out the article I have linked below and follow the Step Toward method and the Leash method. If the friends are willing to learn how to do the Step Toward method it will be most effective if others are enforcing it as well as you, but for those you don't want to instruct, follow the leash method to enforce no jumping, and encourage guests not to pet or give attention until pup is sitting or at least calm and not jumping. When rewarding with a treat for sitting, either drop the treat on the ground or feed it under his chin - if you hold it above his head he will jump. Step Toward and Leash Methods https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump For the barking, recruit friends to help you desensitize pup to guest coming over and the sounds and events associated with their arrival. Only reward calmness and good responses - catching pup calm before he begins barking is super important - opposed to once he is already aroused. That's why it's good to practice with just the noises associated with guests first - like a door know, door bell ringing, opening the door, and saying hi as if someone is there. Repeating the same things over and over and waiting until pup calms down before rewarding can make those events more boring and help desensitize pup and teach calmness. Barking at guests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Barking - Desensitization method and Quiet command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ella
schnauzer
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Ella
schnauzer
8 Months

She’s a very well behaved dog until there visitors at the house, she become slightly aggressive mainly barking however occasionally she has lunged. I understand it’s normal for her to initially bark however how do we get her to stop barking and calm down. Thanks.

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Orelia
Belgian Malinois
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Orelia
Belgian Malinois
1 Year

Hi I have had a malinois from China in for about 4 months now, she came from the meat trade so has been through alot. For the first few months if I had any guests come in the house she would avoid them & normally go hide in kitchen. Recently she has taken to barking excessively when they knock at door and especially come in house and her hackles are right up, I'm guessing shes very stressed and anxious, I just want to address this before it could turn to aggression. Please help

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. It's good that you are addressing this problem with Orelia now - and yes, she has reason to be nervous due to her past. You have to get her well socialized and sometimes that can be done best in a neutral setting first. Take a look at this guide: https://wagwalking.com/training/be-less-territorial. It's always important to give your dog space of their own to go to when strangers are in the house, too. A quiet room with a dog bed or a crate with a comfy bed and toys is ideal. Give her interactive toys when people are around to keep her smart mind busy and not so concerned with who is there. Still, you do need to address the problem: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-visitors and https://wagwalking.com/training/be-calm-around-strangers. Lastly, I would strongly suggest positive reinforcement obedience training. Orelia has to learn to listen to you and respect you. You don't want the potential aggression to get out of control. Taking her to training cements your bond and gives her confidence, which in turn, allows her to accept visitors to the home. Good luck!

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Minnie
Poodle
4 Years
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Minnie
Poodle
4 Years

When out walking, if Minnie sees another dog, she gets excited and attacks my other dog. She also does this at home if something excites her.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marilyn, What you are describing is called redirecting - when a dog gets aroused but can't get to whatever is causing the arousal, they redirect that frustration onto whoever is closest - sometimes that's a person, but quite often it can be another dog. 1. The first step is to take management steps to keep your other dog safe. I suggest desensitizing her to wearing a basket muzzle. Do this at times she is not around other non-family dogs so that the muzzle isn't just associated with the other dogs, but just another piece of equipment like a harness or leash she gets used to wearing. Also block off any windows they tend to react from right now when you aren't actively training in that area - until her response is improved. You don't want her reacting badly without being given feedback and training from you at other times, or it will make training times less effective. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle her meal kibble around it. Do this until she is comfortable eating around it. Next, when she is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward her with a piece of kibble every time she touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed her her whole meal this way. Practice this until she is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that she has to poke his face into it to get the kibble. As she gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that she has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until she is comfortable having her face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while she holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until she can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when she can hold her face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while her face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed her a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until she is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while she is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As she gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long she wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give her a treat, until she can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. 2. Second, work on her responses around other dogs to help desensitize her to them, so that there won't be arousal that she feels the need to redirect. Practice that without your other dog around at first, then add your other dog back once she can stay calm around other dogs without your dog there - and practice with both dogs together again. Work on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have her mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with her having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if she isn't calm. She should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk she should be in the heel position - with her head behind your leg. That position decreases her arousal, reduces stress because she isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents her from scanning for other dogs, staring dogs down or being stared down, and ignoring you behind her. It also requires her to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive she is - it makes her feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not hers around other dogs. Additionally, when you do pass other dogs, as soon as she starts staring them down, interrupt her. Don't tolerate challenging stares - even if she is stressed. Remind her with a gentle correction that you are leading the walk and she is not allowed to break her heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for her in the long-run. Because she tends to redirect in general, I suggest having her wear the basket muzzle that she is used to by this point, in case she were to try to redirect aggression toward you and bite something like your leg. You can phase the muzzle out later once she is calmer around other dogs overall. Be sure to use the basket muzzle type - which allows her to open her mouth and even eat treats you pass through the holes, to make it more comfortable while still safe for you. Leading the walk this way can actually boost a dog's confidence in the long run around other dogs because the dog feels like you will handle the situation so they can relax. Protect her from other dogs. If she feels nervous and someone wants to let her meet their rude, excited dog, tell the other person no thank you. A simple "She's in training" tends to work well. Be picky about who and how she meets other dogs. Avoid dogs that don't respect her space, pull their owners over to her, and generally are not listening well - those dogs are often friendly but they are rude and difficult for a nervous dog. Also, avoid greeting dogs who look very tense around your dog, who stare her down, who give warning signs like a low growl or lip lift, who look very puffed up and proud - that type greeting with a dog is likely to end in a fight since your dog doesn't know how to diffuse that situation. A stiff wag is also a bad sign. A friendly wag looks relaxed and loose with relaxed body language overall. A tense dog with a very stiff wag, especially with a tail held high is a sign of arousal and not always a good thing. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo 3. Finally, practice desensitizing her to other dogs in structured ways as she improves when classes and events resume and it's safe to do so. Practice the Passing Approach then Walking Together methods for initial introductions with other dogs. Recruit friends with mannerly dogs, or join local obedience club or meetup groups on their structured pack walks or hikes - where you can practice incorporating a lot of obedience into the walk to keep her energy calm while at the same time getting her used to other dogs. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs If you can find one in your area, you could also join a G.R.O.W.L. class, which is a class for dog aggressive or dog reactive dogs who are all intensively socialized together in a structured environment around other dogs. Pay attention to your other dog's energy and attitude around other dogs as well. If your other dog has issues around other dogs -Minnie might be reacting to their issues also. Working on your other dog's responses and attitude around other dogs could help Minnie be less reactive toward them as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Trixie
Miniature Schnauzer
8 Years
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Question
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Trixie
Miniature Schnauzer
8 Years

Hi. Trixie is a calm dog who is well trained, except when people come over or ring the doorbell. She will bark non stop, and after 15 minutes she calms down again and will go back to sleep or lay down. She barked a lot when she was a puppy, even on walks, however we have trained her to stop barking otherwise. But she is very protective over us and the house which is why I believe she will bark whenever someone comes over. Once she is done barking she will have no problem with the guests petting her or being affectionate towards her. I have tried distracting her with treats but they only work until she eats it up then she will go back to barking again. How can I get her to stop barking as much and calm down quicker when someone comes over. Thank you for your help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
620 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sophie, I suggest teaching her the Quiet command, and desensitizing her to the entire process leading up to guests visiting as well. Check out the video linked below for how to do so - the key here is to start with small triggers, like phone calls, knocks with no guests, doors opening with no one there, having the same person go in and out over and over again until they are boring, ect...You want to change her expectation from excitement and arousal to boring and calm associations with guests and doorbells. Desensitizing process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Quiet method for also teaching the Quiet command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Milo
Maltese Shih Tzu
16 Months
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Question
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Milo
Maltese Shih Tzu
16 Months

Milo will bark when people come to the door which is fine but when they come inside he jumps up & continues to get very excited but constantly barks it's getting very annoying it's his only fault as he's such a loving beautiful boy otherwise, please help

Charlotte

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