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There have been countless trainers who have written about the subject of barking. The dog and the doorbell is a perennial classic. Before we get to dogs that bark when the doorbell rings, let us consider the dogs that remain silent at the sound of the doorbell.If your dog remains silent, do not just take the non-behavior for granted. Praise him and slip him a treat
. It helps to talk to him in a calm and soft voice. That will counter the excitement of the noise and the imminent guest. The treat rewards your dog for remaining silent. Over time, your dog will also start associating the sound of the doorbell with treats. That emotional association will make your dog friendlier to the guests.Positive interrupt
If your dog barks when he hears the sound of the doorbell, the course of action you need to take depends on the intensity of his behavior. Most of the dogs respond to positive interrupt – it is positive as the interruptor is not a shaker can, an electric shock or a harsh shout. Do not hurt or scare your dog, just distract him from barking. Once you do that, reward him for whatever he does instead. Let us look at two of the most effective ways to interrupt:
- If your dog barks, go up to him calmly, quietly and thank him in a soft voice, feed him several treats in quick succession and then proceed to deal with the person at the door. You will be surprised as to how many dogs settle down almost instantly with this method. Although it is difficult to tell as to what exactly is going on in their heads, if we were to hazard a guess, they probably calm down once they know that they have succeeded in alerting you.
- If you have been dealing with the doorbell menace for some time, try a soft whisper instead of a sharp reprimand. Whispers stand out from the staccato and sharpness of buzzers, bells, barks and knocks. Once your dog stops barking, have a treat handy to reward him for his behavior. You need to be on your toes though - when you hush your dog, there will be a brief period of distraction from the barking. Take advantage of that and reward him by feeding him several treats in quick succession.
If your dog is a big time barker, it will take some practice to get it right. But do not give up. Over time your dog will come to understand that your hush or your thanks means that it is time for him to look for the tasty treats. Also, lower the overall excitability of your dog by providing him plenty of exercise early on in the day.