How to Stop Your Dogs From Barking at Guests

So, let’s say you have planned the perfect dinner party, and you want everyone to feel welcome upon entering your home. The table is set and everything is complete. Next, the doorbell rings and your dogs come running to the door, barking like crazy. You sigh in disappointment as your guests can’t get past your barking dogs to get into your house. What is a pet parent to do?

Dogs must spend a lot of time trying to figure us out. Sometimes we praise them for being a watchdog and guarding the house, but when we invite people inside, we expect them to understand the difference.

Why Do Dogs Bark at Guests?

The bottom line is that your dog feels tense and anxious about the unknown. In this case, the unknown is your guests. He may feel afraid of strangers, want to be protective of his family or his home, or he could just have generalized anxiety that shows up as barking when your guests arrive. Gaining a grasp of the underlying emotion of why your dog is barking may help you change the behavior.

Understanding Your Dog

Learning to read your dog’s behavior before he starts barking may help you change or manage it. When your dog sees a person, is his body posture stiff with a tightly-closed mouth? Is he keeping his tail still or high-set? To allay his anxious feelings before he starts to bark, try moving him away or distracting him with a treat.

Relieve Your Dog’s Feelings of Stranger Danger

To begin, find out what specifically triggers your dog to start barking when a stranger comes over. Is it the doorbell, or a knock? Or, does it not happen until the person enters the room? After you find out what it is, you must work on desensitizing your dog to that particular stigma.

For example, if it is the knock itself that triggers your dog’s bark, begin by knocking gently on a table or the wall, and then give your dog a treat when he doesn’t bark. Now, begin knocking louder, then have someone knock from the outside, without entering your home. Praise and treat your canine whenever they don’t bark.

Give Your Dog His Own Designated Space

There is nothing wrong with having your dog go to his own happy place when your guests come over. This alleviates the problem from the get-go of your dog barking at the door if your dog is relaxing in its own bed while your guests arrive. Be sure to give your dog lots of rewards for staying there and make sure he is nice and comfortable. Let your guests know to leave him alone while he is in his special spot as well.

Final Thought

Barking is a normal part of canine communication, and when dogs bark at guests, they feel that they are just doing their job by being a good watchdog. Yelling at your dog for doing so will just let your dog know that barking is a great way to get your attention too. Training your dog with positive reinforcement is the key to helping your dog drop his annoying habit of barking at your guests.


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