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13 tips to teach your dog not to bark at the doorbell

If you want your dog to do a certain behavior, you have to be consistent.

Here are some tips to teach your dog not to bark at the doorbell

1. Decide what you want your dog to do instead

One or two barks is OK when the doorbell rings, but nonstop barking is unnecessary. But that’s just my opinion. You know what you want your dog to do or not to do.

Maybe you have a dog bed in another room you want your dog to stay on. Maybe you want her to go to her kennel. Maybe you want her to lie down.

Or maybe you don’t mind if she barks, but you want her to keep all four paws on the ground.

Figure out what you want her to do, rather than focusing on what you don’t want. It’s easy to begin training once you have a plan.

2. Practice this every day

Dogs need dozens or even hundreds of repetitions before a behavior is conditioned. That means I have to practice this with my dog at least several times a week.

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3. Start by ringing the doorbell yourself.


Ring the doorbell, and then immediately direct your dog. If you want her to go to her bed, tell her the command for that.

In my case, it will be, “Remy, sit. Stay.” Then he will get a treat. Do this about 10 times in a row. By then, some dogs will automatically do the behavior at the sound of the doorbell. Food is more important to my dog than the doorbell, so he will start to think, “Doorbell. Sit. Food.”

4. Also practice knocking

Do the same thing, only knock at the door loudly. Give your dog a treat when she does what you want.

5. Pretend to answer the door, even though no one is there

Make a really big deal out of it. “Hey! How’s it going!” If your dog breaks from the position, put her back. Remember to train your dog in small steps, so if this step is too challenging for her, return to an easier step so she can be successful.

6. Practice with a family member to get your dog not to bark at the doorbell

The next step is to have an understanding friend or family member come to the door. Have them enter and re-enter the door 10 times so your dog gets lots of practice.

7. Encourage friends to ignore your dog

The hardest part about teaching a dog not to jump, bark or break a stay position at the door is most people who visit love dogs.

Dog lovers naturally pet, talk to, look at and make a big deal over the dog. I do the same thing.

We dog lovers even say things like, “Oh, it’s OK if he jumps. I don’t mind.” It’s very hard for a dog to stay if someone new is talking to them in an excited voice or just making a big deal about the dog in general.

Teach your dog not to bark at the doorbell

8. Be consistent every time the doorbell rings

Dog owners tend to be pretty lenient with their dogs around other dog owners. At least I am. When my family members visit, I know they love Remy and don’t care if he gets pushy. But what does this teach my dog? It teaches him that sometimes he can get away with whatever he wants.

9. Practice at all the doors like the side door or back door

My dog Ace used to go nuts if he saw someone walk by our backyard. He was also pretty bad when someone entered through the front door, but he was typically good at the garage door because half the time he didn’t notice someone new came in.

The point is, practice what you want your dog to do at each doorway.

10. Decide how long you want your dog to stay before you release her

I don’t have a specific length of time I want Remy to stay. It really depends on who is visiting. If a delivery person is at my door, I want Remy to stay until that person is gone. When friends are over with their dogs, I won’t expect Remy to stay for more than a few seconds. But I want him to stay until I release him no matter what. It could be five seconds, it could be 10 minutes.

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11. Reinforce the stay command to get your dog not to bark at the doorbell

Sometimes it’s nice to have your dog stay in one spot for up to a half-hour when guests are over. This really teaches the dog to be calm before they can seek attention from visitors.

If you have a hyper dog but she is trained well to stay on her bed for up to a half-hour, then she can still be a part of the “pack” rather than be shut away in a kennel. It’s also convenient if the dog stays on her bed while people are eating.

I remember one time Ace decided to make a scene during Thanksgiving dinner and cry while he staying on his bed. He then proceeded to cry when I put him in his kennel. This just shows that I hadn’t reinforced the stay command often enough when guests were over. This is a very good thing to practice. Start with just 30 seconds or a minute at a time.

12. Keep your dog on the leash to train your dog not to bark at the doorbell

There’s nothing wrong with keeping your dog on her leash when people come to the door or when guests are over. If it keeps her under control until she has had more training, then great.

You might want to consider a short leash or “leash tab” which is a short leash your dog can wear that won’t get caught on everything, yet you can easily hold onto it if needed until you teach your dog not to bark at the doorbell.

13. Make sure all people in your household are consistent

If you make your dog sit and stay at the front door but your kids don’t, then your dog won’t understand what she is supposed to do. Dogs need repetitions of the same behavior.

Why do dogs bark at the doorbell anyway?

If your dog barks at the doorbell, he’s learned that the sound of the doorbell means someone is about to enter the house. He might associate this with an excited behavior, “Oh, hey?! Who could it be? Oh boy!” Or he might be territorial and protective, “Hey! Intruder!”

If you just adopted a dog that lived outside or a puppy who has only lived in a shelter, you might be surprised your dog doesn’t bark at the doorbell. This is because your dog hasn’t made that association yet. He might, however, bark at the noise because it’s new and different.

What would you add to this list to get a dog not to bark at the doorbell?

Let us know in the comments!

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Thursday 3rd of March 2022

I have a 10 yr old rescued chihuahua that grumble barks the entire time I have company. Even hours. All day. From different room. It is extremely frustrating for me. He cant be put out as no yard. Kennel is in the community area. Can you share any advice? Oh & if it is just my husband and I he barks until we both sit on couch. The he leaves and drops his head like he is pouting. Can you help me.

Diane Reinhold

Tuesday 30th of October 2018

I allow my 2 dogs to bark when someone knocks or rings the bell, as well as go towards the door barking, but once I get there, I say "quiet" and they know to stop. I keep a small dish of treats nearby and use that as a distraction if needed. I taught them quiet by teaching them to "speak" then saying "quiet", with a hand gesture. Once they stopped barking, they got a small treat.


Tuesday 31st of October 2017

I'm pretty sure Tootsie's incessant barking is from fear (such as when approaching a school bus stop with small children)or separation anxiety (such as when I'm outside watering plants). (Sometimes it's possessive, such as when I'm on the phone and she wants me to give attention to her rather than the caller.) I've been rewarding her for being Quiet when approaching triggers on walks, and that is gradually improving things. I try to do it also when someone is near our apartment, with less success. (Of course, on walks I'm carrying treats, but usually don't have one handy when she's giving the landlady the business.) Halloween is a great time for her to practice tolerating those scary kids, and I give her a treat whenever she is silent for long enough to get the treat to her mouth. But I also reassure her--because it works. I tell her to heel then sit, which puts me between her and the scary kids, and in between goblin visits I let her snuggle close on the couch with me. Any advice for fearful-barking mutts? Her warning barks when someone knocks are super valuable for me because often my hearing doesn't pick up the knock. I just want her to quit after a few barks.


Sunday 30th of July 2017

My dog is a powerful 45 pound terrier mix. She goes nuts jumping up to top of door and barking When anyone comes. We tried all techniques!! Nothing worked. Practiced and everything. We tried using a water gun. That worked! We squirt, give sit stay command. Reward. It's amazing


Sunday 4th of November 2018

Oooh I should try this!! So glad it worked well for you!

Keith Amdur

Sunday 30th of July 2017

Thanks, Lindsay, Great information I will use for Emma Lou who thinks anyone who comes over wants to play ball with her.Drive me crazy.She goes from 0 to 10 in her energy level when someone comes to the house.Back to school for us both.