How to Get Your Dog to Start Barking at People at the Front Door

by Cindy Quarters

A barking dog can deter potential troublemakers.

A dog who is settled into his home and feels comfortable there is probably going to bark at people who come to your door without any training from you. If your dog is the strong, silent type, though, or if you just want to make sure he takes his job as door alarm seriously, you can encourage him to bark when someone arrives at your home. Strengthen his natural instincts by letting him know what you expect and he’ll be a reliable warning system for you while discouraging potential intruders.

Step 1

Praise your dog when he barks at unexpected noises, especially if it’s someone knocking on your door or ringing the bell. If you don’t get many visitors, enlist the help of a friend to play the part of a visitor.

Step 2

Make a big deal out of checking the situation when your dog reacts to someone at the door. Speak to him, using phrases such as “What is it?” and encourage him to go with you to see who’s there. Let him know he’s a good dog and you’re happy with him for barking.

Step 3

Teach your dog to bark on command if he’s not barking on his own when someone come to the door. Hold small treats just out of his reach and use a command such as “speak” or “What is it?” When he makes even a tiny noise, reward him. Also use the command “quiet” or “enough” when you want him to stop barking, and praise him when he responds with silence.

Step 4

Practice with your dog as often as possible, both encouraging him to bark when someone comes to the door and to stop when you tell him to. Be consistent so that he understands you want him to bark every time someone is at the door, and never scold him for barking at someone even if you know who it is.

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