If your dog won't stop barking when the doorbell goes, we understand how frustrating that can be. Reactivity is one of the biggest challenges faced by pet parents, and it can leave you feeling trapped in your own home.
There's lots of tips and tricks when it comes to how to calm a reactive dog, but one of the best uses of your time is to figure out ways to reduce your dog's reactivity and decrease the amount of barking that goes on around common triggers.
And that's where expert trainer Adam Spivey is here to help. In a video posted to Instagram, which you can view below, Spivey shares one of his top tips for stopping doorbell barking once an for all — and it couldn't be simpler.
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"When the doorbell rings, your dog is going to go running to the door barking its head off. That's fine, we don't mind that, that's one of the perks of having a dog," Spivey says.
Instead of managing your dog's reaction, Spivey says you want to manage your reaction as this will have the biggest impact when it comes to changing your dog's behavior.
Avoid repeatedly shouting things like 'enough, enough, enough' or 'stop it, stop it, stop it,' as this energy will only escalate your dog's barking. You also want to avoid grabbing the dog and pulling it back as this will simply frustrate them.
"Don't bark when the dog barks," Spivey advises. "What you want to do is as your dog goes to the door, you walk calmly to the door. Stand between the dog and the door and say 'enough'. Wait for the dog to stop barking, then mark and reward."
Spivey says it's easy to get a dog to stop barking when you're between the dog and what it wants to get to. "We say 'enough' so the dog learns that when he goes quiet, he gets a reward."
Practice these drills by ringing your doorbell, or using YouTube sounds, and let your dog run to the door and bark. Once you've said 'enough' and your dog is quiet, reward them and then open the door, ensuring you remain between your dog and the door.
If after a few months of working with your dog on their doorbell barking you're not seeing the positive changes you'd like, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for advice.
For more on this topic, check out these three causes for reactivity in dogs and what you can do to help your pup feel calmer.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.