Dear Daisy Dog
Our dog barks whenever someone comes to the door. I know this is a natural behavior, but his unwanted barking is annoying and it wakes anyone who’s sleeping. How can we train him to stop barking?
You humans are so negative, often telling us dogs what not to do. We learn better when you tell us what you’d like us to do instead.
When Mom adopted me, I, too, barked whenever someone came to the door. I thought she would appreciate my watchdog skills, but after two or three barks, she had heard enough.
So she taught me to sit about five feet from the door. It’s hard to bark when you’re sitting, so the barking just naturally stopped.
My canine cousins sit quietly on the hall steps when people arrive at their door. Yet another dog friend dashes into the kitchen and lies down on her bed with her favorite toy.
To achieve something similar, first teach your dog –- without the excitement of having someone at the door -– to “sit” and “stay” in the spot where you’d like him to settle.
When he behaves reliably, ask a friend to visit each time you have five minutes available for training.
After your friend rings the bell, walk your dog to “his” spot and tell him to “sit” and “stay.” Make obeying you more fun than barking by giving him lots of praise and a yummy treat when he’s quiet.
After a few weeks of daily training sessions, he should rush to his spot and sit quietly when the doorbell rings.
If he doesn’t, ask a dog trainer or behaviorist to help you.