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Here’s How I React When Dogs Bark at the Door

Updated: Dec 12, 2023



Let's get a few things out of the way (and trust me when I say that remembering them really helps!) 1. Dogs were originally bred to accomplish different types of amazing tasks and purposes. One of which was to alert us, should there be an immediate threat or danger nearby. This is where a dog's highly developed senses came in handy. This was also at a much different period in time than now. Remembering this will help you feel less annoyed or frustrated that your dog is barking, when it's definitely not something they're doing to make you feel bad, but rather because they deem it to be a productive behaviour. This can be in part due to genetics, but also in part due to that dog's own experiences (with you, their environment, even themselves, and more).

2. Leaning on the idea of dogs being bred for specific activities, you want to ensure that your dogs get proper physical, mental and social outlets. Having these in place will minimize the likelihood that your dog isn't doing more than alerting you. Boredom, pent-up energy and overall frustration from a lack of proper outlets can increase the likelihood that your dog will bark and at which intensity.

With that out of the way, take a close look at the video and follow along with the steps I take to help guide Lilo (the toy Poodle mix) and Mocha (the Cocker Spaniel mix).


1. My first reaction is to listen and not react.


I do this because my dogs are the ones talking right now. I want them to feel heard (with practice and time, doing this will make it easier for them to hear you more quickly) but also I know that while they're feeling in alert, overly excited and barking, they're likely not going to have an easy time hearing me anyway. So I prefer to..


2. Get up, walk and wait for eye contact/acknowledgement.


You can see here that Mocha's brain wheels started to go off early on (he's a younger pup I've been working with for most of his life, whereas I didn't meet Lilo until her later adult years.) and thus started checking in with me which is when I recognized that by saying thank you.


"Be the person your dog thinks you are." – C.J. Frick

3. I used the leash to guide Mocha to a specific spot where him and I both feel comfortable with having him be there, like the couch.


I keep the leash on Mocha at times, to make it easier on me to guide him, especially if he's feeling a bit unsure about a situation like there potentially being someone at the door. I praised further with my tone, my voice and some affection.

4. Repeated 1 & 2 with Lilo but instead of asking her to go to a specific location, I instead engaged her further with play.


I did this because she has a tougher time than Mocha when it comes to making choices around the door/barking scenario, so going into a game helps redirect that excitement in a positive way. A dog feeling overly energetic, even if only momentarily, may have a tough time staying in one spot anyway. In that case, a game is a far better choice. With time, whether it's a location or a game, your dog can learn that these are better ways of reacting to the door.


5. Invite them to do something they felt they need to, once their mind begins to naturally settle.


Once Lilo was more focused on the toy and Mocha was settled and waiting on the couch, it was then time for me to show them in what way I would like them to go to the door. Meaning I wan't to show them that they can go to the door but in a calm way, and achieve the same goal of making sure everyone is feeling good, safe and guided.

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