How to stop a dog barking when someone comes to the door.

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by J.D, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Toby is coming up for 2 in November and still very high energy.
    I readily admit his formal training stopped to a degree during his cancer treatment(the best part of 6 months)
    One of the issues I have was highlighted last night when I hosted a book group at my house.
    As soon as he hears a car on the drive or people talking coming up to the house the barking starts. It is incredibly deep and loud! I put him behind the tall stair gate(he can jump a standard gate) which is opposite the front door and the barking then gets manic unless he recognises the person then he stops barking and frantically wags his tail. Most of my friends like dogs so I then let him out and he sniffs them and generally calms down. Last night there was one lady he didn’t take to and every time she tried to engage with him he barked at her(bit embarrassing really)
    I feel that I should be able to train him to stop barking when I ask him to but I am at a loss as what to do.
    Yesterday I had a piece of chicken ready to give him when he stopped but he was still so high energy I felt like I was reinforcing bad behaviour.
    Any suggestions? Next step will be to engage a behaviourist.
     
  2. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Luna is 17 weeks old and last week my husband started trying a deep loud bark to get her attention and stop her doing 'bad behaviour'. She normally bites me a lot more and jumps up etc and sometimes I cannot get her to stop/settle and he has to help me.

    I tried this yesterday when she was biting me and it worked! She stopped then cuddled in (we were sitting on the sofa).

    We don't do it to scare her we are doing it to assert leadership and that she is under us in hierarchy of dominance.

    I hope you find something that works for you as when Luna gets going it is really loud, cant imagine what it is like with a 2 year old!
     
  3. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    Dominance and hierarchy theories have been debunked in modern dog training and are not recommended in this forum @Christina2807

    You might find this article helpful:
    https://www.thelabradorsite.com/dog-dominance/

    If you barked at my dog he'd bark back and if he felt really threatened he'd probably bite you, unfortunately. The only way Ive found to stop barking is to ask him to do something else and reward that. He is after all only trying to help by guarding us/ warning us of intruders.
     
  4. HollyBerry

    HollyBerry Registered Users

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    Yeah Sarah Stremming has a great episode on barking (quite a few actually) on her cog dog radio podcast. She talks about how alert barking is just like a reflex, asking for an incompatible cue or acknowledge and redirect all the way!
     
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  5. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Thank you I’ll have a listen.
     
  6. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    Great podcast, thanks for the recommendation. With regards to alert barking we do exactly what Sarah says: acknowledge the barking, have a look out of the window, I say 'enough' if he hasn't already stopped, ask for a sit and reward quiet.
    I think dogs have been warning their owners about threats (to livestock or to humans) since the very beginning of the dog human relationship- it must be totally hard wired and they certainly don't have any concept of how irritating we find it.
     
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  7. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I will try the kibble scattering as a distraction. I think Toby’s problem has more to do with not really liking strangers.
    If he barks at a noise outside I look through the spy hole and if nobody is there, open the door to show him. The problem comes if there is somebody there. Unless it is someone he knows well I have to put him behind the stair gate. The barking then becomes manic. It’s dealing with that behaviour that is the problem. I’m sure if I scatter food he will bark as he gobbles it(probably choke on a few) and then come back to the gate and carry on. I’ll try it and report back.
     
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  8. AlphaDog

    AlphaDog Registered Users

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    "I feel that I should be able to train him to stop barking when I ask him to"

    Good luck. My dog acts like a dog when people come to door. He barks. Once they say hello and acknowledge him he's done.
     
  9. Bud Light/Dilly Dilly

    Bud Light/Dilly Dilly Registered Users

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    They're just trying to protect us when they hear something at the door and bark. I actually would prefer him to do it in case something actually is happening.
     
  10. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Yes I think there is a certain amount of luck involved with a dog’s personality.
    The whole Nature/Nurture debate could be played out on this site.
    My previous dog did just as yours does but Toby’s personality is much more nervous/hyper/high energy.
    I have no problem with him barking to alert me to someone outside. It is when he continues in a somewhat alarming way at people who are not used to him.
    When I say I would like to be able to ask him to stop it is in the same way as any other sit/come etc command.
    I realise this might be unrealistic but I asked the question in case anyone else had had a similar problem and could offer any suggestions.
     
  11. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    As per my answer above. It is what follows when I answer the door that is the problem. Maybe I should have phrased the title differently.
     
  12. AlphaDog

    AlphaDog Registered Users

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    J.D. I agree that personality has much to do with behavior. Ajax turn 4 last month and he's matured significantly from his early years. I've become much more aware and sensitive of other peoples reactions when they encounter my barking dog. I know he's just being friendly but they don't know that.
     
  13. Emma W.

    Emma W. Registered Users

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    Hi J.D. I wonder if putting him in another room or perhaps a kennel/ex pen in a separate space with a bone and some music to drown out the noise would help? Perhaps it would help take the pressure off you of having to entertain guests while also manage your dogs interactions with guests. My 12 month old alert barks when people come to the door and then can get much too rambunctious when people come in which can also be embarrassing and alarming to certain guests. I usually end up putting him in a different room with a stuffed kong and letting him interact only if it’s going well. I know it feels like you should be actively training in these situations but I always think it’s better for the dog not to practice the unwanted behavior. The other thing you could do is have strangers toss treats at your pup when they come in the door which could hopefully change the behavioral response your dog is having and eventually he wouldn’t feel the need to continue with the barking.
     
  14. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi Emma
    Thanks for replying.
    I tried to keep him in the kitchen most of the time with Kongs etc but he kept whining to come and join us!Even when my husband and daughter came in from work and were in the kitchen he sat at the gate whining. Our house isn’t particularly big and we took the kitchen door off to put a stair gate up. There was no ignoring him! Funny guy appears not to want strangers in the house but at the same time wants to be in the room with them. We will get there. What I really need is a whole procession of people coming in to desensitise him.
     
  15. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    They are such big dogs and Toby has a particularly deep loud bark.
    The vet at the cancer specialist worried me when she said he was barking to say for her to keep away but that there is a fine line between that and becoming aggressive.She said he should see a behaviourist, oh and a nutritionist about his itching as well as starting cancer treatment. All too much to take on board!
     
  16. Saffy/isla

    Saffy/isla Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi J.D

    Isla is exactly the same as Toby and I am trying the same things that you are! She is really manic and beside herself, I'm not sure what she would do if I opened the door and it was a stranger. I always put her behind a gate as I can't actually restrain her as she's so strong.

    She too would try to eat the food while barking and choke! I'm interested in anything that you try with Toby to see if it works for Isla.

    I've tried Kong's, putting her in her crate but so far nothing has worked
     
  17. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I’ll let you know if I succeed! Testing times but he is such good company with people he knows it is a shame he is antisocial at other times.
     
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  18. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    Our 5 month old started this and even at that age he has a very loud bark which makes me jump if I'm not expecting it. We have a stair gate like you which he stays behind when people come to the door. However, because when people come round he has always been very rambunctious, we have trained him that he can only say hello if he has a toy in his mouth and four paws on the floor. Regarding the barking as soon as he hears someone, he may do a low growl bark a couple of times to let me know someone's coming, bit then he goes and picks his toy up himself and we get this weird body wiggle and tail swing going on while he waits for them to actually come over to speak to him. Hero knows that if he lets the toy drop then no hellos or fussing. Toy in mouth stops the barking because he is concentrating hard on doing what he is supposed to do to get his reward. Don't know whether this is something you have ever tried but it has been quite successful with Hero
     
  19. Saffy/isla

    Saffy/isla Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi,yes we have tried that with Isla. She barks until we open the door,then if it's someone she knows she will pick up her toy and it's the same,highly excited, waggy tail,barking stops. But if she doesn't know the person at the door then she is not interested in anything other than barking.

    Your Hugo sounds like he has mastered that,i wish Isla would!
     

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