Someone has arrived by your front door.
But right when you’re about to see who it is…
Your pooch rushes towards it and gets there first.
While barking like it’s the end of the world.
Why do they hate it so much?
Or are they…?
Read on to find out:
- What goes into your dog’s mind when they hear it.
- If it’s due to the high-pitched noise or a different reason.
- 5 tips to combat their excessive barking in several situations.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- Why does my dog bark when the doorbell rings?
- 5 reasons why your dog barks when the doorbell rings
- How to keep your dog calm when the doorbell rings? 5 tips
Why does my dog bark when the doorbell rings?
Your dog barks when the doorbell rings because they’re trying to scare away the person outside, warning you that someone’s by the door, or either very excited or anxious to meet people. They might also do it because they’re sensitive to sudden loud noises, or they’re startled and get annoyed by it.
5 reasons why your dog barks when the doorbell rings
#1: To protect you
“Go away now, stranger. I’m warning you!”
To you, the sound of the doorbell might mean a good thing.
It could be that a family member or a friend is by the door, or your awaited food or package has come.
In my case, I love ordering books on discount. And, since the website I get them from has big discounts quite often, I order a lot.
Whenever the doorbell rings, I get excited. But my long-haired Chihuahua-Spitz mix, Lissa, gets in protection mode. Her hackles go up and she doesn’t spare her barks.
So for your pooch, the ring of the doorbell might only mean one thing…
So they’ll run to the door. Then bark and growl nonstop, hoping to scare away whoever is outside.
It’s because some dogs have strong territorial instincts. So they’ll always have the urge to protect you or guard your house no matter what.
Aside from that, they’re also excellent at associating things. Sometimes, dogs will react not because of the sound itself. But because of what usually happens next after it.
So, your Fido might have observed that when the doorbell rings, someone is outside and wants to come in.
That’s why every time they hear it, they always come running to the door while barking angrily. As they linked the noise to the presence of a stranger.
#2: To notify you
“Hooman, quick! Someone’s outside!
I don’t know if it’s a person you’d like.
But I just really want to tell you.”
This time, they could be reacting to the sound but in a non-aggressive manner.
In short, it’s just an announcement.
They do it to let you know that somebody is waiting for you by the door. Your dog can’t be sure whether you’ll pay attention to the bell or not. So, they ensure they direct your attention to it..
If they’re only alarming you, it’ll be just multiple bursts of barks. So no growls and snarls at all.
But it’s alright. It could be really helpful in keeping everyone at home alert and safe.
As long as they know how to stop if you told them so, it’ll be fine.
How? Stick a bit longer, and you’ll read it shortly.
#3: Adrenaline rush
“Woah. Someone’s outside.
Wait there for me! I’m coming!”
Is your dog very social with people?
Well, they might be so excited to greet whoever it is so they quickly rush to the door.
Unlike in alarm barking, they’ll yap and jump out of joy and anticipation.
So you might see their tail or their body wagging. Which is a perfect sign of a happy doggo.
It could happen every time you or your family arrive home. As they’ve been waiting for your return for so many hours.
Or if they’re socialized well and have positive experiences with strangers.
If that’s the case, you might have visitors coming in very often. And every time you open the door is a festive moment. So they remembered it.
That’s why hearing the ‘buzz sounds’ gives them an adrenaline rush. As it’s associated with a fun event rather than a scary one.
How much can a dog remember?
A study was conducted in 2016 to test this out.
They did an exercise called “Do as I Do,” wherein canines were asked to copy a human’s actions.
For the first stage, people showed them two movements. Such as climbing on or touching a chair. And taught them an imitation command.
While in the second one, they trained Rovers the “lie down” command until they master it.
After that, they did the memory test.
Expecting the dogs would still lie down even if they’re asked to imitate the actions from before.
But, it was shown that hounds still remembered them although they’re given an unexpected cue.
This then proves that they also have episodic memory like humans – although not as good. And could keep specific events in their brains.
#4: Anxiety attack
“Oh, no. Wait. Don’t come in yet.
I need to hide somewhere first!”
If there are dogs who can’t wait to meet people, there would also be shy and afraid ones.
Since your pooch also linked the doorbell to a guest, they might also be barking out of nervousness.
They’re so worried and don’t know what to do. As they could be lacking in socialization with other people and dogs.
How to spot a scared Fido?
They’ll have flattened ears and a tucked tail between their legs. And they would also cower, lick their lips, and cling on you to feel safe.
So they might not be acting aggressively. Because they’re just anxious about running into strangers or someone they don’t see often.
This could also be due to a negative event in their past. That’s why they’re so reluctant in meeting them.
#5: Its sudden loud noise
In other cases, it’s the sound itself.
Apart from their heightened sense of hearing, your pooch might also be sensitive to sudden noises.
So a high-pitched one, like that of a doorbell, could be unpleasant to their ears. And startle them so much.
Do they also act weird to other similar sounds?
They might have noise sensitivity, and it’s even more serious than a simple fear.
Research shows that a fearful Fido will tremble and try to hide somewhere once they hear it.
So does your pooch always run across the room trying to avoid the sound?
#BONUS: They’re simply annoyed
“Hooman, will it stop ringing if I destroy it?”
Dogs might also bark out of irritation.
They could be resting or happily playing with their toys. Until…
A loud annoying buzz echoes in the room.
Well, everyone will get angry too when interrupted. So, it could be understandable.
Note: But if it happens every time and they react much stronger, better consider the other reasons above.
How to keep your dog calm when the doorbell rings? 5 tips
#1: Train your territorial dog to be “quiet”
First things first, what is your dog’s body language?
How do they bark?
If they do it nonstop with a similar tone, they might only be alarming you.
In that case, getting rid of the guarding behavior will not be a good idea. Because you’d probably want them to warn you when there’s somebody outside, right?
Having a ‘living security alarm’ will be helpful at times…
But only if they can be stopped quickly.
So how can you do that?
By teaching them how to be “quiet” on command.
But before doing this, you may need to prepare some pieces of high-value treats.
They must love them or else they might not be motivated to learn.
Try some unsalted chicken, pork, or beef. I’m sure you know what your buddy loves most. Just make sure they’re both yummy and healthy.
If they’re more toy-motivated, you can pick up a bone or their chewy toy instead.
- First, ask someone to push the doorbell button outside.
- When your dog barks, acknowledge their effort to alert you.
- Do this by looking at the window shortly and return to your pooch.
- Then, hold a treat/toy to get their attention. Their eyes must be all on your hand.
- If they stop yapping and focus on it, quickly give the reward.
- Repeat these and make them stay silent for more seconds as you progress.
- When they obey you several times already, you may now say the cue word “quiet.”
- Then make them bark again. And while they’re on it, say “quiet’ firmly.
- If they’ve calmed down, reward them again.
Do this daily. And gradually remove the treats so they’ll only obey you by command.
Note: Try to be consistent and dedicated with the training, as this won’t be a quick miracle. Good luck!
#2: Teach them calm is the way
Have an overly excited pooch instead?
Uh-oh. It’ll be hard when you often have visitors at home.
The good thing is, you can try these simple steps to help them mellow down.
First, sit close to the door. Then ask someone to help you ring the doorbell. It could be a neighbor, friend, or another family member.
When your dog hears it and barks, ignore them and wait until they’ve settled.
Staying still and doing nothing will be hard. Especially if they’re also pawing you and looking at you with their puppy eyes.
But just hold it in. It’s for their sake as well, not only yours. As it’s not good to be always aroused by everything.
Now, if they’ve calmed down, open the door. And allow them to greet the visitor.
That would be their reward for being a good pooch. So no treats for this one as they just want to see other people badly.
Keep repeating this until they learn that calmness is the key to meeting people.
#3: Divert their attention
What about changing their focus as soon as they charge to the door and bark?
For this, “sit,” “stay,” and “release” might help.
As their minds will focus on doing these cues, they might not think of constantly barking. And jumping up and down out of excitement.
You may teach them how to sit and stay when there’s no one outside first.
This is to make sure they’re calm. As they’re more trainable in that state.
Then reward them every time they obey you. Small treats and praises will do.
If they’ve mastered those two commands, you can now introduce “release.”
So after “stay,” you may say “release” or “okay!” then feed them a treat.
Slowly, you can ask people to join you in training. But do this if it seems like they can do it already with distractions.
Also, you can do this anytime, and anywhere. Like when you’re walking them outside and you see that they want to greet a stranger.
Just make your Fido practice these commands whenever they can, and it’ll surely pay off in the end.
#4: Give them a balanced exercise
For active Fidos, PetMD advises exercising not only their body but also their mind.
Their meals shouldn’t be the only thing that’s balanced. But their daily activities as well.
As it may cause unwanted behaviors like this one. Which could be due to pent-up energy.
So apart from walking, try playing tug or fetch. Or any similar activity that looks fun and they might like.
They’re 2-in-1 as it tires them both physically and mentally.
Also, keep them busy with trick training and toys. Give food dispensing ones like a kong that’ll make getting snacks challenging.
And observe your pooch. If they seem exhausted, get them to rest. But if they look uneasy, try to entertain them with a game or more walk.
Paying a bit more attention to their actions will also give you a clue on how to help them.
#5: Desensitize your sensitive pooch
Is your dog fearful of doorbell sounds? Or other people?
Desensitizing them might be the way.
But before doing this, recheck whether they’re only afraid of one of those things.
For those sensitive to noises
- Search for doorbell sounds on the net. Or record your own.
- Then play it to them in a very low volume.
- Avoid scaring them from the first step. So, keep the speaker far enough from your pooch.
- While it’s playing and they don’t seem nervous, give them treats.
- Raise the volume slowly and play it randomly as you carry on.
- If they’re starting to look uncomfortable, tone the audio down.
Repeat this until they don’t seem bothered by it. But I’m telling you right now that it won’t happen real quick.
So, you may need to lower your expectations first. And have faith in your pooch.
But with enough consistency, it’ll be achievable. 🙂
For those who lack socialization
This would help in making the situation (having other people over) a positive one for your pooch.
So, to do this:
- Have someone ring the doorbell.
- Once it rings, feed your Fido with a treat.
- If they bark, stop and ignore them.
- Then only resume giving them snacks when they’re quiet.
- Keep doing this until they stay silent many times in a row.
- Now, if they seem calm, alter the scenario a bit. When the doorbell rings, you may now open the door and let them see the stranger.
- They might start to bark again when they see someone outside.
- Close the door and let them settle down. And repeat for a few more times.
If they’re highly nervous, give them a break or try it again next time. This is to avoid them from being overwhelmed by the stressor.
After a few days, you can ask someone to ring the doorbell again. But this time, they’ll throw treats on the floor once they come in.
This aims to make your dog think, “Oh, there’s nothing bad with strangers at all. Meeting them is more fun (more treats) than I thought!.”