Barking at guests

We have a little dog who constantly barks at people who enter our home. Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to answer the door for sales people due to the barking.


She is very friendly and would never bite anyone, its just a nuisance for us when people come over and chaos follows.

She warms up to the visitors in a few minutes and wants their attention. I know its instinct to protect their territory, but I would like to know how to get her to stop when I shush her.

Is there any way other then strapping her into a bark collar for weeks?

Answer
Hello and thanks for participating! Most often, I hear from people that it's their small dogs that are the most "yappy". They seem to get big dog syndrome (thinking they're bigger than they are) quite easily!

Needless to say, it can quickly escalate out of control. Although it's instinct for a dog to protect their own territory, in a proper dog-owner relationship, the dog should look to the owner (as leader) for how to greet guests.

In this case, you should keep the door locked and a leash and collar on the dog in the house. Likely, you want your dog to bark once or twice to alert you when someone is at the door.

After she barks once or twice, say "Quiet" or "Enough" in a firm tone of voice (don't yell it). Be holding the leash in your hand. If, after telling her to quiet, she barks, loosen the leash, pop it straight up, and loosen it again. You want to snap the leash, not slowly pull it.

If she barks again, repeat the correction - make sure that you say nothing when you correct! When she stops barking, praise her.

You may also want to teach her a "go out" command, where you can send her over to her bed or crate to wait until you tell her otherwise. This way, when the guests come in, you can send her out of the way.

To do this, have her bed or crate somewhere in a central area of the house (preferably in sight of the door). Start by having her on the leash and stand right in front of her bed.

Say "Roxie, bed!" or your choice of command (be consistent). Then gently take her over to the bed, get her to lie down and give her a small treat or her favorite toy. Do not let her get off the bed until you've released her ("OK" or "Go on").

Once she starts going onto the bed herself without your help (still standing very close to it), slowly begin moving farther away when you give her the command. Also, increase the time that you make her stay on her bed.

I hope this is helpful for you. An anti-bark collar is a good option as well, but something that you don't necessarily need.

Good luck and thanks again!

Shannon Pennings

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