My dog barks like crazy at anyone who comes to the door — how do I get her to stop?
Teaching your dog to stop barking at visitors requires the good stuff (the stinkiest cheese you can find or aromatic morsels from last night’s dinner cut into tiny pieces, a willing friend, and a cue word (like quiet or stop).
To begin: Have your friend knock at the door. When your dog starts barking, say your cue word in a calm voice, and then get right under her nose with the delicious treat. If the treat is tempting enough, she’ll stop barking to investigate (sniff).
Don’t feed her the treat quite yet though; rather, lure her a few feet away from the source of the barking – praising her for being quiet — and then reward her. The lure should only take a few seconds — you want to make sure you keep her focused so that she doesn’t begin barking again.
These first few sessions will require some staging. Even a giant juicy steak may not be enough of a lure if there’s a pack of dogs and a man who reeks of bird poop on the other side of the door, so start with situations you know you can manage (a friend with a gentle knock, for example). Gradually, you can stage louder knocks or — louder visitors.
As your dog gets the hang of it (and there will be a few setbacks initially), you can increase the length of time you ask her to wait before she gets the treat. For best results do one or two sessions each day for a couple of weeks, and repeat the process five to ten times per session.