It can be a bit embarrassing when every time a new person comes to your house, your dog lets loose and barks like crazy. Is there a way to teach your dog to not bark at strangers? Let’s begin by examining why some dogs are set on doing this behavior in the first place.
Why Dogs Bark at Strangers
Claiming Their Territory: At times, dogs can feel exceedingly protective of their owners and their home. Strangers may feel like a threat to their territory, and they bark to let the stranger know that. If your canine only starts barking when someone approaches your house or when they come close to you, they are likely exhibiting territorial barking.
They Are Excited: Sometimes it is as simple as your dog is overwhelmed with excitement to see a new face. If your dog’s tail is wagging while they are barking at your houseguest, they are likely just happy to see them.
They Need Socialization: If a dog isn’t used to having strangers around or experiencing anything new, they will bark at the unfamiliar, which in this case is your guest.
They Are Afraid: Related to a lack of socialization, being afraid of the unknown may cause your dog to growl or bark at people they don’t know. When your dog is afraid of new animals and people, you can expect him or her to bark.
Getting Your Dog to Stop Barking at Strangers
Training your dog to stop barking at strangers is an obedience skill. Here are a few different methods you can try to get your dog to stop this annoying behavior.
Ignore, Don’t Reward
It is important to not reward your dog with attention when they bark or jump on your houseguest. This can be practiced by getting a friend to stop by and help out. Have them avoid looking your dog in the eye when your dog starts barking and jumping. After the dog settles down, have your friend reward them with a treat.
Another constructive way to get your dog to stop barking at strangers is to distract them. Once your dog starts barking, distract them by making a noise. You can snap, clap your hands, jingle your keys, or use your clicker. After your dog has stopped barking and is paying attention to you, have them sit down. Reward them with a treat if they remain calm.
If your dog is having difficulty grasping the idea that they can’t bark at strangers, it is best to teach them that they won’t be getting any interaction from you if the barking continues. The best way to do this is to immediately do an about-face and walk in the opposite direction as the stranger that is coming. When you do this, it shows them that they don’t get to engage with you if the barking continues. After your dog stops the barking, you can give them a treat. This process can be repeated until your dog understands that barking will not give them the reward that they are looking for.