Why Dogs Bark at Guests and How To Stop It

Barking is a huge part of a dog’s life as it allows them to communicate and socialize. Some might bark when they want to get attention. Others bark when they get excited or anxious. Then, there are also plenty of dogs that yelp when they hear the doorbell ring and see a new person come into the house. In most cases, this could be off-putting for visiting folks, especially those who aren’t used to having dogs around. So what can you do to correct this behavior? How fast can you teach your dog not to bark at your guests? Let’s try to understand the situation and discuss your best options.

The Psychology of Barking 

Have you ever wondered why dogs bark? Notably, wolves don’t bark as much as dogs. In fact, barking only makes up three percent of a wolf’s vocalizations. Research suggests that the barking behavior of dogs may have a strong link with domestication. It’s possible that through natural selection, barking evolved into a functional feature that allows dogs to build strong connections with humans they live with.  

While the possible origins of barking may seem fascinating, many dog owners would agree that excessive barking could cause a lot of problems. It gets even worse when the dog barks aggressively towards guests or visiting loved ones. But why does this happen in the first place? What goes through your dog’s mind when they respond verbally to new people in your house?

Why dogs bark at visitors

Simply put, barking is equivalent to your dog talking to you. It’s your dog’s best way to call out your attention when they respond to stimuli such as the sound of a doorbell or someone’s footsteps. In their mind, vocalizing helps them protect their loved ones from harm. That’s why, eliminating barking is not only virtually impossible but unreasonable as well. Your most ideal option is to limit their barking behavior using the “Bark” or “Hush” command. Here’s how you can do it:

Training your dog to bark on cue

Let’s face it. Most of the time, it’s harder to stop dogs from barking than teaching them to do it only when you say so. Once you succeed in training your dog to bark on cue, it becomes a whole lot easier to introduce the “Hush” command. Use the steps below are your guide to ace this step:

    • Find out what triggers the response – This could be the sound of a doorbell or a car pulling up in the driveway.
    • Prepare tasty and nutritious treats – Make sure to cut them in tiny portions because you don’t want to fill up your pup’s tummy.
    • Call a friend – Ask your accomplice to ring the doorbell or pull up his/her car by the driveway after giving them a signal. This way, you get to associate the command “Speak” or “Bark” before your dog responds to the trigger. 
    • Reward your pup – If your dog barks as soon as you give the command, you give him a pat or a verbal affirmation, then hand him his treat.
  • Repeat the lesson – Practice the same routine several times over the next few days until your dog gets the drill. 
  • Moving on to hush command – Once your dog has mastered how to speak or bark on cue, you may begin introducing the Hush command. 
  • Repeat the same steps but add the new command at the end – When your dog barks, praise him for doing a good job, then signal him/her to stay quiet using verbal command or hand signals.
  • Give him his tasty reward – As you tell him/her to stop barking, let your dog get a whiff of the delicious snack tucked in your hand. Then, as you reward him, pat them on the head or praise them copiously. 
  • Practice makes perfect – Do the routine several times until your dog knows how to respond to all your cues whenever someone visits your house.   

Help your dog learn better with a professional dog trainer

Sometimes, dealing with an overly aggressive dog comes with a lot of challenges. First of all, it may be difficult to predict how the dog would behave during training. He/she might reject the lesson or ignore you when you start your sessions. Then, you also need to find the best approach to use. Again, we want to emphasize that dog training requires patience and skills because each canine buddy is different. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to training dogs. 

Some might catch up with the lessons quickly, while others might struggle to absorb the last command you taught them. Also, some dogs may have concentration problems because of their short attention span. As such, you’ll need to be extra attentive to your dog’s needs and quickly assess if the approach you use works or not. This way, you can adjust the lessons, the duration of each session, and other factors that may play a part in your training success.

Now, if you’re looking for a way to deliver maximum learning, your best option would be to work together with a dog training specialist such as Delaware K9 Academy. This way, you get to know the best ways to improve your dog’s behavior. 

Personalized training programs for your beloved dog in Delaware

Every dog has a special need when it comes to training or learning a new skill. At Delaware K9 Academy we fully understand this need as we have been helping many dog parents and their dogs for years.

When you choose to train your dog with us, you get to pick whatever program you prefer. Currently, we offer options like the Dog Bootcamp, which comprises two weeks of training sessions for your dogs and free professional dog training tips from our team. If you’re looking for shorter lessons, we can offer private lessons like our standard and master programs.  

Whatever provides you with the most success, we’d be happy to lend you a hand. Get in touch with Delaware K9 Academy today for more information. You may call us at 302-409-0654 or email us at for your inquiries. Also, may fill out our contact form here for any dog training-related questions.