Barking is the natural way for canines to express themselves – if truth be told, it is one of their favorite jobs. Sometimes, you might find your pooch barking at nothing (literally) and even barking in his sleep.
But this seemingly simple dog trait can quickly escalate into a social embarrassment for dog keepers when they find their fidos barking at their guests. “Why is my dog barking at guests?” one might wonder.
Well, there are multiple reasons why a dog might exhibit such behavior.
Let us explain.
Why Is My Dog Barking at Guests?
Though there is no single reason why your dog is barking at guests, here are a few possible reasons underlying dogs barking at guests.
Dogs barking at guests is most probably because of their territorial instincts. If a person that is a stranger to your dog makes their way into the place that your pooch considers his territory, excessive barking can be triggered as your dog will feel threatened and will assume the protective mode. This attitude is especially conspicuous in guard dog breeds. Other associated signs include stiff body and raised heckles.
If territoriality is not the issue, excitement can be another cause of excessive barking on guests. If your furry pal is very people-oriented and friendly, he will bark at the guests in a non-threatening, welcoming way to express his pleasure. However, such behavior is most prevalent in young pups only.
The third and last possible cause might be your dog’s tendency to seek attention. This is quite a reason if your pooch is an attention-seeking breed such as Corgi puppies. If you are too busy with the guests, your fido might intervene to take part in your activities.
Similarly, if he has developed a rapport with the then ‘strangers’, he will bark in front of them to seek their attention, too, just as he seeks your attention.
How to Stop My Dog Barking When Visitors Arrive?
If being territorial is the culprit behind your dog barking at guests, his barks will gradually become louder. If he is left as he is, he might get physical with your stranger, especially if he is an aggressive dog breed – spoiling the party your guests arrived for. On the other hand, if he barks out of excitement or to seek attention, your get-together will still be harmed.
Here is how you can help subdue his barks!
Desensitize Your Dog Towards Strangers
Gradually, start introducing your dog to unknown people while monitoring him and training him not to bark simultaneously. Eventually, he will become desensitized.
Start with sitting with your dog at the table. Knock under it as if someone has knocked on the door. Upon hearing the sound, your pooch must start barking. However, ask him to keep quiet by loudly yelling “quiet!”. Upon hearing this, he should stop barking. Offer him a calming treat as a reward. Do this multiple times to inculcate the lessons thoroughly.
Let Your Dog Spend Some Time With Strangers
It is a good idea to introduce your dog to some strangers every day. You do not have to get your pooch outside; instead, you can try getting unknown people inside your home—they could be from your family, friends, or colleagues. Your friends who have not visited you for a long time can help you a lot with this.
Whenever they come, designate a special spot for them and take your dog to them. If he shows his territorial instincts, calm him down immediately and let him stay with the people for some time, say, about an hour. Doing this exercise regularly will ultimately make your dog more socialized and welcoming towards strangers.
Try Alternative Commands
If your dog gets out of control when it comes to barking and you have a hard time teaching him not to do so, try different commands that he has learned already to manage the situation. For instance, when he starts growling at the guests, ask him to sit. He will do so, and the barks will be delayed for some time.
Nonetheless, you must not rely on this trick indefinitely because it is only a temporary solution. Training your pup not to bark at visitors is the ultimate solution.
Beware!The longer a dog does something, the more he becomes fond of it. Barking gives dogs an adrenaline rush which makes them feel good. So, stop your dog from barking at guests ASAP, or the situation can get out of your hands.
Distract Your Dog
Distracting your fido when he is about to do something unpleasant is a tried-and-tested technique and works especially well if you have a dog breed that easily diverts its attention.
Whenever your dog begins barking at the visitors, jiggle your keys and make a significant sound out of it. This should divert his attention immediately. If he does not, try giving him his favorite toy that he loves the most to play with.
Prevent Guest-Dog Interaction
Preventing your dog from meeting your visitors sounds like the last resort, but it is among the most useful tricks you can do. Sticking to prevention can give you a lot of time until you train your dog to be well-behaved.
As soon as the visitors arrive, isolate your pooch into the spot he loves the most. Make sure he cannot escape for a while and drop the curtains on the windows as well. However, never be too harsh in doing this: ensure that there are sufficient food, water, and toys in there.
If you can put your other pet that forms a close bond with him there, too, it would be even better.
Do Not Be Harsh
If you punish your dog when he is angry, it may have no impact. According to the VCA Hospital, being harsh with an angry dog increases the possibility of aggression even more. Furthermore, if your dog associates visitors with receiving aggression, he is likely to bark even more the next time.
Always Use Positive Reinforcements
Whenever your dog achieves a milestone in learning not to bark in front of the guests, always reward him afterward. Though offering him a treat is a good move, you can also try to train him without using treats. Always pat him on the back and say, “good job!” to make him realize he has been doing great.
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Conclusion: Why Is My Dog Barking at Guests?
Your dog might be barking at your guests because he is territorial, excited, or simply hungry for their attention. While your guests would understand, it is recommended to train him to be more tolerant towards guests.