Does your dog bark when someone walks by your house, knocks on the door, or rings the doorbell? The following are suggestions on how you can modify the behavior of your barking dog:

  1. Interrupt the barking, to break their concentration. (It’s best if this distraction happens when the dog first starts barking. It is much more difficult to stop the bark after they have been barking for awhile.)
  • Use a sound (ex. Dog whistle, can with coins inside, Ultrasonic bark deterrents)
  • Vibrating, bark collars available online
  • Do not use a verbal command. Often the intensity of the bark is so intense a verbal command is ineffective.


  1. Counter-conditioning: Distract from barking with high-value treats. As long as your dog is focused on you, give them the treat. It is fine if they glance at the stimulus, but do not allow them to fixate on it.  If your dog seems leary of your guests you can try having your guests give your dog treats (or toss treats onto the floor).


  1. Train the “Place” command. “Place” is anything with a defined boundary; Owners usually use a dog bed, towel, cot, or mat. Once your dog knows “Place” they know to go to this trained spot when told the command and they are not to leave Place until they are told. This is especially helpful when someone knocks on the door, rings the doorbell, you have visitors in your home or do not want your dog underfoot while you are cooking, etc.

Note: This video and blog post show you how to train the place command using a prong collar. However, a prong collar is not necessary for training the command. The video does a good job at showing you the basics of training Place. You can use whatever collar, harness or leash you prefer. You can give treats or use clicker training to positively reinforce the behavior, if you wish.


  1. Train the “Speak” command. Once your dog learns this command you can then go on to train the “Quiet” command. Generally, dogs that know “Speak” do not bark unless commanded to do so because they have learned that if they bark without being told to do so, they do not get a treat (aka the behavior is not reinforced).

Note: You can use any hand signal or verbal command you would like. This video uses a clicker as a secondary reinforcer, but you do not need to use one if you do not wish.

Your Barking Dog