There are certain times of year that can drive a dog (and a Pet parent) absolutely crazy! With so many loud bangs and cracks, one of those times is Independence Day, which can cause severe anxiety in dogs. Another is New Year’s Eve for the same reason.
Another is Halloween, which is nearly upon us.
Many dogs have a bad habit of barking uncontrollably when the doorbell rings or someone knocks. This can be particularly troublesome when you have multiple visitors approaching your home, offering a trick or a treat!
If your dog is particularly sensitive to the summoning of the door, you may be in for a long, noisy evening, come October 31st. Here are a few tips for dealing with this kind of extreme behavior:
- Many puppies don’t start out barking at the door. If you’re the lucky parent of one of these Pets, it’s important to encourage this behavior early and often. When someone comes to the door, praise your silent pup with encouragement and a treat, causing a welcome distraction.
- If you’re not a member of this fortunate group, other measures may be necessary. This will take some work on your part, but the benefits could be immeasurable! Does he lunge at the door when there is a knock or ring? If so, try this exercise: stand inside the door while your dog is not paying attention to you. Ok, now discretely knock. When he barks or pushes forward, calmly and quietly stand between him and the door. Don’t yell or acknowledge the barking. Instead, patiently wait until he stops and sits. Reward the settled behavior with praise and a treat. And repeat.
- Practice makes perfect! Try this exercise a few minutes a day, every day, until the barking is under control. Follow these same steps when a real visitor comes to the door.
- Don’t mimic the behavior. Remember, dogs do not learn from negative reinforcement. Yelling at a dog to stop barking is counterproductive. To the dog, you’re joining in. You’re barking, too, and thus encouraging the behavior.
- Hannah can help! Members of Hannah the Pet Society benefit from a highly-skilled staff of behavior specialists who are available for classes, one-on-one behavior consultations or telephone advice.
Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program provides members with 100% of their veterinary care (including vaccinations, dentals, parasite controls, emergency care and surgeries), high quality Pet food and the best behavioral training available!
To learn more about Hannah’s TLC program, visit one of our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center or Washington Square Mall.