Advanced Barking Tips

Before barking gets out of control, try these advanced techniques. 

Introduction - Read This First!

In the lesson on HOW DOGS THINK, we discussed how dogs are very good at making connections between things that are happening around them. They don’t usually know WHY something is happening, but they can usually figure out things like “IF I jump up on people, THEN I usually get attention” or “IF I bark at my owner when they’re eating, THEN I usually get food”

Review Of How Dogs "Learn" To Bark

Dogs really do understand the world in much simpler terms than we do! It really is as simple as: “if I do this thing, then good things happen! Let me do that more!”

Dogs make connections between one thing happening, then another thing following after. So your dog probably won’t understand WHY you want them to sit before giving them food, but they can definitely understand that IF they sit, THEN they get food.

Because of this we have to be super clear that good things don’t happen when they bark.

A Barking Dog Gets No Attention!


This might be difficult to do, but when your dog is barking at you for attention, to go outside, etc., you must ignore them. You should even walk away or stop what you’re doing if you can. It might seem difficult at first, but you have to get into the habit of not reinforcing barking or other bad behaviors.

Also remember that scolding your dog, pointing at them, or even just looking at them can be rewarding enough for them. So you have to totally ignore them!

Pro Trainer Principles:
When Good Behavior Turns To A Bad Behavior Stop EVERYTHING You’re Doing!


Here’ s a few examples from other lessons that show how to ignore a dog in the moment when they bark at you for attention. The secret is that is has to be immediate so your dog can make the connection that their barking caused you to turn around and ignore them. 

How Do I Stop My Dog Barking At The Door?


It’s very common for dogs to bark when the doorbell rings or someone knocks at the door. This is usually just excitement for a new person coming over (but sometimes fear!). Teaching your dog to be calm when someone enters will be much easier if they’re calm when there is knocking and doorbell ringing.

To do this we will use two techniques called: 

Counter Conditioning, and 



This is a fancy term that basically means teaching your dog to have a different reaction to something than they did before. So instead of over-excitement, we are going to teach them to have calmness instead!


Desensitizing can only be done after you have used Counter-Conditioning to teach your dog to react differently to something. Once you’ve done that, you can leave them around the thing that they were freaking out over, and let them get used to it over time, without needing to use any treats!

Door Barking Exercise: Start Off Slow


This exercise will walk you through how to slowly build your dog up to being able to handle intense knocking at the door. Remember, at this stage you should only be using positive reinforcement since you’re teaching a completely new behavior. Remember: 

Pro Trainer Principles:
Never Use Punishment As The First Option For Training

Step 1: Light Knock and Treat QUICK

The trick with this first step is to start with knocking that is SO LIGHT and with treating your dog SO FAST that they don’t even get the CHANCE to bark! This is how we’ll start them off understanding that “knock” = “treat”.

Step 2: Teach "Shush" To Be More Clear

This step will help your dog understand that “being quiet” is the same as any other command. Knock the door very lightly, immediately say “Shush”, and treat your dog. Just like before, you have to go so fast that they can’t get it wrong!

Step 3: Adjust Intensity Of Knocks

Now that your dog is understanding the basics of “knock” then “shush” and “treat”, you can start to make it a little bit more difficult by knocking louder, more times, or waiting longer before treating. But make sure to not progress too fast! You don’t want your dog messing up and barking more than 2 times in a row. If they do that then you made it too difficult and need to take it back a bit.

Step 4: Start Adding New "Triggers"

Now that your dog understands much better how the door-knocking works to get them treats, start doing the same with other things, like jiggling the door handle. Make sure to start super easy just like before!

Step 5: Mix It Up!

Once it seems like this is all too easy for your dog, and they’re looking at you like you’re crazy, you’ll have to really mix it up to take this behavior to the next level! Your ultimate goal is to be able to knock the door, jiggle the handle, shake some keys, or even ring the doorbell (!!) while your dog stares at you, just waiting for treats.

Teach "Speak" and "Shoosh"

A very effective way of eliminating bad behaviors is to actually teach your dog when they can do the bad behavior, by making it into a fun trick command! For example, to work on barking you can teach your dog to “speak”. To work on jumping up on people you can teach them “up” and “off”. Then you can teach them that they can only do those things when you ASK them to! While this is a very effective method, it can easily go wrong, we recommend working with a trainer if you want to learn how to  “put the bad behavior on cue”.

Still Have Questions?

Still Have Questions?

Ask About Anything Not Covered In This Lesson

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