Barking at the doorbell is not the worst thing -- your dog is just trying to warn you that an "intruder" has arrived -- unless, of course, you get 50 visitors a day and the barking becomes maddening. In that case, there are things you can do to stop it.
Thank Fido quickly for the warning, give him a treat and then ask him to sit. No, you won't be rewarding the barking behavior, at least not completely. You don't want him to stop warning you of potential danger. You just want him to understand that once you're aware of the warning, it's OK to stop barking. Quickly answer the door so Doggie knows you're aware of the warning.
Switch your doorbell ring regularly. Dogs will learn to associate certain sounds with doorbell ringing, and will bark every time they hear that sound. Get a doorbell with multiple chimes and switch regularly. See if that curbs the urge to bark. It won't necessarily fix the root of the problem, but it can help ease your headache and might prevent your neighbors from hating you too much.
Lower your voice and ask Doggie to quiet down. Say "OK," "hush" or "be quiet" -- whatever word you normally use to help him calm down. If he does, give him a treat. Never yell. To him it might sound like you're joining in on the excitement.
- If you share your home with a spaniel, a hound or one of the smaller breeds, such as Maltese or Chihuahuas, the barking can get a bit more, well, out of control. Some breeds are natural-born barkers and they might be harder to control. Give these dogs plenty of exercise and distractions -- squeaky toys and bones might help -- so they can burn off some excess energy some other way.
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