One Barks, the Other Doesn’t
How do you stop one dog from barking at the doorbell before he gets your quiet dog started?
Let’s say you’ve got two dogs. Zippy barks at the doorbell, or the knocker. Dogalini doesn’t. You don’t want Zippy to get Dogalini started! Come to think of it, you’d like Zippy to stop. What do you do?
Of course, there are any number of training and behavior modification approaches you can take with Zippy: Teach him a “Quiet” cue. Teach him that the sound of the doorbell (or whatever) is a cue to sit. Temporarily disconnect the doorbell and play a recording of it at gradually more realistic volumes to help Zippy get good and bored with the sound. Make sure Zippy gets plenty of exercise, so he’s got less pent-up energy for making a ruckus with.
And, if the dogs get along well and don’t squabble over treats, you can try the Lazy Trainer approach. Here’s how. (You might want a helper, to answer the door while you mess with Zippy’s mind.)
The doorbell rings. Zippy goes off bark bark bark. Who cares about Zippy, though? Nobody’s even looking at fool Zippy. You head over to Miss Dogalini, and you shower her with treats and praise. What a good, quiet Dogalini! Who knew there was so much freeze-dried liver in the world? And all of it headed her way, bit by tiny, tasty bit.
Now, a dog who seriously freaks out over doorbells may not respond to this sneaky trick. But the merely excitable Zippy will notice that (a) nobody’s paying any attention to him; (b) something great is going on with Dogalini. And he’ll shut up and come investigate. Now that he’s quiet, he can have a treat too. See if, over the course of a couple of weeks, he doesn’t curtail (ha, ha) those doorbell barks in favor of joining the quiet, polite freeze-dried liver party.
Two Puppies photo from Shutterstock.