There are a few reasons your dog might be barking when visitors arrive – it may be because he is scared of them, because he is really excited to see them, or it may be just a habit. If your dog is scared and there are signs of aggression towards your visitors, it is best to consult an APBC or CCAB behaviourist. But if think that it is simple exuberance, then what can help is if you train an alternative behaviour to your dog rushing up to the door barking. First you need to attach a sign to your front door to say that you are training your dog to behave and so may take a bit longer to answer the door. Then, when the doorbell rings, calmly walk into another room, throw a large chew onto the bed and show your dog that it is there. Close the door of that room so your dog can’t follow you back out, and answer the door to your visitor as normal. If your dog starts barking, simply ignore and wait until he is quiet – hopefully he will settle back down and chew on the chew. Once there is a quiet, open the door. Ask your visitor to ignore your dog. Obviously only use this method if your dog does not guard items of high value. Good Luck.
Penaran Higgs BSc Psychology, PgDip CABC (Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling)
Pet Behaviourist & DogTrainer, PetShrink