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re-training an adult dog

My husband has a 7 year old spinger spaniel thtat barks whenever someone is at the door. I hate it and it will be a problem when we have kids. How do I train her to stop barking? Currently we say "Scout! Stop that/Stop barking!!" but she doesn't listen. Neither my husband or his parents have ever really trained any of their dogs in good manners for when people are over. We recently bought a house so people will be coming to see it and I don't want Scout barking. We can't put her in another room until people are actually in the house because she will still bark anyway. It's really frustrating and I'm not sure what to do becuase I've never had a dog and my husband doesn't really see it as a big enough deal to try retraining her.
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Re: re-training an adult dog

  • It's hard to teach a dog NOT to do something. Usually I'd recommend teaching an incompatible behavior, but the opposite is being quiet -- again, the absence of doing something. Hard to reinforce.

    Can you practice desensitizing her to the doorbell? Have someone ring it and wait until she's quiet to go to the door. It might help to pair it with a command, like "Go to your spot" (put a bath mat or dog bed in a place away from the door, and "Go to your spot" means go sit and stay on that mat or bed). Reward her for being quiet.

    It will definitely take some time to train.  

  • I have a dog trainer that suggests using a squirt bottle and doing a "shhh" or "quiet" directive (not yelling or loud)...with a little squirt of h20 at your pup.  We got our dog from a rescue and the lady that fostered her had used the same trainer that we did so she did the squirt bottle thing while she was fostering our dog.
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