What to Do When a Dog is Barking at Guests

What to Do When a Dog is Barking at Guests

Not all dogs are happy to see guests, and many can be quite territorial. Others are as friendly as can be and would lick someone to death before biting them. The barking can be very annoying, and some dogs don’t stop barking, even long after guests have arrived.

My Shi-Tzu is a strange little dog. I love him dearly, but he begins barking at guests before they ever reach the door, and he makes his displeasure known in no uncertain terms. Strangely enough, his tail wags the entire time. He even growls while his tail is wagging, and his mixed messages can be very confusing.

I warn guests not to pet my dog. Some people say their dog won’t bite, but I would never assume my wouldn’t. Without knowing what the animal is thinking, I’d never say for certain that he wouldn’t bite, and the barking has gone on almost the entire time guests have been in my home.

I’ve found a few ways to get my dog to stop barking at guests. If your dog is barking at guests and stopping you from visiting with friends and relatives, give these ideas a try. Hopefully your dog will become accustomed to seeing new people and remember former guests, and with any luck you won’t have to banish him to a bedroom.

Making Friends

Dogs unsure of guests aren’t thinking about making friends. They’re barking in an effort to get them to go away. When dogs outside bark at passersby, they think the strangers have left because of their barking, when little did they know, the strangers weren’t sticking around anyway. Canines can have a little too much confidence at times.

Warn guests not to pet your dog, and instead, have guests talk to him in a soft friendly voice. It’s also helpful to hand guests a treat or two. Dogs love treats, and a stranger bearing treats can’t be all that bad. I’ve given guests treats to give my barking pooch, and it worked for a little while. Every dog is different, and this little trick is definitely worth a try.

Ignoring the Barking

Sometimes it’s best to ignore your dog’s barking when guests arrive. If you start getting loud, your four-legged family member will think there really is something to get excited about, and the barking will only get louder. Instead of telling your dog to be quiet, do your best to have a conversations with guests and ignore the barking. The dog will finally realize there really isn’t anything to bark about, and he might eventually go lay down.

My friend sometimes asks me to watch her two kids, and I don’t mind helping her out, but my pooch makes a nuisance of himself with his continual barking and growling. His tail wags the entire time, but the barking gets really annoying after a few minutes. Chaos ensues, and the whole ordeal becomes very frustrating.

The last time my friend’s son came over the dog didn’t bark very much. The dog barked when her son came to the door, but he didn’t continue to bark. By ignoring the barking the dog finally got used to seeing the child, and I’m hoping it’s no longer a problem.


A dog that continually barks at guests might not have been properly socialized as a puppy. If a dog didn’t have much human contact before becoming a member of your family, unsocial behavior could be a problem. Make sure your dog sees many different people, and keep working with your dog in an effort to make him more friendly and welcoming. Try all of the aforementioned methods, and don’t give up too soon. My dog is finally beginning to be more social, and he’s not barking at guests as much or as often as he had.

When All Else Fails

Some dogs never learn to fully accept strangers or guests, and if your dog is a danger to guests, don’t take any chances. Some people don’t agree with putting a dog in another room when guests are visiting because a family member shouldn’t be sent away, but if kids are at risk, or if the dog has been known to bite, give him a comfortable place to relax away from guests.

My parents had a Yorkshire Terrier that was very sweet to the family, but she hated strangers. I believe this was because she was teased by neighbors and passersby that walked down the alley in back of their home. Instead of dealing with a barking dog and the possibility that someone could get bit, when guests arrived they put her in a bedroom. This was a last resort for a dog that wouldn’t stop barking at guests, and it worked out just fine for all concerned.

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