Q. My dog keeps barking every time someone rings the doorbell. Even if I give him a treat before, he gets really nervous. How can I stop his anxiety?
DANA KOCH, VMD, MLAS
A. This is a common behavior many pet owners experience. One way in which to condition your dog to not be as nervous or bark when hearing the door bell ringing is to designate a “safe area” such as a bed, blanket or simply an area in the house where your dog goes before you answer the door.
Also, using verbal cues such as “go to your safe place” or “calm” should correspond to this behavior modification. Lastly, positive reinforcement for a desired behavior in the form of treats or praise could be beneficial. Overall, it often takes a lot of patience and consistency to reform an undesired behavior.