Why Does My Dog Bark When The Phone Rings?

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Question submitted by Linda C.
I have a 7-year-old female brindled Pit Bull mix. About one year ago she started to bark every time our phone rang until we answered the call.
She continues to do this. When she does this, it’s similar to when she barks when someone comes to our door. Why would she feel the need to let us know we have a phone call?
Also, since the day I got my dog she has had a separation anxiety issue whenever I leave the house. This happens even if she is not left alone having another person with her in the house. She only does this when I leave the house. I have tried several different techniques to try to fix this problem but nothing has worked. I have even discussed this problem with my vet. Is their any suggestions you can offer? I do not want to medicate her.
Terry’s answer:
Try thinking about the phone ringing and doorbell like a dog does. When these things happen, the humans get up quickly, either answer the phone in an excited voice, or answer the door. It’s like the ring/bell signals something fun and exciting is about to happen. And to top it off, you are probably telling your dog to hush, or something similar, which they see as barking back and you joining in the fun. The best way to stop the barking at the phone or door is to be very calm, boring, and ignore. Set up practice sessions where someone calls you, or rings your doorbell and you just continue to sit and watch TV with no reaction. When your dog sees that these things no longer mean “Birthday Party,” it will be no big deal any more. It will take time and patience, but it will work.
As for your second point, It sounds like your dog is very bonded to you, which isn’t a bad thing, until you have to leave the house for awhile. To help her be more comfortable while you are gone, get her used to you just being in another room at first. Give her a toy, or stuffed Kong to occupy her, then work your way out the door when she is comfortable with you just being out of her sight. If there is someone else in the house, have them start feeding the dog her meals by hand so that she starts to see the other person as being her buddy too. Again, time and consistency will be your friend.  Good luck.
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at FourontheFloor-Dogtraining.com and on Facebook.

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