Why does my dog hate the sound of our doorbell?
(Q) Why does my Cocker Spaniel hate the sound of the doorbell?
(A) Trainer Elizabeth Kershaw says: It might be to do with the pitch or frequency of the bell. Dogs have very sensitive hearing and your dog might find the sound painful. Have you examined his ears? Are they very hairy or is there any accumulated debris or black greasy wax present? Spaniels’ long flat ears, which lie close to the head, are notorious for picking up ear infections and with the possibly high-pitched frequency of some doorbells this could cause discomfort.
The first thing to do is for your vet to check your dog’s ears. If he is given a clean bill of health then look for other considerations. Can you change the doorbell for a different sound or use a knocker instead?
Try helping your dog to make a better association with the bell by feeding high-quality food treats. Set up sessions where you sound the bell, and immediately follow it with his favourite reward. Do this all around the house and have treats available for when you’re watching TV.
Over time if you always go for the treats when the sound occurs, he might change his disruptive behaviour to running to you for his reward.