the cat who writes

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Cats are good at training dogs not to bark when the doorbell rings



Martha, my bodyguard, barks when the doorbell rings. That is Martha, the dog, not Mrs. Hodges, my typist. Mrs. Hodges fortunately doesn’t bark every time the doorbell rings.

Charlie, my assistant, who is a cat, and I are training Martha not to bark when the doorbell rings.

Charlie and I sit beside Martha in the kitchen and we wait for someone to ring the doorbell. We had just asked Martha to sit when Mrs. Hodges took this photograph.

We said to Martha, “Martha, sit!” We only said it once. If you say, “Martha, sit! Martha, sit! Martha, sit! Martha, sit!” four times you have trained your dog to sit only after you have said the command four times.

Then we said, “Stay.”

After we told Marth to sit, we had Mrs. Hodges ring the front door bell.

Martha barked when she heard the doorbell ring. Then I said, “Martha! No bark!” And Martha stopped barking. I only gave the command once.

If your dog barks when someone comes to the door, never treat your dog like a baby and say in a baby voice. “Oh, it’s okay honey, Mommy is here. It is just the nice mailman delivering a parcel.”  And never pat you dog on the head when it barks, as you will be reinforcing the barking behavior.

This is how a dog thinks when you use a baby voice and pat it on the head. This is what Martha, the dog, told me. “Oh, wow! Mrs. Hodges loves it when I bark, I get the sweet baby voice. Oh, yeah and I love to be patted on the head. My human wants me to keep barking. Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark.”
I didn’t quite understand the last thing she said. It was something about wanting to go on longer walks in the morning and please let me eat the cats food.

The most important aspect of training a dog to not bark is: you are the boss. Say your command firmly and say it once. Expect to be obeyed.You are making a command not a request. 

You are making a command not a request. Expect to be obeyed.
—– Pooh Hodges, The cat who whispers at dogs

Does your dog bark when the doorbell rings? Please let me know. Maybe I can help you. I am the cat who whispers at dogs.
And I must have a talk with Mrs. Hodges, she apparently is training Martha to bark with her sweet baby voices.

Click here if you would like to comment, or just scroll to the bottom of the post if you are on the blog.

I wish you all the best.

Love Pooh



About Pooh Hodges

I have had a hard life. Born to a single mother in a back alley in Wisconsin. I never knew my father. My sister died young. I am writing my story. Look for it.

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This is an animal blog. Written by animals. Humans are only necessary to type for us. We don’t have thumbs.

  • Abedrossian

    I think this method has some useful application to training people as well. Say it clearly, say it firmly, and people will start listening to you. Cheers and Peace!

    • My dear Abedrossian,
      You are so right.
      People need to talk clearly and firmly. If you have to say, “Clean your room seven times. Your child will only listen the eighth time.”
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

  • Berdeane Bodley

    Dear Pooh, I talked to Mrs. Hodges about cleaning the litter boxes more often, let me know if the situation improves, nothing wose than a smelly litterbox, I know as we used to have 2 cats & a pet skunk. the skunk was called “Pierre”, french you know. The female cat kept bathing the skunk, likely trying to remove the skunk smell, the male cat would give Pierre a good swat if he thought no one was looking. Pierre didn’t really stink, but no matter how he cleaned himself of Sparky bathed him, he always had that faint skunk smell. Ask Mrs. Hodges if she remember Pierre. xxooxx

  • La McCoy

    Dear Pooh,
    I do not bark when he door bell rings.
    The door bell does not ring.
    Mom says it is broken.
    I don’t think mom wants to answer the door.
    I bark at pretty much everything else.
    The birds. Dogs. people waking in my street.
    Remember Pooh. Barking is talking.
    I like to talk.

    • Hello Dear Edelweiss,
      I wonder why your mother does not fix the door bell?
      Perhaps she thinks you talk too much.
      Is that possible?
      All my best,
      Love Pooh

  • Berdeane Bodley

    Good on ya Pooh, what a great way to train a dog, “be firm, say something only once, let the dog know who is in command”. Maybe you could get Mrs. Hodges to just stay out of the equation altogether. You seem to have the situation in hand…… Nana

    • Hello Dearest Nana,
      Yes, being firm is the best way to train a dog. I will talk to Mrs. Hodges about your suggestion.
      The next time you talk to her, will you please ask her to clean the litter boxes more often.
      All my best,
      Love Pooh