Obedience,  Skills

Training a Dog to Speak – Awesome Easy Tricks to Teach

One of the most annoying things your dog could possibly do is bark.  However, teaching your dog to bark on command, or “SPEAK” as we will call it, is pretty cool.dog-barking

This is one of the cutest dog tricks in my personal opinion, but it is one we are struggling with teaching our puppy.  We don’t want to teach her to bark since barking isn’t in her nature, but she does a lot of “Awoooooing”, and that’s what we’re trying to work with her on speak.

Before attempting any training, be sure to check out these helpful tips and tricks that may help improve the training experience for you and your pupper!

Having said that, today we are going to focus on barking on command for “speak”, since it’s way easier to teach.

What Makes Your Dog Bark?

Is it a doorbell?  Perhaps the mailman?  Maybe it’s your mother-in-law?  Find what makes your dog bark, because we are about to exploit that tactic.

Generally, people use the cue “SPEAK”, so that is what I am going to use as a point of reference.

Now, let’s pretend it’s the doorbell that makes your dog bark.  What you are going to do is take the reward treat in your hand, go to the doorbell, give the cue “speak”, and then ring the doorbell.  If your dog barks, begin the praise process by giving your pup a treat and giving him or her very excited praise.

Visual Cues Often Times Help.

I have often encountered situations in which visual cues are as helpful as verbal cues.  A great example is when I was training my puppy to lay down, we found she responded well to both the “DOWN” cue and to us pointing at the ground.

pointing-down

Because of the complexity of a dog’s verbal presence, you may want to use a visual cue in addition to a verbal cue to ease the transition of teaching the command to be quiet, which we will get into at a later time.

The use of another cue might seem like a lot of work at first but in the long run it helps make the training easier on your doggo because it helps to clarify exactly what you are wanting from your companion.  That alone is key in minimizing confusion when you accidently use the verbal cue in your regular conversation.

You Can NOT Get Mad About Barking!!!

This principle is identical to when you are teaching your pupperoni pizza the recall command.  If you are going to teach your dog to bark on command, it means you can NEVER AGAIN get mad at them for barking.puppy-in-trouble

This can cause you to poison your cue, and the dog will then fear you which is the last thing we want.

Rather than getting upset because our dogs are vocal (which is part of their nature), let’s instead teach them how to be quiet on command.  That way whenever your dog begins barking because of the doorbell, or the mailman, or a squirrel on the lawn, you will be able to silence them without poisoning your cue.

My Dog Never Barks

This can be a tough one if your dog just doesn’t bark at anything.  I have seen a few methods work in these instances.

The first method I’ve seen work is just waiting your dog out with your treat in hand.  Let them sniff it and lick it but they don’t actually get it until they do something.shhhh-quiet

Now you may not get a full on bark at first.  It may be just a light little snuff or even just tucking the ears back like their about to bark.  BABY STEPS are what we are after in this method, so you will want to reward the slightest bit of progress, no matter how small it is.

As you progress through this method, you are going to want to get pickier about what is treat-worthy, and you build your dog up to speak this way.

Any chance you get, when you think they are about to do something, or just as they are doing something, use your “speak” command so your canine companion knows what it is they are being rewarded for.

superdog

Another method is just to catch the behaviour naturally.  At some point in a dog’s life they bark for something or at something.  It is INEVITABLE.  So when this behaviour does come around, keep some treats handy and when your dog does speak, give them the “speak” cue and imediately reward them with praise and a treat.

Implementing Speak is Best Done in Tandem With Other Tricks

I find it is most beneficial to get my dog to sit before asking her to speak.  You can use it as part of a routine, or in tandem with tricks like quiet.  You will probably also want to teach your dog how to stop barking on cue as well.

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