How to Teach Your Dog to Speak & Be Quiet
Teaching your dog to bark or speak on command can be fun. But did you know it can also be useful? While excessive barking is a separate issue to be dealt with, teaching your dog to speak and be quiet on command can sharpen his natural instincts and set him up for success by making the behavior pay off. Ready to get started? Grab a few of your pup’s favorite treats or toys, and then follow these easy steps to improve your dog’s communication style.
Train Your Dog To Be Quiet on Demand
Different trainers and dog experts practice varying techniques, but many agree it’s a good idea to start out by teaching your pet the “quiet cue” before moving on to the barking one. Before you begin, choose one word for the dog’s “quiet command.” Make it easy to remember and use it consistently. Good choices are simple words like “quiet,” “enough,” and “hush.”
Step 1: Create a situation that causes your dog to bark, such as a ringing doorbell or door knock. Some dogs immediately bark when they see another dog.
Step 2: After your dog barks, quickly acknowledge the source and then return to your dog and get his attention by holding up a toy or treat.
Step 3: Once your pet stops barking, give him the treat or toy.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3, but each time wait for slightly longer periods of silence before giving the treat.
Step 5: After a few instances of remaining quiet, start to add your chosen quiet command word. Say the word firmly and audibly in an upbeat tone of voice while your dog is barking and you’re holding up the treat. When your dog stops barking, give him the treat.
Step 6: Practice the quiet cue frequently, but keep the training sessions brief so as not to frustrate your pup. Keep in mind that some dogs could take weeks to master the command.
Teach Your Dog To Speak on Demand
Now it’s time to move on to teaching your dog to bark on command. Again, choose a simple, single word for the bark command, such as "speak," "talk," or "bark." You can make up your own word, but don’t choose one that sounds like your dog’s name or another cue word you use with him.
Step 1: Get your dog to bark naturally, as you did in Step 1 above.
Step 2: As your pet barks, say your cue word in a clear, upbeat tone.
Step 3: Praise your dog and give him a treat or toy.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 several times until your pup seems to understand.
After your dog masters each command separately, you can start using them together, having him speak a few times before telling him to be quiet.
Link users can also use the built-in training tones as positive reinforcement and use the vibration to break the dog's fixation on the cause of the barking and refocus their attention to your commands.
Keep the Process Fun!
Talkative dogs love to interact with their human family! To increase your and your dog’s success rate, practice both of these cues often. But always remember to keep the process fun, because if your pet isn’t relishing learning to speak and be quiet on demand, he likely will reject your efforts. If he’s not cooperating now and then, move on to something else you know he enjoys and then try again later.