Teaching your dog to speak is a fun trick and by learning it, you can teach your dog to be quiet.
Teach your Dog to Speak
The first step to teaching your to speak involves getting your dog to bark. Since most dogs naturally bark, do something that normally triggers your dog to bark. This may be a door bell, knock, favorite toy, siren, or another sound.
As you begin to trigger your dog to bark, say “speak,” pause for about two seconds then do whatever you do to make your dog bark. Once your dog barks, mark the behavior with lots of happy praise and treats. If your dog is clicker trained, use the click to mark the desired behavior, the bark, and give a treat.
Your dog may get excited or confused initially, especially if you’ve been trying to get your dog to stop unwanted barking. If this is the case, the trick may take a little patience since many people don’t encourage their dog to bark.
Mastering the trick involves practicing and rewarding the desired behavior and keeping learning fun and exciting. When practicing, be sure to pause between the command and triggering the dog to bark so the dog connects the command with the desired behavior. If the dog barks before you give the command, simply have them sit but don’t give a treat. Try again, when they do it right, give lots of praise and treats.
As your dog begins to anticipate the sound and starts barking, add a longer pause between the bark trigger and the command. Practice this stage. Once your dog has it down, you can start practicing in other areas of your house and outside. You will know your dog has mastered the trick when they bark without any stimulus from you.
Teach your Dog to Be Quiet
Dogs bark for many reasons but most often it’s due to a change in the environment, such as a doorbell. They also bark when they are excited, especially puppies. It will help you to teach your dog not to bark by not unintentionally rewarding barking.
If you don’t want a barker, don’t reward vocalizations. What this means is, when your dog barks at you to throw their toy, give them attention, give them a treat, refrain for doing so until they are quiet.
This can be hard to do as you look into their pleading eyes, but it’s much easier to not reward barking than teach a new habit. If you have a dog that you’d like to teach to be quiet, don’t worry. It’s never too late to teach your dog something new.
To teach your dog to be quiet, you’ll first need to have them bark. If they don’t know the speak command, teach it first. During this time, stop yelling at your dog when it barks, it rarely helps because now both human and dog are “yelling” and it only escalates the excitement.
Start teaching your dog to be quiet by giving your dog the speak command. When the dog barks, quickly ask them to be “quiet” and hold a treat or toy in front of their nose, then let them have it. They will stop barking to get their treat. When they are quiet, praise them or mark the behavior with a clicker.
Once you feel your dog has made the connection between the quiet command and being quiet and getting a treat, start adding a pause of a couple seconds before giving the treat.
Keep practicing and adding time until you no longer need the treat or toy to disrupt your dog and they respond to only the command. All dogs learn at their own pace and all tricks take repetition. Once your dog masters the trick, try practicing in other rooms of your house and outside.
If your dog barks due to an underlying problem, such as an anxiety disorder or aggression toward people or other animals, teaching this trick won’t work. You’ll need to address the underlying problem with your vet, behaviorist, or certified trainer. Be sure to hire someone with experience to help treat your dog’s problems and improve the quality of their life.
If you are only teaching the speak command to teach your dog the quiet command, try offering praise only for being quiet. Rather, give your dog the treat when they are quiet.
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