If a dog can “bark” or “speak” when commanded, it can be very useful and a lot of fun. This trick can be displayed in front of the family and also helps to scare off intruders. Although excessive barking in dogs can be a big problem, if your dog can speak and stay quiet when commanded, it can solve many important problems.
However, teaching your dog to speak when commanded requires dedication and consistency. These tricks will also help your dog polish his natural instincts, and it will also make you the master and stop your dog when necessary.
How to teach your dog to speak
Teaching your dog how to speak requires consistent training and can also be done with the help of treats. You start by training your dog to understand different sets of commands like “speak” for him to bark, “quiet” for him to stay silent. Reward him when he responds as per your expectations.
Each dog trainer has a different training method, but the most common and useful method that works for many dogs is discussed below.
Getting started with training
To begin the training, you will need some favorite toys for your dog or his favorite treat.
In training, rewarding your dog every now and then is both valuable and intimidating. Your dog will also work hard and consistently in search of his favorite treat. Some treats like chicken pieces, beef liver treats, or other simple workout treats work best in such a situation.
Also, in training your dog, you can also use the clicker to help your dog know when he has done something right. Clicker training is very effective and efficient because it has a unique sound, is consistent, and has different voices. If you don’t have a clicker, you can also say “yes” or “good” to let your dog know that he is doing something right.
If you have a clicker, load it up first and take a treat in your hand. If your puppy is trying to get the treat without the clicker sound, close your hand. Now click the clicker and reward your dog with a treat and repeat it again after a few minutes. Keep training your dog until he begins to understand that the treat comes with the sound of the clicker.
Teaching your dog to speak on command
1. Get your dog excited
Get your dog excited as it will help increase the chances that he will bark at just the right time. For this purpose, you can play a game like a tug of war or fetch.
2. Grab the treat in your hand
Now that your puppy is excited and ready to bark, take a treat in your hand and let your dog see and hide it again.
3. Reward barking
There is a great possibility with a lot of excitement and knowing the fact that you have a treat in hand, your dog will bark. If this is not happening, your dog is not barking; show him the treat again, but do not give it to him.
When you do this, your dog will be confused, and this will often lead to barking. You may have to wait a few minutes. Sometimes it takes five or more minutes to bark; when your dog barks, say yes and give him his favorite treat.
4. Add the command
By the time you meet your dog, your dog knew that he would receive a treat when he barked. Now you have to add command before this behavior. Whenever you think your dog is trying to bark, add a command like “speak” before he barks. You can also use your hands, as dogs can learn hand signals more easily than word commands. Practice this several times and use the command “speak” before your dog barks.
While adding the command, keep your voice in the same tone each time, as this will help your dog understand. Dogs often associate pitch with the command, and keeping the same pitch will help them learn easily.
5. Command and wait
Now your dog has come to know that a word or command is associated with barking. Give your dog the command to “speak” and then wait for him to bark. Don’t give the command over and over again. In the process, if your dog barks after your command, reward him with a treat.
Practice this command daily and for no more than 10 minutes; the reason is that if you practice for too long, your dog will get bored and will not pay attention to the process.
6. Practice without reward
There is no doubt that treats help a lot in teaching dogs any behavior, but once your dog has learned something. If you continue to give them treats, it will actually distract them, and they will not respond quickly. As soon as your dog begins to respond to the commands, remove the treats.
After that, increase the number of correct responses before rewarding a treat. Start giving your dog a treat after two correct responses. After a few repetitions, begin rewarding the treat after three responses. When you think your dog has mastered barking without any command, see how many times he barks without receiving a treat. Get your dog to 10 or 20 repetitions.
Another thing that is important is to wait before rewarding any treats to your dog. The reason behind this is to break the link between command and food. You can also use other rewards to replace the treats.
Train your dog for short sessions without any reward, and if the session is successful, reward your dog with praise or pet him. However, it’s okay to give unpredictable rewards to keep your dog motivated.
7. Practice in different places
If your dog learned to bark on command at home, now you will need to move around and practice the session in a crowded place like in the dog park.
There are other different routine matters in which you can train your dog to speak on command. Some of the common examples are;
i. Teaching your dog to ask to go out
Imagine that you are in a foreign country and do not know the language of that area and you have to go to the bathroom, what would you do? The same goes for dogs that don’t know our language and can’t tell us what they want to do. If you can teach your dog to go outside by barking, you will avoid many problems and messes in the house and make life easier for you and your pet.
If your dog is house trained and knows where to pee or poop, training him to speak when he wants to go out will be very easy.
ii. Train your dog to speak to come out by keeping treats in hand
Stand on the other side of the door and open it a few inches. Now ask your dog to “speak” or “bark” if he does, reward him with a treat. After a few repetitions, you will see that your dog will bark to come out of the door. Every time he barks, open the door and give him a treat.
iii. Train without treats
Now that your dog knows that barking can open the door, you should teach him to go outside for potty, not for a treat. You can perform this training at times when your dog is out for pee or poop. It may be the first thing you do in the morning when your dog needs to urinate or defecate. You can stand outside the door and ask your dog if he wants to come out or not. If he barks, let him out, and if he pees or poops, praise him.
To master this trick, repeat this procedure for at least two weeks.
iv. Train your dog to speak when there is a visitor outside
Each dog has a different nature; your dog may not need this training because most dogs will bark a lot when they see a visitor outside. However, if your dog doesn’t bark when he sees a stranger, you are lucky, but it’s not good for safety. It would help if you taught your dog to bark for safety reasons.
If your dog is well trained to speak when commanded, it is relatively easy to train him with this trick. You should stand outside the door and ask your dog to speak, and if he does bark, reward him with a treat for barking.
v. Training your dog to speak after a door knock
Now your dog knows to speak when someone is at the door. After several repetitions of asking your dog to bark on command, now, teach him to bark only at the knock. If your dogs bark only when there is a knock, reward them with a treat. You can practice this several times a day to make sure your dog masters it.
You can train them the same with the doorbell. You can ask for the help of a friend or family member to ring the bell. Ask your friend or family member to knock on the door. Give the command “speak” the first few times to your dog to bark. After that, drop the command and let your dog respond to the knocking. You can also do the same with the doorbell.
- Don’t get hyperactive, and be consistent while training your dogs. Some dogs are slow learners and take weeks to master the commands. However, you can use positive reinforcement to train them.
- Training the “speak” command will work only on barking dogs. If you are trying to teach a puppy, it won’t work; wait until he develops the desire and ability to bark.
- Try to use the clicker training method because it works well for dogs when you train them to speak when commanded.
- When your dog has mastered the command to speak in the house, practice this command in the outside environment and other situations so he can learn to obey when distracted.
- When training your dog to bark on command, don’t reward incessant annoying barking. Always reward the barking you have commanded.
- If you are feeling difficulty in training your dog, you can also hire professionals to do that.
Training to bark when commanded is very useful in the daily routine. If you live in close apartments, your neighbors will be very grateful if your dog doesn’t bark too much and knows where to bark. However, while training your dog, you need to be consistent and determined because it can take time to train a dog to bark when commanded.