Not that your pooch will be reciting William Blake poems anytime soon, but teaching him how to speak is one of the easiest tasks you can handle. Teaching your dog how to speak isn’t is a cute trick.
Accomplishing this task can have significant benefits for you in that it allows you to manage your dog’s behavior effectively. In addition to speaking, you will also want to train your dog to be quiet so that you can keep the barking under control.
Once your dog has learned to speak, you can move on to teaching more sophisticated tricks like complex speech behaviors as well as announcing visitors at the door.
In this guide, we will look at four aspects of teaching a dog to speak i.e. barking on command, training to be quiet, how to announce visitors and barking to be let out.
Teaching your dog to respond to commands
While many pet owners find trying to get their dogs to settle down and be quiet hard, getting them to respond to command can be just as equally frustrating. Teaching him to bark as a way of acknowledging a command can make it easier for you to teach him how to obey the quiet command. Whatever your reason for wanting them to speak, these tricks will certainly come in handy.
An enticing reward can work wonders
Go for something that the dog loves. In fact, the better the reward, the easier it will be to train the dog. Try using his favorite toy to get him to bark when you play with him. Treats are also a useful tool for teaching your dog to bark when responding to commands. The best treat will be one that is easy to break into pieces, healthy, easy to carry and more importantly, your dog loves. Using a variety of gifts will ensure that your dog will not get bored.
This is where you use a sound as a signal that your dog has done something right. Click and offer a treat to your dog, then repeat the process after a few minutes. Keep doing this until the dog gets used to the sound and rushes towards you every time he hears the sound. You can use the words ‘yes’ or ‘good’ if you do not have a clicker.
Get him excited
Dogs are more likely to bark when they are excited. To achieve this, consider playing a fun game like tug or fetch with him.
Take back the reward
With your pooch primed for barking, it is now time to grab the award you gave him and hide it behind your back.
With the prize hid behind your back and your dog excited, there is a good chance that he will bark. If he does not, hold out the treat but don’t give it to him. This will confuse him and may lead to barking. Give him at least five minutes to see his response. If he does, use your clicker. If he does not, try your own barking to encourage him.
Name the behavior
This will get your dog to associate certain words like ‘talk’ or ‘speak’ or hand signals with treats. It’s important to note that like most pets, dogs learn visual cues faster than spoken ones. Be sure to use the same tone when giving a command to improve your dog’s learning capabilities.
Once your dog has learned to associate certain words with barking, you can say ‘talk’ or ‘speak’ and wait for them bark. Only use spoken cues and reward him when he barks. Practice this daily for ten minutes until he masters the basic commands.
How to get a dog to stop barking
Below are a few techniques that can be used to train your dog to stop barking when need be. While they have proven useful severally, they don’t work overnight. Keep in mind that it will take longer for your dog to change his ways if he has been practicing barking for a long time. In addition, some of these may require you to know why your dog barks.
Get rid of the motivation: Your dog probably still gets some reward when he barks. If that is the case, you need to figure out what gets him barking and remove it. For instance, if he barks at someone passing by the living room window, closing the curtains can get him to stop.
Ignore the barking: One of the reasons why dogs bark is to get your attention. If it gets to a point where you need to be quiet, ignoring him for long can get him to keep quiet.
Giving him attention only serves as motivation for barking and ignoring him removes that incentive. Succeeding with this method calls for ignoring him for as long as it takes for him to stop barking.
Teach the ‘quiet’ command: It may sound obvious, but if you want your dog to stop barking every time you need him to, then you need to teach him the ‘quiet’ command. If you have already taught him the ‘speak’ command, this will be easy. It is important that you train this command in a quiet environment.
Tell him calmly to speak and when he does, utter the word ‘quiet.’ Offer a treat when he obeys. Repeat this procedure for at least ten minutes each until he masters the command. Once he has done so in a calm environment, you can get him to obey the command under difficult circumstances like when a visitor comes to the door or while at the park.
Teaching a dog to bark to be let out
Your dog often wants to be let out to poop, go for a run or play with other dogs.
For this reason, it is important that you teach him how to bark when he wants to leave the house. The first step towards achieving this is teaching him to ask to go out.
Think of it like this:
You need to go the toilet but are in a foreign country, don’t speak the local language but can’t find the restrooms. That sums up a dog’s life and teaching them this skill will make both of your lives easier.
Before teaching him to ask to go out, it is crucial that you house train your dog.
This means making it clear to your dog that he has to poop or pee outside the house.
Start by standing just outside a barely open door with a treat in your hand. Ask him to speak and when he does, open the door further and give him the treat. Now that he knows how to bark to go outside; teach him to do the same not for treats, but to potty.
Training in the morning when he needs to pee will have more efficient results. Repeat this procedure for two weeks. Do the same for another two weeks when inside and with your hand on the door. This time, always ask him if he wants to go out and wait for him to bark. With time, move further from the door and sit on the couch as if you’ve forgotten about the whole exercise. When he barks, reward him with a treat and let him out.
Getting your dog to announce visitors
You can quickly turn your dog into a butler who knows how to announce visitors at your door if you implement the following:
Decide if you want your dog to bark when visitors arrive: It may seem nonsensical, but if you own one of those dogs that make too much noise when someone comes to the door, it will make some sense. If you do not, then consider yourself lucky. However, teaching your dog to announce visitors may prove valuable if you have a big house and can’t hear people knock or for security reasons.
Knock on the door: The second step is to stand at the door and knock on it. You may give him the command ‘speak’ while at it and give him a treat if he barks.
After several rounds of the above step, drop the command and knock on the door. Again, reward him if he barks. You can also conduct this training with a family member or doorbell.
Gradually phase out the treats until the dog learns to respond according to visitors at the door.
Congratulations on teaching your dog to speak, obey basic commands and even announce visitors. Both of your lives are so much easier now. As you may have already realized, teaching your dog to speak gives you a broader scope of things you can teach your dog to do and not just the ones discussed in this guide.
On the other hand, teaching him to stop barking allows you to manage what would otherwise develop to become a problem. It is extremely beneficial if you have one of those problem dogs. Also, it is cheaper and more humane than investing in an anti-barking collar.