How to teach a dog to speak

Chevromist Mini Groodle Chocolate puppyNo, we cannot teach a dog to speak in a human language, but we can teach our dogs to bark on command. With barking often thought of as a problem, you might be a little mystified about why you would want to teach a dog to bark, or talk, on command. However, there are actually a few scenarios where a dog that barks when you want it to, or under certain conditions can be handy. For instance, if you are out walking your dog alone and notice someone looking a little untrustworthy, a barking dog is likely to leave them thinking twice about accosting you (if that was their intention). Your dog can also announce visitors at the door, or let you know they need to go outside for potty. Of course, any dog that learns to bark when asked to, also needs to know when to quieten down.

2 Ways of teaching a dog to speak

There are two popular strategies to use when teaching your dog to bark on command. One uses frustration, and the other uses excitement to provoke your dog into “speaking.” The first – frustration – involves securing your dog to a tree or post using a collar and lead. Please note that you are not leaving your dog tied up outside by themselves as you are going to be with them at all times.

The frustration method of training

Tie one of his favourite toys to a pole. Now wave and dangle the toy so your dog can see it, but keep it just out of reach. As the frustration builds your dog should soon start barking. As soon as he does reward him by giving him a little time with the toy before removing it. Once your dog associates barking with getting the toy add a spoken command to the mix. When he barks on the spoken command start showing him a hand signal. Once he associates the hand signal with barking you can drop the spoken command and continue using just the hand signal.

The excited method of training a dog to speak

gordon-groodle chevromist with toyThe next process involves getting your dog excited through play, such as with a game of fetch or tug. Have your reward on hand and when your dog is excited let them see it, then hide it from view behind your back. With a little luck the energy and excitement, plus the dog being a little miffed at the hidden treat, it will all add up to a bark. If he doesn’t bark, let the dog see the reward once more, maybe hold it out and then quickly hide it again. Keep doing that until the dog barks.  Once they do immediately reward them with the treat. The process is then much the same as the above frustration technique with first teaching them to bark for a treat, then the spoken command, adding the hand signal, and then using just the hand signal.

Training your dog NOT to bark

Teaching your dog to go quiet after barking is a similar process. Once they start barking let them continue for 3 or 4 barks and then give the quiet command. If they stop barking immediately reward them with their favourite tasty treat. Once they learn to associate a treat with being quiet add a spoken command until they learn to quiet down with just the spoken command. As before, add a hand signal, and when they are comfortable with that process start using just the hand signal. Gradually increase the time between obeying the command and giving the treat to reinforce the behaviour.

Doing the above techniques regularly every day should soon see your dog barking and going quiet on command. Just remember to be patient and consistent as some dog breeds will take longer than others – up to a few weeks in some cases.

Barking and How to Reduce it

How to Stop Dogs Barking

Even well behaved dogs can develop an annoying barking habit as there many reasons a dog will feel the need to bark. Dog barking is always annoying and in many built up areas excessive barking from your dog may even land you in trouble with your neighbours. The first step in rectifying your dog’s barking problem is to find out why they are doing it in the first place. This will put you in a better position to control it as you will know the appropriate actions to take.

Barking dog

Never lower yourself into a yelling match with your dog to stop barking. This is a form of attention and she will simply think that you are joining in. As a result, she will only start to bark even more because she will now feel justified in her actions. Call her over in a calm and controlled manner. Divert her attention away from the barking with a few basic training exercises and suitable rewards. Sometimes this may be all that is needed to stop her errant behaviour.

Reduce Your Dog’s Boredom

Dogs do get lonely and may start barking because you are leaving them alone for too long a period. You might be able to resolve the problem by finding a dog-sitter who can keep your dog company while you are away. If it is feasible, keeping two dogs together will often eliminate the boredom and loneliness of a dog left on it’s own for extended periods of time. Many Designer dog breeds such as Puggles and Beagliers love company and do well with another dog. If you are only away for short periods but she is still barking, then you may have a dog that has become overly dependent on you. In such cases you would be best served by seeking the help of a specialized dog behaviourist.

Chevromist-Kennels-PuggleDogs may bark to request something. In this case it is a simple matter of not giving in to your dog when they bark. Unfortunately, this can take time if you have reinforced this habit over a number of years. Of course, you will also need to distinguish between a valid reason for barking such as going to the bathroom, or her just wanting attention. It’s important to never give in to your dog’s unwarranted barking request as any submission by you will undo all of your previous hard work.

Reward your dog’s good behaviour, but be sure to get in quick as you want her to associate her silence with good behaviour. Once your dog realizes that silence comes with a reward you can extend the time between rewards. Keep the time delay variable so she doesn’t associate a particular amount of time with a treat.

Sometimes the problem barking may be well out of your skillset – especially if you have an older aged dog with a newly developed barking problem. These problems can be extremely hard to pin down as to their cause if you have little experience in dog psychology. In these cases, seek help from your vet who can link you up with a behavioural expert.