Teaching your dog to bark can be a useful trick. The "speak" command is fairly simple to teach and can be very helpful when you want your dog to stop barking. Teach both the "speak" and "quiet" commands at the same time, and you'll have a dog who will both bark and settle down when you ask.
Teaching the Basics
- Choose a quiet room. Be sure you have your dog's undivided attention, with no distractions.
- Hold a high-value treat in your hand, or one of your dog's favorite toys.
- Hold up the treat or toy, and speak in an enthusiastic voice to your dog. Use a phrase such as "Want the treat?" Follow this by a command word, such as, "Speak!"
- Your dog may respond by jumping up. Take a step back, and ask your dog to sit. Hold the treat up and repeat the phrase and command.
- When your dog barks, immediately say "Yes!" and give him the treat.
- Repeat the exercise two or three times.
Use the Doorbell
Train your dog to respond to the doorbell or a knock on the door once he understands the basic command to bark.
- Ring the doorbell or knock on the wall.
- When your dog comes, ask him to "speak."
- Reward and praise him when he barks.
Keep training sessions to five or 10 minutes. This keeps your dog's interest engaged. Always end on a positive note. If your dog hasn't completely mastered the trick, ask him to perform a command he already knows and reward him for that before you end the session. Do up to two or three short training sessions a day.
Teaching your dog to bark should not give him permission to bark constantly or for a long time. The "speak" or "bark" command should allow him to bark once or twice, and then stop. You can accomplish this by giving him a treat as soon as he barks once or twice, and then give a "quiet" command word. Once your dog has mastered barking on command, practice the "quiet" command until he understands it.